Snow King Holiday Roundup
In case you missed it, a lot has happened around the proposed development on Snow King in the last few weeks.
Outgoing council’s last meeting – December 22
The outgoing town council wouldn’t approve a zipline landing (meaning the zipline is a “maybe,” not a “yes,” on the east side by Rafferty – and a “no” on the Phil Baux side). They’re open to a new housing mitigation idea, but only if it’s actually better than the normal rules. They want the SKRMA fee to actually exist, and fund ski operations. And – what we were most concerned about – they did not send the Forest Service a letter of support for expansion in wildlife habitat– or anything else other than the gondola, really. (The zipline went from a “yes” to a “maybe” to the Forest Service too.) Read our full meeting notes here, please thank the council for good decisions – and please thank the outgoing town councilors, Don Frank and Bob Lenz, for their years of service.
Community ownership on the table
In the meantime, former Town Manager Bob McLaurin wrote a guest shot in the News & Guide, “Let’s start Snow King purchase process,” arguing for community ownership of our Town Hill:
While my opinion and $2 will get you a cup of coffee, I believe the best solution to address these competing objectives is for the Snow King Mountain to become a community-owned asset.
We are glad to see such a respected voice in our community restart the “Friends of Snow King” conversations from years ago, and we agree that community ownership might be the best outcome for everyone involved. (The investors get paid a fair price and the community gets to revitalize the hill without needing a return on investment.)
A newspaper full of Snow King
Speaking of guest shots, the same News & Guide edition with Bob’s letter also featured our board member Dave Sollitt’s piece We shouldn’t give away our ‘home’ for the holidays, and Ski Club alumni & coach Zach Schwartz wrote that “We must make sure Snow King changes make sense.” It’s great to see so much attention paid to our town hill.
The new town council, including newly-seated councilors Jonathan Schechter and Arne Jorgensen, will pick up the Snow King discussion on January 29. Snow King’s manager sent the new council a letter (see pg. 230 in the PDF) asking them to reconsider the December decisions, with a clear ultimatum:
The proposed improvements on USFS land are the primary reason for this amendment and if we are unable to obtain conditioned support for these projects from the Council then we will need to withdraw the proposed amendment.
It appears Snow King’s developers want the new council to influence the Forest Service review process in favor of projects like an expansion into Leeks Canyon, which Wyoming Game & Fish already explained would harm our mule deer, after the previous council already said no. We are surprised by this request and ultimatum and hope the developers will accept a more balanced approach and decision from the council. We want Snow King to succeed as our town hill, without causing undue harm to our wildlife or community character.
Stay tuned for more updates, and show up on January 29 if you can!
One more thing…
We’re stoked to announce the Wyoming premiere of a new film from Squaw Valley, CA – “The Movie to Keep Squaw True” – at the Pink Garter on January 30. Please join us to learn about another ski town fighting for the soul of its local resort. The film’s producer Robb Gaffney and one of the lead grassroots organizers will do a Q&A panel after the film, so we expect a fun night all around.