Aspen Skiing Co. hopes to swell snowmaking across more than 30 acres of additional terrain at Snowmass Ski Area and also build two facilities in the Elk Camp Meadows area next summer.
The Forest Service announced Thursday that it will conduct an environmental assessment on Skico’s proposal and accept public comment on the project until Sept. 22 (see sidebar for details).
Skico’s proposal includes increased snowmaking along three trails in the Alpine Springs area at Snowmass — Lodgepole, Lunkerville and Adam’s Avenue — as well as a pole barn and a kiosk booth near Elk Camp.
“There is a need for reliable and consistent coverage on several trails within the Alpine Springs area,” Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams wrote Thursday in an email to interested parties, “as well as for improved organization and visual appearance of operations and stored materials in the Elk Camp Meadows area.”
The proposed snowmaking, which would boast 2.1 miles of pipeline across 34 acres, is expected to improve early- and late-season snow conditions at Snowmass, Fitzwilliams said.
While added snowmaking in the Alpine Springs area has been a part of Snowmass Ski Area’s master plan since 1994, Skico Director of Mountain Planning Victor Gerdin said Thursday, a lackluster 2017-18 season created a sense of urgency to expedite the process.
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“If that becomes more common or the new normal, we want to be prepared,” added Skico Vice President of Communications Jeff Hanle.
The pole barn and kiosk booth, both proposed at fewer than 500 square feet, mark “one of (Skico’s) last” additions at Elk Camp, Gerdin said.
Skico has worked to expand and enhance the area for a number of years, most recently with its $10 million Lost Forest adventure center that opened in late June.
“(There is) no more big stuff except for completing the remainder of the bike trails that were approved last year,” Gerdin said.
The facilities are expected to house materials and tools for Ullr Nights and snow tubing as well as allow guests to purchase tubing tickets on site. The Forest Service said in its statement that it would evaluate a more specific site for the proposed structures.
The project components are within Snowmass’ existing special-use permit area, according to the Forest Service.
HOW TO SUBMIT PUBLIC COMMENT:
The Forest Service is accepting public comment until Sept. 22. Comments may be submitted via mail, fax, electronically or in-person.
Letters should be mailed to:
Scott Fitzwilliams, c/o Monte Lutterman, Mountain Sports Ranger
White River National Forest, Aspen-Sopris Ranger District
620 Main Street
Carbondale, CO 81623
The public may also submit comments at this site in-person Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (excluding holidays).
To send comments via fax, dial (970) 945-3266.
To submit comments electronically, visit http://www.cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?Project=54555. Acceptable electronic formats include email, PDF, word documents and spreadsheets.
Include in comments:
1) Name, address, telephone number and organization represented, if any
2) Reference the “Snowmass Snowmaking and Elk Camp Meadows Projects”
3) Specific facts, concerns or issues, and supporting reasons why they should be considered