The Denver Post recently published an article on the new development plan for Snowmass Base Village, focused on how a new $600 million master plan will help reboot the once-stagnant ski resort. Author Jason Blevens writes, “The Base Village is the first ski resort village project in almost a decade and the first that will attempt to break the failed model of resort villages.” Villages that failed, he says, because they tried too hard to recreate a “the Whistler effect” in places that simply aren’t Whistler.
Today, architects and developers are realizing that successful residential and commercial projects must pursue a “less uniform approach” than the former village model of construction. Retail is not the same today as it was in the late 1990s and early 2000s when many of the first villages were planned. This goes for all types of retail, not just the resort industry. Like any urban center, resorts have had to adjust to the changing ways in which people shop, and are recreating how people experience their offerings. Blevens cites OZ’s own Rebecca Stone as one of the industry’s more experienced architects with a deep understanding of how the industry has evolved and where it’s headed.
Indeed, Stone has worked on nearly every resort village in the West since the late 90s. To her, ensuring a greater focus on year-round activities and experiential community spaces for the whole, multi-generational family is what’s been missing. Rather than betting everything on a few cold-weather activities for the limited and unpredictable winter months, resorts must look at the entire year, with options for all ages during all seasons.
“Resorts are now designing for generations that need to do more stuff at a ski area than just ski,” Stone said. “I think the resort market is getting more popular in the summer than winter, so we are using the outdoors much more in our designs.”
Those designs, like the Snowmass Base Village Limelight Hotel, are changing the game by providing activities for the whole family that are accessible throughout the seasons. This highly-anticipated development will include a new Base Village Limelight Hotel along with a public plaza featuring warming fire pits and an ice rink in the winter, which transforms to an events plaza for concerts and markets in the summer.
Projects like these indicate the importance of collaborating with developers to ensure that communities find fun, adventure and relaxation no matter the time of year. After all, today’s visitors want more than country club exclusivity; they want meaningful and memorable activities no matter their age. Rather than be smothered by generic retail outlets, they want to feel immersed in their community with local artists, makers and eateries. Designers and developers must create opportunities inspired by the outdoors but not limited to a singular season. These are things that make a place special, authentic and sought-after.
It’s this kind of inclusive, experiential design that OZ Architecture is known for. Learn more about our latest work at https://ozarch.com/practice-areas/hospitality-resort/.
Featured Image: Snowmass Base Village Rendering