The Aspen Skiing Co.’s plan to transform Elk Camp into the main hub of on-mountain activity at the Snowmass Ski Area received a boost last week from the town of Snowmass Village.
The town’s planning commission on Wednesday unanimously recommended that Town Council approve the company’s lighting plan for nighttime activities outside the new $13 million Elk Camp restaurant.
Among the activities SkiCo envisions are sledding on the lower Bear Bottom run, a Viking ship snow sculpture, ice skating, fire-pit activities and snow-bike descents. These events would be held from Dec. 28 to March 29, 2013, on Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m., with occasional additional special events, according to SkiCo’s presentation.
SkiCo representatives presented to the commission a scaled-back lighting plan from the original design. SkiCo initially was seeking either 13 tower-mounted and/or tree-mounted fixtures 30 feet above the ground, or 22 fixtures under an “enhanced lighting plan.”
But the company Wednesday presented a scheme in which the number of towers was reduced to six with 40-watt light fixtures. SkiCo officials say the lights, which will be about the equivalent of two full moons, won’t be visible from town.
Don Couch, chairman of the planning commission, said Thursday that the recommendation to council came with a couple of conditions.
If SkiCo wants to add lighting, the town wants to review the change, he said.
“If they’re going to change anything we want them to come back and at least run it through the town administrative modification process,” Couch said. “But we were supportive. We like idea of having activities up there.”
The seven-member commission thought the proposal was modest, though one resident criticized the plan for infringing on the natural night sky, said Jim Wahlstrom, the town’s senior planner.
On Friday, he was preparing a draft resolution of the commission’s recommendation and conditions for the Town Council, which will consider the matter later this month.
The U.S. Forest Service, which leases the public land the SkiCo uses for the ski areas, also must sign off on the plan. Messages left with Forest Service officials were not returned Friday.
Couch said he and other members of the planning commission were excited about SkiCo’s plans.
“There’s some cool stuff they have planned up there,” he said.