Aspen/Snowmass Village, Colo. — Today, Pat O'Donnell, president and CEO of Aspen Skiing Company, announced capital improvements for the 2004/2005 winter season. Aspen Skiing Company executives and ownership reviewed capital requirements for the four ski areas and are pleased to announce $10 million in improvements at Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk.
Major improvements include:
"We are proud to announce this exciting news to the community and visiting guests before the end of the 2003/04 ski season. It is wonderful that those who are here now can anticipate what will be new at Aspen/Snowmass in 2004/05, said Pat O'Donnell. "We greatly appreciate the generosity of Aspen Skiing Company ownership. The Crown family's investment of over $10 million in capital funding to Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk shows their continued dedication to Aspen Skiing Company and the Aspen/Snowmass community.
New High-Speed Quad Chair for West Buttermilk
Continuing Aspen/Snowmass' commitment to family skiing and providing a great experience for beginners and children, a new high speed quad chair will replace the existing West Buttermilk chair (the second oldest lift on the four ski areas). The new lift will have a mid-way load station, allowing beginners and young children to do laps on the excellent upper green trails of West Buttermilk. The new lift will have a vertical rise of 1,189 ft., with a ride time of six minutes (four minute ride time from the mid-way load station) to the top. The new chair cuts the ride time in half, as the existing fixed grip chair (installed in 1965) has a ride time of 12 minutes. The new high-speed lift will better help beginner skiers and boarders access the gentle slopes of West Buttermilk. The new high-speed quad chair for West Buttermilk will effectively replace two lifts — West Buttermilk as well as the 24-year-old Savio lift. Savio will be removed from Buttermilk this summer.
Replacement of F.I.S Chair (Lift 6) on Aspen Mountain
This summer, the oldest chairlift at Aspen/Snowmass' four ski areas — the F.I.S. lift on Aspen Mountain, will be replaced with a new double chair. The new lift will follow the same lift line as the existing F.I.S. chair - with a vertical rise of 591 vertical feet. Significant improvements include smaller lift terminals at both the top and bottom, opening up more terrain at Spar Gulch, Ruthie's and International trails. The original F.I.S. chair was installed in 1958. The F.I.S. lift has a rich history and holds great affection by the Aspen community. As of today, no decision has been made as to what to do with the original chairs once the lift is dismantled. A future announcement will be made whether or not the historic chairs will be donated and/or auctioned off for charitable purposes.
Preparation and planning process begins for a new lift into Deep Temerity on Aspen Highlands
Over the last two years, Aspen Highlands has experienced the most growth of all the four ski areas at Aspen/Snowmass. In response to this rapid growth in skier visits, Aspen Skiing Company is taking the next step into study and design of lift expansion on the northeast facing slopes of Deep Temerity (skiers left of Highland Bowl). For years now, Aspen Highlands has continually pushed the boundaries for ski area improvement with such expansions as the opening of the entire Highland Bowl (in 2003). Planning for future expansion into Deep Temerity is the next step in the dream. Expansion will include an additional:
Major Renovation of the Merry-Go-Round Restaurant A $1.4 million renovation is planned for the Merry-Go-Round restaurant on Aspen Highlands. The style and shell of the building will remain generally the same — true to its 1950s-1960s era supermarket kit design. Changes include: a new open-style kitchen and servery as well as new furniture, carpeting, and a bar with outdoor access, perfect for warm spring days.
Mike Kaplan, senior vice president of operations says, "We will definitely keep the retro-feel to the restaurant and we will keep the old menu favorites, but through significant improvements we will be able to offer a better dining experience and more diverse menu choices.
The 2004/05 winter ski season at Aspen/Snowmass runs from November 25, 2004, through April 10, 2005. Aspen Mountain and Snowmass will open for the season on November 25, 2004, and close on April 10, 2005. Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands will open for the winter ski season on December 11, 2004, and close on April 3, 2005.