Give Gorsuch Haus a go
I am writing to support the efforts of Jeff Gorsuch, Bryan Peterson and their team to build a quality local and tourist-friendly hotel, base facility and restaurant at the base of Lift 1A on Aspen Mountain.
This is a project that needs to get done one way or another, and it seems to me that having a local in the form of Jeff Gorsuch head it up is vastly preferable to some out-of-towners who have no vested interest in maintaining the town’s character or in preserving a rich and colorful history.
I have known Jeff for over 40 years. His father was my mother’s ski coach when she was on the U.S. Ski Team. I ski raced against him. And my kids have raced with his kids in Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club. And one thing that I have learned again and again about Jeff is that if he says he will do something, he does it. On a recent gondola ride I happened to take with Jeff, I asked him point blank if Gorsuch Haus will be a place that is inclusive of locals, where we can take our families, eat some good food and have a beer during a ski day or an evening out. He told me “yes” to all of the above and said he wouldn’t be involved in the enterprise if it was any other way. It is clear when you talk to him that he wants Gorsuch Haus to be a great place for the community and the best base area for the best ski mountain in North America. Simply put, that is good enough for me!
I love the bottom of Lift 1A area and remember as a kid that it was the coolest spot in town with the Holland House, the Skiers Chalet Lodge and the Chart House. Even the little plastic cows that Howard Ari used to put on the hamburgers at the Chalet to tell everyone how well they were cooked (medium rare, anyone?). And the best milkshakes in town … ever.
There are so many places in town that used to be public spaces where business was open to everyone that have become private. A lot of places don’t feel welcoming to the local. A hotel, restaurant and bar like Jeff and his colleagues are proposing will be a public space that we can all enjoy. It will bring some of that old spirit back to the neighborhood.
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As far as lift location goes, it seems clear that there really is no way to move it down the hill. There is just too much going on below Gorsuch Haus for that to happen. And even if you did get it all the way to Dean Street, I don’t believe it will attract many day skiers except the locals who know how good the Ruthies side is. I think Gorsuch Haus has done a good job placing a new lift in essentially the same site as the old one we all know and love and ride now.
Change is coming to that side of the mountain. There are townhomes being built on the west side of South Aspen Street, and a large time-share condominium club immediately below Gorsuch Haus that has been approved and will probably be built soon. Adding a hotel and restaurant right at the base of the mountain fits in with the history of that neighborhood and is good for the future of that side of the mountain.
Let’s do this!
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