Marolt: Envisioning the Snowmass Yacht Club

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic
Roger Marolt

I used to think the highest and best use of the Snowmass Club golf course would be to tear it down, level the land and build a town on it. You could set up a grid system of streets, design a pedestrian mall and zone certain areas on the fringes as residential. We could use Aspen as a model. Can you imagine how much you could get for individual lots there? Would-be developers who are reading this just peed their pleated britches.

I don’t think it would ever work, though. There is too much to hate about an idea like this. Mostly the thought that it would turn a few lucky real estate professionals into billionaires. It doesn’t matter how cool it would turn out for the rest of us, that gnawing image would be enough to torpedo it.

Nonetheless, my new plan for the golf course is to tear it down, scoop all the fertilizer-infested dirt out, pile it all into a dam down below the rodeo grounds where the valley narrows and fill the whole damned thing with water.

This part of the world has almost everything to offer devout recreation aficionados — skiing, hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, rafting, kayaking, drinking, extreme frisbee throwing and way too much golf, to name a few. The thing we don’t have is a large body of water to do stuff.

If we built a lake the size of the golf course and spread out a perimeter of sandy beach around it, the place would be perfect. Sailing, swimming, lake fishing — imagine it! The way we do things around here, we could probably even manage a wave-making machine on one side so people could surf. A surf shop in the village? How cool would that be?

If we are being honest, there is not a lot for people to do here. The list of land-lubber things above is not enough to occupy many for long. We, aided by Chamber of Commerce brochures, are kidding ourselves and our guests.

The proof that there is really nothing substantial to do here in the summer is the large crowd continually congregated around the silly water fountain in the Aspen pedestrian mall. It is not a monument or testament to over-scheduled tourists.

Beaches are the best thing ever for anyone who needs to find something to do with the precious time they are spending precious money to enjoy. Free time is actually anything but free. Thankfully, there is something about lying around all day in the sand next to the water that justifies our existence. You actually do nothing, but feel like you did a lot. You head home from a day at the beach tired, burnt and dehydrated. It’s the same feeling as completing a marathon, with none of the race day effort, nerves or training.

Further, a giant reservoir in Snowmass fits in with other needs of the valley. Many believe we need to store more water locally on this planet plagued by weird and shifting wether phenomena. Snowmass Lake North would not only be a recreational amenity, it could be a matter of village security, too. Don’t think the people of Aspen wouldn’t jump on board with this idea, too. This is much more palatable than damning the Maroon Creek Valley.

It seems like a simple thing to do. The only structures in the way of progress are the Snowmass Club compound. Eyeballing the layout, it looks like it is on high enough ground that we could simply make an island out of it. That would be pretty chill. The one thing they are not making more of is inhabitable islands in the mountains, so we would be bucking that trend. Turning the entire complex into beachfront property might finally be the thing that makes all those timeshares they sold in 2006 worth something close to what people paid for them.

I know the general inclination must be to think this a stupid or at least an impossible idea. But, is it any crazier than engineering a roller coaster out in the middle of the wooded hillside on our ski area would have seemed just a few years ago? Or finishing Base Village so we can try to be as cool as Beaver Creek?

Suddenly we have both and neither shows much promise of saving the summer business we have never had around here. I bet if you told me to jump in a lake and I could, things would be different. Fill ’er up!

Roger Marolt would like to retire as a sailing instructor in Snowmass Village. Email at


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