Telluride Mountain Club Ski Expansion Response

Here’s what the Telluride Mountain Club has to say on the subject:

GHDC might be getting a lot of press with their new Bear Creek ski area plans, but the offer of waiver liability release in exchange for public access is suspect.  Aat first glance it might seem that GHDC is offering something, but they really have nothing, and are acting in their own self interest.

The Telluride Mountain Club would appreciate it if you can get these facts out to the public.

Reasons to NOT sign GHDC’s waiver in exchange for backcountry access:

• The Wasatch Trail is a federally-recognized, USFS-inventoried and county-recognized public trail. The public has a right to access it in any season. Recognition of this public trail pre-dates most land ownership in Bear Creek, and San Miguel county itself.

• A majority of the ski routes from the ski area’s Gold Hill backcountry access gate(s) don’t cross GHDC property. There are a few popular routes that do, but most of the routes lead users elsewhere.

• Requesting access and signing a waiver for it basically gives up one’s right to prescriptive access, a powerful legal tool that could be the basis for restoring public access on/around the Wasatch Trail. The Wasatch Trail, and sidecountry skiing/boarding in Bear Creek, seem like the poster children for a prescriptive access easement case.

Isn’t it ironic that the very act that triggered GHDC’s initial protest (proposed ski guiding) is now part of GHDC’s development plan? Anyone who agrees to GHDC’s waiver is basically condoning Chapman’s tactics and plans, and condemning public access.

Mike Shimkonis

After growing up surfing in Florida, Mike Shimkonis decided to give higher ground a try and settled in Colorado over 25 years ago, first in Vail, then moving to Telluride in 1993. Prior to working with Telluride Properties, he was a senior sales and marketing executive for the Vail and Telluride ski companies.

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