It was with heavy hearts that the team behind The Snow Lodge announced Thursday morning that the sister property of Montauk’s renowned The Surf Lodge would not in fact be returning to Aspen — at least not yet.
“This one was really tough. This was heartbreaking for them,” said New York-based Laura Lapitino, a spokesperson for the brand. “This was not what anyone wanted.”
The decision to reverse course came with the news that Pitkin County was in a “high risk” public health category as COVID-19 cases continue to increase.
Earlier this month, Jayma Cordoso, the Brazilian hospitality entrepreneur behind both “lodges,” announced she would be bringing The Snow Lodge back to the base of Aspen Mountain in the 2020-21 season — “We spent all day yesterday going back and forth on it. At the end of the day, we just kept asking, ‘Is it safe?’” Lapitino said Thursday.
The concept had been to reopen The Snow Lodge Dec. 15 at its previously held location at 501 Dean St. via abcV, an exclusively vegetarian and vegan restaurant that boasts menus designed by internationally renowned Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Executive Chef Neal Harden.
“Jean-Georges, he was so excited for it,” Lapitino said.
Alas, the plans for Aspen will have to wait a year, she continued, but they will be realized for the 2021-22 winter season.
“They have every intention of coming back next year and doing the same exact partnership next year. With 100% confidence, they so look forward to being part of the Aspen community,” Lapitino said. “Jayma just felt so welcomed last year. … There are no plans to cancel this. They certainly look forward to coming back next season and being part of what is such a special community out there.”
At that time, hopefully in a post-pandemic world, necessarily changing public health orders that have hit the hospitality industry particularly hard won’t be a part of Cordoso’s planning process for her Aspen vision.
The Snow Lodge made its mark in the après scene last year even in an unexpectedly shortened season, bringing such musical acts as The Chainsmokers and St. Lucia to the base of Ajax. The plan for the 2020-21 iteration of the concept had been decidedly lower key, given the extra health considerations of the time.
“The Snow Lodge will continue spearheading its unparalleled programming, including wellness activations, curated pop-ups, and world-class music acts on their outdoor stage, while abc restaurants will oversee all food and beverage operations,” the Nov. 6 announcement said.
But ultimately, the implications of the state moving Pitkin County to the orange “high-risk” category on its COVID-19 dial made the potential costs of opening too high.
“The health and safety of our employees and guests will always remain our top priority,” Lapinito said on behalf of The Snow Lodge executive team.