Imagine walking through town toward Willoughby Park and the new Lift 1A, skis in hand, ski boots on your feet. It’s just a few steps from Dean Street to the lift.
To your left is the historic Skiers Chalet Lodge, completely refurbished and home to a ski history museum and skier services. On your right — reflecting both the sun and a defining period in Aspen’s history — the bullwheel, tower and chairs of the original Lift 1.
A new high-speed lift takes you up the mountain past the restored Skiers Chalet Steakhouse, now a vibrant restaurant and bar, and two new lodges, Lift One Lodge and Gorsuch Haus. Below you, members of the Aspen Valley Ski Club and Aspen Skiing Co. employees are preparing for a World Cup race down Strawpile. In a few short minutes you are at the top, deciding whether to ride up the Ruthie’s lift or ski down Corkscrew or Magnifico.
For decades this scene has been an impossible dream for Aspen. Now it can become a reality with your support.
Aspen City Council has sent the Lift One corridor plan to voters for approval. The question will be decided by Aspen voters on March 5, with mail-in ballots arriving in mid-February.
Here’s what the Lift One Corridor Plan includes:
• A new lift and location: Lift 1A will be moved 500 feet down the mountain to Dean Street, providing easy access from town.
• Open space: The new base area connects three city parks with the ski corridor to create an open space nearly the size of Wagner Park, providing winter and summer access to the west side of Aspen Mountain.
• Historic Preservation: Historic Lift 1, the Skiers Chalet Lodge and the Skiers Chalet Steakhouse will be restored. The lodge, to be owned by the Aspen Historical Society, will become a ski history museum and house skier services and ski patrol. The steakhouse will reopen as a restaurant and bar.
• A racing future: A revitalized base area and new lift will cement Aspen’s legacy in international ski racing and make it possible to host World Cup races in the future.
• Other public amenities: The parking garage underneath Willoughby Park will include 50 public, city-owned parking spots, bicycle storage and public ski lockers.
• Lodging: Lift One Lodge and Gorsuch Haus will provide 185 rooms for visitors at the base of Aspen Mountain — right where lodging belongs.
The Lift One corridor project began in March 2017 when Aspen City Council asked the developers of the proposed Gorsuch Haus hotel and the already-approved Lift One Lodge to sit down with city staff and the Aspen Skiing Co. to see if there is a way to bring the lift back into town.
Lift One Lodge redesigned its existing approval and Gorsuch Haus redesigned its proposal to create a lift and ski corridor. The city agreed to a plan for a lift and skier loading area in Willoughby Park. SkiCo agreed to build a new lift and coordinated its design. The Dolinsek family graciously allowed their land to be used for return skiing. The Aspen Historical Society gave the nod for the first floor of the Skiers Chalet Lodge to be used for skier services and patrol.
Through this passionate collaboration of numerous stakeholders we are thrilled to arrive at a solution centered around returning the lift to the original 1946 location of the fabled Lift 1.
Now, we’re asking for the approval of the biggest stakeholder of all — the people of Aspen.
The Lift One corridor plan will bring magic and vitality back to Aspen’s original base area, where it all started 70 years ago. It will create a place where people can gather, access the mountain, create new stories about Aspen and tell all of the old ones.
Please vote yes for the Lift One Corridor. Let’s all be partners in Aspen’s future.
Jeff Gorsuch, part of the Gorsuch Haus team, and his family have been in the retail business in Aspen for more than 40 years, most recently with Gorsuch LTD. Michael Brown, part of the Lift One Lodge team, has owned the Molly Gibson Lodge and Hotel Aspen for nearly two decades. Both live with their families in Aspen.