Skiers who like to complement their gondola laps on Aspen Mountain with a chilled glass of Veuve Clicquot can rest assured this season, because Pitkin County commissioners gave the thumbs up for Aspen Skiing Co. to open its sponsored pop-up Champagne bar for the second year in a row on Tuesday.
Last year, commissioners signed off on a portable “Champagne sled” bar on the condition that SkiCo come back before them a year later to give an update on whether serving bubbly to skiers created on-mountain problems.
So far, so good, said SkiCo’s attorney David Bellack. The Champagne bar has been largely successful and the county hasn’t received any complaints, Bellack said.
“I’m happy to report that we’ve had no problems whatsoever,” Bellack said.
There have been no issues with drunken guests or a crowd forming around the bar, and the area is always staffed by least two people trained in identifying over-served people, he said.
“People who visited it seemed to enjoy it a great deal,” Bellack said.
The bar, which began popping up on Ajax’s slopes on Fridays through Sundays from President’s Day weekend until the end of the ski season in April, brought in about $1,500 to $3,000 in Veuve sales each day that it was open, said John Speers, managing director of The Little Nell. Speers didn’t know how many people were served, but there were never more than 20 people at the bar at a given time, he said.
“It wasn’t a party, it was more come up, have a glass of Champagne,” Speers said of the drinkers. “It was never a big drinking crowd that was going to make a day of [it].”
The benefit of attracting national publicity for the venture largely outweighed the revenue, Speers noted. SkiCo is always trying to add new things to its offerings in order to differentiate Aspen from other resort towns, and the Champagne bar did just that, he said.
“Nobody else is doing this in the country,” Speers said.
When the bar is being promoted by Veuve Clicquot, it ends up promoting Aspen, Speers added.
There are no concrete plans for opening up additional Champagne bars on the other mountains, but SkiCo would consider it, Bellack said.
Meanwhile, SkiCo doesn’t plan on setting up Ajax’s Champagne bar until President’s Day weekend when temperatures begin to warm, Speers said. The bar did make an appearance on opening day this year, but that was due to the weather, he said.
“It was spring-like temperatures,” Speers said. “We’re hoping that we don’t see that again.”