What’s new in Snowmass in 2016?

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

It’s a brand new year, and Snowmass Village rang it in with a new tradition by holding its annual torchlight parade and fireworks on Dec. 31 during the countdown to 2016.

Like they say, change is inevitable, and so it should come as no surprise that that’s not the only new thing in Snowmass Village in 2016. We thought it would be interesting to assemble a list of the good, bad, fun and boring-but-useful things coming up this new year.

New businesses

Every year there’s usually a few businesses that open, close or relocate during one of Snowmass’ two offseasons. In time for this winter, live-music venue Turks opened in the former Mountain Dragon space on the upper mall.

“This is an opportunity for me to do what I do,” owner Tim Lucca, who also owns a music production company, told The Aspen Times in November. “I’m so excited. To me, it’s like I won the lottery.”

The bar opens at 3 p.m. and offers live music during après-ski and late-night hours. Turks rang in the new year with a late-night party and performance by local favorites Jes Grew.

New events and activities

It’s not exactly new, but the Very Important Kid Snowmass program, created by Snowmass Tourism, Related Colorado and Aspen Skiing Co., is offering its first full ski season of daily programming for the younger crowd. The V.I.K. schedule includes activities during two time chunks — après-ski and evening — every day, and while only some events are free, as a rule, the ones that are paid include babysitting.

Activities include everything from naturalist lectures and storytelling to Family Bowling Night and a night of games and dinner at the Treehouse.

“V.I.K. is an innovative winter children’s program specifically designed to allow kids and parents alike the opportunity to take part in fun après-ski experiences,” said Rose Abello, director or Snowmass Tourism, in a statement. “Think of it as a convenient, one-stop shop for parents to find free and discounted activities for their little ones, while enjoying some grown-up time on their own.”

The full schedule and more information is available at

This summer, special events like Heritage Fire, Grand Cochon, the Colorado Scottish Festival and Tough Mudder will return, along with the addition of the Craft Brew Rendezvous on the weekend formerly set aside for Mammoth Fest. The new craft beer event will take place in the mall and Base Village.

On-mountain improvements

The 2015-16 season has already seen the debut of a brand new high-speed quad replacing the High Alpine double chairlift, and this summer could see a renovation at Gwyn’s High Alpine restaurant, pending approval from the town and U.S. Forest Service.

The Gwyn’s remodel would slightly expand the building’s footprint and would alter the interior quite a bit: The bar would relocate to right inside the entry on the main level, restrooms would be added on that floor, and the food counters in the High Alpine cafeteria would be updated.

However, the structure of the building will largely remain the same, and Skico’s goal is to maintain the character as well. The Gwyn’s fine-dining section will remain and be expanded, and Gwyn Knowlton and George Gordon will continue to operate the dual restaurant for at least five years.

New infrastructure

While 2016 will not see the groundbreaking of the highly anticipated Limelight Snowmass hotel or a start to construction on the Viceroy expansion, Base Village owner/developer Related Cos. will commence work on two roundabouts associated with the project and continue design work on the buildings at the development’s entrance.

The town is continuing to install new signs on its trail network and is also moving forward with its Community Connectivity Plan designed to improve pedestrian traffic flow throughout the village, said Travis Elliot, assistant to the town manager.

The town also anticipates updating its parking permit system this year. And forms for full-time residents to apply for a $50 sales tax rebate are now available at

On a lighter note, the town-operated ice rink on the rodeo grounds is up and running. A schedule is posted at


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