Snow King’s massive base development plans: Now you see it, now you don’t

Snow King’s massive base development plans: Now you see it, now you don’t

We just discovered that Snow King’s owners are sharing two very different versions of a map showing future development at the base.

They shared this map (PDF) with the public and press on July 16. Note the lack of any new development by the hotel or between the hotel and the ice rink. Looks like just a few new condos uphill, and new projects in the ballpark. Not too concerning, unless your kids use the ballpark.

But today we found a very different version of the map, deep in their official proposal to the Town Council. On page 65 of the 389-page full submittal PDF, check out this map with a very notable change:

Woah – what are all those sketched-out buildings at the base? That’s a half-million square feet of hotel, condo, and commercial development on the hotel and next-door parcels. Surprise!

Flip back and forth between the maps – it’s fascinating. Now you see it – now you don’t.

We’ve known about this half-million square feet of development all along. It’s the big upzone the Town gave Snow King in 2000 to “provide the financial and operational platform” and keep the Town Hill financially viable through commercial activity at the base – so they wouldn’t need to build an amusement park. Unfortunately, previous Town leaders didn’t hold the owners accountable, and the owners never set up a fee/dues structure so that base commercial revenue would support the ski hill.

Since then, the land has changed hands, and nowadays Texas-based JMI Realty owns the hotel, and successful investor Max Chapman owns the biggest stake in both Snow King Mountain Resort and the other big commercial parcel at the base.*

Today, they can still build hundreds of new condos or hotel rooms at the base, and if those condos sell for $1.5-2 million each, that’s almost a billion dollars of new revenue.

These new owners don’t plan to use that “financial platform” to support the Hill at all – instead, they plan to keep all the commercial profits, and they want us to allow more amusement rides like ziplines, and big expansions into wildlife habitat, to provide new revenue to their on-mountain balance sheet.

We’ve heard the investors’ representatives say they don’t know if they still want to build all that base development. But if they include that development in the official plan, it’s officially part of the future of our community. And, even though it’s hidden in the public map, it’s all still in the official proposal.

Do we want another 500,000 square feet of commercial development at the base of our Town Hill? If the owners do build it, and make a billion dollars, is it too much to ask them to put some of that back into the Town Hill? And if they won’t, why should we allow that much increasingly intrusive development at the heart of our community?

This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be creative and re-imagine the future of Snow King. We’re renegotiating a critical 18-year-old deal. We want Snow King to succeed – as our Town Hill, not an amusement/condo park. Let’s get it right.

We hope you’ll join us in asking Snow King, Max Chapman and the other investors to be transparent with our community, and in asking the Town Council to hold them accountable. The Town Council will negotiate any amendments to the base masterplan, and they need to hear from you. Email council@townofjackson.com with your thoughts or fill out this easy email form.

And email amelia@jhalliance.org for more info or to get involved.


* Correction: we originally wrote that Max Chapman’s Gardner Capital Management owns Snow King and the large commercial parcel at the base. We then heard from Gardner Capital Management representatives that Max Chapman invests directly in Snow King and the large commercial parcel at the base – not through his investment firm Gardner Capital Management. We cannot verify the ownership arrangements with public documents, but we’ve updated the article based on what they told us. Please let us know if you have any information regarding ownership, so we can provide documentation of this information.

Phone: (307) 733-9417
685 S. Cache St. PO Box 2728
Jackson, Wyoming 83001