Aspen Skiing Co. has big plans for a $23 million renovation in Buttermilk

Skiers hang out at the bottom of Buttermilk next to Bumps and the Four Mountain Sports buildings in Aspen on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. The green building on the right will be replaced with a state-of-the-art 9,300-square-foot construction this summer. It will house all services for skiers. The bumps, on the left, will be reshaped. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

Aspen Skiing Co. officials have Buttermilk in mind.

Skico plans to invest $23 million in new and renovated facilities at the ‘Milk’s base this summer.

“It’s a huge deal, our investment in Buttermilk coming up,” Skico Chairman and CEO Mike Kaplan said in a wide-ranging interview with The Aspen Times last week. “We will greatly improve Bumps. We will greatly improve the rental and ticketing experience.

An aging facility known simply as the “Green Building” in the center of the base will be scrapped and replaced with a one-story, 9,300 square foot structure that will house the ticket office, ski and snowboard rentals. , ski school, public bathrooms and a large hall.

A skier leaves Bumps at Buttermilk in Aspen on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

The building will be 100% electric, continuing Skico’s goal of converting existing facilities and going all-electric with new ones, according to Jeff Hanle, Skico’s vice president of communications. As Holy Cross Energy integrates more renewable energy sources into its portfolio, it reduces the carbon footprint of its customers.

The ticket office currently operating on the ground floor of the Bumps building will move to the new building. In its place will be offices for mountain operations, Hanle said.

The stairs that greet people entering the Bumps building will be moved outside, freeing up square meters inside for the restaurant and ground floor expansion, Hanle said. Pitkin County approval documents show Bumps will expand by approximately 2,300 square feet.

Young skiers play in the snow next to the Four Mountain Sports rental building in Aspen in Buttermilk on Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

The proposed projects were included in the Master Plan Update approved by Pitkin County Commissioners in 2013. Parts of the plan have already been continued.

skico replaced the Powder Pandas temporary building with a permanent structure called The Hideout in 2014. Improvements have also been made to vehicular circulation, pedestrian walkways, and parking lot landscaping. It was a $10 million project.

“The enhancements will create a whole new check-in experience for customers that has been overdue,” Hanle said.

One of the amenities that was approved in the master plan was a ‘pipe and park lift’ to service Buttermilk’s famous superpipe and land park. That won’t be pursued this summer, Hanle said, but will remain a longer-term consideration.

Skico has applied for building permits so they can start work shortly after the lifts close in April. It will be a “sprint” to get the job done on the opening day of the 2022-23 season, Kaplan said.

There was no specific trigger for work to continue this year, Hanle said. Skico wants to operate four world-class ski areas, so it has a long list of projects on its to-do list, he said. It happened to be Buttermilk’s year.

“We are constantly looking to update our infrastructure,” he said.

Buttermilk plays an underappreciated role in Skico’s range. It has gained stature as a longtime host mountain for the Winter X Games. It is also essential for introducing people to the sport.

“The Valley learns to ski in Buttermilk,” Kaplan said. “Families spend their quality time at Buttermilk.”

The other big project on Skico’s plate this summer is the first phase of the Pandora’s Land Expansion on Mount Aspen. Crews will clear wood for a new chairlift and trails on the upper east side of the mountain. The chairlift will be installed in the summer of 2023 and the 153-acre extension will open for skiing and riding in 2023-24.

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