Blog :: 04-2021

STILL WANT TO SKI OR BOARD?

 

Yesterday, several Colorado ski areas closed for the season, including: Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, Crested Butte, Monarch, Powderhorn, Sunlight, Telluride and Wolf Creek. Here are the closing dates for the ski resorts remaining open (they could change):

  • Arapahoe Basin: April 30
  • Aspen Mountain: April 18
  • Beaver Creek: April 11
  • Breckenridge: May 31
  • Ski Cooper: April 18
  • Copper Mountain: April 25
  • Echo Mountain: March 28
  • Eldora: April 15
  • Keystone: April 11
  • Loveland: April 11
  • Purgatory: April 18
  • Silverton: April 18
  • Snowmass: April 25
  • Steamboat: April 11
  • Vail: April 18
  • Winter Park: April 25

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    Four Seasons hotel approved in Telluride, Mountain Village CO

    TMVOA sells property near gondola station for $9 million

    • Special Thanks Justin Criado, Telluride Daily Planet Editor

    Lot 161 CR

    An aerial view of Lot 161C-R near the gondola station in Mountain Village. (Courtesy image)

    The Four Seasons, an internationally recognized luxury hotel and resort brand, is coming to Mountain Village, at least that’s the plan, as the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association (TMVOA) Board of Directors unanimously approved a purchase-sale agreement with developers Merrimac Ventures during its regular meeting Wednesday afternoon.

    “We are now underway with the development of Lot 161 with a world-class developer, a substantial financial partner, and we look forward to moving through that process,” board chair Jim Royer said.

    Board directors who work at Telski — Chad Horning, Jeff Proteau and Tom Richards — did not participate in the vote. Recently appointed director Abbott Smith recused himself due to “family ties” with one of the developers.

    The 2.8 acre property, Lot 161C-R, sits to the northeast of the gondola transfer station abutting the Village Core. TMVOA purchased the lot for $8.1 million in 2015 and sold it to Merrimac for $9 million — a price that reflects the money TMVOA spent on legal fees during litigation with nearby Ridge property owners since the initial purchase.

    “We went through a long and structured period of negotiating a settlement so that we can get all of the confusion expunged from the title of Lot 161,” Royer said, calling the process a “Gordian knot.”

    Merrimac Ventures President and CEO Dev Motwani plans to partner with Nadim Ashi of Fort Partners. The two are currently co-developing Florida’s Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale. Ashi also owns the Four Seasons Palm Beach and the Four Seasons Surf Club.

    “We are excited to move forward with this project and bring an amazing luxury resort and residences to Mountain Village and the Telluride market. We have spent the last few years studying the market and truly believe this is the best ski town in North America,” Dev Motwani said in a TMVOA news release.

    TMVOA’s Board-of-Managers for CO Lot negotiated the purchase-sale agreement with Motwani over the past two years.

    “The entire Board-of-Managers are extremely pleased to have secured the PSA with such a qualified and experienced developer” board members Royer, Tim Kunda and David Mehl said in the release.

    The hotel will also include a restaurant and spa “consistent with the standards of a luxury hotel brand,” TMVOA explained. Per the agreement with the Ridge residents, which was signed in 2019, there will also be 36 parking spaces, access to the gondola, and an area for loading and unloading materials on the property.

    “Neither side got what they wanted; both sides got what they needed,” Royer said Wednesday.

    If construction of a Four Seasons is not feasible for whatever reason, TMVOA has a back-up list of similar companies, which has not been shared publicly, that it would choose from.

    “I can assure you that all of the alternative brands are five-star internationally recognized hotels, but the primary purpose of the effort will be to develop a Four Seasons,” Royer said.

    The land has been considered well suited for a luxury hotel, and feedback received during a town planning program, which included Mountain Village, Telski and TMVOA, supported the idea, Royer said.

    “In that planning program it became overwhelmingly apparent that residents, owners in Mountain Village, were interested in having a development of a flagship hotel or internationally recognized boutique hotel on that site, so TMVOA felt comfortable in pursuing the development and sale of that property,” he said.

    No timeline for construction or completion has been publicly announced yet, though the hotel, along with its amenities, will benefit the area, Royer added.

    “We expect the final product to be a very important addition to the Mountain Village and Telluride community,” he said.

    TMVOA President and CEO Anton Benitez said more details will be shared whenever they’re available.

    In other development news, Benitez explained that the organization is looking to build affordable housing on lots in the Timberview area of the Meadows and Lawson Hill. Both potential projects are in the preliminary stages, but board members agreed more regional affordable housing is crucial.

    Similarly, Horning shared an update regarding Telski’s ongoing affordable housing plans.

    “The ski company is taking a little bit more of leadership role in working through the workforce housing issues in the region. We’ve begun discussions with the Town of Telluride, a little bit with the Town of Mountain Village and the Forest Service on sites that are in all of those jurisdictions, and we’re working diligently on those,” he said. “The issues around employee housing are acute. We have real quality of life issues. We’re getting into mental health issues. … It’s just a big priority of mine personally that we be a leader to figure that out. I think TMVOA can be a leader in that as well.

    Director John Volponi applauded the efforts, especially since the projects would create more housing options in the Mountain Village and Telluride areas.

    “It’s a hugely crucial issue not only for attracting but retaining employees. I’m glad to hear we’re working on some options closer to Telluride and Mountain Village because I don’t believe that the solution is building housing that is 45 minutes to two hours away. That certainly impacts their quality of life,” he said.

    Also during Wednesday’s meeting, Horning was named the new board chair in receiving votes from Proteau, Richards and Smith. Royer, who became chair after Bill Jensen’s departure in August, will now be vice chair, replacing Proteau.

    Telluride Mountainfilm moving outside

    Documentary film fest to host small, in-person festival gatherings

    • Special Thanks Bria Light, Telluride Daily Planet Staff Reporter

    Mountainfilm

    While participants can expect COVID-19-related precautions, Mountainfilm fans can look forward to some in-person events for this year's festival. Pictured here, a group of students spoke with Hollywood director Tom Shadyac during a director talk at the 2019 festival. (Planet file photo)

    For many film lovers in the Telluride area and beyond, the word “Mountainfilm” conjures not only images of intro reels in darkened theaters, ice cream on Main Street and stars sparkling over the big screen in Town Park, but also a unique combination of experiences: inspiration welling up during talks and films, the expansion of one’s mind while diving into new topics and the feeling of connecting with others.

    Last year, at the early onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, it came as a blow to thousands when the virus forced the cancelation of the in-person festival, an annual source of inspiration and herald of the summer season in Telluride. This year, Mountainfilm festival fans can celebrate a step towards normalcy. Earlier this month, festival organizers announced plans to hold a scaled-down version of the in-person festival, along with another year of robust online programming for those who wish to stay home or cannot attend.

    “We’ve got some pretty incredible guests in the works coming to give presentations or Q&As following their films,” marketing manager Cara Wilder said. “Mountainfilm has a way of lighting that fire in our souls — something we could all use a little more of after the last year. We are hoping by being able to have a couple of small, in-person screenings that we can reignite that energy, even if it looks a little different.”

    This year’s in-person offerings will not match those rosy memories of large crowds of mingling festivalgoers, and festival organizers want to be clear that “because of the pandemic, this festival will look much different than previous Mountainfilm festivals,” as stated on thewebsite. Events this year will occur primarily in outdoor venues, guests can expect smaller-than-usual capacity limitations and ticketing will be done via an online reservation system. All events will follow state and local requirements for COVID-19 precautions, and events may be subject to last minute changes or cancelation, if necessary.

    That said, organizers are “working to scratch that itch with a small, in-person event” to the degree public health regulations allow, while maintaining a safe environment for festival participants. In January, Mountainfilm announced its 2021 guest director, mountaineer and local Telluride resident Hilaree Nelson, who herself has been the subject of many films screened at Mountainfilm, as well as a longtime festival attendee. Nelson, in addition to her impressive achievements in mountaineering that include the first ski descent of Lhotse, is also an activist who has worked with Protect Our Winters, a nonprofit to protect wild spaces.

    “Having lived in Telluride for nearly 20 years, Mountainfilm means the world to me,” Nelson said in a news release announcing her guest directorship. “It marks the transition from winter to summer and, like the natural swing of the seasons, the festival is about growth, it’s about being inspired: a community seeking to change the world for the better through shared ideas and exploration. It’s a time when we come out of our winter shells and engage with people through films, on the sidewalk and on the trails.”

    This year, in-person festivalgoers will have the opportunity to connect once more, especially in outdoor spaces and venues. Due to the potential for change to the planned 2021 in-person festival, organizers encourage those interested in participating in this year’s Mountainfilm festival to strongly consider Mountainfilm Online as an option, which still provides the sense of awe and connection through watching eye-opening films with loved ones from the safety of home. The online festival will run for seven days, with passes currently on sale for $150 for an individual or $250 for a household pass.

    As organizers stated earlier in March: “We get it. You miss Mountainfilm and we miss you.” This May, whether attending an in-person festival event over Memorial Day weekend from May 28-31 or enjoying the online festival from May 31 to June 6, fans of the documentary film festival will have options to watch films, connect and embrace new ideas.

    “We are so stoked to have the opportunity to bring some semblance of Mountainfilm to Telluride, even in this scaled back version,” Wilder said. “While the in-person festival is exciting, and we know folks are craving those experiences, we do recommend the online festival as the best opportunity to see most of what Mountainfilm 2021 has to offer.”