Aug 31, 2023 - News

The ski-bum haven Skiers Chalet closes in Aspen

The Skiers Chalet in Aspen. Photo: Courtesy of Kaya Williams/Aspen Public Radio

The last bastion of ski bum culture in Aspen is closing its doors β€” a victim of the ceaseless development that turned this once-counterculture town into a glitzy playground for the rich and famous.

What's happening: The tenants of the Skiers Chalet, built in 1965 as Aspen's first ski-in, ski-out hotel before being converted to apartments in 2006, must vacate the 11-room lodge by today, Aspen Public Radio reports.

Why it matters: Located at the base of the historic Lift 1A, first built in 1946, the chalet became the soul of the town, representing "the last vestiges of Aspen's funky side," as one former tenant put it.

The intrigue: In recent decades, its cheap rent (reportedly $750 a month) and meager amenities (the rooms had no kitchen and just enough room for a bed) stood as a middle finger to the overpriced town and big-moneyed ski industry. The cheapest one-bedroom apartment listed on Zillow is going for more than $4,000 a month.

  • They knew it wouldn't last forever, and were told in June that leases would end this month.

What's new: Now, it's being developed as part of the $200 million Lift One project that will include a luxury hotel, new lift, fancy steakhouse, underground parking garage and ski racing finish area to lure World Cup races back to the mountain.

  • The chalet building will move from downhill to East Dean Street, where it will get renovated and converted into residences, a ski history museum and a guest services office.

What they're saying: Skiers Chalet's property manager and longtime tenant J.F. Bruegger told the radio station he appreciates the building is at least being saved.

  • "It's always kind of been a museum of ski bums while we've lived here," Bruegger said. "It's kind of cool they're saving it β€” definitely a part of Aspen ski history."

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