Lawsuit over Vail Resorts' planned roller coaster -- or is it an alpine slide?

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Big photo below.
When you've dropped two or five or ten million on that second or third home in one of the more desirable Colorado mountain resorts, there are a few items that you take for granted will not be next door. Walmarts, trailer parks and rendering plants are probably high on the list. But so are roller coasters -- which is why hundreds of riled-up, deeply invested Beaver Creek homeowners announced the filing of a lawsuit against Vail Resorts this week, alleging a long string of broken promises and scheming behind proposed construction of what critics are calling "amusement park rides" at the base of the ski area.

Seeking to maximize the area's year-round recreational potential, Vail Resorts has obtained approval to build a complex on the mountain in full view and earshot of Beaver Creek Village that would feature a ropes challenge course, a tubing course and something described as a "forest flyer," which backers describe as a kind of alpine slide -- albeit one with a mechanized system to carry customers upslope and capable of hurling 500 riders an hour along a half-mile of steel track. Homeowners call it a coaster and say that it will bring noise, blight and misery to the occupants of seven-figure homes located as close as 200 yards away from the course.

"You can put lipstick on a pig, and it's still a pig," says Chuck Montera, spokesman for the Beaver Creek Property Owners Association, which represents more than 700 households. "You can see it a mile away, and their plan is to operate it year-round."

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A larger view of the proposed "forest flyer."
Negotiations over the new attractions have been protracted and complex. According to Montera, Vail officials first approached the good burghers of Beaver Creek several years ago, seeking their support for federal legislation that would make it easier to develop amenities on nearby U.S. Forest Service land. But amusement parks aren't considered an acceptable use by the USFS, and homeowners felt betrayed when Vail Resorts announced it was proceeding with this particular project on land it already owned -- while carefully avoiding terminology such as "roller coaster," "amusement park" and "tourist trap."

"Why would it be okay to build this fifty feet above Beaver Creek Village but not on Forest Service land?" Montera asks.

The BCPOA complains that the ropes course would be situated on wetlands and that the forest flyer would not only wipe out hundreds of aspens but "would be visible to most homes in the valley, permanently altering the views of this pristine area." The group is also steamed that a children's ski school -- another development initially supported by the locals -- is now seeking a liquor license, suggesting that Vail Resorts plans to use the structure as a bar-and-grill for flyer riders in the summertime. The lawsuit contends that the developers are violating government regs as well as the resort's own development restrictions in the attempted "Elitchization" of Beaver Creek.

In a statement, Beaver Creek chief operating officer Doug Lovell responded that Vail Resorts had "dramatically revised" its plans for the attractions in response to local concerns and promised that the complex "will engage a broader group of kids from different income and diverse backgrounds at our premier resort."

Barry Parker, vice president of the BCPOA board, called the proposal "not a good fit and very off-brand for Beaver Creek."

More from our Business archive: "Photos: Five most expensive homes for sale in Vail."

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38 comments
v12tommy
v12tommy

I don't see the big deal. I think an alpine coaster would be great for Beaver Creek. They have one in Breck, and it is not a loud roller coaster. It is like an alpine slide, but better. It is smoother than an alpine slide, safer because you can't fly off the track, and quieter than an alpine slide as well. It also has it's own incline like a traditional roller coaster, so it is more convenient and smoother than a traditional alpine slide as well. Being a Beaver Creek resident myself, I think it is a great idea and I hope it gets built.


The whiny homeowners should just blow it out their a$$.



Also, here is a video I made of the one in Breck on opening day a few years ago. Keep in mind it is a bit louder and bumpier than it is now. Since it was opening day, there was a thin layer of ice that hadn't been knocked off yet from the constant traffic. http://youtu.be/kC5E_DmjYN4

Fred Kaplan
Fred Kaplan

From reading some of the quotes it appears that the attitude of some of the people can be interpereted as: I paid for the view and got what I wanted, so who cares about other people's employment opportunities, and area economic development. It is the same attitude of Mile High Stadium who wanted to preserve the view of the mountains for the fans WHILE THEY WERE ATTENDING A GAME. So NOTHING can be built west of the stadium that blocks the view, who says the rich don't rule.

Beth Harris
Beth Harris

Ugly and tacky. If it is public land, absolutely not.

Rob Bot
Rob Bot

It's a roller coaster for fucks sake. You people are no fun.

Sam Harper
Sam Harper

Fuck no. The mountains have already been destroyed by us, the last thing we nee dis a fucking roller coaster.

Nick McCollum
Nick McCollum

This whole amusement park sounds like a way to entertain people that dont know shit about being here. Southerners, Texans etc...

Nicole Mills
Nicole Mills

G-D NO! WHY THE HELL WOULD THEY WANT TOO ANYWAY?! ENOUGH WITH PEOPLE WANTING TO CHANGE THE FACE OF BEAUTIFUL NATURE FOR A FREAKING DOLLAR!

Clint Davis
Clint Davis

Can you jib anything there in the winter?

Patrick O'Reilly
Patrick O'Reilly

Perhaps after a full sale/auction of the underlying lands (by the Federal government, perhaps the most questionable of stewards in natural resources). Would they put up roller coasters if they owned the land? (odds of that are probably lower)

Scott Ingalsbe
Scott Ingalsbe

I'll also add that I'll never ride it. I'm much too hip and cool to even be caught dead in or near vail

LindaLee Law
LindaLee Law

Just more rich wanting even more of a playground for their rich snobs NO this does not belong here For shame on the developers who are in reality nothing but whore and pimps.

Ellen Kessler
Ellen Kessler

No. Disneyland is in Florida and California. We don't need one in Colorado.

Jeffrey Scott Matthes
Jeffrey Scott Matthes

Funny. It IS being build on Vails Land. Not ALL of the Beav is National Forest. The Proposed Flyer is suppose to be built, in the woods, above Highlands lift, and below Allies Cabin. Tho, I'd prefer it to cover the hill as projected in the photo.

Aaron Elam
Aaron Elam

Just like almost every other Colorado ski destination

Aaron Elam
Aaron Elam

Its not vails land or property. It is the National Forest Service land and they are leasing it.

Val Weitz
Val Weitz

It is tasteless and classless. But, is it really going to ruin the way too expensive for a freeway rest-stop atmosphere that is Vail? Now they just need to train wildelife to juggle and ride unicycles. Dance monkey, those tourists pay top dollar.

Tim Calahan
Tim Calahan

No, Vail Resort should not be allowed to biild this stupid roller coaster.

Karl Wurm
Karl Wurm

This what they get for not allowing the gondola to run all the way the main village. Ha Ha!

Dan Mason
Dan Mason

Sounds like NIMBY from the 1%, guess that association should make an offer on the land instead of being a bunch of cry babies.

Steve Holmberg
Steve Holmberg

Vail does NOT own the land! It is National Forest land belonging to ALL Americans. Bail only leases the land. So tied up in divisive politics that your common sense is missing!

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

It's their property, WHO the HELL do Democrats THINK they are to TRY and TELL VAIL what they can & can't do with their own land, unless it involves Building Nukes ???

Karen Erickson
Karen Erickson

Of course they should! It's only the rich bastards who won't allow anyone "near" property they don't even own. Build it and have a ball.

Blayne McMillan
Blayne McMillan

Maybe I'm just a big kid, but the thought of having a roller coaster in my backyard seems like a wonderful idea.

aspenlover
aspenlover

An alpine SLIDE is just that, a slide.  This is a roller coaster.  You can call it an alpine coaster, a forest flyer or, what it is, an abomination, but it is still a roller coaster by both definition in a dictionary and in the CO regulatory scheme. 

You can't perfume a pig. 

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