JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Jim Stanford is one town councilor keeping a close eye on Snow King. Whenever the town’s ski hill comes up, Stanford often reiterates the importance of looking at the resort with a comprehensive approach instead of piecemealing decisions like those that came up earlier this week at a town meeting.
Snow King’s latest ask for upgrades includes a maze and temporary ski school building at the base of the hill. The maze would be similar to the now defunct Amaze’n Maze in Jackson Hole that was once across the street from the base of Snow King. Snow King general manager Ryan Stanley said he was amazed, himself, at how many locals expressed disappointment in its closing. Ryan called Snow King’s version of the maze an improved one with an interpretive element to it including local flora and fauna.
Town leaders expressed a desire to put a time limit on how long the ski school warming hut would be in place. Five years seemed appropriate to them. Some were concerned about the effects of heavy construction going on this summer at Snow King given a condo project (Snow King Lofts) at the base would be underway beginning May 1 as well.
But it was Stanford who again expressed his frustration that added bells and whistles to Snow King are getting incremental approvals while the big picture is being ignored.
“I have mixed feelings about this. I think we owe it to the community to have a little more of a public process. For four years now I’ve been saying we really need to figure out what it is we want the Snow King master plan to be,” Stanford said. “The current master plan has not been followed through on. So when are we going to figure this out if we keep piecemealing things there? Really, the current master plan is no long applicable. They never followed through on it.”
Hailey Morton Levinson expressed the desire of the majority on the council regarding the maze and ski school hut, saying they didn’t need to trigger a full-blown master plan discussion at this time given they are allowed under the current master plan.
Stanford and Mayor Pete Muldoon voted in opposition to granting Snow King a maze and mobile classroom.
Solar eclipse doesn’t need beer
“Why would we be contemplating alcohol sales at that hour of the morning?” Stanford asked concerning Snow King’s request to hold a Solar Eclipse Extravaganza on August 21 with a malt beverage permit. Town spokesperson Carl Pelletier agreed that, given underage drinking was to be addressed later in the evening by town leaders, maybe it would be prudent to leave it out considering this was not exactly Hill Climb.
Stanford also questioned the hypocrisy of both budgeting for mitigation of the masses expected for the eclipse and actively advertising for more. “Why would we be permitting an event called an ‘extravaganza’ that helps promote this and even use public property for it?” Stanford pondered.
Pelletier explained it is often beneficial to coax crowds into predictable areas where infrastructure exists and emergency response can be better coordinated.
Stanford was ultimately the sole vote for denying Snow King a permit to hold its eclipse event, saying, “’Extravaganza’ [billing] plays right into the hands of every travel article touting Jackson as one of the best places to visit…” He added that he preferred people just gather at the base of Snow King organically with a blanket if they wished to view the eclipse from there.