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Snow King’s proposed gondola and zipline draw plenty of attention

JACKSON, Wyo. — A Snow King expansion discussion was again continued to a future date at a town council meeting Monday as public participation has remained robust through the process.

As the Forest Service looks over environmental aspects of the proposed expansion of the Town Hill, electeds are hashing out the final stages of a plan submitted by Snow King reps—GM Ryan Stanley and COO Jeff Golightly.

The final three conditional use permits (CUP) have received plenty of scrutiny as the public, the town, and Snow King owners dial in details of a proposed gondola, zipline, and pump house.

Snow King base area where gondola is proposed to land. Courtesy map

The gondola would usher more people to the top faster. It would also be useful for getting non-skiers up the mountain should later efforts to build an observatory or a 25,000-sf summit complex that could host weddings and other functions prove successful.

But the gondola loading plaza would be situated in the footprint of the existing Cougar lift in Phil Baux Park on land leased from the town of Jackson. The Cougar lift would be moved some 250 feet further uphill.

Some public comments have voiced concern over hours of operation of a gondola, which could continue as late as 1 a.m. if late-night events were scheduled at the summit.

Concerns over a zipline have centered mainly on associated noise generated by the attraction to the detraction of both neighbors and wildlife.

Stanley has offered to plant more trees as a sound dampener and put up signage instructing people to not yell or scream. Some public commenters Monday called the sign solution ludicrous.

“Already the noise levels generated at my home from the Mountain Coaster are obnoxious. I listen to screaming people all day long in the summer, often until after I go to bed,” commented Randy F. in a letter to the council. “The zipline noise will be much greater than the Mountain Coaster. This is totally unacceptable.”

Snow King says it would effectively double its snowmaking ability with a new pumphouse. That CUP proposal did not garner much pushback at Monday’s meeting.

Golightly has acknowledged all along that anything to do with Snow King Mountain is going to involve enormous community participation and it should, he says.

Stanley said, “We believe [the gondola], along with others proposed on the mountain, will help ensure the viability of Wyoming’s oldest ski area for decades to come.”

A final decision was pushed to the council’s next regularly scheduled meeting.

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