Unique Solutions to Unique Projects: Aspen Skiing Company

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Posted on April 24, 2019

At Z-Group Architects, we have a great deal of respect for our clients. Whether we are designing a family home, multi-family development, health care facility, or a neighborhood recreation center, we feel privileged to make your dream project a reality. For one such client, the Aspen Skiing Company, it is no different. From the interior design of on-mountain fine dining to mountain-based booster stations that feeds Aspen Mountain’s snowmaking system, our passion is to serve our clients and community through quality architecture and a collaborative spirit.

Each client comes with their own set of objectives and goals that require distinctive unique solutions. Those of Aspen Skiing Company are in some ways rather unique. To name a few, since 1997, the Aspen Skiing Company has a strong environmental-focus on its carbon footprint initiatives and a very aggressive approach to sustainable and energy efficient buildings and materials. Also, their facilities are located on four mountains with varying elevations, which make the consideration of different weather conditions, that each building is subject to, very vital. For example, some buildings will encounter harsh and sudden temperature changes and extreme weather, direct sun or heavy snow, while other structures meet the “normal” conditions found in the town of Aspen. Building elevations have ranged from 8,000’ to 11,835’. Another unique objective to Aspen Skiing Company’s projects is their broad range in operational use. Such as casual restaurant dining, fine dining, civil (water supply for snowmaking operations), ski school and kids playground experience, Ski Patrol and lift operations and office administration functions. With each project, we are eager to echo their goals and objectives, as well as support Aspen Skiing Company in meeting their mission through unique and well-practiced design and architecture.

Gwyn’s High Alpine at Snowmass Mountain – Snowmass, Colorado

Located on Snowmass Mountain at the top of Alpine Springs and sitting at 10,500’, Gwyn’s High Alpine includes fine dining, food court dining, a large bar, and lounge area, retail shopping, and outdoor dining and lounge areas. This Aspen Skiing Company project consisted of a large addition to the existing structure and a complete renovation of the entire existing structure, both inside and out. It included a complete redesign of the kitchen and eatery area, as well as a transformation from cafeteria style to the food court. (Learn more about Gwyn’s High Alpine here.)

Up 4 Pizza at Snowmass Mountain – Snowmass, Colorado

Located on Snowmass Mountain at the top of the Big Burn and Sheer Bliss lifts is Up 4 Pizza.  This structure includes restaurant and Ski Patrol operations. This Aspen Skiing Company project consisted of a complete re-cladding of the exterior (roof and siding), new more energy efficient windows, the addition of new exterior insulation, and window solar shading on the south side. Sitting at 11,835’ elevation, durable and low-maintenance exterior materials were essential to withstand the harsh conditions. Given the harsh site conditions, building energy efficiency is not compromised on the Up 4 Pizza’s exterior design.

Aspen Mountain Booster Station at Aspen Mountain – Aspen, Colorado

Located towards the base of Aspen Mountain is the new Aspen Mountain Booster Station. This structure houses a large pump for the major snowmaking operation on-mountain. Low maintenance, but attractive materials were used on the exterior to keep on-going maintenance costs low. The use of pre-manufactured insulated concrete blocks for the foundation and base makes for a highly durable exterior and interior finish while being able to maintain the proper insulation for the wall assembly.

Fort Frog at Buttermilk Ski Area – Aspen, Colorado

Located on Buttermilk Ski Area and sitting at 9,600’, Fort Frog is a completely rebuilt with bigger and bolder esthetic than the original fort that burnt down several years ago. Designed as a Ski School destination for kids, Fort Frog now has three towers and a high observation deck equipped with a state-of-the-art snowball making defense system (aka. snowball sling-shot). A swinging bridge connects two towers to access the hidden slide within the third tower. A warming hut keeps the copious amounts of candy at the optimum temperature for maximum satisfaction. The Fort Frog jail is for those who miss behaving but offers a conveniently located escape route.  There is even an office to check in and a mail station for kids to write home after your fortnight stint. (Learn more about Fort Frog here.)

No matter what the project specific objectives are, our Z-Group Architects team understands how vital it is to adhere to our client’s goals. By designing better architecture that exemplify a company’s values and mission, we help our clients to continue doing what they do best.