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Snow King gets its gondy, zipline waits for another day

JACKSON, Wyo. — Hours turned into months turned into years has culminated in Snow King Mountain Resort getting a green light for a gondola, its base planted in Phil Baux Park at $3,000 a month rent to the town.

Monday’s special meeting got Ryan Stanley (Snow King GM) and Jeff Golightly (Snow King COO) what they wanted as far as the gondola and its location for loading. Pushing for times of operation to run as late as 1 a.m. to get people down from a planned observatory or wedding venue at the summit was not, however, successful. Councilors called for lifts to stop spinning by 10 p.m. in the summer, 9 p.m. in winter.

Jim Stanford has watched Snow King plans with a scrutinizing eye. Photo: TOJ

Councilman Jim Stanford admitted to being what some would call a tough critic of Snow King expansion plans, but called for the motion just the same and voted for it.

“The truth remains, I am as committed as anyone to the success of the Snow King ski area and to skiing in our community and ski racing here in the town of Jackson,” he said. “I appreciate the ownership group wants to make a major investment in infrastructure that will improve the quality of skiing and ski racing. Installation of a gondola, and relocation and preservation of Cougar lift will be an improvement for skiing and ski racing for the citizens of the town of Jackson and visitors to our community.”

The placement of the gondola loading platform will result in the relocation of the base portion of the Cougar lift, which will be moved uphill some 250 feet.

Golightly promised to comply with all conditions of the gondola agreement including creating an efficient pathway for Snow King Hotel guests to get to the base of the ski area without having to walk in the road or tromp all over the rock-climbing area of Phil Baux.

Layout of the proposed base area. Image: TOJ

No time for zipline

Discussion about a zipline will have to wait for another day as the 2 1/2-hour time limit was reached.

Though town leaders continue to receive plenty of public opinion on whether Snow King should get a zipline or not, that horse appears out of the barn. The town council already signed off on a summit-to-base zipline when they wrote a letter to the Forest Service saying it would be okay with them.

Town has limited purview over the proposed zipline locations. One proposed zipline connection (and two alternatives) is on Forest Service land. The other, that town council will discuss, is wholly contained on Snow King Resort property. Still, it requires a conditional use permit (CUP) to be built and used.

Layout of the proposed base area. Image: TOJ

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