Just thought that I'd give the lastest update on this.
I met with one of the Mtn Managers from Loon a couple days ago and asked him for a briefing on this subject.
The Mtn did cut this in '97, but there were never snowcat tours offered to the terrain. The trails that were cut were on public land and before the development was in legal question, the terrain was acessable for skiing with a short hike, the only broken rule was leaving the ski area boundry.
Once the matter was in court this terrain was closed to public access by the forest service, and the above mentioned fines as well as a six month jail term were imposed on anyone caught on the closed terrain.
The latest on this development is that most of the major opponents to the development have backed down from their legal opposition and the remaining questions have been up for public comment. The comments now are being addressed by Loon in their proposal to the court. This proposal must be signed off on by the forest ranger that has jurisdiction over this area before it will be considered by the court. This is slowing the process a little because there has been a change of rangers within the past year. this means that the ranger that loon had worked with in the initial development no longer has a say and Loon must now make things appeal to the new ranger.
Loons plan is to have this new proposal ready for submission within a month or so. Once this is done the court will make a ruling and the expantion will either be stoped again at that point, or will then be a go.
I was told that if the plans were approved that Loon was ready to make a big move on this and would like to have some of the terrain ready for either the winter of '02 or'03.
My last comment is that if this is done it will be fun! I have spent numerous days on the new terain and the trails are good. There are some steeps (as the east goes), a great set of glades, and an OK cruiser.
Hope for the best and look for an update around New Years.