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Elk Meadows Elitism?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Elk Meadows, a defunct ski area in Southern Utah, is in the cross hairs of a developer to make it a Yellowstone Club style exclusive resort, with minimum net worth requirements and private skiing/golfing. Although it would pump $$ into the local economy and dramatically increase the local tax $$ base, locals would be entirely left literally in the cold. Existing condo owners, mostly from the local town of Beaver, would not be allowed to enjoy the slopes, or pay an exorbitant (~$150) day fee to access the facilities. Worse yet, the luxury development would use local school trust lands to further gorge themselves on pristine mountain seclusion (does anyone see the irony of a public trust being used for private use?). To me, this is entirely what's wrong with skiing today. Aside from the blatant disregard for the locals, there is too much emphasis on real estate development, and too little on skiing. Look at all the recent terrain expansions by the destination resorts; very little of it is up on the good terrain, and far too much of it is on the lower, 'ski in ski out' slopes that will be rendered useless with global warming anyway.

http://www.firsttracksonline.com/ind...rticle&sid=512

Powdr
post #2 of 22
Unless I missed something from the article... an "elite, private" ski club on a mountain that only has 450 acres? WTF? Are they planning on expanding this at all? If not, then they're going to have a problem getting people to ski there.

The part where they're going to exclude the present homeowners is a complete joke. Not the best way to make a positive impression on the community... they should grandfather them in or something. The whole project sounds like a failure to me.
post #3 of 22
Hmmm … locals are upset that they won't be able to use a facility that they can't use now because their patronage wasn't enough to operate the facility profitably when it was open.

So as I see it, the locals are asking someone else to come in and operate the facility at a loss just so they can ski. Sounds like the developer is looking for a "guaranteed" investment to protect himself from the same fate as the previous operation.

I see no problems with the plan - it re-opens terrain that couldn't make it financially as a "public" operation. I didn't read it enough to know how much the local/state/federal governments get out of it for lease/tax revenues, but I say take the money and run. If the locals want a public facility they should cough up enough tax collections and have the gov build a new facility. Or, find another sap to come in and fund another operation that can't sustain itself. …any fool can easily have a small fortune by starting with a big one. Maybe Elk will go belly up too??

Federal land makes it a little more tricky to decide the "public good", but handing out federal land for private use has been the MO for over 200 years now. Some is leased, some was sold/deeded, but originally it was all "federal land". As the population grows, no doubt we will consume more for private use.

I'm not too worried that there will be Elk/Yellowstone enclaves consuming all the mountains nationwide. A few here and there - who cares. No one here wants to ski with "those people" anyway. You can go to Vail or Stratton for that, right?:
post #4 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by medmarkco View Post
No one here wants to ski with "those people" anyway. You can go to Vail or Stratton for that, right?:
Stratton is nice, but elitist? I don't think so. Stratton is very hospitable, even extending some significant privileges to season pass holders from Liberty, Whitetail, and Roundtop.
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by FOG View Post
Stratton is nice, but elitist? I don't think so. Stratton is very hospitable, even extending some significant privileges to season pass holders from Liberty, Whitetail, and Roundtop.
I know...that's why the sarcastic rolleyes. ...just the rap so often espoused... you know the Stratton Club and all.
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by medmarkco View Post
Hmmm … locals are upset that they won't be able to use a facility that they can't use now because their patronage wasn't enough to operate the facility profitably when it was open.
You're assuming that the locals use *lift* transport only. This is a well established public recreation area that is popular both among the BC and 'biler crowd. The development plans to make these areas off limits to non high net worth individuals, on PUBLIC land. Furthermore, the plan calls for using school trust lands to bolster the acreage. School trust lands in my book, should not be used for this purpose.

Powdr
post #7 of 22
Powdr, is this development planned to be on PUBLIC land? It does not say that in the article you linked. Just looking for clarification.
post #8 of 22
Thread Starter 
Just like everything in the West, the planned development spans FS land, private land, school trust lands & BLM lands. The current defunct resort covers about 450 acres, and as a previous poster stated, that is too small an area to draw high net worth individuals. They wnat to cobble together as much land as they can get away with to make it more attractive, and exclusive.

Powdr
post #9 of 22

Exclusive Ski Area?

You miss the point. Follow the money. this is a real estate venture and has almost nothing to do with the ski area. There is a lot of this going on. We think of this as a ski problem, believe me the developers thin k of this as selling real estate because thats where the money is. FOLLOW THE $
post #10 of 22
Look at all the recent terrain expansions by the destination resorts; and far too much of it is on the lower, 'ski in ski out' slopes that will be rendered useless with global warming anyway.


Damn large brush you paint with Powdr. Come up to Montana and after skiing MLB/Big Sky tell me the same thing.
post #11 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hey, I didn't say it fits every resort. Just far too many of them these days. I'm glad that *some* still believe in the reason why most of us got into skiing in the 1st place: the adventure something new and challenging, unspoiled by suburban sprawl.

Powdr
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Powdr View Post
Hey, I didn't say it fits every resort. Just far too many of them these days. I'm glad that *some* still believe in the reason why most of us got into skiing in the 1st place: the adventure something new and challenging, unspoiled by suburban sprawl. Powdr
In my own distorted view of the world - once a person parks their butt on a chair lift or grabs a t-bar/rope, any fantasy of unspoiled wilderness is just that.

There are places to enjoy unspoiled wilderness and there are "pedestrianized" ways to enjoy nature. Anything with motors comes with all the rest of the baggage. I enjoy both.
post #13 of 22
I believe you misunderstand the purpose of the Utah School Trust Lands. The trust lands are not held for the common good or recreational purposes. Rather, they are managed to provide income to the Utah schools through rental or outright sale of the properties. The trust holds regular auctions throughout the state. I understand the St. George auction has been a circus lately. Accordingly the developers (I'll bet it never happens), would either own the land outright or have a leasehold interest in any trust lands used on the project.

Here is a quote from the website: "The Trust Lands Administration is legally obligated to manage trust lands to optimize the financial return for Utah’s schools and the other 11 beneficiaries. There are only two ways to make money from real estate – rent it or sell it. Trust Lands does both."

Here is the link:
http://www.utahtrustlands.com/about/?pageID=3

I understand and largely agree with your sentiment. However, I suspsect the reason that real estate has become the focus of most ski resort development/expansion is because it is the only part of the operation that is particularly profitable. I do not believe many ski areas are operating at a significant profit.
post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
So then, by that logic, would you let the Goshutes use that land to store B & C nuclear waste there? The school trust would make a killing. Or how about sell it to Kennecot for a new open pit mine? Could be lucrative.

The trust has an obligation to oversee the land use that is in a manner consistent with the interest of the public.

Powdr
post #15 of 22
This resort will never be a destination resort. The peaks are nice but they really don't get the snow of the Wasatch and are not as close to a population center as Brianhead. Plus Brianhead has the college so they always have a young athletic population within a 45 minute drive. Elk Meadows has better terrain than Brianhead so it is a disappointment if he turns private, but at least the thing will be up and running.

I don't see how it can survive as a normal ski resort.

I have heard that some investors (from Park City) are thinking of doing the same thing to Powder Mountain. Now THAT would be a tragedy and would piss the hell out of me and many many others.
post #16 of 22
It has been many years since I was down that way skiing. But as I recall Brianhead and Elk Meadows were less then 30 mins from each other. That area is on the lower storm track so they do get a lot of snow. With the rapid growth in Las Vegas NV and St George UT. A winter/summer resort in that area would most likly be sucessful. I'm not saying I would support a privet gated resort like the Yellowstone Club. Infact I feel public land should be just that open to The public.
post #17 of 22
UTah49,
Beaver is a little over 30 minutes then you have to drive to Elk Meadows, it really depends on the conditions but you are looking at a good 45 minutes or more from Parowon. And there is nothing in Beaver, I mean nothing, that would make someone consider staying in town.
I agree about the rapid growth of Vegas and St. George, but if you drive to Elk Meadows you really only have another 2 hours or more before you have SLC and Snowbird, Alta, Brighton, and Solitude, let alone PC, DV, The canyons, Snowbasin, you name it. So they are kind of in a bad spot. Plus the lack of snow bites.

I don't see how it will work as a private and exclusive club either, there really isn't anything else in the area and most rich folks are not going to spend much time enjoying the backcountry, or the cheese factory in Beaver.

Seems kind of dopey either way.

But what do I know, I know very little about development and what those types look for.
post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Does distance really matter for the ultra riche? I image that as long as there is a runway that can handle their Gulfstreams, it doesn't matter where the place is located. TYC, after all, is in the middle of nowhere. I don't like the idea, but I don't think that the location is a barrier for it happening.

Powdr
post #19 of 22
The Y/C is not "in the middle of nowhere". 45 min. to a vibrant small town of a city that has resturants galleries and a pretty good museum. Its not Park City but it ain't the middle of Bum F^ck.
post #20 of 22
There are a lot of very, very rich people in the US, and if the developers have seen a market (read: way to milk these people), well they'll make soem money! I think it's very wrong though to suddenly deprive current home owners at the development from using it... although if there is no ski hill there currently (running), then they are not being suddenly shut out.

It does seem odd that a private developer can do this on public land though.
post #21 of 22
I would be surprised if Beaver could even handle a Gulfstream. the other downside is, other than the mountains, the area is pretty ugly. The town of Beaver is ugly, the western section of Utah is Ugly, so you drop down out of the ski area and it is downright ugly. they are going to need a helluva sales team to pitch this area is upscale. From what I understand about TYC the entire region is nice, kind of a nice escape for some rich guy from NYC or LA.

Beaver ain't no escape, it is drab.

The mountains are nice though, but Elk MEadows is not deep into the mountain range.
post #22 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by okolepuka View Post
The town of Beaver is ugly, the western section of Utah is Ugly, so you drop down out of the ski area and it is downright ugly.
The Tushars aren't too hard to look at, and when you get out of smelling range of the Circle 4 Pig Farm in Milford, the rest of southwestern Utah can be pretty dang nice in an empty, Great Basin kind of way. To paraphrase someone else, the Deep Creek mountains, north and west of Beaver, represent a climax of remoteness within the Great Basin.

There used to be some pretty good flyfishing in Minersville Reservoir west of Beaver. Anyone fished down there recently?
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