Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) is scheduled to invest more than $10 million in various infrastructure and capital projects for the coming 2015-16 ski and ride season which includes items such as replacing and realigning the new High Alpine chairlift at Snowmass, a remodel of the Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro and upgraded infrastructure such as a new Aspen Mountain ticket office. Over the past five years ASC has invested over $68 million in capital projects with the continual goal of providing the best possible infrastructure and product available in the industry. In addition to capital improvements, Aspen Snowmass offers new flight options from Chicago O’Hare, new teen pricing as well as a Kids Ski Free program and an expanded relationship with the non-profit organization Protect Our Winters (POW). Lastly, Aspen Skiing Company is in the process of building a new Limelight Hotel Ketchum located in Sun Valley, Idaho with a scheduled completion date of December 2016.
New High Alpine Chair, Additional Glading, Trail Work and Snowmaking Expansion at Snowmass
Summer 2015, Aspen Skiing Company will replace and realign the High Alpine lift on Snowmass, install snowmaking equipment on two existing trails, and implement additional trail and glade construction projects. The realignments of the lift and the additional trail work and glading is meant to vastly improve skiers and riders experience in the High Alpine pod on Snowmass. The new alignment will allow guests to ski from the trails called Rock Island, AMF and the Cirque without having to drop to the lower mountain to access the High Alpine area. Also, skiers and riders can now easily access the Upper Green Cabin trail without having to cross along a flat traverse. Cost of the capital improvement is estimated at $8 million and the new high speed quad will decrease the ride time down to 5.6 minutes from the previous 11 minutes. The new lift and other improvements are scheduled to debut for the 2015/16 ski and ride season.
Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro Remodel
Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro, the cozy European-style restaurant located mid-mountain on Aspen Highlands, is undergoing a remodel this summer. The legendary bistro will maintain its unique historic essence while opening up the space in order to improve restaurant flow and service. Improvements will include two functional dining rooms, now adjacent to each other, new restrooms and upgraded features such as a cozy fireplace. The $1.1 million restoration will also include kitchen enhancements. The bistro’s infamous character will remain the same and will continue to offer a selection of fine wine, champagne and refreshing cocktails as well as the delicious fare it’s known for—fondue and raclette.
Guest Infrastructure Improvements
Across the four mountains of Aspen Snowmass, other improvements include more glading at Aspen Highlands, a remodeled ticket office and day locker space at Aspen Mountain and expanded snowmaking and a paved parking lot at Buttermilk.
American Airlines New Non-Stop Flights from Chicago O’Hare this Winter
This summer, the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) announced a significant expansion of American Airlines service with new daily non-stop flights from Chicago/O’Hare (ORD). American’s winter seasonal service from Chicago will begin Dec. 17, 2015 and will feature a total of five daily flights through Jan. 4, 2016 and four daily flights continuing through Apr. 4, 2016. All flights into the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport will be operated by Envoy Air as American Eagle on CRJ-700 aircrafts for an increase of 65 total seats including nine First Class seats. In addition to providing new flights from Chicago O’Hare, American is planning to expand service from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) with a third daily non-stop flight over the Holidays.
Art in Unexpected Places
The Aspen Art Museum (AAM) and Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) continue their longstanding collaboration called ‘Art in Unexpected Places’ for the 2015–16 ski and ride season with new lift ticket artwork as well as a new site-specific installation at Elk Camp restaurant, Snowmass.
In celebration of the 11 years of partnership, the ASC and AAM present lift tickets featuring the artwork of contemporary artist Takashi Murakami, with four unique, standalone images for the 2015–16 ski season lift ticket commission. Born in Tokyo in 1962, Murakami is internationally recognized for his distinctive "Superflat" style and ethos—using highly refined classical Japanese painting techniques in combination with a distinctive super-charged mix of Pop and animé sensibilities.
New York–based artist Shinique Smith combines an array of visual sources in her work. Incorporating graffiti, fashion, dance, Abstract Expressionism, and Japanese calligraphy, her practice addresses cultural and social issues around production, consumption, surplus, and waste. For the 2015–16 ski season, Smith will create a new site-specific work at Elk Camp restaurant, continuing her exploration into the connections and values we ascribe to objects—both discarded and prized—and examining the very notion of “belonging.”
Lower Teen Pricing and New Kids Ski Free Program
To encourage the next generation of winter enthusiasts, Aspen Snowmass is lowering teen rates to match that of children 12 and under as well as offering a new Kids Ski Free program. Rent children’s ski or snowboard equipment (ages 7 to 12) from Four Mountain Sports, and receive a free lift ticket. There is no limitation on the amount of days children can receive free lift tickets when renting from Four Mountain Sports. Additionally, kids receive 30% off Child Group Lessons with Aspen Snowmass’ world-famous Ski & Snowboard School when purchasing seven or more days. Book by Dec. 1 for arrivals prior to Feb. 28, 2016 and book by Jan.30 for arrivals after Mar. 1, 2016. Valid Nov. 26, 2015 – Apr. 17, 2016. Blackout Dates: Dec. 26, 2015 – Dec. 31, 2016 & Feb. 7-13, 2016. In addition to the new 7-12 Kids Ski Free Program, children six and under will continue to be able to ski free at Aspen Snowmass (no strings attached).
Mountain Collective Adds Stowe and Taos for the 2015-16 Season
The Mountain Collective™ has widened its geographic reach with the addition of two iconic destinations to the roster. Stowe joins the Mountain Collective as the first resort on the East Coast, while Taos extends passholder access into New Mexico. The resorts join Sun Valley, AltaSnowbird, Aspen Snowmass, Ski Banff-Lake Louise-Sunshine Village, Jackson Hole, Mammoth Mountain, Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows, Thredbo and Whistler Blackcomb in offering unparalleled access to the best ski and snowboard terrain the world has to offer. In addition to being able to ski or ride at eleven leading destinations, extra benefits available to Mountain Collective pass holders include exclusive lodging deals and two bonus days at Valle Nevado, Chile and the Hakuba Valley, Japan. The Mountain Collective™ Pass grants access to 21 mountains with more than 43,400 acres of terrain and 271 lifts and an unmatched reputation for snow quality, quantity and steeps. A limited number of passes are now available for only $399 US while supplies last. Additionally, passes come with a complimentary, one-year Protect Our Winters (protectourwinters.org) membership.
Aspen Mountain to Host 2017 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Finals
The International Ski Federation awarded Aspen the 2017 Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Finals. This marks the first time the event has been held in the U.S. in 20 years. The Mar. 15-19, 2017 event will feature the best men’s and women’s alpine skiing athletes in the world, competing in downhill, super G, giant slalom, slalom and nation’s team event. Aspen has a long history of World Cup ski racing and not only hosted the first World Championships outside of Europe in 1950, but also has been a yearly stop for the Women’s World Cup that will once again return Nov. 28-29, 2014.
Food & Beverage
The Sled Food Truck
New as of last spring, The Sled, a mobile food truck, will be available on select weekends at Snowmass Ski Resort starting around the Holidays. Serving up quick and fresh culinary creations, The Sled is an excellent go-to for refueling mid-mountain on days when plenty of laps are in order. Follow @mtndining on Instagram to find out the daily location of The Sled.
New Limelight Hotel Ketchum
Aspen Skiing Company began construction on the new Limelight Hotel Ketchum this summer for a scheduled completion date of December 2016. The new hotel will feature 99 hotel rooms, 14 for sale condominiums and 12 lock-off units, plus a new restaurant and lobby lounge. Modeled after the company’s existing property in Aspen, Colo., the hotel is in close proximity to downtown shops and restaurants as well as Sun Valley’s River Run Base area. The new hotel property will remain consistent with the Limelight brand featuring amenities and extras such as an expanded continental breakfast, après ski deals in the Lounge, adventure activities for guests as well as pet-friendly rooms.
Wearing Our Values on Our Sleeve
Walter Paepcke founded Aspen Skiing Company (ASC), and reinvented Aspen as a place where people could escape their usual lives, be exposed to new ideas and go back into the world to help create a better society. Continuing in that tradition, ASC is partnering with Protect Our Winters (POW), and is now featuring the POW logo on all employee uniforms. Protect Our Winters mission is to engage the snowsports community in the fight against climate change. The partnership unites our company in this effort, sparks conversations with guests and among employees and helps drive a climate movement.Media Note
For a selection of Best of Winter 2015/16 photos click here
.Photo credit goes to the photographer listed.