By Tess Weaver Strokes | May 24, 2017 | People
Valley-born "It" couple Brittany and Colter Van Domelen are turning a yoga studio into a beacon of health.
Partner pose: Aspen natives Colter and Brittany Van Domelen are bringing yoga, health, and wellness to the center of town, converting a historic building into the new O2 Aspen studio.
After they had their twins in New York City last summer, Roaring Fork Valley natives Brittany and Colter Van Domelen wasted no time bringing the “Van Dumplings” (as they’re known around Aspen) home to Colorado. One day, after their morning routine of hiking the Ute and getting coffee at Victoria’s, they passed by 408 South Mill Street, a 60-year-old, town-favorite building designed by Fritz Benedict. “There was a little for sale sign, and after walking by it several times, I realized it would be the perfect location for O2 Aspen,” says Brittany, 31, who had wanted to relocate the yoga and Pilates studio she purchased in 2015. “As a new owner, I had new visions, but a lot of those visions were hard to achieve in the space I was in.”
So the couple bought the place, and, working with Brittany’s father, Bill Pollock of Aspen’s Zone 4 Architects, and her interior designer friend Kristin Dittmar, put forth a plan: bright, modern yoga and Pilates spaces with natural light and beautiful views, 1,553 square feet of street-level retail space, three basement-floor treatment rooms, and a health-food café (Brittany has celiac disease and is passionate about nutrition)—all next to Wagner Park, the Pedestrian Mall, and the Ruby Park Transit Center, which serves 5 million riders each year. All that foot traffic means a boon for health and wellness in the valley, especially coming out of the building that formerly housed Aspen’s McDonald’s.
Colter and Brittany’s 1-year-old twins, nicknamed the Van Dumplings, are a hit around town.
Brittany got her start at O2 in 2011 as an assistant buyer for the studio’s Cooper Street clothing boutique. She met Colter, a partner at Tiger Global Management who was recently named a Forbes “30 Under 30” in finance, while on a buying trip to New York. A Duke graduate who began his career at Morgan Stanley and credits much of his success to his mentors in Aspen, Colter loved his work. However, Brittany noticed his complete lack of ego, contrary to the Wall Street cliché; she saw only a fun, loving, kind man. The couple quickly fell in love. “My first impression was that she was a beautiful, well-spoken, and intellectual person focused on doing a lot with her life,” says Colter, now 30. Brittany moved to New York in 2013, where she worked in marketing and product development while completing her yoga teacher training.
The couple was engaged within a year and married in Napa in 2015. That same year, then-O2 owner Carrie Bellott asked Brittany if she wanted to buy the studio. With Colter as her business advisor, Brittany took the plunge. “She’s ambitious in a way that she wants to build things that matter,” says Colter. Now, Brittany and the couple’s infant twins split their time between Aspen and New York, anticipating the new studio’s October opening, while Colter comes back as often as he can. Though, in a sense, he’s always here, as a supporter of the Aspen chapter of Room to Read (his mother, Robin Van Domelen, Van Domelen, is a chapter leader) and Wilderness Workshop. “It’s a three-ring circus around our house,” says Colter. “There are a lot of balls in the air. But we’ve never shied away from projects.”
The new O2 Aspen studio will include an aerial yoga space with views of the mountains.
BRITTANY VAN DOMELEN ON THE “IT” COUPLE’S ASPEN
TAKE A HIKE: ”The Ute Trail is best for a quick workout and top-of-the-mountain meditation. Little Cloud and Hunter Creek if we are taking the boys, Tabor Lake if we can take a full day.”
ASPEN EATS: “We like The Wild Fig (315 E. Hyman Ave., 970-925-5160) for a romantic dinner—it’s low key and feels private.”
BASE CAMPO: ”Everyone who knows us would say we are passionate wine drinkers, but it is hard to pass up an espresso martini at Campo de Fiori (205 S. Mill St., 970-920-7717).”
ON A SUMMER SATURDAY… “We walk through the farmers market, which is double-stroller friendly, grocery shopping for local, healthy food. Plus, then the Van Dumplings get to see all of their Aspen friends.”
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALEXIS AHRLING (YOGI); BROOKE CASILLAS (FAMILY PHOTO); SVEN SCHEUERMEIER (FARMERS MARKET); RENDERING BY ZONE 4 ARCHITECTS (YOGA ROOM)