Lift 1A — the straw-man fallacy
A straw-man fallacy argument is when the viewpoints you are using to argue your conclusion are not actually related to or controlled by the opposition. Much of the objection to Gorsuch Haus falls into this category.
The prime example is the extension of Lift 1A down to Dean Street. Notwithstanding the fact that Aspen Skiing Co., not Gorsuch, determines the lift location, this possibility disappeared with the City Council’s previous approval of the Lift One Lodge. The design of the lodge buildings precludes installation of a conventional lift through or overhead. And to the east, the donated Dolinsek Parcel, designated as public park, doesn’t allow for a lift to pass. The corridor between the lodge buildings is too narrow for simultaneous platter-lift operation and skiing down to Dean Street. There are also concerns about guaranteeing snow coverage any lower than Skico already provides.
A planning commissioner said in reference to a shuttle that a rubber-tired solution is not a solution. In fact, this is the best solution. Not only because a lift isn’t possible, but also because the Lift One Lodge will encroach on the existing parking along South Aspen Street. With a shuttle provided by Gorsuch Haus running between Ruby Park and the top of South Aspen Street with a stop at the corner of Dean, if anything, this will make the new lift more accessible to all. It may be 66 steps from the shuttle drop of to the lift, but if this is too many for you to handle, then perhaps Buttermilk is more your speed.
I encourage you to embrace the premise that there should be a revitalized, redeveloped base, and that any new lift will not extend any further down. Once you accept that, it is clear that this proposal is the best option and opportunity to actually make it happen through collaboration with the town, Skico and the Gorsuch Haus team. The devil is in the details, and anyone who reviews the plans can see that Jeff Gorsuch and partners have gone to great lengths to pay attention to the details to get this right. After criticism of mass and scale, there were significant changes made from the original plans to create a more open, welcoming approach and ensure access for all to the lift. For those locals who love that side of the mountain, it means more vertical in a day and a public changing area to leave your shoes. For the ski patrol it means a new facility worthy of their contribution to our daily safety. For visitors and guests it means hot beds at a time when they are lacking. And finally, commercial space that, unlike some new buildings in town, won’t be vacant because there’s already a tenant planned.
The support is there, from some neighborhood residents, from life-long locals, and even from patriarchal figurehead Klaus Obermeyer. Now is the time to get it done and get it done right.