$31.5 million for an Aspen ski pad: that’s a lot of beer money

A Chicago beer distributor who’s friendly with the Aspen Skiing Company’s Crown family late last month plunked down $31.5 million for a 15,000-square-foot ski pad next to Aspen’s Buttermilk area, which is home to the wildly popular ESPN X Games.

That price point represents a 2010 record for a single-family home in the posh mountain resort, but incredibly is far from an all-time record. That mark was established by a $47 million purchase in 2006, back in the mountain real estate bubble heyday.

Chicago’s J. Christopher Reyes, according to the website Real Aspen, owns the nation’s largest beer distributing firm and is the controlling domestic distributor to McDonald’s Corp. He also used to serve with Aspen Skiing’s Jim Crown on the Crown-controlled General Dynamics Corp. – one of the world’s leading defense contractors.

Reyes likes to keep a low profile and contribute generously to Republican causes, and Aspen, long a liberal retreat for Hollywood elite, is on its way to becoming a mountain haven for GOP strategery.

Reyes is No. 205 on the Forbes list of the wealthiest Americans. He comes in at just over a billion dollars.

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