The Snow King Ski Area in Jackson plans to build new infrastructure for outdoor activities, including a new gondola to the top of the mountain where visitors can access a new beginner slope.
In the summer, the gondola would also allow access to planned downhill mountain bike trails and a zipline. The expansion is estimated to cost $26 million.
The proposal will still need to be vetted by the city and Bridger-Teton National Forest. Some stakeholders have concerns about the project because it will take up land that is currently a public park and require building a maintenance road up the mountain.
Snow King General Manager Ryan Stanley said by adding summer activities, the park will be able to bring in revenue in the warmer months.
“Really at the end of the day the reason for this project is to try and make Snow King Ski Area better, from improved hiking trailers, improved lift infrastructure, a nice restaurant,” Stanley said. “We’ve talked about having a planetarium and observatory on top of the mountain, which would potentially be the first of its kind in the united states.”
Stanley said that building the gondola landing in Phil Baux Park will allow better access for seniors and people with disabilities. He said the ski area has fallen behind its competition.
“For many decades it’s really struggled and been subsidized by the Snow King Hotel. We’re a small ski area and we haven’t made the modern upgrades in general that the other ski areas have made,” said Stanley.
Stanley says he hopes the upgrades will benefit residents as well as visitors.