Ski resort planned in Fort Worth |

Ski resort planned in Fort Worth

Allen Best
Vail, CO Colorado

FORT WORTH, Texas ” Who needs snow? Or, for that matter, cold weather.

An indoor ski area in the Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai is operating year-round. Now, a development team headed by Charlie Aaron is planning to build a 250-foot-high mountain and create a year-round winter resort called Bearfire in the Texas city of Fort Worth. Skiable terrain is to be about 15 acres.

In telling the story, The Wall Street Journal notes that temperature topped 100 degrees on 43 days last year in Fort Worth.

Aaron plans an “alpine village” with chairlifts, ice rinks, and a bobsled track, as well as a winter wonder park for children, and a hotel.

“There are some naysayers and people who can’t really wrap their brain around it,” Aaron told The Journal. Investors ultimately intend to post $150 million and borrow the rest of the total cost, estimated at nearly $700 million.

Texans are a large market, supplying 6.5 percent of all visitors to resorts in the Rocky Mountains, second only to Coloradans.

The technology to be used is called Snowflex, which uses water-misting systems to create a non-refrigerated surface slippery enough for skiing, but with enough grip for turning. Think of wet, white Astroturf with bristles, says the Journal, which also notes that a few but much smaller Snowflex slopes are operating in Europe.

Aaron said the resort is expected to generate 2.4 million visitors in its first year of operation, beginning in 2008, but it can remain profitable if numbers are 20 percent less.

HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS, Colo. ” Work is beginning on a new justice center for Grand County as well as an expansion of the existing courthouse, which was built in 1938.

Among the few people still alive who remember that construction is Tillie Gingery, 92, who was then a young mother. No gasoline- and diesel-powered earth-moving equipment was available then, so the work of excavating the basement came from horses ” and humans.

Times were difficult in other ways as well. She tells the Sky-Hi News her family herded sheep and sold chili to Denver skiers who arrived by train (this predates Winter Park). She says one Christmas a person who worked for the state government delivered a box of fresh oranges to her family. But her husband, Ed, made her return the fruit.

The Gingery family, he said, wasn’t going on welfare.

“Man, I cried my eyes out,” she told the newspaper. “I hadn’t had fruit in so long.”

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