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Snowbird wins appeal

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks to the salt lake trib.
Court: Snowbird Can Build Expansion
Wednesday, July 24, 2002


DENVER -- An appeals court Tuesday ruled against environmentalists trying to block a proposed major expansion of Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort.
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling seems to clear the way for a large resort facility atop 11,000-foot Hidden Peak on national forest land, said Snowbird President Bob Bonar.
The 47-page ruling upheld the U.S. Forest Service's 1999 approval for the restaurant, retail shop and operational facility, plus the transfer of from 2 to 9 acres the resort used to build the Baldy Express ski lift in Mineral Basin.
Tuesday's 3-0 ruling by the Denver-based court affirmed last year's decision by U.S. District Judge Dee Benson in Salt Lake City in favor of the Forest Service and the resort.
The Forest Service administers 1,674 acres of federal land leased by the resort in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest. The resort owns another 881 acres of private land.
"We feel like we followed the letter and spirit of the law at every turn," Snowbird spokesman Dave Fields said. "It's great to have the 10th Circuit court's affirmation of that."
He said construction cannot begin before next summer because the resort needs further approvals from the Forest Service and Salt Lake County.
Save Our Canyons and Wasatch Mountain Club sued in 2000 to overturn the Forest Service approvals.
Gavin Noyes, executive director of Save Our Canyons, was "extremely disappointed and upset" by Tuesday's decision.
"It's a shame that our mountains can be sold off for corporate profits," Noyes said. "Hundreds of volunteers worked to stop Hidden Peak [project] and expansion of Mineral Basin."
The Forest Service in December 1999 authorized a Hidden Peak structure "not to exceed 50,000 square feet."
Save Our Canyons contended the Forest Service did not consider a sufficient number of lesser alternatives before authorizing the structure. The group also claimed the agency improperly amended an existing forest plan to allow the structure.
Save Our Canyons also contended the Forest Service improperly authorized the land exchange without sufficient public notice and that the government did not receive an equal value of land in the exchange.
The appellate judges, two from Denver and one from Wichita, Kan., rejected the environmentalists' arguments and said the Forest Service acted within federal laws.
post #2 of 8
We should not build on the peaks of our mountains.
post #3 of 8
I agree with AltaSkier.

A number of years back there was a simlar issue here in North Carolina where Beech Mountain wanted to build a hotel at the top of their "mountain". After some legal battles they were allowed to build it. It is quite possibly the most hideous thing I have ever seen. I am counting down the days till the wind actually blows the thing down. It actually sways sevaral feet in each direction during strong wind storms which beech receives a lot of.

Also, since it has been built there has been a law created that prevents any other buildings built on the top of mountains in that area.

Rarely do I condon skiing at a place because of their expansionist views(if I did there would be no place left to ski), but Snowbird is starting to push my limits. They might have to do without my business from now on.

I just hope they don't start charging $80 for a lift ticket to pay for it.
post #4 of 8
why in the hell do they need a 50,000 sq foot complex at 11,000 feet. Another monument to mans stupidity I guess.
post #5 of 8
What difference does it make if there is a building on a peak or halfway down the slope. If its the animals your worried about, they don't hang out at the peak of the mtn.
post #6 of 8
BSR, while I do not agree with Snowbird building this building on top of a mountain that can be seen from 100's of miles around, I do understand why they might want to do it.

Little Cottonwood Canyon is narrow, very narrow. In some places, so narrow that only the stream and road have enough room to squeeze between the walls. Snowbird sits in a narrow section of this canyon, is a destination resort, and wants to build buildings for its guests. There is very little if any room to build at the base of the moutain, so they looked to the top. I strongly disagree with them doing this, but I understand why they did. I just wish they would build off the ridgeline or maybe enven down mountain slightly, just not on top of it. Of course, it is my understanding that 40 vertical feet were already knocked off the top of Hidden Peak to make room for the tram.

Save Our Canyons is an organization that I don't usually agree with, but I wish they would have won this case.
post #7 of 8
Originally posted by MrHyak:
What difference does it make if there is a building on a peak or halfway down the slope. If its the animals your worried about, they don't hang out at the peak of the mtn.
Its not the animals. Some of us go to the moutains to enjoy the pristine views, as well as this is some of our backyards. This would be viewable from most of the south end of the valley, Utah Valley, into Wyoming, Nevada, and Idaho, well, just take a look at this:

Would you want to look at every mounain in an area and see a building on top of it? This building is going to be huge. Sorry about the size of this picture.

[ July 25, 2002, 08:10 AM: Message edited by: AltaSkier ]
post #8 of 8
Alta skier, believe it or not I am familar with LCC... very familar.
When Snowbird was originally concieved, Dick Bass knew very well that he was saddled with limited land that was flat enough to build on and clear of potential avalanche run out. Snowbirds construction has been a sore point and an eyesore since the first load of concrete was poured in the 70s. To build 50,000 sq ft on top if Hidden Peak (public land) is the dumbest thing since their White Pine expansion proposals. I can't fathom the need for a footprint that large. we are talking about a structure that is 20 X the size of a large family home.

MRHyak, pull your head out and take a look at the view, it might suprise you.

[ July 26, 2002, 04:19 PM: Message edited by: BSR ]
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