There’s no joy among Beaver Creek, Colo. homeowners when it comes to Vail Resorts’ plan to develop what they term an “amusement complex” at the privately-owned base area of the Vail Valley resort.
The lawsuit includes 12 condominium owner groups, made up of hundreds of individual owners. It targets Vail Resorts, along with Eagle County, which approved the plan.
The original 1988 county-approved plan included an alpine slide, a staple at many ski resorts, including Vail Resorts-owned Breckenridge. However, a 1998 amendment to the plan deleted any reference to alpine coasters. Vail Resorts reportedly again floated a plan for an alpine coaster in 2006, but backed off when residents threatened a lawsuit. Now, it’s back.
Homeowners are concerned that a coaster installation might lead to more “amusement type” rides and are concerned about what that will do to their home values. The median listing price for homes adjacent to the slopes is $4.3 million.
“We don’t know where this will go. Will there be more roller coasters? Will there be a Ferris wheel? Where will it stop?” That’s what Barry Parker, vice president of the homeowner’s association told the Denver Post. “We are not against development. We are pro-Beaver Creek. We are pro-Colorado. We just want to protect and maintain the beauty of these very, very special outside environments.”
Parker said he believes Vail Resorts is “violating its own documents.” He said he couldn’t do anything to the exterior of his home without approval of the Design Review Board and “Vail doesn’t want to play by its own rules.”
However, Beaver Creek CEO Doug Lovell believes the homeowners groups are “totally mischaracterizing the forest flyer,” saying the ride is merely a “track through the woods and not a roller coaster.”
Parker said homeowners supported a project several years ago to add a children’s center with its own gondola and tubing center. In exchange, Parker said the resort company promised to find “a more suitable location” for the ride. That location is further up the mountain (“out of sight and out of sound”).
Online comments on the Denver Post article mostly took the side of Vail Resorts. One writer sneered: “The environment is ours because we are rich and powerful. We altered the environment to suit our needs and everybody else can just bugger off. We own this valley.”
Photo: Beaver Creek, Colo. summer (Beaver Creek)