The first step toward replacing Lift 1A at Aspen Mountain is underway, and Aspen Skiing Co. is hoping that means the lift will be in place in time to save its chances to host the 2017 World Cup Finals. The U.S. Forest Service announced this week that it's starting the environmental review process for the new lift, leaving open the possibility that construction could start this summer. Along with the aging lift, the uninspired area around its base also has been cited as an issue in making the World Cup event a hit.
Moving the Lift 1A project forward into the review process is a departure of sorts for Skico., which had previously insisted it wouldn't pursue the lift project until base redevelopment plans were further along. Now, Skico. officials say holding off on the environmental review until base development progresses would narrow the possibility of starting construction next summer.
The public comment period for the Forest Service's review is open until Nov. 30. The concerns or issues brought up in the public comment period will play into how long the overall review will take.
Meanwhile, the FIS is apparently sending mixed messages about just how likely it is the organization will move the World Cup event if it doesn't get a new Lift 1A. In June, Skico. officials told the Aspen Times that Aspen's name basically has an asterisk next to it. The next month, an FIS official told the same paper that the lift wasn't something the organization was dwelling on. So who knows what's going on with the 2017 Finals.
· Aspen Skiing Co. hopeful that Lift 1A construction could start next summer [Aspen Times]
· The International Ski Federation Wants to Race in Aspen [Curbed Ski]
· Aspen Ski Co. Needs to Upgrade the Old 1A Lift To Keep 2017 World Cup Finals [Curbed Ski]
· Aspen's Iconic Skier's Chalet at Lift 1a Sells for $22 Million [Curbed Ski]