Clear Creek County Commissioners reject ‘snow park’ at St. Mary’s Glacier
The Denver Post
Clear Creek County’s commissioners last week rejected a 5-year-old plan for a new ski area near St. Mary’s Glacier.
In an emotional hearing, the county’s three-member board voted 2-1 to reject the plan for Eclipse Snow Park, a proposed 12-acre learn-to-ski area near the old St. Mary’s ski area, which closed in 1984.
“There were some very good things that were very appealing,” said County Commissioner Joan Drury, who voted against Eclipse. “But Fall River Road is one way in and one way out. Doing something to that road to mitigate the dangers of added traffic is almost impossible. For me, it was a safety issue – an extreme safety issue.”
The rejection came at a final development-review hearing, five years after Michael Coors, descendant of Golden Brewery founder Adolph Coors, bought the 284-acre property for $1.65 million.
Coors’ initial plan was for a terrain park area that would attract younger skiers and snowboarders.
In 2007, county commissioners voted to rezone the property, allowing for a ski area near the remote village of St. Mary’s.
As the plan evolved, Coors dropped the terrain park idea and whittled down the ski area’s footprint to 12 acres. The new plan was to lure families eager to learn to ski on gentle slopes.
Last week’s development-review hearing was considered a final check before Coors could begin construction of a lodge and maintenance building.
Supporters eager for new economic activity in Clear Creek lined one side of the meeting room in Georgetown, and opponents concerned about traffic on Fall River Road took the other side.
“We were utterly stunned by their decision,” Coors said. “We’ve been working on this for a long time, and they have been saying ‘yes’ the whole time. They wouldn’t have started an entirely new zoning area and regulation for no reason, but apparently that’s what they did.”
Jason Blevins: 303-954-1374 or email@example.com