Letter to Editor: The time is now for Life One upgrade
I am writing to urge voters to support the Lift One ballot issue on the March 5 election. The Lift One side of the mountain was where all the skiing action was at the beginning.
I am sympathetic with my friends and colleagues, who treasure the low key, but I would add, almost moribund, Lift One culture and atmosphere. The proposed plan to rebuild and give life to the Lift One portal up Aspen Mountain is long overdue, is essential to the future of ski racing on Aspen Mountain and would add much-needed hot beds to our supply of visitor lodging to help Aspen stay competitive.
However, it is unlikely the FIS will award any FIS races to Aspen ever again without the City Council, Aspen Skiing Co., the community, and the voters, turning the Lift One complex into a first-class portal, like the Gondola Plaza is today.
I know that some locals would like a quaint, small B&B on that side of the mountain, but such a low-key venture is not a viable economic model. The Gorsuch family has established a partnership and working rapport with the owners of the Lift One Lodge to work in harmony with all the other components of the Lift One Project.
In the mid '80s the Little Nell Hotel was proposed and built by Skico. This portal up the mountain at that time was as low-key and funky as Lift One was and still is at the top of Aspen Street. In 1983, Skico wanted the proposed Little Nell Hotel to go hundreds of feet up the Little Nell ski run. It was a highly controversial project. The hotel's size was amended dramatically, much as the proposed Lift One hotels have been reduced in size today. The Little Nell Hotel was approved after extended, intense and long meetings between Skico and the City Council.
Wisely, the city of Aspen launched a Lift 1A assessment report in October 2017. This was an at arms-length, third-party assessment of the Lift 1A replacement, as it would relate best to the proposed development of the proposed Gorsuch Haus site and the Lift One Lodge approved application. The new lift, along with the City Council's agreement to participate in some of the capital project financial needs, the proposed ski museum, and the Dolinsek Park make this a balanced project.
If not now, when? I believe this project is in the best long-term interest of our iconic ski resort town.