Ski in, ski out, make money


Rachel Walker's story "Go Sell it On the Mountain" about Crested Butte Mountain Resort's proposed expansion onto Snodgrass Mountain totally missed the point (HCN, 4/13/09). Colorado's ski areas have gained approval for dozens of terrain expansions by claiming that more terrain would attract more skiers who would spend more money and boost local economies.

However, in spite of huge increases in skiable acreage, Colorado's skier visits have been virtually flat-lined — less than 1/2 of 1 percent annual growth since the 1997/'98 ski season. Paid skier visits, the ones that generate local revenues, have actually declined statewide and nationally.

Given the failure of Colorado's many previous terrain expansions, it's hard to believe CBMR's claims that the addition of a handful of mediocre ski runs on Snodgrass Mountain would increase skier visits by 64 percent. The proposed expansion would, however, generate enormous windfall real estate profits for CBMR, which just happens to own the land at the base of the mountain. This proposed expansion is not about skiing or the local economy, it's about maximizing real estate profits by changing the traditional usage of public lands.

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Vicki Shaw
Friends of Snodgrass Mountain, LLC
Crested Butte, Colorado