Ski area expansions get focus |

Ski area expansions get focus

The current state of Colorado ski area expansion efforts, with particular focus on the White River National Forest, will be the focus of a slide show Wednesday in Aspen, presented by the Ski Area Citizen’s Coalition.

The presentation, from 7 to 9 p.m., will be followed by an informal discussion of relevant environmental and community issues. The slide show will be held at the Aspen Meadows, 845 Meadows Road, in the Bernhard Room in the main reception building.

As one of the leading forest preservation organizations in the Southern Rockies, Colorado Wild accomplishes its efforts mainly through the work of volunteers throughout Colorado. According to Jonathan Staufer, chairman of Colorado Wild’s Ski Area Citizen’s Coalition and a Vail business owner, “only through the efforts of local, grass-roots volunteers throughout Colorado’s high country have we been able to focus needed attention on the problems engendered by ski area expansions. We strive to organize high country residents to act for the environment and their communities’ future.”

The coalition – a program of Colorado Wild – was created in 1998 as a watchdog group to ensure that ski area management decisions are responsible for real environmental protection and to needs of the mountain communities that support the ski industry. With representatives throughout Colorado, SACC focuses on the current and proposed terrain or snowmaking expansions at more than half of Colorado’s ski resorts, including Breckenridge, Vail, Keystone, Arapaho Basin, Ski Cooper, Copper Mountain, Wolf Creek, and Telluride.

“Our current focus is to see that everyone has access to information critical in making sound decisions about what’s in store for their community. The slide show will present the result of years of independent research on the perceived need for and impact of ski area expansions,” said Staufer.

“Expansions, driven by publicly traded companies beholden not to local communities but to Wall Street and their stock holders, create a destructive, upwardly-spiraling need for more expansions industrywide in order to remain competitive,” said Sloan Shoemaker, the coalition’s Aspen area representative. “In today’s flat market, this `bigger-faster-better’ marketing mentality amounts to an unsustainable, capital-intensive arms race that undermines the social stability of mountain communities while degrading the very environment that is the golden egg of rural economies.”

The coalition will be presenting this slide show throughout Colorado’s mountain communities this summer.

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