Councilors Review Proposed Hogadon Ski Area Master Plan
Casper City Council reviewed the proposed master plan for the city-owned Hogadon Ski Area during a work session on Tuesday.
The first phase of the master plan includes the installation of a new magic carpet lift and fixed-grip chair lift, the construction of new maintenance and lodge buildings and the purchase of new, more efficient snow-making equipment that can work better in higher tempratures.
Mayor Kenyne Schlager says councilors are concerned about how ambitious the proposed master plan is. However, Schlager also says significant safety and amenity improvements are needed at Hogadon after several years of neglect.
“Really, what we need is time to take in the study, really go through it with a fine-toothed comb and have the opportunity to ask a few more questions before we make a decision,” Schlager said.
Schlager says councilors will have a tough decision ahead of them regarding whether it's best for the city to renovate, sell or close Hogadon.
“Financially, it’s a burden,” Schlager said. “But, the flip side of that is that it’s really a community asset for citizens (and it can) attract tourists and new people to live in our community.”
“I think the benefit of having Hogadon outweighs that financial burden,” Schlager said.
Structural and facility improvements included in the first phase of the master plan total $6.4 million. Optional amenities could push the price tag to $8.4 million.
The city would also incur an additional $400,000 in staff-related operational costs during implementation of the master plan's first phase.
The second phase, which includes $3.1 million in improvements, includes an expanded trail system for hikers, the implementation of an electronic purchasing system and the installation of a new zip line attraction.
The master plan also recommends that the city find some way to increase Hogadon’s water supply and to oversee another study by snowmaking professionals.
Melissa Butcher, a project manager who oversaw the creation of the draft master plan, says Hogadon has the potential to serve up to 35,000 skiers and snowboarders on a yearly basis if the city improves the ski area’s facilities and marketing strategies.
Hogadon currently serves fewer than 20,000 skiers and snowboarders annually.
Schlager says councilors will further discuss the proposed master plan at a future work session.
You can view a rough draft of the master plan here.