The Last Hurrah: Gwyn’s High Apline to celebrate its last season
While various new dining options are celebrating their grand openings and revamps, one Snowmass mainstay is celebrating its last season serving food on the mountains.
After over 40 years of serving local staples like seafood puffs and homemade chili, Gwyn’s High Alpine, or Gwyn’s, is heading into its last winter season at the top of the Alpine Springs lift.
On a fall day in the Snowmass Chapel community space in between interviews with potential employees, both co-founder Gwyn Knowlton and her daughter, Whitney Gordon, reminisced on their family restaurant’s long history with the Snowmass Ski Area.
Knowlton and her husband, George Gordon, opened the fine dining restaurant to hungry skiers in 1979. They’ve leased the restaurant from Skico and have kept it family-run ever since.
Last fall, Aspen Skiing Company decided not to renew its contract with the family, which Knowlton and Whitney, the current restaurant head, said was surprising but also a decision they’ve made peace with.
“We’ve had a great 40-year run…it’s crazy to think we won’t be up there next year,” Knowlton said. “It’s been everything, our entire lives.”
Knowlton went on to talk about first taking on the feat of rebranding the on-mountain restaurant location with her husband from a below average eatery to a dining experience centered on many of her family’s recipes, turning it into a Snowmass mainstay.
When asked if the she and Whitney planned to do anything special or different with Gwyn’s dining experience this year, the mother-daughter duo said no. They plan to keep every aspect of the restaurant the same as it’s always been for its loyal, longtime patrons.
“We’ve had longtime customers say they want to be in the restaurant every day this season and have had employees who haven’t worked with us in 20 years call and ask to work park of the final season,” Whitney said, laughing.
Overall, Knowlton and Whitney said they’ve built both their blood family and a family of employees, locals and visitors around Gwyn’s High Alpine, and plan to fill the emotional last season with as much celebration of that family as possible.
“We’re so proud that what we started has made so many people happy,” Knowlton said. “To put that much work in and have it be as special to them as it is to us? That makes it all worth it.”