Snow King Mountain Resort is proposing a significant expansion on US Forest Service, Town and private lands within Teton County. What role do you think the Town and County should play to ensure this proposed expansion aligns with our Comprehensive Plan?
Candidates for Mayor
Sara Flitner: The question in my mind is, “What role should the community play?” And it should play a big one. Snow King is at the center of our universe in town, and everyone loves it. I support efforts to keep the mountain sustainable, and I also know how sensitive people are to changes. Snow King is coordinating with the Town in terms of process, and I’d like to see them engage in a very robust community process to tease out what people really want to see in the future. I’d like to see conversations, not presentations, and I have complete faith that good outcomes would result. We need a clear vision of what we want the Town Hill to be in 10 or 20 years, and I don’t think we’ve had that conversation yet.town.
Pete Muldoon: The Forest Service has said it will consider the opinion of the Town and County during the expansion approval process. The T & C can’t just rubber stamp these proposals; it must ask for concessions and negotiate on behalf of our citizens. If we can’t find a way forward that benefits the community and advances its goals, the T&C should oppose the expansion.
Candidates for Town Council
Jessica Chambers: The Town and County must ensure the Comprehensive Plan is adhered to if and where possible. If we continue to make exceptions to the vision of the plan and our specified long-term objectives, what is the point of the Plan? I like the golden goose analogy: We have a goose that lays golden eggs; if we kill the goose that provides the egg, we will have no more eggs in the future.
Judd Grossman: The Town and County should advocate that the Forest Service restrict SKMR to the smallest expansion footprint necessary for viability, and make sure that a high priority is given to the preservation of the natural beauty of Snow King. The current expansion proposal is too big.
Hailey Morton Levinson: The Town Council recently had this as a topic of discussion at our public meeting. Snow King is a community asset and deserves community wide conversations. There is publicly owned town land at the base that we have direct influence over. Some expansion involves the US Forest Service lands. I want to see a collaborative process involving all parties so that the community feels heard and so that Snow King can continue to be a viable and sustainable asset to the community. That process may be all of us sitting in a room together or it may be keeping informed of individual processes; either way, the public should be involved and be heard.
Jim Stanford: We should reject expansion of Snow King Ski Area to the east and west to protect wildlife habitat. The town and county should re-examine the outdated master plan for the base area to make sure it is aligned with community needs and matches the vision for recreation on the mountain. I think Snow King should be a community ski area surrounded by a neighborhood, not a commercial amusement park.
Candidates for County Commission
Trey Davis: The Snow King Master Plan governs the goals for the Snow King Resort District, and the expansion to meet such goals, even if outside what was initially envisioned, can be successful and make sense if the Town and County keep it consistent with the current Comprehensive Plan and needs for the community today.
Greg Epstein: Primarily we need to enforce the current Comprehensive Plan and ensure that expansion doesn’t compromise the natural values of the BTNF or public enjoyment and access to these lands. I do believe that Snow King Resort is an important part of the Town of Jackson, and believe it can be developed in a way that aligns with the vision of our community.
Nikki Gill: As someone who learned how to ski on Snow King and was practically raised in the Snow King Sports and Events Center during my years of competitive figure skating and playing hockey, I support improvements to Snow King. Since the opening of the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, and throughout my whole life, Snow King Mountain Resort has struggled to survive. I’m supportive of any effort to keep our “Town Hill” in operation that aligns with the overall character of our community. Like many in Jackson I don’t want to see Snow King turn into an amusement park, but I also don’t want to see this incredible community resource go to waste. I believe there is way to make improvements and additions to the Snow King Mountain Resort that respects the history of the “Town Hill,” and also blends with the character of Jackson.
Natalia Macker: Teton County has a process in place regarding planning and development which includes opportunity for public comment as well as time for staff and elected officials to review the proposal alongside the Comprehensive Plan. This process includes the public while also ensuring each property owner is treated fairly. I believe that property owners need to go through the process.