Own Land Near a Ski Area? Look out and be nice! (June 23, 2005)

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | June 23, 2005      

San Juan County, Colorado commissioners recently voted unanimously to condemn property near the controversial Silverton Ski Area. The stated reason for the condemnation, according to a Durango Herald article, is that property owner Jim Jackson made it difficult to perform avalanche control work necessary for public safety on a public road.

It’s no secret that Jackson was in the habit of whining about skiers trespassing on his property, and locals were getting tired of hearing about it — especially as it began to appear that the new ski area might be experiencing a modicum of success — or at least providing something amusing in a town where previous winters harkened to the isolation of places like Barrow, Alaska (only without an airport).

Thus, this appears to be a case of Jackson pushing a bit too hard against something that’s popular (including his bringing a lawsuit). Why he couldn’t be more accommodating is a mystery; perhaps he was hoping for condemnation and the automatic sale at “market value” that would ensue. Indeed, the hodge of steep avalanche terrain and mining claims that comprises Jackson’s property didn’t appear to have much development potential — other than skiing.

Adding more interest to the situation, today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that local governments have broad power to take over private property to make way for private development that is claimed to have some sort of public benefit.

Socialists and trusters of government “wisdom” may applaud all the above, but caution is advised. Much of our country’s economic success (which all we “public” benefit from, no matter our political viewpoints) is based on private property rights, and erosion of such is cause for concern. As a recreation advocate I’m of course happy to see government support of Silverton Ski Area’s needs, but could my house be condemned because it’s in the way of a cool skate park that’s being built, or a shopping mall, or a new ski area? Prior to today I would have laughed at this assertion, but now I’m not so sure.

One thing is certain, Colorado’s big government mountain towns like Aspen and Boulder will probably celebrate all this in the streets. If they don’t like what’s going on with some private property, it’s easier than ever for them to simply condemn it and take control. Aspen needs more million dollar employee housing units? Condemn the Hotel Jerome and convert it into price controlled condos for “public benefit.” Boulder wants more places to shop for hemp clothing? Condemn a few houses and turn them into stores (ahh, I can already smell the patchouli oil). Vail wants a bigger ski area? Grab some property. And on.


Please Enjoy A Few Suggested WildSnow Posts


  Your Comments

  Recent Posts

Facebook Twitter Email Instagram Youtube


  • Blogroll & Links

  • Welcome to Louis (Lou) Dawson's backcountry skiing information & opinion website. Lou's passion for the past 50 years has been alpinism, climbing, mountaineering and skiing -- along with all manner of outdoor recreation. He has authored numerous books and articles about ski touring and is well known as the first person to ski down all 54 of Colorado's 14,000-foot peaks, otherwise known as the Fourteeners! Books and free ski touring news and information here.

    All material on this website is copyrighted, the name WildSnow is trademarked, permission required for reproduction (electronic or otherwise) and display on other websites. PLEASE SEE OUR COPYRIGHT and TRADEMARK INFORMATION.

    We include "affiliate sales" links with most of our blog posts. This means we receive a percentage of a sale if you click over from our site (at no cost to you). None of our affiliate commission links are direct relationships with specific gear companies or shopping carts, instead we remain removed by using a third party who manages all our affiliate sales and relationships. We also sell display "banner" advertising, in this case our relationships are closer to the companies who advertise, but our display advertising income is carefully separated financially and editorially from our blog content, over which we always maintain 100% editorial control -- we make this clear during every advertising deal we work out. Please also notice we do the occasional "sponsored" post, these are under similar financial arrangements as our banner advertising, only the banner or other type of reference to a company are included in the blog post, simply to show they provided financial support to WildSnow.com and provide them with advertising in return. Unlike most other "sponsored content" you find on the internet, our sponsored posts are entirely under our editorial control and created by WildSnow specific writers.See our full disclosures here.

    Backcountry skiing is dangerous. You may be killed or severely injured if you do any form of ski mountaineering, skimo randonnee and randonnée skiing. The information and news on this website is intended only as general information. Due to human error and passing time, the information, text and images contained within this website may be inaccurate, false, or out-of-date. By using, reading or viewing the information provided on this website, you agree to absolve the owners of Wild Snow as well as content contributors of any liability for injuries or losses incurred while using such information. Furthermore, you agree to use any of this website's information, maps, photos, or binding mounting instructions templates at your own risk, and waive Wild Snow owners and contributors of liability for use of said items for ski touring or any other use.

    Switch To Mobile Version