Status quo not an option at Sunlight |

Status quo not an option at Sunlight

Guest CommentaryRichard SchafstallGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

I have been asked many times, “Why can’t Sunlight stay the same as it is? I love the small, friendly atmosphere, so why not leave it alone?” The short answer is “Sunlight cannot stay the same.” The infrastructure of the ski area is aging, and without a bed base to supplement the hometown ski area, Sunlight cannot survive in the long term. The ski area will continue to lose market share to other Colorado resorts that have made the changes necessary to continue for another 40 seasons.Sunlight’s owners have never collected a dividend from the ski area’s profits. A high-speed lift would currently cost Sunlight approximately $8 million. A new lodge would cost more than we gross over two or three seasons. The development of a base village would enable funding for improvements to the mountain’s diverse recreational opportunities.We know that traffic and water are of concern. We are also concerned with these elements. We are actually adding water to the Four Mile Creek basin by bringing water from the Roaring Fork River. It will be redistributed to Four Mile Creek in an environmentally responsible fashion, and all current water standards will be maintained. The safe and expeditious flow of traffic is in everyone’s best interest, and we have presented a plan to the county that reflects this. The current road needs improvement and will be improved by the developers as part of this process. Sunlight is asking the Garfield County Planning and Zoning Commission to redesignate the land surrounding the ski area to “recreation.” The current designation is a combination of “low-density housing” and “recreation.” This designation must be approved before the Planning and Zoning Commission could review Sunlight’s plan. If the designation of the land is not approved, Sunlight’s plans will not be reviewed. In summary, Sunlight would like to thank you for more than 40 years of support, and we now ask for your support as a small business, an important economic engine of Glenwood’s tourism market, a community member and the place where many of you learned to ski and snowboard. Sunlight’s future is in your hands, so please show how you feel about the future of skiing in Garfield County at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, in the GarCo Administration Building in 108 Eighth St. Richard Schafstall is president of Sunlight Mountain Resort .

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