It turns out worries that the Forest Service was going to rubber stamp Eldora Mountain Resort's expansion plans were unfounded. In what seems like somewhat of a surprise for the folks at Eldora, the Forest Service denied the resort's plan to grow further into public land. Instead, the Forest Service mainly endorsed the "in-fill" option favored by environmental groups. That means Eldora can still make some of the upgrades it wanted to, but it will have to do so within its current boundaries.
Eldora won't get the 70 acres on its north side and 18 acres on the south that it wanted to add, but the Forest Service's decision keeps the door open for a revised expansion plan in the future.
By deferring the decision on projects outside the current [special use permit] boundary, I have not foreclosed the possibility of approving these projects in the future, based on the existing analysis. Ideally, any future decision would result from the ski area and interested parties working collaboratively to resolve environmental and social issues. I also recognize the possibility that a new collaborative proposal may be a different configuration than what was analyzed in the FEIS and may require additional environmental review and decision making process. The denial of the boundary expansion also derails Eldora's plans to build the six-person Jolly Jug and Placer chairlifts, but the resort does have plenty of approved changes it can implement.
• The Corona chairlift upgrade and terrain elements
• The Challenge chairlift upgrade
• 188 acres of new terrain (mainly intermediate and expert terrain created by glading)
• Ski trail development and widening of existing trails adjacent to the Indian Peaks chairlift
• Snowmaking infrastructure and coverage for approved ski trails
• New 16,000 to 20,000 square foot Challenge Mountain dining option at the top of the Indian Peaks lift with 850 seats
• Renovating and growing Lookout lodge to 7,700 and 9,700 square feet with up to 300 more seats
• Vegetation management projects
· Eldora Mountain Resort Ski Area Projects [Forest Service]
· Eldora expansion gets nod — but, for now, only within present boundaries [Daily Camera]
· Opponents of Eldora Expansion Worry the Decision is Already Made [Curbed Ski]
· Environmentalists Challenge Eldora's Expansion Plans [Curbed Ski]
· Colorado's Eldora Resort Gets Initial Approval to Expand [Curbed Ski]