Snowbird Receives Expansion Approval

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Snowbird, UT Feb. 2--The wait is finally over for Snowbird, UT. After five years of studying the surrounding environment, the US Forest Service (USFS) has released the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Record of Decision concerning Snowbird's Master Development Plan.

Snowbird's Plan, submitted some five years ago, finally received USFS approval for a new 12,500 square-foot Day Lodge at the base of Gad Valley, a 50,000 square-foot restaurant facility at Hidden Peak, 110-acres of additional snowmaking, and a high-speed quad chair to replace the current Little Cloud chair.

"We are excited to begin working on the approved projects for Snowbird's Master Plan," said Bob Bonar, President of Snowbird Ski Area. "Throughout the entire process, we have appreciated the professional efforts of the US Forest Service and other government agencies."

Although the USFS gave Snowbird the green light for most of the projects in their Master Plan, some were not approved. A new Gad III chairlift, a new Gad III trail, and the revision of the permit for Scottie's Bowl were not authorized by the USFS due to environmental concerns.

Sources at the USFS reported that expanding Snowbird's ski area boundaries for the requested terrain around Scottie's Bowl would desecrate the importance of White Pine Canyon to winter backcountry recreationists. They explained in the EIS that boundary management is the key to limiting undesirable social and safety impacts to recreationists in White Pine Canyon. Also, USFS officials considered that the damage caused by avalanche control could be detrimental to the area.

Officials at Snowbird expect to begin construction this summer based on the engineering of the facility at Hidden Peak. Sources at Snowbird speculate that the project will take anywhere from five to ten years to complete and cost upwards of $30 million.