New Hut in Bear Creek, Telluride?

Post by blogger | November 2, 2011      

Some of you might consider the “highest and best” use of the Bear Creek inholdings near Telluride, Colorado to be purchased as open space, or perhaps through miraculous intervention to simply be ignored by the owners (and for the ownership to be ignored by the locals, as it used to be). Open space? Could happen. Ignored? The prayers don’t seem to be working. A hut? Hmmmmm….

Gold Hill Development (owners of the upper inholding in Bear Creek) is exactly that, developers. They seek what’s known in their trade as the “highest and best” use of their property. They know in days of wine, roses, and mega-homes they could have perhaps built a gigantic trophy home on their site in Bear Creek. Yuck. Instead, they’ve been seriously looking at building and operating a European style alpine hut-lodge on the site.

Photo-montage of possible hut in Bear Creek, Telluride.

Photo-montage of possible hut in Bear Creek, Telluride. Click to enlarge.

This to the extent that one of the GHD partners recently spent three weeks in Europe hiking and otherwise visiting dozens of classic huts such as those of the Ortler region, areas in Austria, and Germany.

Warning, this concept is in the nascent stages, GHD has little idea if the hard core land use codes such as that of Telluride area would allow such a thing, nor how it would be operated year-around for a variety of user income levels.

To me, the concept looks exciting. It’s next to an existing ski resort, not in legal Wilderness, in an area that is proven for ski alpinism. Could be one of the most amazing resort amenities in North America. What do you Telluridians think? Want a version of the Tomboy Mine up there, or perhaps an alpine hut as an alternative? Or both? Check out my mockup above, and expository images below.

Modena private property, Bear Creek

Modena private property, Bear Creek

Frankly, I’ve been feeling for many years that the future of the backcountry hut business in Colorado, if not the U.S., is for-profit business operated on private land. Restrictions on public land use, combined with the non-profit culture, seem to have two opposite effects. First, they have resulted in numerous huts. Excellent. But, many of those huts are not located at higher elevations in ideal areas for modern mountaineering ski touring, and most have never taken the leap to providing even basic meal service — let alone a few draft taps. I’ll leave it to someone else to work up a business model, but my suspicion is that in the right location, a full-service hut could turn enough profit to be a viable business.

I’ve never seen a more ideal situation for a European style hut than what Gold Hill Development has in Bear Basin. Existing backcountry skiing with an international reputation for the goods. Adjoining ski resort. Town with existing ski culture. Variety of income levels in residents and visitors, some of whom would no doubt pop for full service and the luxury accommodations in a full-on hut/lodge. Location, sublime. Not to mention the potential for guide services. Besides the business model, the only downside I can see to trying to operate such a thing at such a high altitude would be the necessity of overnight visitors being at least acclimated to Telluride. Or, could it be the first hut in North America with pressurized rooms, like the Everest View Hotel over there on the big one?

Have a beer in Bear Creek after a nice run? Could happen.

Have a beer in Bear Creek after a nice run? Could happen. Click to enlarge.

So there you go, your thoughts oh esteemed denizens of the old mining town, and elsewhere? Please remember our comment rules for Wildsnow. No profanity. No personal attacks. Leave the hate for other websites. Be nice, be constructive.

(Sources: Gold Hill Development partners, in-person and online discussion, photos by same.)


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97 Responses to “New Hut in Bear Creek, Telluride?”

  1. Dostie November 2nd, 2011 10:41 am

    Love it! Hope the dream becomes reality. Agree that the best way to make a hut ‘sustainable’ is to add/allow the profit motive. If done right, it would rock!!!

  2. Bryan November 2nd, 2011 10:46 am

    Hopefully it will not be a country club for backcountry skiing…mostly because I’d like to be able to afford staying there!

  3. Tom Gos November 2nd, 2011 12:12 pm

    I don’t live in Telluride, and I’m not familiar with all the issues surrounding the Bear Creek area, so my response is certainly not completly informed. But, I agree with Lou that I would really like to see some Euro style huts in Colorado in addition to the “granola” style huts that we currently have, and I’d certainly like to see huts that are located with alpine touring in mind rather than the nordic touring mindset that seems to have guided most of the existing hut construction here. So I’d like to see this happen for sure. I think that a challenge for a hut operation in this area will be a small potential pool of customers – there simply aren’t that many people going to visit Telluride in comparison with other resort areas. In general, I think a challenge to full service type huts in Colorado is the scarcity of helicopter services for making deliveries. The number of helicopters flying around the Alps is amazing. Nevertheless, I hope these guys could make a sucess of such and operation. I do think that the future of alpine touring and climbing oriented huts in Colorado is private ownership. It’s just too hard to get these things approved on public lands.

  4. Tom Gos November 2nd, 2011 12:13 pm

    Hey Lou, off topic, but I typed in “Dynafits” to answer your anti-spam quiz question and was rejected. What up?

  5. Lou November 2nd, 2011 12:47 pm

    What’s up is we are not biased around here (grin).

  6. RDE November 2nd, 2011 3:11 pm

    Highest and best use? Highest and most expensive for sure. Is a helicopter served $1000 per night refuge with hot and cold running masseuses for the 1% a sign of progress, or just another example of the way we distribute wealth in the most unequal country in the western hemisphere? A lodge sitting on top of that ridge is going to improve the mountain vistas? To me progress would be foreclosure of the current owners and compensation at the original value when the mining permit was issued a century ago.

  7. Lou November 2nd, 2011 3:35 pm

    Should we foreclose on the ski resort and Mountain Village as well? Seems only fair…

  8. turtle November 2nd, 2011 3:56 pm

    chapman’s not silly. he knows telluride is a drinking town with a skiing problem. since most of the trespassing skiers don’t drink at allreds, he’s going to suck trustfunds out of them @ $5 a pint and they’ll love it.

  9. Lou November 2nd, 2011 4:41 pm

    I haven’t seen his business plan, but I’ll bet he’s reading this (grin).

  10. Chap November 2nd, 2011 4:58 pm

    This is lame. This guy bought an antiquated mining claim for pennies on the dollar in an area where open access has prevailed for the better part of two decades. Now he wants to further develop, restrict, and profiteer (like he has done oh so many times before) a near pristine wilderness area by charging prohibitively expensive rates to enjoy an area that was a free, shared community resource for 20+ years. Just because it is within his rights, doesn’t mean it is not wrong.

  11. Scott Nelson November 2nd, 2011 5:33 pm

    I wonder why someone else didn’t buy it ‘for pennies on the dollar’ when they had the chance? Like a co-op of backcountry skiers / users?

    What is the ‘wrong’ here? If the land was a mining claim, then someone owned it previously, right, so it was private property then? My guess is the previous owner didn’t say anything about others enjoying his/her land, and now that’s not the case. So it becomes ‘wrong’? Hmm…

  12. Enrico Andreoli. November 2nd, 2011 5:54 pm

    Hi, I’m writing from Italy.
    I think that this could be a good idea. I don’t know exactly what’s the “huts situation” in the States, but i can tell something about Italian situation.

    In our alps many huts are managed from the same family from generations. Some of them are “monuments” of our skialp history. Others are younger structures grown up from nowhere but they work great. All these structures needs customers, and customers just wants some things. Beautiful landscape, excellent dishes, kindness from managers and an easy way to get there.

    It could seem stupid, but i’ve seen several huts going bankrupt in few years. In winter time the target is easy to hit. If the place is nice, near beautiful peaks and has an excellent chef many skialpers will find the place as a good base camp or final destination for their tours… But in the other seasons, when the mountains are frequented just from wilderness lovers or from hunters or climbers, the business could suffer a lot.

    For what is my experience, easily reachable huts survives also in difficulties. Isolated Huts sometimes don’t overcome “death periods”.

    Could this suggestion works also in the States???

    Ai posteri l’ardua sentenza! (posterity will judge!)

    In my opinion, however, the idea is good. Probably just the aspect of the hut could attracts people. Many huts in the alps, especially in south Tyrol or in Austria, are integral part of the landscape. I couldn’t imagine, for example, the Lagazuoi without the Scotoni Hut…. if you pass from Dolomities reach this place, and try its acceptance…. cosmic experience… Hope this could be helpful

  13. Danish Heat November 2nd, 2011 7:30 pm

    The appeal of bear creek is backcountry skiing with minimal effort. A way for locals to evade the crowds and get in a few cherry powder laps before work. The drainage might have some amazing lines, but the 1% that can afford to ski here would end up 99% dead after dropping San Joaquin. Why isolate yourself so close to town, yet so far from all the happenings? This is a flop waiting to happen, so I am all for Mr Chapman dropping his dime on an idea that would die out and maybe bring things back to the old ways of a lap in the “creek” and bloody mary’s at Chair 8.

  14. Lou November 2nd, 2011 7:42 pm

    Just an FYI to you guys obsessing on this “1%” stuff. I’m assuming you’re probably not 1%ers, but you seem to be enjoying what Telluride provides in the way of skiing. Why should a hut be any different?

    I’ve spoken with GHD about how to do a hut that can accommodate folks with different income pictures. While you’re probably not going to be using the place much if your budget dictates sleeping in your truck and drinking water instead of PBRs, it’s possible to provide hut ammenties at different expense levels. For example, you can have private rooms, bunk rooms, and even a bivi room. Ditto for how food is served. Even the beer can vary greatly in price. I’m not sure how much hut experience you guys have, but I’ve been to dozens and dozens all over the world, and it can be made to work.

    Indeed, I’d think that if GHD really does go with this, one of their ways of convincing the powers to let them do it would be to show it’ll be somewhat of a community amenity, not just some sort of luxury hotel. To keep that on the up-and-up, my suggestion to them would be to right away propose community based things that would make the ski resort and Mountain Village look like the Kremlin in terms of accommodating the common man. After all the hate on GHD, wouldn’t that be ironic?

  15. Nick November 2nd, 2011 8:13 pm

    Hmmm. Many of the European Huts were built by the Alpine Clubs or philanthropic groups/individuals and are subsidized by those clubs. Yes, there are plenty of private huts but they operate in that environment. I suspect that not many of them make enough profit to satisfy a developer (most of them sit almost empty or closed many months of the year).

  16. John November 2nd, 2011 9:12 pm

    It seems like the advantage of a hut would be that people could get a significant jump on the grounds and have access to a resource that is otherwise difficult to get to. It seems like any advantage to fresh tracks would soon be overwhelmed by everyone dropping off of Gold Hill from the Resort. How would Gold Hill bring in client’s clothing, or would it be expected that people can only ski in with their belongings. Would snowcat access require avy control? Seems that Chapman would have a tough time being profitable in the summer and mud seasons too?

  17. Jon November 2nd, 2011 9:15 pm

    As a Telluridian. . . this would be a fantastic way to work around the current impasse in Bear Creek IF. . . .

    It didn’t involve GHDC trying to get a access road through either the Preserve or up T-Trail. . .

    AND if they were willing to allow open access through and across the parcel for both users of the hut and other back-country users. That is the only way it would really work, and is pretty counter to their MO.

    Upper Bear Creek is a beautiful place with fantastic skiing, and as Lou mentioned certainly not wilderness. A hut would be pretty sweet. I just have MAJOR doubts that the players involved with GHDC have any real plans to do such a thing. This is just the latest of several “plans” they have come up with. I’m pretty sure county zoning is pretty against building in the alpine above tree line.

    One can hope that this is the start of a new more realistic path from GHDC, I just wouldn’t hold my breath.

  18. AFM November 2nd, 2011 11:39 pm

    Sounds like a good way to get the locals to buy into building something up there which will then be sold off as a private home once the economy improves.

  19. Wookie1974 November 3rd, 2011 3:23 am

    I live in Germany, and as a member of the Deutsche Alpenverein (German Alpine Club) I get an annual report on the business situation at all of the DAV’s huts throughout the Alps.
    It’s interesting to note that the years where the system as a whole makes a profit hovers around 50%…..this means, many years, not profit is made, and even in the years where there is a profit – I am always surprised by the low numbers returned.
    I am not at home, so I don’t have access to the exact numbers at the moment….but that’s the general idea.
    The appeal of the “full-service euro-hut” is strong – but in my opinion, there is a big difference in what is being talked about here and what we have in our hut system here. The version here is super-luxury, exclusive (meaning it will reduce access to all but the super-wealthy, or those who come once a lifetime and save for years to do it) and even more environmentally impacting than the euro-huts I love. (which exist in an almost urbanized, completely civilized environment that has about as much to do with wilderness as central park.)
    A typical DAV hut, especially at high alpine:
    – has a group bunk room. Only a few limited separate rooms, often none at all
    – has no helicopter, snowcat, or road access
    – has group bathroom and shower facilities
    – has no large communal living room with a picturesque fireplace
    – has a crowded dining room with lots of tables packed closely together
    – a spartan menu (which visiting tourists only think is exotic because THEIR food is different at home)
    – costs between 4 Euros and 25 Euros, per person, per night – add about 10 Euros for breakfast and dinner (for the 25 you get a private, spartan bunk room, but may have to share it with other guests if you can’t fill it up.)

    There are exceptions – of course – spa-like huts with star-chefs and facial treatments, and all the comforts of home – but these are generally huts in name only, and probably not doable in the US backcountry in many places. They have road access, sometimes for guests, but always for supplies and equipments. They have grid power and water and sewage, and as a result, they tend to be lower down and less remote…although, as stated before, there are plenty of places in the alps with a shopping mall on the top of a 3000 meter peak.

    The DAV and other operators mitigate their risk by leasing the huts out to private operators. These tend to be families…. They pay their lease, and earning a profit becomes more or less their problem. Take a look on the DAV website and you’ll see that every year 20 – 30% of the huts are looking for new people to run them. This is because the people who did it before either lost money, or got tired of living up on the hill.
    Unsurprisingly – there are two or three families who now lease MANY huts – and have become professional property managers for the DAV. This way they mitigate their risk, and take advantage of economies of scale to help ensure an overall profit. It has the downside though, of making one hut very like another. In this way they are not unlike some of the massive mess-hall eateries I’ve seen at all US resorts…..just on a much smaller scale, and thankfully, about 20 years behind on the “optimization” trend. I hope we can avoid that happening here.
    All in all – and I say this with sadness – I can’t really see the european model working in the US. The average us consumer expects too much, wants too much control, and wants it too easy for a hut like this to keep it cheap enough for the masses. The infrastructure is simply not there – so to make a profit, you have to charge 100 USD a night or more. This restricts the hut to the wealthy, who then control also the development and flavor of the hut. It is not likely that they will then decide to “open” the area to increased use by many people….the usual pattern is a desire to keep the area exclusive, but at the same time have a luxury environment. Since luxury requires infrastructure, this is built, but instead of opening everything up – the guests and the hut operators do the math and begin charging 10 USD for a beer….nothing for the jet-setters who frequent the place, but a subtle “get out” to everyone else.
    The hut system of the DAV avoids this by taking advantage of existing infrastructure and by mandating prices for DAV members… other words – a non-profit with bylaws is ensuring equal access.

    I can’t see a system based on private enterprize focused only on profit getting this to work in the US. I hope I’m wrong.

  20. Mark November 3rd, 2011 5:09 am

    As a Brit who skis the Alps and Colorado each season, a Euro style hut in Telluride would be a big advantage – no more lugging all the food and beer up with you! And if you want to fill it up, just incentivise local guides or experienced tourers and hikers to bring groups up.
    The Alpine hut system works brilliantly this way with most people pre-booking and coming with guides that ensures regular use in summer and winter.
    As for pricing and comfort level, just look at the difference between French and Italian huts – they both work though.
    My first visit to Telluride is coming up in March, if I can get out of Silverton that is. Can’t wait!

  21. Gentle Sasquatch November 3rd, 2011 8:24 am

    I agree 100% with Wookie. The pricing system of the huts in NA feels dysfunctional with the outdoors experience. (just my humble opinion). While the huts might be providing some ‘luxuries’ I find the DAV style huts providing more ‘practical’ amenities.

  22. Lou November 3rd, 2011 8:43 am

    Sasquatch, I’m not sure what you mean. But I do know that the amount they charge for huts such as 10th Mountain does seem quite high for something as basic as they are. On the other hand, I know from the inside how much upkeep and repair even those basic things require.

    But again, what I’ve seen is that it’s possible to provide different levels of service in the same hut/lodge. If I was writing the business plan, the first thing I’d do is meet with the guide services and get a take on what their clients might pay for a private room and full board. I’d then work backwards from that.

    In other words, my vision would be for a hut/lodge that not only accomodated those folks who wanted to spend some coin, but would also have low budget options.

    I’m not just blabbering here (though I may sound like it at times, grin), I really do think this is possible.

    As for what works in EU as opposed to U.S., despite recent history, some of us around here actually do know how to run a for-profit business and make it work. Sit back and watch, then come climb a peak, ski back down, and stop by for a beer that probably won’t cost much more than downtown Telluride. (grin)

  23. chris blatter aka silvertonslim November 3rd, 2011 9:16 am

    I’m following all of this with great interest. Last Saturday I had second day of helicopter charter to complete hauling some 37,000 lbs of building material up to my patented mining claims. I’m building a rustico up at 11,820′ primarily for the backcountry skiing…..but this is a private venture… again I’m just reading the discussion here. 25 years ago I started my backcountry capers at Alfred Braun and 10th Mtn huts….been to many CMC and private huts in Canada…and of course the Don Sheldon hut up the Ruth in Alaska…all my time in huts led me to purchase 6 claims (45 acres total) 8 years ago. I now have re-surveyed them and hold a building permit for a 2 storey 1100 sq ft cabin. Construction has been underway for 3 summers…all done by me and my pals….I guess I’m just reporting that any average guy with the passion can buy & build a backcountry cabin. cheers

  24. Lou November 3rd, 2011 9:20 am

    11,800! Wow!

  25. Lou November 3rd, 2011 9:21 am

    And wait, you’re not one of the evil 1% ?

  26. chris blatter aka silvertonslim November 3rd, 2011 9:44 am

    No Lou, I’m 100% evil and an unafilliated heathed as well (grin)…one day I ought to escourt you up to my temporary cabin I use while building the rustico ’cause I won’t be done building for a few more years.

  27. chris blatter aka silvertonslim November 3rd, 2011 9:45 am

    oops…that is heathen

  28. RDE November 3rd, 2011 9:48 am

    Wookie, thanks for your detailed and realistic description of the European hut system. I personally would welcome a hut system developed on that model in a few places where it is appropriate, and the area around ToHellYouRide is one of them.

    However, this is America. Ski areas like Jackson, Telluride, Beaver Creek etc. are first and foremost places where the ultra-rich build 20 million dollar 3rd or 4th. homes that they use for two weeks a year. In Colorado the historical mining claim transfer of public property to private hands is another case of disguised theft, no different in principle than the transfer of trillions of dollars of bank gambling losses to future public taxation that we have witnessed in the past three years.

    The developer of the Bear Creek inholdings is not going to spend millions of dollars building a Euro style bunk room lodge to accommodate backcountry travelers for 25 or 100 euro per night. If they actually do build on that property it will be in conjunction with a permit for helicopter access, and it will be a $1,000+ per night refuge for the select few who have created the most unequal society in the hemisphere. If you believe that constitutes the highest and best use of our mountains you are one of the brainwashed multitudes who still believe in the absolute sanctity of the Golden Rule— he who has the most Gold rules and can do whatever he damn well pleases.

  29. Wookie1974 November 3rd, 2011 9:59 am

    I’m kind of getting co-oped by the occupy wall street crowd. While some of my sympathies do lie there – no doubt – the point of the long post was to discuss the profitability of such a full-service hut, in the market which it is to serve.
    A spartan hut is not really wanted in the States, nor are they particularly profitable enterprises in Europe. A luxury hut can be quite profitable – but it profits due to its price and exclusivity. They don’t open the backcountry for the majority of readers of this blog and they probably cannot profitably deliver even moderate luxury to the masses at reasonable prices. Even that luxury market is getting pretty crowded these days – and that eats profit.

    If someone can show me a business plan that disproves that – I’ve got money and I’d love to run it.

  30. annoyed November 3rd, 2011 10:10 am

    hey Lou – your sarcasm and dissent towards those who aren’t in agreement with you is not very constructive, like you’ve requested posts to be.

  31. Lou November 3rd, 2011 10:16 am

    Annoyed, good point, I think you are correct. I got some pretty heinous stuff I didn’t publish, which caused me to be a bit too reactive. Apologies. I’ll back off. But I will make an attempt at humor now and then. Lou

  32. Kevin S November 3rd, 2011 11:10 am

    I come to Lou’s blog as an escape from the 99% v. 1% world I work in Mon-Fri so the 1% comments woven into this debate are not what I hope to see here. I bet most of us ski on equipment and wear clothing manufactured by some 1%er’s company that loves the ski industry and backcountry space we so enjoy and employs 99%er’s to build, market and sell their products. Sounds somewhat symbiotic so lets hope the 1%er’s continue to support our marginally profitable industry! As to the hut idea in Telluride which I doubt will happen, typically big capital expenditures like this hurt the first investor/developer and benefit the second investor. Sit back and watch. I for one will thank the 1% for my equipment while skinning up St Mary’s on Friday! (GRIN)

  33. Mike November 3rd, 2011 11:11 am

    This hut is a great opportunity to encourage more people to go outside and experience the mountains, and not just the regular users of the backcountry. Our country needs more exercise, and encouraging more people to walk is the best way to fix this problem. One of my favorite skiing experience was crossing paths with an old swiss couple heading into the Alps as we were descending from one of their huts. It was great to see a couple that could have been my grandparents out for a ski tour. It is part of their culture to walk in the mountains and this means less degenerative health problems from being overweight and not being active enough.

    I am not certain that developing a hut would be any better or worse for the environment than leaving it in its current condition. I believe the best way to protect a landscape is to have a lot of people that use it ready to defend it from development that actually would be detrimental. This belief seems to be contrary to common environmental statements that seem to view all human use as detrimental. I believe that it would be better for the environment and our health to have a more active population. A hut like this would allow me to take my parents up into the mountains and have lunch, an opportunity to experience this valley that would not be realistic without a hut such as that being proposed. It is important that the backcountry community is not being exclusive by fighting development that would allow a larger population to experience this landscape and encourage more activity.

  34. pvski November 3rd, 2011 12:05 pm

    A hut seems like an interesting idea; however the question of whether or not the area surrounding the hut (which has been the main focus of previous GHD conversations) would be open to the general public along with paying hut users appears to remain unanswered. Lou, have your conversations with GHD given a definitive answer on this?

  35. chris blatter aka silvertonslim November 3rd, 2011 12:19 pm

    Lou-has there been any comments on the new super luxury cabin built by a Mr. Kinsgley up towards Ophir Pass? I understand that it will be avaliable to the public…..I wonder if he has a business plan….

  36. Lou November 3rd, 2011 7:19 pm

    pvski, the greater area arouind the GHD property is mostly public land. Provided you can get there and leave without trespassing on private land, the public land is there for your enjoyment. This situation exists in hundreds if not thousands of places throughout Colorado where private land compromises access, not just Bear Basin. To be clear, I think what you’re asking, is, if GHD does a hut up there, will they let the public cross their land BEFORE, AFTER or DURING use of public land? My impression is that yes, that would be part of the whole ethos of such a project if it could be accomplished. Remember that all this is very preliminary. I thought it to be a good topic for discussion and got permission from GHD to publish about it. Aside from the ugly vitriol here about wealthy people, I think we’re seeing a very nice overview of people’s opinions.

  37. pvski November 4th, 2011 7:43 am

    Thanks Lou, that is exactly what I was asking. If this project moves forward and public access is regained, it seems like it would be a positive all around. If the beer and the beds are not too expensive, I would definitely consider working a ski tour of the area into a trip down from SLC to check it out.

  38. Lou November 4th, 2011 8:37 am

    In my opinion, above all, what will move things forward to the benifit of backcountry skiers is a positive, can-do attitude on the part of any stakeholders. If there is any reason I’d doubt a good outcome, it’s because of the amount of negativity I see. It all could be, to put it bluntly, a self fulfilling prophecy. One reason I’m covering this stuff in the way I am, is to try and inject a bit of optimism. I don’t know the final outcome any better than anyone else, but I choose to be positive, and support anything that might have a positive outcome for backcountry skiers.

    In other words, if GHD proposes building a private home up there (it’s said they have use-by-right for a 1,000 square foot dwelling) I’d be disappointed and probably wouldn’t be giving it much more coverage here than as a news item. But when they even talk about something that would be a public amenity, I’m going to look on the bright side and keep covering it to the final outcome. More, if there is anything I can do to help make it happen, I’m there for it, either helping on the public or private side of the equation.


  39. Dan November 4th, 2011 1:02 pm

    Lou, I appreciate the coverage, but what I’m not really seeing here is any mention of how this project would get past the apparent mutual disgust between GHDC and a big chunk of the locals (and not just couchsurfing water drinkers that can’t afford PBR).

    Before it can even really be judged on its financial or environmental merits, there’s going to need to be some social progress beyond big ads in the Daily Planet castigating Forest Service employees for their interpretation of property rights. Posting guards up there was/is just poor form and bad PR given the current owners’ very public history of contentious land swaps.

    This is a town that’s capable of getting furious about prairie dogs and there are already some embittered folks with long memories.

  40. Lou November 4th, 2011 2:31 pm

    Dan, not being a local I don’t know the answer to that question. Does anyone else?

    What I find curious is that all over Colorado you can find thousands of instances of private land blocking public land access. In many cases, easements have been sought and obtained, land swaps have been accomplished, etc. Solutions are out there. (And, unfortunately, in numerous cases the access remains blocked.)

    I understand that this situation in Telluride involved a lot of people who apparently did not even realize they were crossing private land, so perhaps solutions that take lots of work and perhaps money have not been long in the making…

    But it just seems, that in view of the overall situation, folks would calm down and try to figure out solutions beyond just “let us on to your land because, well, I guess because we deserve it because we skied over it for a few years?”

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m biased to recreation access by all legal means, but hey, just saying “We should do it because we should,” that just doesn’t seem very powerful, and I doubt would do much for a court case.

    Nonetheless, that is the only halfway cogent argument I’ve heard. Hate isn’t an argument for public access. Likewise, public opinion based on hate, especially against something like a hut, is going to look pretty lame if a proposal is made, gets shot down, and the land ends up closed forever. The fact that the property just sat there, available, next to a world class ski resort, already looks a bit strange to the outsider.

    By the way, if such huge public opinion exists and you have willing politicians (e.g, I see votes, what can I do for you?), the County Comissioners have immense power in these situations. Thus, I have to ask, if there is so much going on with this ‘big chunk of locals,’ where is the political action?

  41. Trevor Kostanich November 5th, 2011 1:41 am


    Kudos to starting a topic that we will see more banter on as our demographic continues to grow. Equally important, kudos to gaining public comment that can influence jurisdictions as the demand builds.

    I thought I would be running a hut operation in the PNW by this time (2011) as of 12 years ago. I have strategically lived my life to do so but the closer I’ve gotten to it, the more challenging it has become. My problem…the dream started in January 2000 when I took a leadership course through Selkirk Mountain Experience and Ruedi’s dream location at the Durrand Glacier Chalet. He has the optimal situation that I have not been able to even come close to in the lower 48, especially WA.

    The next fall I quit my engineering gig and moved to Thompson Pass where I helped Matt Kinney and obsessed over Washington USGS quads. I then started work full time in the Planning Department of a local ski area where I worked directly with the USFS on permits and started testing a hut idea.

    It is 10 years later and I am no further along with my dream to run a hut in the the Cascades. This is based on many things, some logistical such as:
    1) permit acquisition
    2) liability insurance

    and others more market driven such as:
    1) we will never develop in wilderness and hence can not compete with the BC market
    2) it is tough to ever pencil out (as Lou references with the knowledge he has of the manpower that goes into building/maintaining these structures)

    I still ponder a community not-for-profit concept but even that requires a fiscally challenging endeavor.

    I am very aware of negative, neutral, and positive impacts to the environment and do believe that the overall benefit for our society is positive. Most city dwellers who have been fortunate enough to stay in a hut start to analyze their lives differently and become more environmentally responsible in their everyday behavior…GET OUTDOORS – RESPECT OUTDOORS.

    We have a ton of wilderness in WA…arguably the most mountainous wilderness in the lower 48. I like this and I respect this. I have traveled through many mountain ranges on this planet and yet never traveled in the European Alps. So maybe my passion for exploration outweighs my earlier desire to run a hut in the local range or maybe I’ve grown complacent to accept the “can’t even begin to accept applications to analyze it” answers I’ve gotten from the powers to be.

    I am interested to see what happens the next five years as the public demand gets the attention of the USFS.


    Cheers to

  42. Daniel November 5th, 2011 8:24 am

    Great coverage of this topic, thanks. What are the actual hut-to-hut touring possibilities in that area, if any? Or is it just a “go to this hut, and ski there for a few days, then go back to town?” situation.
    And I gotta say, as an outsider, why did this piece of property sit there, available, for “pennies on the dollar” and not get bought by anyone? Especially the resort, when their terrain was all around this inholding, and their skiers skied all over this inholding? Why was it not bought by some local, or local ski club, to keep it as a prime piece of skiable terrain, so as to not protect it from the “1%”?

  43. Daniel November 5th, 2011 9:06 am

    And you probably knew this, but there’s a new hut in Breckenridge, in the NEPA approval part of the process, but looking very good. On Baldy, trailhead will be from the end of French Creek Rd, at existing trailhead.

  44. Lou November 5th, 2011 9:29 am

    Daniel, I think it would be more of a facility you’d spend a night or two at, or in many cases, just stop there as a day lodge. I’ve been to dozens of huts in Europe that appear to serve most of their customers as a day lodge. Lap in the morning, stop in for lunch, then do an afternoon lap on a nearby peak. That sort of thing.

    Hut to hut is a cool concept, but it just doesn’t seem to be working that well with the type of public huts we have here in Colorado. They’re small, for starters, so planning a trip with a string of reservations is tricky. More, the routes between many of the huts are just not that exciting, or else, involve avalanche terrain that’s difficult to hit at a safe time in mid-winter. Then they close in springtime at the height of the high-altitude spring ski touring season, for lack of interest.

    Isn’t there some kind of large daylodge restaurant up high on the Telluride resort? It wold probably be similar to that on a smaller scale, only operated with a backcountry, human powered focus, and with some lodging. THAT’S JUST ME, VISIONING not based on any specifics from developers. My vision would be something off the grid, even partially solar heated. State of the art. Including things like a conference room that could be used by avalanche schools and for school field trips. Perhaps a collection of historic memorabilia around the interior. And so on.

  45. Lou November 5th, 2011 9:31 am

    Come to think of it, anyone want to start a wish list for what such a hut would offer? I’ll start: Hot tub looking over Telluride valley.

  46. Daniel November 5th, 2011 10:16 am

    I hear ya, hut to hut is really difficult in this country, especially with our style of huts, where you have to carry food and sleeping bags.
    But wow, a hut like you were saying that could also serve, in part at least, for avalanche education, and other school/educational type groups. Especially in Telluride, where they’re all about experimental education and other “liberal” stuff, LOL! (I totally just described myself)

  47. Ron Curry November 5th, 2011 10:32 am

    First of all I am grateful to Lou for hosting this forum. He has provided, in this space, an opportunity for all participants to better understand and to be better understood. Most of the information we receive through news outlets is filtered, for one reason or another. Lou filters out the acrimonious comments but stops short of abridging input based upon ideological considerations, thus enabling the rest of us to have a reasonable conversation. Thanks Lou!

    When we purchased the land we now own in upper Bear Creek, it had been for sale for 13 years. The seller was fed-up with the multiple challenges he had faced in dealing with the USFS, the ski corporation and the hikers and skiers who regarded his land as theirs. We bought the land as an investment. There are precious and rare minerals under the 113 acres we own. There is also a great avalanche-free building site on our Modena parcel. The land is hardly worthless.

    One person who posted on this topic thought our idea for a Euro-style hut could work as long as we are not permitted to access our land upon the road our predecessors in interest built, and as long as we freely granted all others the permission to cross our land. If he is suggesting that we helicopter the beer in, he’s going to be looking at $10-$15 for a pint, instead of $5. Ignoring the obvious hmmm, his point reflects the larger problem; we are not permitted to access our land across the road a previous owner built in 1956.

    We have a legal right to access our land via a roadway. We have offered an exchange of easements in order to resolve the access issues for all parties. Norwood District Forest Ranger Schutza refuses to meet with us to discuss any of the issues that pertain. Telski is blocking us, as well, with a 300 feet wide mining claim of their own, something the miners of old would have probably handled out of court. We will therefore proceed with planning for the future, even without roaded access.

    We are serious about this hut idea. We hope to make it happen. We have previously built in the high country with a helicopter and we can do it again. Of course the beer will be expensive in that scenario. In the meantime, however, until the hut is built and our access is restored, we ask you to please respect our rights as the rightful owners of this property.

    I will be monitoring this site for the next few days and will gladly answer any questions any of you might have, except those touching upon our lawsuit against Telski, the sole purpose of which is to restore our rights of access across our road.

  48. Lou November 5th, 2011 11:12 am

    Ron, thanks for stopping by. Definitely something interesting to us all!

    All, FYI Ron is one of the partners in Gold Hill Development, the guys who own the upper parcel in Bear Basin that’s created most of the issues of public access (though a parcel lower down, with different owners, is also closed to the public according to its owners).

    For the record, a sign of perhaps a positive direction for all this is I’ve only nixed one comment on this thread, and it was totally rude name calling with nothing substantive. Everyone has been civil to a great degree, but I did myself get called on being too sarcastic and I’m moderating myself a bit more (grin).

    Thanks for mentioning the road access issue. I know you can’t say much about it because of court action, but I can say that for anything more than a helicopter maintained primitive shelter to be viable up there, you’d most certainly need road access in the summer, and over-snow-road access at least part of the winter.

    Having said that, it is possible to maintain a hut using helicopter access. It’s done all over the world. But yeah, it either makes things super expensive, or simply means the hut is only a minimal service primitive offering. That can be good. Friends Hut is an example (no road access, heli, horses used instead), but I doubt such a situation would be conducive to private enterprise.


  49. John November 5th, 2011 12:30 pm

    This might be creeping a little close to your lawsuit with Telski, but I know nothing about how road access to remote parcels of land works, Ron can you or anyone else explain a little? To my way of thinking that seems like it would be difficult to basically force someone to give you access. Do easements play a role from when the parcel was bought from the FS years ago. Thanks for being willing to talk about this a bit. It seems the more GHDC is willing to communicate with Telluride locals and be rational rather than threatening to post guards the more likely there is to be a solution that most people are happy with. Bear Creek is an area that has been really important to a lot of people from Telluride and people are afraid of loosing access or seeing it dramatically changed for the worse.

  50. Ron Curry November 5th, 2011 1:09 pm

    Good question, John. There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding this issue. First of all, our Little Bessie parcel was patented in 1891. The Department of Interior conveyed full title to the owner at the time upon evidence that he had filed the claim, worked the claim and invested money in the process. There was no National Forest at the time and no Forest Service. The Uncompahgre National Forest came into being in 1905. All of this is in the public record.

    The rights of ownership and the “appurtenances thereto” were to be conveyed to the heirs and the assigns (that would be us, in this case) “forever”. What would be the meaning of an appurtenance to a mining claim, if not access? How is it possible that a subsequent claimant could file a claim across the access road thereby prohibiting access to the owner of the senior (older) claim? That was not permitted under the ad hoc court system the miners set up. Reason and existing law are in harmony with the sentiment of the miners.

    In addition to this, our predecessors, at their own expense, built the existing road from the Boomerang to the top of Gold Hill and down to the Bessie in 1956. The Forest Service and the ski corporation use this road daily, but both entities deny us access. Would you pursue your legal rights if faced with a similar scenario?

  51. Ron Curry November 5th, 2011 2:04 pm

    To your further point, John, we have been open and honest from the beginning but this was not particularly appreciated by many who have other agendas or who had grown accustomed to ignoring the rights of the existing owners (not just us). It is not easy getting one’s point across when those who control the dialogue ignore half of the story. Thanks again to Lou for permitting me to explain our perspective and purpose.

  52. Lou November 6th, 2011 3:51 pm

    From what I’ve seen, GHD has been open and honest — they’ve just not done what locals wanted them to do, which was to open their land to public access.

    Personally, I find this to be incredibly interesting, as I have been and currently am on both sides of this issue, in a number of different ways.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, on the surface, as a backcountry recreation advocate, I’d like nothing better than to see GHD somehow compelled to open their land to the public. On the other hand, as a property owner and one who respects and understands how important private property is to our whole system of civilization, I support them doing what they want with their land, within the law.

    Yes, I get conflicted about this. But what else is new? Any thinking person is going to encounter logical and moral dilemmas.

  53. Lou November 7th, 2011 6:16 am

    As I’ve said, this sort of thing is a powder keg all over Colorado. Here is another such situation, involving two private land owners, similar to the Telski vs GHD situation:

    What I don’t get is why private land owners get so pissy about letting their neighboring land owners use access that’s been in place for years. Seems like that would be a much easier situation to manage than letting the public over your land.

    In the article linked above, you’ll also notice that one of the land owners DID provide an easement for public crossing of their land. That’s a card that GHD definitely holds, and while I can understand folk’s resentment about GHD not just giving away an easement out of the goodness of their hearts, it’s a pretty powerful card and one has to admit that anyone operating a business would tend to want something in return for essentially giving away part of their land.


  54. JCoates November 7th, 2011 7:52 am

    Lou, thanks for bringing this topic up and weeding through what I imagine have been some pretty “spirited” posts. I enjoy reading about the various responses to these BC issues almost as much as I like reading about your gram-counting reviews.

    I really hope that the GHD hut works out. However, the more I think about it the less I think it has a chance. Call me a socialist (I’m sure some of you will), but what makes the huts work here in Europe is the European attitude about recreation being a vitally important part of society. The huts are supported by the national climbing clubs (DAV, SAC, etc) which although they collect small fees, they DO get partially funded by federal taxes. Although most states have some kind of alpine club, I don’t know of any that are federally funded beyond getting the small benefits a non-profit receives.

    Additionally—at least as I understand it in Switzerland—if your yard or pasture happens to fall on a recreation area or trail, you cannot deny access to anyone traveling through. I have hiked on a few trails that go right through peoples yards in Switzerland and never felt any animosity for going through…something I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing in the Rockies (AND I bet the farmers in Switzerland have been grazing there sheep on the same family property for a lot longer than the 1800s).

    I would love to see the various alpine clubs in the US build more huts, via ferratas, and conduct more avalanche and crevasse-rescue training to make the youngsters coming up both appreciate the wilderness and be safer in it. However, I just don’t think our non-partisan, tax fearing political environment will support changing attitudes toward state-funded recreation when we can’t even provide decent health-care to everyone.

    Again, MHO, and I hope I am proven wrong.

  55. Steve November 7th, 2011 5:15 pm

    Enjoy reading your site and don’t comment often but this a subject that deserves a statementt since this represents another step in the evolving class war developing within this country.
    People such as GHD do not have the interests of the public in mind anymore than the CEO’s of United Healthcare or BC/BS have the best interests of your health in mind.
    The move toward the “haves” (for lack of better term”) to purchase critical points of access to highly desirable areas of wilderness or the actual wilderness itself is a growing problem and one that is particularly prominent in Colorado where access to several 14ers, for instance, has been restricted.
    I think the “serfs” should in no way support this trend and that a government with its peoples interests in mind would in fact do as alluded to above and use eminent domain to acquire this land for the public
    Could write forever about this and still not clearly state how wrong I feel the current land management practices are in this country.
    I believe I am about the same age as you and our kids will not have the freedom to the outdoors we have enjoyed and certainly our grandchildren will not.

  56. Lou November 7th, 2011 5:44 pm

    Steve, thanks for sharing your take. While I don’t agree that we can mind-read the intentions of folks such as GHD investors and CEOs (some might even feel that private enterprise and capitalism are best for eveyrone in the long run, just as you feel the opposite, with both being motivated by care for others), I do agree that the constant tension between private property and public rights to such property is under constant adjustment and refinement.

    More, I totally agree that as we progress, we need some sort of solution for private property blocking access to public land. Not sure that involves a “taking,” but from what I know there is just so darned much blockage, eventually it will reach some sort of critical mass whether we like it or not.

    Along with all that, what’s annoying is that, 1. We’d go ahead and designate faux Wilderness with private land inside (not relevant to the GHD issue, but I bring that up just to show how messed up the whole process is), and 2. That the whole issue of inholdings and private land blockage would be so ignored by public land managers, Wilderness advocates, et. Meanwhile we have NEPA forcing us to do all sorts of conniptions for land management that used to be simple common sense. I hate to say it, but perhaps we need something like NEPA to sort out these access issues, which in my view are a heck of a lot more important than niggling to death where people snowmobile or not, for example.

    Can you say, smokescreen?

    But looking at this philosophically, with the long view. Most people in the United States really don’t give a hoot about some hiking or skiing in Colorado being blocked off by a strip of private land. BUT they do give a hoot about their own property being condemned and taken by the gov for whatever purpose is theorized to be for the greater good. Trying to separate the two (property taken for access to public land, vs property taken for other purposes) seems like a truly difficult thing to sort out….

    I get that you feel wronged. You don’t need to write any more about that. But what are some solutions? Time for a guest blog?


  57. Wookie1974 November 8th, 2011 5:55 am

    yeah – land access is guaranteed in Europe. I think various countries have slightly different laws regarding it, but in general, you cannot restrict access or usage.
    This goes as far as allowing “any reasonable use” in Scandinavia…meaning that you can camp out anywhere, even in someone’s back yard, as long as it is not permanent, or a nuisance. Sounds bad for property owners – but in general, the system works very well, and since it’s been that way for ages, the issue is clear cut for anyone wanting to own property or invest.
    I have to admit that I don’t know what this means for someone wanting to mine or otherwise use their property commercially. Must need some kind of special permit.
    Seems to me that defining open access as the default, and allowing courts to issue permits to close access to private land in special cases would be a better way of handling it.

  58. Lou November 8th, 2011 6:34 am

    IANAL (I am not a lawyer) but I’ve gleaned the following from study and attention to this issue over the years:

    Yes, in many countries the public generally has the “right of passage” on much of the private land (never all, as, for example, military installations can have restricted areas on public land). That doesn’t mean you can go into someone’s house without being invited, but it definitely applies to recreation on the land. We’ve covered this subject here before. It’s something taken for granted in many countries.

    Along those same lines, while we don’t have a “right of passage” the public in the U.S. does have many rights regarding private land. The most extreme is of course eminent domain, meaning the government can claim and take any private land for the benefit of the public if they simply pay the going rate for it. Most government entities are reluctant to use this power, but it is there and I have to wonder if its sleeping head will stir when this private land blockage issue starts to really get big out here in the west, and politicians seek votes, and so on…

    More, for example, if you need to help someone or be helped by emergency services, individuals in those services (fire, rescue, etc.) can go on to private land and do their work without fear of legal action. Likewise for law enforcement, who can even go into your home without a warrant if they see something bad happening.

    In terms of recreation, if private land is not posted as no trespassing and people enter it without knowledge of the land being private, they have the right to do so. If they know where the private land is but it’s not signed or fenced, then there is some ambiguity to the way the laws read in terms of such individuals going on to the land, and I’m not understanding the fine print in that event.

    We also have the historical and prescriptive easement laws, which apply when someone makes physical improvements or spends money on land that is not theirs, and eventually claims it as their own. The best example of this is when a government entity builds a road on private land, then 20 years later the land owner tries to block access or extract money from the gov that built the road. The gov in turn can claim an easement since they made improvements and were never challenged. (In terms of situations such as Bear Creek, the historical and prescriptive easement laws don’t help much if any with public access, as provable improvements were not made and courts tend to support land owners vs public making claims of, for example, long term hiking use of a trail.)

    Moving along, law has proved out that the public can access the air space above your land, and if, say, there was a cave some distance below your land surface, a spelunker could enjoy it without fear of meeting you and your shotgun.

    Then there are mineral rights. You could own surface rights, but not mineral rights. Ditto for water, which could be on your land or flowing across your land, but might actually be owned by the public or another private interest.

    My point is that it’s not like private land in the U.S. is some sort of Fort Knox that automatically shuts out the rest of humanity. Private land is not the great satan that will cause the demise of all that is near and dear to us. It’s all a matter of degree, and a different set of laws for different countries and cultures.

    The direct opposite of how we approach private property are countries and systems of government that claim to not have private property, or where private land is somewhat ambiguous and difficult to acquire unless you’re in the upper stratum of societal wealth. From what I’ve seen, the disparity of wealth and possession in those countries makes all the shouting about our 1% look a bit ludicrous, even though I’d totally agree we all have a right to be and probably should be concerned about increasing disparity in wealth in our country, and in any country…

  59. Gentle Sasquatch November 8th, 2011 7:02 am

    I say open access to public to lands that are defined as a ‘national or state natural treasure’ that includes pretty much all mountains, all waterfront access etc…basically anything where people go for recreation. I would leave people’s backyards private 🙂 but in case where private property encircles a natural treasure there has to be a road and/or water access to the public to the natural treasures.

  60. Ron Curry November 8th, 2011 8:23 am

    Gentle Sasquatch,
    Would you also support owner access to private lands surrounded by public or other private property?

  61. gentle sasquatch November 8th, 2011 9:11 am


  62. Jon November 8th, 2011 4:30 pm

    Thank you for voiceing your reasons and thoughts on this blog. It is nice to be able to have a discourse. Thanks Lou!

    As I said in my first post, I’m not opposed to your hut idea, but I can’t say I’m very sympathetic to your position. While there is no argument with the date that the claims currently owned by GHDC were patented, there are arguments as to what was the road access, which I know can’t be discussed in this forum due to the pending legal case. Oh well.

    I hope you and your partners understand the position of many in the community. When private land is allowed to remain unmarked and undefended in any legal terms for a long time (in this case what, 20, 30 years?) and the public is crossing the land, even useing one of the mining roads as a trail as it has degenerated, leads to a certain level of entitlement. The question that is looming over the west is what Lou has been hinting at. What gives the landowner or the public historic access? Does it matter if it is the original owner or not? What if it has been unmarked?

    Ron, I understand that GHDC bought the properties as investments, but as we all know, sometimes investments don’t pay off. I know Mr. Chapman has had similar deals go both ways. I see no reason for the community to simply roll over on this. Fortunately our society has moved on from miners dukeing it out. The mining laws are rather archaic, and it will be interesting where the courts come out on your case and others that are similar.

    Sorry for the length of the post, and sometimes stream of consciousness of it.


  63. Ron Curry November 8th, 2011 8:16 pm

    I appreciate your comments, Jon.

    The current mining laws were based upon the rules established by the miners. The 1872 Mining Act remains the law of the land. Telluride sits on top of dozens of placer claims, birthed in the same manner as the claims I now own. What are these claims now worth? Should they be disregarded as valueless? Is it permissible to violate the private property rights of the people who now own these claims?

    As to public right by use, the Colorado Supreme Court has ruled on that issue in the McIntyre vs Gunnsion County case. I will post the critical elements of the decision tomorrow. The bottom line, however, is that the public has no easement to cross GHDC land. We have offered to exchange easements with the Forest Service. Ranger Schutza will not even have a conversation with us. When public servants, as well as numerous private citizens, ignore private property rights and the law, is it any wonder that an owner would feel less than charitable, let alone neighborly?

  64. Ron Curry November 9th, 2011 7:59 am

    (Note from Lou: Rob’s info following is related to the case of the former open trail near Marble, Colorado, that led up to a view of the famous and historic Marble Quarrry. The owners of land the trail crossed chose to gate the trail and close it to the public. Basically, a tragedy. Court case ensued to attempt to regain unlimited access for the public. Final outcome was bleak (trail remained closed), but enlightening in terms of what exactly is required to create an easement due to historic use.)

    The following are the critical elements of the Colorado Supreme Court’s McIntyre vs Gunnison County decision. The ruling has significant applicability in upper Bear Creek.

    “In the case before us, the trial court and the court of appeals ruled that twenty years of public use adverse to the property owner was itself sufficient to establish a public road by prescription under section 43-2-201(1)(c). These rulings make the requirements for private prescriptive rights and public prescriptive road rights the equivalent of each other. They are not.”

    “In Board of County Comm’rs v. Flickinger, 687 P.2d 975 (Colo. 1984), we construed section 43-2-201(1)(c) to require the claimant to meet a three-part test for the establishment of a public road by prescription:
    (1) members of the public must have used the road under a claim of right and in a manner adverse to the landowner’s property interest;
    (2) the public must have used the road without interruption for the statutory period of twenty years; and
    (3) the landowner must have had actual or implied knowledge of the public’s use of the road and made no objection to such use.”

    “While a public claim of right is a separate and necessary requirement for establishing a public prescriptive right to a road, the claim of right requirement is integrally intertwined with the adversity requirement. Sporadic use of the road is not enough to establish adversity or put the property owner on notice of a public claim of right. Turner v. Anderson, 130 Colo. 275, 274 P.2d 972 (1954). In Turner, we held that occasional use of the road by members of the public did not rise to the level of a prescriptive right. Id. at 278-79, 274 P.2d at 974 (“a prescriptive right to the use of [a] road . . . was not established by the evidence, because the use of said road was irregular, infrequent, sporadic, and far more permissive than adverse.”).”

    “Where the land is vacant and unoccupied and remains free to public use and travel until circumstances induce the owner to enclose it, the mere travel across it, without objection from the owners, does not enable the public to acquire a public road or highway over the same. Such use by the public of vacant and unoccupied land by travel over it, even after the period of twenty years, is regarded merely as a permissive use.”

    Therefore, in the final analysis, neither the Forest Service nor the public they allegedly serve have an easement or a prescriptive right to use or traverse GHDC private property. We continue to await Ranger Schutza’s response to our many requests to discuss options and solutions, which, by the way, would not necessitate the expenditure of a single dime of taxpayer money. GHDC’s acquisition is an investment not an attempt at extortion, as our critics would have you believe. We merely want that which is rightfully, lawfully ours.

    If you, as a member of the public, are truly interested in seeing a solution to the ongoing impasse, please contact the Norwood District Office of the US Forest Service and ask Ranger Schutza to observe the law and to actively pursue a solution by including the landowners in the conversations that concern the future of Bear Creek.

  65. Greg November 9th, 2011 8:01 am

    Back to the topic of full service backcountry huts in the US: The AMC runs a string of huts along the Appalachian Trail in New Hampshire. These huts are run on a full service basis during the summer months with a croo of college students packing in supplies and cooking dinner and breakfast each day. The huts are rustic (bunkrooms with scratchy wool blankets, cold running water, no showers) but the food is great, especially at the end of a long hike. Meals are served family style in the mess hall with entertainment from the croo. High season rates at Lakes of the Clouds Hut (the highest, most alpine hut in the system) range from $116/adult non-member to $51/child (3-12) member. Keep in mind that the huts are run by a non-profit, so a for-profit outfit might have a different pricing structure.

    Several of the lower huts remain open during the winter on a self-service basis (caretaker in residence but no meals provided) catering to the nordic skiing and snowshoeing crowd. The alpine huts close for the winter, I suspect because the poor weather makes access to the huts too unreliable (average weather in January is 5.2F with 46 MPH wind, and half the time it’s worse than that). The alpine huts do not reopen until mid June, after the prime spring skiing season has past, which is a shame since the Madison, Lakes, and Greenleaf huts are in amazing ski-mountaineering terrain.

  66. Gentle Sasquatch November 9th, 2011 8:13 am

    Are you trying to say that the huts are affordable? For the record the child member price is $61. A family of 4 hiking the Presis would have to shell out $879 for 3 nights at the 3 huts. That’s after spending $75 for a yearly family membership to the AMC.

  67. Greg November 9th, 2011 8:46 am

    I was just reporting the price, not making a judgment on affordability. Weekend prices in July range from $139 to $61 as you indicated; the price range I quoted was for mid-week in July.

    Also, I see now that Lakes and Madison huts will be opening on June 1, still too late for prime skiing. Greenleaf is opening May 4 on a self service basis, which might offer some good skiing on Lafayette if we have a cool spring.

  68. Lou November 9th, 2011 8:47 am

    Gentle, let’s all agree that the word “affordable” is pretty ambiguous. Any hut or for that matter hotel or motel, or restaurant, is not going to be the expense level of choice for a given income class. A person chooses to dine out our cook their own dinner, or picks an expensive restaurant over a less expensive on, based on how they feel about what they’re spending. Just because not everyone can afford something, or doesn’t choose to, doesn’t make it wrong or patently “unaffordable.”

    More, I’ll guarantee that in any ski town there are plenty of people who find things to be expensive, who are still by discretion leading lives of fun and leisure that many would envy. Many do this by making financial sacrifices. Perhaps those folks woudn’t want to pay for a night in a hut’s luxury suit the same way they’d never buy a night at Aspen’s Little Nell Hotel, or might want to buy only one beer there instead of two. But that doesn’t make it wrong to build something incredible, and charge accordingly.

    More, amenities cost money to create, and have to charge accordingly. For example, it would be much cheaper to ski in Telluride if there were no ski lifts. That doesn’t make ski lifts wrong, and plenty of people figure out ways to get those lift tickets even if they’re not 1percenters (though many of us would like to see more populist pricing structures for things like ski lifts on public land.)

  69. Gentle Sasquatch November 9th, 2011 9:03 am

    Sure I agree Lou, but there are certain acceptable borders when paying for certain items. You would not pay $100 for a bagel even if it had gold chips in it would you? Staying in a hotel/motel for a family of 4 is going to cost on under $100 per night on average. When this number jumps to $300 (equivalent of 4 at the hut) then it moves from the affordable range for an average middle class family. More to the point is that paying $300 for a night in the wilderness is somewhat equivalent to paying $100 for a bagel. Add to that the knowledge that better equipped huts in the Alps are going to cost a family of 4 about $100 and you might understand where I am coming from.

    OTOH – the Presidentials in NH are within about an hours drive of about 70 million people and therefore the huts are generally packed on weekends – the AMC does not need to lower their prices to bring more business in.

    That’s all I am trying to say – that we are sometimes out of touch of what most working families can afford without with dignity 🙂

  70. Lou November 9th, 2011 9:11 am

    Ok Gentle, I get your point. But what if that bagel is made from local wheat, made by bakers who are paid a living wage for Telluride ($60/hour), the eggs are from free range chickens from a farmer who needs big bucks (6 times what eggs are at grocery store) to fight developer who wants to buy his land for a a mega-home, and the bagel is delivered to the store by a pricey plug-in hybrid delivery van with twice the monthly loan payments as a conventional vehicle? Would that bagel be worth more? To some folks it would.

    Likewise, a room in Bear Creek.

  71. Gentle Sasquatch November 9th, 2011 9:17 am

    I get that. However, an average middle class family of 4 can not afford $300/night outings no matter how much they want to support their local businesses. We all know how expensive the European Alpine countries could be yet they are getting it done for their folks, somehow…

    I hope this is not construed as whining. I am just saying that we’re not taking care of our people the way the other countries are. Somehow we are making them pay through their nose to a point when it is no more fun.

  72. Ron Curry November 9th, 2011 9:28 am

    Having just returned from a month in Europe let me assure you that Europeans, at all income levels are paying through the nose for everything and many, if not most of them, are getting very little for their money, especially if one considers the freedoms denied them. They don’t notice this too often, however, as they have never enjoyed liberty in the American sense of the word. They do, however, share a public appreciation for the mountains and do not consider thoughtful human use as an unholy intrusion.

  73. Lou November 9th, 2011 9:32 am

    We tend to look at the bright side of central European countries, and hold them up as shining examples. Yes, they are cool in so many ways. But the reality is complex and a dark side exists there as well (for example, massive crowds and air pollution in the Inn Valley, or youth riots in France). Two things that that really help with service economics in EU, in my opinion, are a quantum level difference in the number of customers for a given service, along with overall more leisure time. Those two things make it MUCH easier to run, say, a hut that’s less expensive. Basic math. Higher occupancy rate, less money required per occupant and still profit is made. Government and club subsidies enter in as well, but those can happen here as well.

    And yes, it sounds like those NE huts might have good occupancy rates but still have to charge pricey. Perhaps they would be even more expensive if they were used less? I don’t know. 10th Mountain Huts here in Colorado has pretty good rates for their basic huts owned by their non-profit ($30 night), and they bring in enough money for a large staff that basically provides guest services on the level of a hotel concierge desk. They could run on more of a shoestring and charge even less, but they get plenty of users at current rates, so they continue their excellent style.

    But still, let’s say you have a family of three who uses the same hotel room. Like we used to do when our son was young. We’d get a room that was, say, $90/night. Or we’d go to a hut that was $30/night per person. Not much difference in pricing, and the hotel had a hot shower and free breakfast. I always found that to be interesting, in terms of paying attention to mountain culture.

    Other social and economic factors also exist. I’m not Milton Freedman so I’ll not try to comment on those.

  74. gentle sasquatch November 9th, 2011 9:46 am

    30/night pp is about right for a night at a hut.

  75. Lou November 9th, 2011 9:53 am

    What if the hut has a hot tub with a view?

  76. Telluride Lawyer November 10th, 2011 4:31 pm

    Wildsnow clearly needs to do a little research. GHDC is not doing anyone a favor by not building a mega lodge. They haven’t proposed such a structure because they know San Miguel County High Country Zoning does not allow for such a use.

    Before writing such an article you probably should have included local activists and governments to get an accurate assessment of the situation. Otherwise, you are just in bed with Chapman.

  77. Susan November 10th, 2011 4:40 pm


    I am curious, if you built a cabin in Bear Creek would you allow the people who ski Bear Creek anyway to ski over your land to get there? As a frequent reader of the Telluride Daily Planet, it seems your MO at this point is to keep people from skiing in Bear Creek, no? Would your hut be available to the general public or just visitors paying to stay at your cabin?

    If you allowed skiers of Bear Creek access to your cabin for an afternoon snack and beer, then why are you pushing to have all the Bear Creek access gates closed so badly?

    One other question… this summer you advertised in the Telluride Daily Planet that you would have ‘armed guards’ in Bear Creek on your land throughout the summer, protecting your land? Why would you lie about something like this? I myself hiked into Bear Creek various time seeking these so called armed guards as well as other friends on carious occasions. NEVER did anyone ever see anyone on your land. Also of importance, you didn’t even have a private property sign up there indicating where your land is.

    If you have such great ideas for your land, why are you positioning yourself in the community as a villian?

    Just curious…

  78. Lou November 10th, 2011 4:44 pm

    Lawyer, you missed the word “perhaps.” I guess I won’t be hiring you to review any legal opinions. As for who I’m in bed with, I assure you it’s not Thomas Chapman.

  79. Ron Curry November 10th, 2011 4:56 pm

    We are, howerver, seriously researching the hut idea as our land is ideally suited for such use. To this end I spent a month in the Alps looking at various huts and interviewing those who own, manage and use them. The huts are well integrated into the environment and the Alpine tradition. They are also a great safety feature in periods of bad weather, etc.

    Regarding the County regs, the Tempter House, which hangs into Bear Creek is 1000 feet in elevation above us. This building is probably about 4500 square feet. Colorado law permits counties to create their own zoning ordinances as long as they are not arbitrary, capricious or discriminatory. In view of the Tempter House, the Alpino Vino and the Hillary Steps (not to mention the very imposing lifts 14 and 15), how would a denial of a permit for the construction of an Alpine hut, fully 1000 feet lower, be seen as anything but discriminatory?

    We have not yet applied for a building permit, true, but we will when we are ready.

  80. Ron Curry November 10th, 2011 5:06 pm

    We did post armed guards on our land, but not permanently. We stated that they would be there at random intervals, and they were.

    Relative to your questions about permitting skiing across our land, the property has been posted as have public notices. Trespassing is not permitted. If and when we build, we will then make the determinations as to who is welcome.

    Thanks for your questions.

  81. gentle sasquatch November 10th, 2011 5:38 pm

    LOU:Regarding to bedfellows

    Now I understand your post about the hot tub with a view 😉

  82. Scott Nelson November 10th, 2011 5:57 pm

    “included local activists and governments to get an accurate assessment of the situation”

    That would be the last place I’d turn to for “accurate” information. Government, really?

    I say that because I live in the Aspen area, and geez, the things this local government does over here, they can be so completely one-sided and biased. I can’t imagine Telluride being that much different.

  83. Lou November 10th, 2011 6:42 pm

    Gentle, at least someone gets it (grin).

  84. Lou November 14th, 2011 6:50 pm

    GHD says they have a 1,000 square foot use by right. If done with good design, utilizing outside deck spaces for example that don’t count to the 1,000 (assuming I’m correct about that), they could probably do a pretty cool hut under that restraint. But a small variance based on existing industrial tourism in the area would not be far fetched, especially if they present a design that blends with the landscape, as could easily be accomplished using local stone and such. As this progresses, it will be interesting to watch, as I wonder how much a Colorado mountain government can support hut business that’s somewhere between a ski resort and a 10th Mountain Hut.

    More, if they mine up there, doesn’t that allow them more use-by-right in terms of structures and such? Talk about law of unintended consequences, I’d be both amused and appalled if GHD actually proposed an awesome hut, got shot down, then started mining up there. Wow. More, a small scale hard-rock mining operation would not be incompatible with a hut. Believe it or not, there is such an operation in the middle of a ski run on Aspen Mountain. Doesn’t seem to bother anyone…

  85. Ron Curry November 15th, 2011 8:13 pm

    Thank you, Lou, for hosting this conversation. We have enjoyed hearing from everyone who Invested the time and the interest to convey their thoughts. Certainly there is an element or two of controversy involved in the Bear Creek story. In the final analysis it is the owner who must make the decision about how to proceed. We see the future of this parcel of land in much the same way as Senator Udall sees land use on Colorado’s ski slopes, in that multiple uses, seasonally appropriate, are economically harmonious. I would be grateful to hear the views of anyone else who wishes to participate in the conversation. No one has a monopoly on good ideas.

  86. faceplantz November 22nd, 2011 4:54 pm

    I just stumbled on this discussion and have to chime in. If you are not familiar withTom Chapman and his cronies, google him (example: ) It reminds me of the Free Hunter Creek deal with the McCloskey house up there in Aspen back in the late 80’s. Because of Tom Chapman, Telluride grassroots got together to form the Sheep Mountain Alliance (named for closest peak to where Chapman traded his West Elks inholding for an Alta Lakes parcel the the USFS undervalued by a factor of ten!) I understand the sanctity of land rights in this country. I own a house and raw land in San Miguel County.Although my land is not an inholding, it is within a half mile of the Sneffels wilderness. Hikers, elk hunters and occaisional skiers wander across my property, which can be accessed off of the Alder Creek Trail (which is part of the San Juan Hut System). If I whined to the Forest Service about it do you think there is any way I could get them to close that trail? No. In fact, in Colorado if you want to keep LIVESTOCK off of your land, its your responsibility to fence them out! After years and years of discussion between Telski and the USFS, the Telluride Mountain Club got some backcountry gates off the ski area into Bear Creek. As a 25 year local and infrequent Bear Creek skier , hiker and biker, it was kind of surprising to see the USFS close access off to miles and miles of backcountry because of one landowners request. Don’t let Mr Curry and Chapman snow you with their aw shucks we just want to build a little hut nonsense. Their past record speaks loud and clear of their greedhead intentions.

  87. faceplantz November 22nd, 2011 4:59 pm

    Sorry above link just gets you to Denver Post. Enter 15058325 into the search field

  88. Ron Curry November 22nd, 2011 8:32 pm

    The same federal appraiser created the appraisals for both the West Elk parcel and the Alta Lakes parcel. Each appraised for $640,000. If the Alta Lakes parcel was improperly appraised, what are the chances that the West Elk parcel was also improperly appraised? If both were improperly appraised, how and why? Is this Tom Chapman’s fault? Were you aware that it was the US Forest Service that initiated this exchange and that offered up the Alta Lakes parcel?

    The Forest Service will not close the trail that crosses your land, but you can if you wish. If there is no public easement, you will be within your rights to post your land against trespassing.

    The Forest Service closed the access gates at the insistence of multiple Bear Creek landowners who, for years, demanded that that their respective lands not be used to advance the commercial interests of certain entities which had been using these lands nonpermisively. These lands were and are posted.

    Tom and I are private property rights advocates. If those with opposing ideological designs choose to frame our activities in terms of greed, they are not just sorely mistaken, they are illuminating their own variety of greed; the kind of greed that says, “what’s yours is mine”.

    Mr. Faceplantz, don’t be snowed by those who would violate your rights in a heartbeat if it served their selfish interests.

    BTW, we don’t really want to build a little hut. We want to build a big one.

  89. Lou November 23rd, 2011 8:32 am

    To put it in more general terms, I’ve learned a ton about remote land appraisal and land exchanges over the past couple of years. The slant the media puts on this stuff is usually pretty skewed one direction or another.

    If you talk to directly to the people involved or who work on these things, what really goes on is quite interesting, and disabuses one of many of the “greed” theories, though it’s a given that private parties involved will usually be looking to make a profit or increase their value in some way. Which is generally how the whole world runs, so it always amazes me when people appear to not understand it when that goes on.

    For those of you who think I’m “in bed” with the Chapmans of the world, let me assure you they are not the only people I’ve spoken with about these sorts of things.

    What’s weird to me is that we throw the word “greed” around in such a spiteful and ignorant way. I mean, don’t most people want more?

    Take the Occupy movement for example. They are all obviously well fed, and quite healthy in comparison to say, a truly poverty stricken population such as that in Somalia. Nonetheless, they still want more. Is that greed? To me it is not, it is just a basic human motivation and can be directed in many positive ways. Indeed, those who support the Occupy movement are acknowledging exactly that, that the human want for “more” is motivation behind something positive, in their case the redistribution of wealth and the end to government meddling in things such as ethanol subsidies that spend our tax money on questionable stuff that benefits big corporations. (At least, that’s the kind of stuff I hope the Occupy folks want to nix, though I have to admit I’m a bit uncertain as to their exact goals).

    As for the USFS, in most cases what they do is guided by strict laws and rules. In many cases they can’t just make arbitrary decisions (though they do). For example, they can’t advocate people using private land that’s posted. So it was a no brainer for them to have removed the Bear Creek access gates. But yes there is a gray area to the gate issue up there, in that the gates they redid initially dump people to public land, so what if any detriment those gates are to the property owner might be up to the courts to decide.

    At any rate, getting back to the greed thing. In the case of GHD, bringing up the “greedhead” name calling just debases the discussion and makes those who do the name calling look less intelligent.

    I’d suggest that if any of you guys want to make progress in solving the Bear Creek situation, you simply present the facts and try to come up with a cognizant argument about why and how the property owners should be forced to allow the public on to their land when they don’t want that. Beyond that, either work with the property owners to do something mutually beneficial, or buy them out.

    As for me, I’m a recreation advocate. I’ve been appalled for years at the constant posting and closure of private land in Colorado that blocks access to public land. I don’t like that there is land in Bear Creek that does that.

    But I’m not going to sit around shouting “greedhead” and rocking bumper stickers as if those things are going to solve the problem

    Instead, for example, I’m here to help property owners identify appropriate easements, which I’ve done. I’m here to write letters witnessing historical use of an easement, which I’ve done (though doing so is not as effective as mythology would indicate). And I’m here to say that one of the best solutions to all this is to make it worthwhile somehow for the property owner to provide public access, either through land exchanges, or some sort of development which makes public access to the land financially beneficial to the owner.

    As for Faceplant’s land in particular, letting hikers or hunters cross it is what’s done with probably 99% of the zillions of such inholdings in Colorado. Due to good intentions on the part of the owner, or simply the fact that posting and enforcing closure of such land is often impractical or downright impossible.

    But let’s think it through. What if I wanted to go down there and drive my Jeep around on his land? Or sight in my rifle, by mistake in the direction of those hikers? Or perhaps I had a very lucrative sight seeing guide service I ran for wealthy Telluride visitors, and there was one spot on Faceplant’s land where we got absolutely the best views. So I decided to take 900 people a year to that spot, and charge them for it. In that case, I’d be very appreciative of Faceplant’s generosity. I’d be especially glad he had such good liability insurance and the financial security to easily deal with lawyer type events if one of my sight seeing clients fell and cracked their head open.

    So you all see? This stuff is not just “wah wah let us on to your land because you should and you’re a greedhead.” It’s a lot more nuanced than that.

    The idea of getting to know GHD and doing these posts is exactly that, to get beyond bumper stickers and name calling.

    As for what GHD finally does up there, I am not a mind reader. And neither are you guys. But you can look at past things and it’s fair to extrapolate. The GHD principles have developed some inholdings. So, yep, there is a good chance they’ll try to develop their Bear Creek property. Ok. Ok. Is it rocket science to come up with that conclusion?

    So, with that out of the way, will they do a development that helps with public ski access, or doesn’t? That is an unknown. But hey, gad zooks, at least GHD has informally proposed something that might! If through continued inaction and hate you guys fail to grasp this opportunity, perhaps GHD will just open a mine, or somehow sell the property for a ton of money to a land trust. I guess since virtually all the land in Telluride has a mining heritage, the mine option could be good, but wouldn’t a public skiing amenity be better? Or, just a purchase of the land for a ton of money, resulting in it being made part of the public commons?

  90. faceplantz November 23rd, 2011 8:34 am

    Hmmmm.. so you bought a narrow string of mining claims, with the exclusion of others that just happen to form a choke point across lower Bear Creek with the intention of building a Mc Hut? Great building site, taking into account avalanche mitigation, access for building materials, etc. (sarcasm intended)

  91. Lou November 23rd, 2011 8:45 am

    Faceplantz, where are you coming from on this? I don’t get it. Is there something wrong with folks who take on challenges? More, some of the GHD associated folks have already built on an inholding by using helicopter access, didn’t you know that? And huts all over the world are built in such sites.

  92. ron curry November 23rd, 2011 11:21 am

    The group of mining claims (113 acres of surface and mineral rights) GHDC purchased in upper Bear Creek were assembled in that configuration over 100 years ago. This group of claims had been for sale for 13 years before GHDC purchased it. We purchased this property before the Forest Service announced the opening of the access gates to which Mr. Faceplantz refers. There is zero avalanche danger on the central parcel.

    We purchased the land for our own purpose, which is to exercise its highest and best value(s). We have multiple options available to us, one of which is to build a high quality Alpine style hut that would serve an obvious need and add value to our investment. We might even hire people to make beds and make coffee and to draw tall and frothy flagons of ale or weissbier to slake the thirst of those who invested the wherewithal to be there. This might even serve to enrich the community’s coffers. Is there something wrong with this?

    Until such time as we have made a determination regarding which way to proceed, we ask that those who once used this land without consideration of the rights of the landowner to please respect those rights, henceforth. Is this too much to ask?

  93. faceplantz November 24th, 2011 9:06 am

    To Lou, Ron, GHDC and anyone else on this forum I may have offended,
    I apologize for using the term “greedhead” . You are right, this is civil discourse and name calling has no place. I am certainly not justified in throwing stones as I am as guilty as anyone in the greed category if not in the monetary realm as much as the untracked powder, uncrowded trails and solitude lust I salaciously seek.
    I guess I’m not as optimistic as you are about their property ending up in any sort of public realm. The money, which of course is what this is all about, just ain’t there. The Tempter House Ron refers to is owned by the ski area and is a huge white elephant that rents out for the occaisional wedding or soiree. The last 3 hotels built in Telluride went through foreclosure, were bought for pennies on the dollar and are being sold room by room. Which of course leaves private homes. Ron is mighty proud of the fact that he has the only luxury home located in a National Park. So I’m guessing private luxury home. Or at best, private lodge not unlike a fishing lodge with it’s own closed-to-the-public section of river.
    That being said, do you know how many of these huge, vacant, lit up and heated year round places there are already in this region? That is why the county came up with is High Alpine Development zoning. Those commissioners have all been re-elected. I voted for them and agree with them as does the majority of the electorate. Our track record in Telluride is great riding on the heels of condemning and acquiring the Valley Floor (500+ acres at the entrance of town) for open space and recreation. The area below GHDC’ s land was bought and turned into a preserve.
    So, GHDC could have a Scrooge epiphany and grant an easement(doubtful); develop a public /private hut and have it be lucrative in a horrible economy (possible); build a private luxury home (likely) or, and this is just my opinion and a wild-ass guess: say they are going to do something so distasteful to the majority of Telluride and San Miguel county that some entity ponies up and pays the highest price GHDC can get on it’s investment. There is absolutely nothing illegal about it. There is probably a name for getting the highest monetary gain by threatening to do something and then getting paid not to do it. But no name calling here…

  94. Lou November 24th, 2011 9:09 am

    Ok Face, fair enough, the whole idea is to get your opinion out there and do it in a way that’s not just venting. Good job.

  95. Ron Curry November 25th, 2011 12:51 pm

    Mr. Faceplantz, thank you for your courtesy.

    I am not considering building anything like the Tempter House, nor using it in like manner. I do not plan to build a giant luxury hotel, the likes of which have recently failed in the immediate neighborhood. I am giving serious thought to importing a grand Alpine tradition, that being a multi-purpose hut containing several cozy, if not luxurious, suites and bedrooms, as well as a year-around, publicly accessible shelter for those who run afoul of the weather. Of course, food and beverage service completes the picture.

    You are familiar with the spot. Is it not breath-taking? Wouldn’t you happily seat yourself on the sunny deck and enjoy a Schnitzel with Kartofelsalad and a Weissbier while taking in views of the San Joaquin Massif and T-12?

    Imagine, too, being able to ski in upper Bear Creek well before the Telluride ski area lifts open, and long after they have closed for the season. I do not need to tell you how good the snow is in the upper basin, right?

    Are there issues to be dealt with prior to this becoming a reality? Of course. Will this have to approved by the county? It all depends on size and whether or not their decisions are in concert or contrast to previous decisions which have lead to the construction of the Tempter House, the Alpino Vino and the Hillary Steps, not to mention lift 15. All of these are 1000 feet above the parcel on which I plan to build. So much for High Country Zoning.

    I appreciate the acknowledgment that your tendencies toward greedy behavior have lead you to trespass on GHDC property, as well as many hundreds of other privately owned acres in Bear Creek. While you and other members of the public may erroneously believe that you have a right to do so, you do not.

    The public has no rights. Individuals have rights. The public is legally obligated to honor, protect and defend the rights of the individual. The individual does have an obligation to follow the law, however. If it is OK to trespass on GHDC land then it must be OK to trespass anywhere else, including your land and the private offices of ski corporation executives or Forest Service personnel. Where do we stop if we, as a culture, continue to travel down this road? May I suggest that you enter the name of Martin Niemoeller in your search engine if you are sincerely interested in where this kind of journey ultimately ends.

  96. faceplantz November 26th, 2011 10:01 am

    Mr. Curry, You paint quite a rosy picture. A couple of things. You’re assumption that I trespassed on your land is incorrect. I have not skied it since you bought it, not because of your land gate, but because I have teenagers and while I’m still in charge of them we don’t duck any ropes.
    Both the Tempter house and Alpino vino were built by private individuals and later sold toTtelski before the High Alpine Zoning rules were in effect.
    Your promise of skiing upper Bear Creek from October to June sounds great- What, Helicopters ,snowcats? Sounds spendy. I can already ski it from Ophir I guess, just a bit of a trudge back to the car.
    I tried to plow through your Niemoeller assignment, got a little bogged down. Freedom of religion, rights of the State, ending up in a concentration camp? Which one was the take home lesson? I heard you were on a trip to Europe, enjoying the schnitzels and kurtufesalads. Great the way you can ski off-piste and right into town, no matter who owns the land, isn’t it?
    It is great you are given this forum and the benefit of the doubt… i just doubt the benefits.

  97. Ron Curry November 26th, 2011 12:11 pm

    If you like the idea, please tell the people for whom you voted. You might remind the County Commissioners that Lift 15, the Hillary Steps and the ridge line highway from 15 to Palmyra, is all post HCA zoning. If you do not like the idea, I respect your choice. Thank you, Mr. Faceplantz, for demonstrating correct principals for your children to observe. Lastly, I apologize for improperly inferring that you had trespassed.

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