First Images: The Snow Lodge Opens at the St. Regis Aspen

When Jayma Cardoso reopened a former Montauk motel as the Surf Lodge in 2008, it was meant to act as a galvanizing force for a still fairly nascent scene in what was then the decidedly bohemian counter to all that (generally unpalatable) Hamptons glitz and glam.

14 years on, the brand is all grown up – and can now be found catering to the very well off grownups who are checking in to the St Regis Aspen Resort for poshie ski weekends. Indeed, the exclusive Snow Lodge Supper Club has just arrived on the grounds of the hotel, and it’s already the hottest reservation in a town full of hot tables. For the project, Cardoso teamed up with Stephane De Baets, President of hospitality asset management company Elevated Returns – also an investor in the hotel itself.

Separated into distinct restaurant and lounge spaces, the striking design falls aesthetically somewhere between chalet-chic and – no surprise – glamorous Chelsea nightclub. There are fur covered chairs, cheeky mountain goat statuary, a cozy fireplace, and plush, Deco-style sofas.

For the restaurant, the menu was conceived by Chef Mark Connell, formerly of Aspen’s Casa d’Angelo, with Robert Sieber acting as the day to day Culinary Director. But knowing well that après-ski is generally not the time for fussy food, the focus is instead on bone-warming wintery classics like butternut squash soup, jumbo lump crab cake, hot sausage flatbread, truffle tagliatelle, braised short rib w/ mascarpone polenta, and for veg-heads, roasted cauliflower w/ coconut curry. For a truly immersive experience, we would most definitely suggest bringing friends and ordering up the gruyere fondue for four (or eight). Desserts actually have quite intriguing names like the meyer lemon chiboust (a French pastry w/ Italian meringue), the chocolate globe, and the surely irresistible passion fruit explosions.

Smartly, an exclusive cocktail program was created with beloved New York resto Dante, which just happened to be named 2019’s World’s Best Bar.

But Ms. Cardoso has always been a top notch social and cultural impresario, with the Surf Lodge over the years having hosted live performances by the considerable likes of The Kills, John Legend and Rufus Wainwright. Things won’t quite be as, um, rocking in Aspen – but an artist residency program will kick off with Incubus frontman / burgeoning painter Brandon Boyd and photographer Brian Bowen Smith, who was a protégé of the legendary Herb Ritts. It will continue on with such high-profile art world figures as Richard Phillips, Tonia Calderon, Anthony James, Brandon Ralph, and the ever illustrious Zoë Buckman.

The Aspen Times reported in late December that the 2022 ski season is looking promising, with bookings already up 96% from last year – though the specter of Omicron still looms worryingly over everything right now. Still, all Aspen ski employees are required to be vaccinated, and every precaution is being taken to make it a safe experience.

And to be honest, if we had any hesitation, the opening of the Snow Lodge has certainly made the decision that much easier.

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