MOUNTAIN VILLAGE – A year ago, Telluride Ski and Golf Co. embarked upon a daunting task: Find out what the community envisioned for the future of its ski resort.
The year-long push to engage the community in discussing future development on the ski area included five public meetings and two online surveys, seeking a rough idea of what most people want to see happen on Telluride’s slopes, in both the winter and summer. Zip lines? A chairlift in Delta Bowl? The results of Telluride Ski and Golf’s Vision 2025 survey are in, and the survey says yes (to a chairlift in Delta Bowl, at least.)
Right now, Telluride Ski and Golf’s CEO Dave Riley says, maybe.
“We’re not going to make any final decisions until the Town of Mountain Village finalizes its Comprehensive Master Planning process,” Riley said Tuesday, referring to the comprehensive planning process Mountain Village began more than two years ago and tentatively slated to wrap up by the beginning of 2011.
“This is important because the Village and the ski area need to balance.”
The impetus to discover just what kinds of things visitors and community members want to see happen on Telluride’s slopes evolved out of the need to update the ski resort’s Master Development Plan, as requested by the U.S. Forest Service.
Telluride Ski Area Master Plan hadn’t been updated since 1999.
According to survey results, which were posted on Telluride Ski and Golf’s website this week, concepts like lifts into Ophir and Silverton didn’t have much traction (the majority of respondents rated those as “not important.”) The idea of a chairlift into Delta Bowl, however, garnered significant support: More than 84 percent of the 1,868 people who took the Delta Bowl-specific online survey (which ran October 22 to November 12) said they supported construction of a new lift in Delta Bowl.
Delta Bowl is located directly east of Gold Hill Summit, which is south/southeast of Revelation Bowl. If constructed, a new surface lift would run from just above the top of the Revelation Lift to Gold Hill Summit, providing access to intermediate and advanced terrain.
Construction of this new lift would necessitate an expansion of the ski-area boundary. According to the Telluride Ski and Golf Delta Bowl survey, however, construction of this new lift could be completed “without significant impact.” All of the proposed terrain is above tree-line, so no trees would need to be cut. A summer service road is already built to the top terminal location, and an old mining road exists to the lower terminal location, thus requiring a minimum of earthwork during construction. Underground power already exists nearby, at the top of the Revelation Lift. Lift tower installation could be completed via helicopter.
“I was aware of strong support for the Delta Bowl lift, but 84 percent in favor surprised me,” Riley admitted.
Other concepts floated to the public over the last year receiving positive feedback included adding more small on-mountain restaurants, like Alpino Vino; expanding ski terrain and adding more summer trails, all the while maintaining a high-quality, low-volume ski experience. On this note, Riley has indicated that the ski resort is seriously considering limiting ticket sales during peak times, as does Deer Valley.
Riley stresses, however, that the ski area’s Master Plan is still very much in its formative phase, with no plans to move it forward until the Mountain Village comes up with its own Master Plan. In a letter sent out to all Mountain Village property owners this week, Riley wrote: “The Town’s process will influence the ski company’s design and development – because the two must balance in regards to comfortable carrying capacity and economic sustainability.”
When the Ski Company does come up with a draft Master Development Plan, Riley says citizens can expect another flurry of public meetings and online surveys taking comment on the draft MDP before finalizing it and turning it into the US Forest Service.
The complete Vision 2025 survey results are now posted on the Telluride Ski Resort website, www.telluridevision2025.com.