Wyoming City Solidifies Support To Keep Hogadon Ski Area Alive; Bucks Trend
With a commitment to upgrading Hogadon Ski Area, the city of Casper, Wyo. appears to be bucking a recent trend that has many municipalities unable to bear the cost of operating a town ski hill.
Located about 15 minutes from downtown, the city-owned ski area has fallen into disrepair -- outdated snowmaking, ski lift issues, buildings in need of overhauls. So the city had developed a master plan that aims to bring Hogadon back to vitality within 5-6 years.
Skiers and ‘boarders will begin to see some changes for the 2013-2014 season. Two new snowmaking guns will be fired up to provide more dependable coverage, Alan Keiper, special facilities director for the city, told SnoCountry.com.
Also slated for this year is a 310-foot covered magic carpet in the beginner area that will help newbies get up the hill with less fear, he said.
In operation since 1958, the 600 vertical feet on Hogadon have typically been open about 90 days a season, and now averages 19,550 skier-days a year, according to the master plan. City planners believe a target of 32,400 skier-days is reasonable, if funding for improvements continue.
Initially, those upgrades will try to get more snow on the hill through improved snowmaking and water supplies. Also on the plans are a new maintenance and ski patrol building, a new lodge – the ski area is one of a few “upside-down” resorts with parking and base lodge on the top of the mountain – improved grooming equipment, new terrain park and a new chairlift.
All proposed improvements total nearly $12 million, according to the plan, but phasing has not been fully established, Keiper said.
Local media articles indicate strong support from skiers and riders, and cautious support from Casper policymakers.
A fire burned more than 15,000 acres on Casper Mountain in Sept. 2012, but there was no damage to the ski area.
Photo: Skiers at Hogadon Ski Area (Facebook)