Press Release: Lift One Corridor Plan set to advance to Aspen electorate
Lift One Corridor Plan set to advance to Aspen electorate
City Council expresses support for broad plan to reinvigorate Aspen’s original base
ASPEN, Colo. — Aspen City Council moved on December 10 to advance the Lift One Corridor Plan that allows Lift 1A to be relocated 500 feet down the hill to the original loading area of historic Lift 1, a few dozen feet from Dean Street, creating a second walk up portal to Aspen Mountain.
Council directed city staff to craft two ordinances that voters can decide on in the March municipal election. Aspen voters will be asked whether they support two lodges at the base of the ski area, a ski and lift corridor that allows the lift to be brought back into town, restoration of three historic properties that played a key role in Aspen’s skiing history, and creation of a combined open space and park area the size of Wagner Park.
The Council action came after the fourth public hearing on the overall plan and the two lodges that are integral to its success. Councilwoman Ann Mullins said she has never seen a proposal with so much support and so little opposition.
“This is going to be an enormous community benefit in the end,” Mullins said. “This is a 30-year vision —whether its the ski racing coming back, the lodging that we need, the historic resources. Twenty years from now, 30 years from now, people will thank us for doing this. I’m certain of it.”
The plan calls for two new lodges at the base of Aspen Mountain. Gorsuch Haus is proposed as an 81-room hotel with a restaurant, patios and other amenities. Lift One Lodge will be a fractional lodge with up to 104 keys available for rental. It will also have a restaurant.
City Council’s direction also sets the stage for the creation of an Aspen Ski History Museum in the Skiers Chalet Lodge building, which will be relocated to Dean Street and refurbished for use by the Aspen Historical Society. The first floor of the Skiers Chalet will house Aspen Skiing Company skier services and a ski patrol room.
“This project supports Aspen’s core values,” David Guthrie, a lifelong Aspen resident, told council.
“We appreciate City Council’s willingness to support a plan that places community first,” said Jeff Gorsuch, a member of the Gorsuch Haus team. “All the stakeholders involved in this plan — the City of Aspen, Aspen Skiing Company and both developers — have worked to make sure that the lift is the priority. The Lift One Corridor Plan matches the lift with guest services and hospitality, lodging and dining and public spaces that will make this a connected and animated part of our thriving ski town.”
Along with a new ski history museum, the historic infrastructure for the single-seat Lift 1 will be restored and given a prominent place in the new lift plaza area. The Skiers Chalet Steakhouse will be remodeled and opened as a restaurant. Willoughby Park and Lift One Park will eventually be combined with the future Dolensik Gardens to create a large park space. The lift and ski corridor will provide year-round public access to Aspen Mountain.
Both lodge proposals include affordable housing that is located predominately offsite. Lift One Lodge’s garage will include 50 public parking spaces to make up for the lost parking along South Aspen Street. The plan also calls for public ski lockers and bicycle storage.
“We appreciate the city of Aspen’s support for the Lift One Corridor Plan,” said Michael Brown, a member of the Lift One Lodge team. “City Council and city staff have played an integral role in this unique public-private partnership that achieves so many community goals.”
Both Gorsuch Haus and Lift One Lodge have redesigned their projects to accommodate the ski and lift corridor that allows Lift 1A to be relocated to the original site of historic Lift 1, where lift served skiing began in 1946 in Aspen.
“Aspen is one of the best ski areas in the world, but it’s getting behind,” said Chino Martinez, a resident who works in the ski industry in Aspen, urging City Council to get behind the plan.