The Pandora’s money box
The recent interest by the Aspen Skiing Co. to expand in Pandora’s again is troubling for so many reasons.
In 2019, Skico pulled the Pandora’s expansion knowing it would not pass from their mountain proposal, yet after all this time they have changed absolutely nothing. This seems to be somewhat of a pattern going back to their housing project at Willits. It is no secret that the terrain has been responsibly utilized for many years and and the need for this expansion has not currently been justified.
Not only have they not solved any of the issues relating to Lift 1A and proving a mountain expansion is necessary at this point, but they are asking to change the current zoning and moving the county road to increase the elevation for the drop-off for the lift. There are multiple parties (including Skico) interested in what opportunities that might provide them going forward with more proposals facing the county commissioners this fall for more building on the east side if this passes. Neither of these are necessary for the expansion, and changing the zoning is opening Pandora’s Box. All of this is for 300 feet of vertical terrain below Luds Lane and requires cutting nearly 150 acres of healthy forest in our valley after having lost an extensive number of trees to both fire and avalanche in the past four years.
It is not hard to understand that this expansion is not about the skiers but more about providing access for the Aspen Mountain Club. The Friends of Pandora’s was paid for by one of the Aspen Mountain Club members and is another example of money trying to buy what they want.
Either glade Pandora’s and patrol it and replace the couch with a high-speed lift, or open it and have the new chair land where it currently does and then we have no need for changing the zoning or moving the county road. It really comes down to this: Is it about the skiing and being green or is it about the money?