No more water for Aspen - for now
Aspen Ski Co. lost a bid for expansion when the
Colorado Supreme Court ruled in June that the company could not
drain a creek to make more artificial snow for its Snowmass Resort.
The court agreed with the Aspen Wilderness Workshop and the Sierra
Club Legal Defense Fund that the Colorado Water Conservation Board
had no right to give Aspen Ski Co. 40 percent of Snowmass Creek's
water, despite testimony from a hydrologist hired by the ski
company. But the loss is a minor stumbling block, says Brent
Gardner-Smith of Aspen Ski Co. "It's merely a process question," he
says. "We stand behind all the information we've presented so far."
The company is reviewing the decision before deciding whether to
appeal. Environmentalists say the court's decision sets an
important precedent. "This means that we can hold the government
accountable when it tries to give away public (water) rights," says
Lori Potter of the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund.