What is stopping new ski areas from being built?

Discussion in 'General Skiing' started by Miller, Jan 18, 2019.

  1. pais alto

    pais alto me encanta el país alto Skier

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    Speaking about being way off base, let’s go back to one of my earlier points: if you want avy control on BP, start a business or organization to take it on instead of looking for a handout from the FS. Are you obsessed enough to take it on yourself? I also think you didn’t look at the forest management plan that would describe what they are managing for.

    BTW for someone that thinks bc skiing is too dangerous to participate in, you certainly have a lot of strong ideas about what it constitutes.

    lol. Oookkaaayyy, there’s a winning hand to play when you approach the FS with your requests. I sense a certain lack of enthusiasm for reasonable discussion here.

    Good luck with your quest. I’m out.
     
  2. jmeb

    jmeb Stereotypical Front Range Weekend Warrior Skier

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    No offense, but this is factually incorrect. You cannot know this unless you actually spend time skiing backcountry on the pass which it is clear that you don't. The majority of people skiing there are skiing non extreme terrain. And more than half the users I see are outside of what was ever part of the ski area.

    Your vision of "Berthoud pass" seems to be limited to what you know from when you skied there, and what you can see from the road. To the current user community, Berthoud Pass represents the entire area that contains the old ski area but includes everything from No Name to First Creek.
     
  3. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

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    Fair enough, I am making assumptions since I'm not up there. My assumptions are informed by 1) almost all the hitchhikers I see are within the ski area boundaries, and 2) the human nature of folks not climbing up high when there are easily accessible lines down below.

    I'm only suggesting the old ski area be controlled. The backcountry access gates should be also returned, of course.
     
  4. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

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    Handout from the FS??? They would make money from a commercial venture on Berthoud Pass, as they do from other ski areas.

    I'm going to do it. I'm suggesting Friends of Berthoud get a permit if they want to preserve the current use. They are the current stakeholders. Otherwise, it's just a matter of time until it's Winter Park / Mary Jane / Berthoud Pass. I'm fine with that too, greatest good and all. Whatever it takes to get avalanche control in place.
    The Forest Service has been called much worse than bozos by everyone who loved Berthoud Pass Ski Area.

    Here's a Denver Post article from when the Forest Service tore down the lodge to give you an idea of the vitriol:

    By JASON BLEVINS | The Denver Post
    PUBLISHED: June 12, 2005 at 10:45 am

    Berthoud Pass – Snow dusted the venerable Berthoud Pass ski lodge Friday, the last flakes that will ever fall on the creaking old dame of Colorado ski lodges.

    That day demolition crews razed the 30,000-square-foot lodge that sheltered skiers at Colorado’s oldest ski area for 56 years. The heydays of “The Pass” have passed.

    “It was a huge piece of Colorado history that did not have to come down,” said an irate Ike Garst, who in the 1980s ran the Berthoud Pass ski area with his wife, Lucy. They made history as the country’s first resort owners to embrace snowboarders.

    “It was a very viable operation when we had it, and it could have been again,” Garst said. “This is a tragedy.”

    Where Garst and many Berthoud Pass lovers see the lodge’s fall as the end of an era, Forest Service officials see the dawning of a new era on the mountain pass 50 miles west of Denver that first hosted skiers with a V-8-powered rope tow in 1937.

    “The easy thing would have been to keep things as they were, but things were not working out,” said Daniel Lovato, district ranger for the Arapaho National Forest. “It was time for a change. We can’t turn back the clock on this one. We see this as a new beginning.”

    The Forest Service is using an $800,000 grant from Great Outdoors Colorado to build a small structure, bathrooms, two scenic vistas, parking spaces for 125 cars and an interpretive trailhead monument for the Continental Divide Trail, which splices the 11,000-foot pass.

    Emotions have run high as the Forest Service wrestled with options. The ski area’s owner, Grand County developer Marise Cipriani, shuttered the ski operation in 2001, citing financial struggles. She ran a Sno-Cat skiing operation for two more seasons, but the cost of keeping the sewer-troubled lodge open was too high.

    Cipriani removed the lifts in 2003. Since then, the Forest Service has weighed its options for the lodge, which sat on public land.

    Several buyers – including Ike Garst – came forward with plans to revive skiing and commercial activities atop the pass. Ultimately the Forest Service decided that the demand for skiing had dwindled to such a point that a viable ski operation at Berthoud Pass was too risky for public land.

    The Forest Service’s plans include a small parcel for future development – enough room for a 5,000-square-foot structure – but the official verdict is that no commercial operations will be allowed on the pass.

    Designs also include a pedestrian walkway over the highway, and the Forest Service is negotiating with the Colorado Department of Transportation for funding to build it. Local Forest Service officials gave Cipriani until July 1 to remove all structures at the former ski area.

    “Our thing is to bring it back to the way it was 100 years ago,” said Jim Gochis, co-owner of Arvada-based Alpine Demolition, which is razing and recycling the lodge as well as planting native grasses to hide any scars.

    As CDOT crews finish a major overhaul of the once-intimidating U.S. 40 over Berthoud Pass, developers are pumping $1 billion into new projects in the exploding Grand County on its north side.

    At the same time, residents in the economically fragile Clear Creek County communities on the south side say they will mourn the tourist attraction.

    “I feel the Forest Service’s plan is very inadequate, both for their own needs and our community needs,” said Peggy Stokstad, president and CEO of the Clear Creek Economic Development Corp. “I sort of take this personally.”

    She urged the Forest Service to consider courting one of the suitors vying for a chance to host paying visitors on the pass.

    Instead, she said, “The Forest Service is telling us that what is important and valuable to our community are bathrooms and some kind of monument. It is so sad.”

    Even with the lodge shuttered, thousands of skiers have flocked to the snowy chutes flanking Berthoud Pass every season. They have been using the pass much like their forebears did six decades ago – hike up, ski down, and hitch a ride.

    “It’s ironic after decades of innovation in the ski industry that we’re skiing the pass the same way our contemporaries did in the 1930s,” said Shan Sethna, executive director of the Friends of Berthoud Pass, a nonprofit group that lobbies the Forest Service to protect winter recreation at the pass.

    “The lodge represents a chapter of Colorado ski history that we are sad to see end, but we are excited about any future projects which will preserve and enhance safe access for all users of Berthoud Pass,” he said.

    https://www.denverpost.com/2005/06/12/berthoud-pass-ski-lodge-torn-down/
     
  5. wyowindrunner

    wyowindrunner Getting on the lift Skier

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    The monies generated by rent/land use fees do not go into the Forest service operating budget. The money goes to the Treasury. It (the Forest Service) is a huge agency and right or wrong under the USDA, but its operating budget is determined by the house appropriations committee. About 5 billion last year. Almost half of that is spent fighting fires. The White River National Forest returned a little over 20 million back to the US treasury in 2017. Based on amounts generated by the resort(s). So no, they do not make money. There was a proposal in Congress to return a percentage of the funds to local FS control, don't know where it went. As the country's attention turns to an increasing more urban orientation, and with more of the population concerned with cosmopolitian pursuits and issues, rural and recreational expenditures are sadly not a priority for this majority of the population. While this may not be true for populations in states like Colorado, and area of other states like western Montana, parts of Idaho, California,and Wyoming, where outdoor recreation and a healthier life style are a focus, ask a resident of southern California, the Texas panhandle or New York City where that revenue should be re-invested. Don't think it is gonna be avy control on Berthoud Pass.
     
    tball likes this.


  6. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

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    I'm sure you all think I'm a bit crazy about Berthoud being shut down.

    It's not just me. Listen to this 25-year patroller talk about how hard it hit him when Berthoud was closed (at 12:15):



    That's the fantastic "Abandoned" video that @jmeb posted in the "Lost Ski Resorts" thread. Thanks! Great video and worth watching the whole thing.

    I think that video answers the OP's question of what's stopping new ski areas from being built. At least in Colorado, it's likely the Forest Service. There are locations where there is both snow and economic viability, but the Forest Service has been historically hostile to small ski areas. That's a huge deterrent to anyone even thinking of starting a ski area and seems to be just how the Forest Service wants it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  7. Goose

    Goose Out on the slopes Skier

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    Much talk about back country in here but honestly that is not imo something relevant to any would be ideology as to whether or not new ski resorts being built can or should or could happen. I mean ultimately that's talking a relatively small percent of the masse who ski anyway. That demographic is not any answer to supporting new resorts. Perhaps in a given rarer specific place where that niche market exists and is very large. But not at all would that be a means of supporting new resorts popping up in general. And even then its much too (mother nature) conditions dependent anyway. Ski resorts opening can only really arise if the masses can support it. And those masses are mostly not the niche back country skiers.
     

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