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Buttermilk drive-in movies axed to make room for booming construction season

Despite a well-received slate of socially distanced drive-in movies at Buttermilk during last summer’s COVID-19 pandemic, the Aspen Skiing Co. abandoned plans Tuesday to repeat the program.

“We will withdraw our request for ongoing use of the (parking) lot,” Joey Woltemath, Skico’s senior operations manager in events marketing, told Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday during their regular weekly work session.

The main reason for deep-sixing the drive-in idea this summer is the booming local construction industry and the fact that a large section of the Buttermilk parking lot owned by the county is one of the only staging areas for Aspen-area construction projects. The other three sections of the county-owned lot owned are for free transit parking, paid, multi-day parking and day-use parking for mountain bikers using nearby Sky Mountain Park.

The Buttermilk lots were filled to the brim during the summer 2019, with the construction staging area especially packed with cranes and other large, heavy equipment, said Brian Pettet, the county’s public works director. The pandemic radically changed use of the lot in 2020, with much less traffic on Highway 82 and a muted construction season, he said.

“But 2021 is shaping up to be much different than 2020,” Pettet said.


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