Mel Blumenthal

With all the beautiful people in Aspen and Snowmass for the holidays, I thought it might be an opportune time to alert our guests of an often neglected and somewhat minimized service provided by a dedicated cadre of hardworking locals during the winter months.

Traditionally crammed into a very small space, a fraction the size of the closets in most of the high-end hotels, lodges and condos in town, the women who work the coat check stations deserve praise and a shout-out for all they do to make our time out on the town as comfortable and pleasurable as possible.

During a recent spinning session, I was apprised of current coat check protocol by one of the unsung heroes of the closet.

Not as knowledgeable as I should have been concerning this protocol, I usually just drape my coat, with neck scarf and hat shoved up the arm sleeves, over the back of my chair, but I’ve recently learned that practice is discouraged by management and the bus boys/ girls.

Without the bulk of winter outerwear strewn throughout the dining area, management can squeeze in a few more chairs when things get busy and the bus boys/girls can navigate more easily throughout the room without tripping over coat tails and dropping dishes, glassware and cutlery on the guests.

Proper tipping has always been a big mystery to me. My spinning comrade advises a minimum of $2 per coat, but I would imagine in these parts a few more bucks would be appropriate based on the designer pedigrees of the outerwear I see moving around town during high season.

Due to cultural differences, many of our foreign guests are unaccustomed to our tipping traditions, including the service provided by the hard-working ladies of the closet. Hopefully this reminder should be sufficient notice to all that many in our local workforce depend upon tips for their sustenance and playtime.

Perhaps a way to further increase deposits in the tip jar is to put the higher valued product up front for all to see like valets do in search of higher tips by parking high-end cars up front in order to pander to the outsized egos and wallets of the beautiful people. Just like real estate in the upper valley, the limited square footage devoted to coats, hats and scarfs should bring higher tips based on location and view.

Speaking of the beautiful people, it appears that many more of them have recently found the Snowmass Club.

I surmise it may have something to do with the indefinite shutdown of the Aspen Club. The sign-in sheet at the Snowmass Club for displaced Aspen Club members is growing and the classes, pools and hot tubs are brimming with Aspen Club refugees.   

The temporary accommodations made to Aspen Club members during the renovation of their club now appears to have been extended without end along with the uncertain future of the Aspen Club itself.  

There’s a bit more grumbling than usual in the locker room concerning the larger crowds and the disparity in fees since the beautiful people of Aspen appear to be getting a better deal than the beautiful people of Snowmass.

The new owners of the Snowmass Club have announced their intention to make the club more exclusive, which hopefully doesn’t translate to catering a lot more to the high-end Aspen crowd and along the way purging the long-term Snowmass members as was done by SkiCo when it owned the club.

With Snowmass’ version of Aspen’s and Sun Valley’s Limelight Hotel and all sorts of other new and exciting amenities now online in Base Village, plus, the sale of pot just around the corner, there should be a lot more traffic headed up Brush Creek and Owl Creek roads, which likely will result in a lot more vitality and congestion in and around the village.  

To accommodate all the new and returning visitors on the roads and byways, the powers that be have a wide array of new roadway infrastructure on the drawing board for the new year, including another new roundabout, more cement sidewalks, bus stops, pedestrian crosswalks and signal crossing lights.

Thanks to our elected and appointed officials, the urbanization of our relatively small resort community has taken a giant leap forward during the past year and if left unchecked will continue to do so at an accelerated pace in the years ahead.

Your comments are welcome at and Twitter @MelDBlumenthal