The Aspen Planning & Zoning Commission this week voted unanimously in favor of a major amendment to existing approvals of Lift One Lodge. The commission’s recommendation sets the stage for Aspen City Council to begin review of the proposal beginning with First Reading on Monday, October 22.
Planning commissioners praised the work of the Lift One Lodge development team for redesigning their existing approval of a two-building lodge to allow Lift 1A on the west side of Aspen Mountain to be relocated 500 feet down the hill from its current location, bringing it into the core of town adjacent to Dean Street. Lift One Lodge is proposing a redesign that creates a 60-foot wide path for a new lift and return skiing.
The revisions to Lift One Lodge are part of a collaborative effort that includes the developers of Gorsuch Haus, the Aspen Skiing Co. the Aspen Historical Society and the city of Aspen to create a ski and lift corridor that extends from the current site of Lift 1A down to Willoughby Park at Dean Street. The plan calls for a new “telemix” lift that loads at the same site as Lift 1 did from 1946-71.
The final decision on the overall Lift One Corridor plan will be made by Aspen voters. An election is currently being planned for later this winter, possibly as soon as February.
Another key to the plan is the proposed Gorsuch Haus hotel at the top of South Aspen Street. It is the Gorsuch Haus development that triggers the Aspen Skiing Co. to replace Lift 1A.
Gorsuch Haus originally proposed a new lift at the current site of Lift 1A, but put its application on hold when Aspen City Council said it wanted the developers of both lodges and the SkiCo to explore ways for bringing the lift back into town.
The city of Aspen, Gorsuch Haus, Lift One Lodge and SkiCo jointly commissioned a study of various lift location scenarios by the SE Group, a ski area design firm. The group also engaged with the Aspen Historical Society, the Dolinsek family and the Aspen Valley Land Trust to put together the final plan that is now under review.
The site plan for the new lift includes relocation of the Skiers Chalet Lodge to house the Aspen Ski History Museum as well as ticketing, ski patrol and skier services; reopening the Skiers Chalet Steakhouse as a restaurant; a public plaza next to the museum; and a combined open space that is about the size of Wagner Park and provides year-round access to the west side of Aspen Mountain.
Gorsuch Haus is proposing an 81-room hotel and restaurant on the property adjacent to the existing loading area of Lift 1A. Lift One Lodge is proposing a lodge with 104 keys and a restaurant.
Lift One Lodge will go before Aspen City Council on Oct. 22 for a preliminary first reading. Both Gorsuch Haus and Lift One Lodge will then go before council for second reading and public comment on Nov. 12.