Aspen Skiing Co.: Discounts needed to spur business
Friday, July 16, 2010
- Snowmass Base Village — The foreclosure action started last week against the developer of the stalled Base Village project in Snowmass Village may prove beneficial, Kaplan said. The ownership of the massive project is “complex,” he noted. He didn’t say if Skico would be an interested buyer in the vital base project. Hypo Real Estate Capital Corp. of New York started foreclosure last week and successfully convinced a judge to appoint a receiver to manage the project while the foreclosure proceeding plays out. Hypo, and three other banks, alleged Base Village Owner LLC, controlled by Related WestPac, defaulted on loan notes of $386 million in principal and unpaid interest, and another $48.5 million for loan-related expenses. In the best-case scenario, construction at Base Village could start in spring 2011, he said.
- New restaurants planned — The Skico has a couple of new restaurants on the drawing board and it is in negotiations that could lead to replacement of a couple of chairlifts, according to Kaplan. Plans are being reviewed for a new restaurant at Elk Camp. The Skico needs approval from the U.S. Forest Service. “Improvement” of the Merry-Go-Round restaurant at Aspen Highlands is also needed in 2011 or 2012, he said. Plans were less definitive for lift replacement. Kaplan said negotiations are under way with the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club and Maroon Creek homeowners on the construction of a bottom-to-top chairlift at Tiehack. The cost is pegged at $6 million. The Skico cannot justify the expense without assistance from partners, he said. Similar talks, with different players, have occurred over the replacement of Lift 1A at Aspen Mountain.
- Helmet use — Kaplan said Skico officials wanted to expand their policy on employee use of ski helmets while still allowing some “personal freedom.” Salaried employees will be required to wear helmets next season. That affects about 500 workers, from public relations folks to mountain managers. In addition, all students 17 years of age and younger must wear a helmet, as do students of any age in a terrain park. Instructors teaching an individual or class that must abide by the rule must also abide. Skico officials heard from parents that said it was difficult to get their children to wear helmets when the instructors were not. “We adopted more of a role-modeling policy,” Kaplan said. The Skico will “really ramp up” its education efforts next season to promote helmets, he said.