Upper-valley residents cannot yet, to paraphrase a line from “The Big Lebowski,” say, “Screw it, dude, let’s go bowling.”
But Mark Reece is hard at work ensuring that that day will come soon in Snowmass Village with his Slopeside Lanes.
Friday found the proprietor of the town’s first bowling alley awaiting surfacing material for eight lanes. The spot inhabits the former Bedford Ballroom near Fanny Hill, on Daly Lane between the village shuttle mall depot and the Snowmass Clinic.
The June opening date has been pushed back, a result of what Reece attributed to intricacies in constructing separate parts of the business — the bowling alley portion and the bar-lounge area. The total space is roughly 6,000 square feet.
“I’m thinking mid-July, but I hate to say a date because then it’ll be August,” Reece said. “A lot of things can go wrong.”
Bowling entered his life, along with much beer, while he was at Penn State, where he helped found in the 1990s an inter-fraternity bowling league, Reece said. After college, he started three restaurants in Naples, Fla. He said he has long wanted to open a bowling alley.
In some respects, Reece is not unlike the John Goodman character in “The Big Lebowski” — in that he’s gregarious, intense and earnest — but he said he prefers “Kingpin,” the comedic masterwork of the Farrelly brothers (he nearly named the Snowmass joint “Munson’s,” Reece said.)
Reece said he stopped in Aspen four years ago to see a friend en route to moving to Lake Tahoe, Calif. The latter was his intended destination because he believed it would mimic a great experience he had in Geneva, Switzerland. The upper Roaring Fork Valley, however, halted him, Reece said.
And “I still haven’t been to Lake Tahoe,” he said.
The son of a mother who has bowled three 300 games, Reece said he has reached 299 on three occasions. According to him, every time he missed perfection was because he threw the last ball left-handed out of cockiness.
“That’s what beer does,” he said. “To tell you the truth, if I get to that point again, I’ll throw it left-handed again.”
Several organizations and businesses have expressed interest in using the bowling alley, Reece said, “and the town is very anxious for us to get going as well.”
In the wintertime, customers could include parents and children not feeling up to subzero temperatures or whiteout conditions, he said. Reece also mentioned building a 10-foot-tall bowling pin on the mall to advertise the location, which is downstairs from Venga Venga.
Prices for bowling, food and libations haven’t been established yet, he said. The space will have sound-proofing features in deference to the neighboring Snowmass Clinic.
Bowling shoes, pins and balls are expected to be delivered in about a month, Reece said.