Business as Usual: Gwyn’s High Alpine marks 35 years on Snowmass
Editor’s Note: Business as Usual is a series highlighting local businesses in Snowmass Village. It is published weekly in the Snowmass Sun.
A true family business, three generations ride snowmobiles up to Gwyn’s High Alpine restaurant on Snowmass ski area every morning to prepare the on-mountain eatery’s famous pastries, brunch and soups for the day. Whitney Gordon is now the manager of the restaurant that her parents started 35 years ago, the only non-Aspen Skiing Co. dining experience on Snowmass.
Snowmass Sun: How did your business start?
Whitney Gordon: Gwyn’s High Alpine started when my parents, Gwyn and George, decided to take a year off after college at Denver University and move to Aspen. George was running the NASTAR program at Highlands when Freddy and Everett Pierce were looking for someone to help them run food service. George ran the base lodge and Gwyn ran the Merry-Go-Round. In the late 1970s, the Aspen Skiing Co. was looking for new operators for one of its restaurants on Snowmass and offered the opportunity to my parents. High Alpine opened the 1979-80 season and Gwyn’s followed the next year after a massive expansion to the entire restaurant.
Snowmass Sun: What services or goods do you sell?
Whitney Gordon: Our goal is to sell not only the best on-mountain food and wine possible with the best service, but also to help facilitate the whole experience of the perfect family vacation in Snowmass. We serve everything from fast, family-friendly style entrees cafe-side to extraordinary food and wine pairings on the Gwyn’s side. We also have a full bar and a ski shop to make sure you have all you need for a perfect day on the slopes.
Snowmass Sun: What makes your business unique?
Whitney Gordon: We are unique primarily because we are one of the few family-owned and operated restaurants on any of the mountains, in Colorado or the rest of the country. James, my son, rides the snowmobile up every morning with Mom, Grandma and Grandpa and will grow up in the restaurant just like I did. We also take pride in the fact that everything we serve is homemade by our chefs. Many have been with us for almost 35 years. Although Gwyn doesn’t do as much of the cooking as she used to, she still seasons the soup and has input on every single dish that is served in both restaurants.
Snowmass Sun: Who is your primary clientele?
Whitney Gordon: Our primary clientele is composed of both visitors and locals who love to be up on the mountain. The age range goes from 3 to 96. Anyone over 90 eats for free. There are families and couples visiting as well as those who live and work in Snowmass who have dined with us for years. They all share a passion for skiing and Snowmass, whether it be as a favorite vacation destination or home. We had four generations join us for Christmas breakfast!
Snowmass Sun: What is the best thing about running a business in Snowmass?
Whitney Gordon: Snowmass is a community unlike any other in the world in our opinion. The loyalty of so many guests who have been visiting for generations is unparalleled as well as the local interaction between visitors, families, those who live and work here and all of the many town and community departments that help make it possible. You will never find another place in the world where the police, town employees and service providers are more friendly or willing to reach out to business owners and visitors alike. I feel very lucky to have grown up and still live in Snowmass. We have the best people and the best mountain anywhere!
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