Snowmass Town Council approves Skico’s proposed on-mountain summer amenities | AspenTimes.com

Snowmass Town Council approves Skico’s proposed on-mountain summer amenities

The Elk Camp area, pictured, will be "the hub for the summer activities" at Snowmass Mountain, mountain manager Steve Sewell said to the Town Council at a meeting last month.

Snowmass Ski Area is on track to undergo a multi-million-dollar makeover this summer, as the town on Monday approved Aspen Skiing Co.'s plan to add on-mountain attractions that include an alpine coaster, ropes course and new hiking and biking trails.

At a Snowmass Town Council meeting, the council unanimously approved a second reading of the ordinance outlining Skico's intended summer uses and development on the mountain.

Skico Vice President of Planning and Development David Corbin, who presented before the council, elaborated on the potential for "year-round and seasonal overnight camping facilities such as mountain huts or similar structures available for public or private use," as proposed in the planned-unit development.

"The huts are intended to offer guests during winter and summer months, who may not have the proper equipment or sufficient stamina to use the backcountry hut system, a similar on-mountain overnight experience," Corbin explained. "Huts are planned to be simple structures capable of sleeping 10 to 20 people with bedding and various supplies provided, such as kitchen facilities for food and beverage preparation and service."

He said Skico has identified three locations as possible hut sites: the Dikes, the forested area between Slider and Turkey Trot, and the Elk Camp Saddle between Sandy Park and the Hanging Valley Wall.

At the meeting Monday, the council and Skico representatives also discussed "the conflict between biking and hiking," which Snowmass Mayor Markey Butler called "an ongoing theme here in the village."

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"We continue to expand the mountain-biking program up on the mountain, which I think is great; it does bring summer guests and it does bring vitality into the village, and we appreciate all that work," Butler said.

She continued: "Logic suggests as we add more biking trails, we're doing nothing within our own village to add more hiking trails that are contiguous to the mountain biking. And it would appear to me that every time we add more trails, we're increasing the possibility of conflict between biking and hiking."

Corbin agreed to work with the town to minimize this conflict and potentially "add additional hiking trails" if needed.

For more on this story, check the Snowmass Sun, online and on newsstands Wednesday.

erobbie@aspentimes.com

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