The Bridger-Teton National Forest has not yet made any decisions about changing the review process for the overhaul and expansion of Snow King Mountain Resort, which means the deadline for giving input is fast approaching.
The all-consuming nature of the COVID-19 outbreak has caused the 3.4 million-acre national forest to start examining what projects are and aren’t appropriate to move forward with, Bridger-Teton Supervisor Tricia O’Connor said. But as of last Thursday, the question of whether to pause or proceed with decisions was still playing out.
“I can’t say specifically right now what might change, and which projects,” O’Connor said, “but that is something we’re considering, and we will definitely let people know when we have adjustments.”
Snow King’s proposal, she said, is “definitely” one project being considered for changes to its review. In the meantime, public comments on the draft environmental impact statement on Snow King are due Tuesday. That deadline was already extended once by 15 days at the request of residents and advocacy groups. A public meeting scheduled for March 18 was canceled, one of many cancellations related to the coronavirus.
The ski resort’s redevelopment and expansion plans are the most significant in Snow King history. Proposed changes common to the alternatives in the Bridger-Teton’s planning document include east- and west-side boundary changes, new backside development, a lower-grade road with a new alignment, more ski runs, a zipline, a gondola, new summit buildings, mountain bike trails and a bike park.
Snow King management says such changes are needed to keep the ski area financially viable for the long haul.
Critics, which include members of the Jackson Town Council and Teton County Board of County Commissioners, say they would like to see more options that make do without expansions.
Instructions on how to comment and related documents are posted on Bridger-Teton’s website, FS.USDA.gov/project/?project=54201.