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.

Contact Mike Koshmrl at 732-7067 or env@jhnewsandguide.com.

Mike has reported on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's wildlife, wildlands and the agencies that manage them since 2012. A native Minnesotan, he arrived in the West to study environmental journalism at the University of Colorado.

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(1) comment

Judd Grossman

Amazing to me the plans for clearing and glading more terrain on a chronically underused ski area that already has way too much cleared terrain. I'm noticing how vibrant and well used the mountain is now that its lifts are closed and the paywall removed. It feels like the Town Hill again. The rational plan for a failing ski area would be to shut down lift service and return to passive use. The current "ski area" expansion plans are a boondoggle to juice their summer business. They will always be underused in the winter as long as they charge for access.

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