A group tasked with providing a fresh vision for the city of Casper’s well-worn Hogadon Ski Area unveiled a rough draft of what could be the facility’s new master plan at a public meeting on Wednesday.

Master plan proposals for the city-owned skiing and snowboarding facility include increased staffing, new lifts and new buildings with consolidated amenities. Emphasis was also placed on making the location friendlier for beginning skiers and snowboarders.

Melissa Butcher, a project manager overseeing the planning process, says important work must be done at Hogadon.

“We are recommending replacement of all the buildings at Hogadon – most of them are in excess of 30 years old, they’re in deteriorating condition and some of the buildings were built from the packing containers from the lifts,” Butcher said. “They really need to be replaced.”

Butcher says Hogadon has the potential to serve at least 30,000 to 35,000 users annually if the city improves the facility and alters its marketing strategies. The facility currently serves fewer than 20,000 skiers and snowboarders on a yearly basis.

Butcher also says Hogadon has the potential to be a year-round destination if certain aspects of the proposed master plan, like the new ski lodge, are given funding approval by Casper City Council.

“Nine months out of the year, right now, it sits,” Butcher said. “It could have hiking trails, it could have biking trails, and it could have a beautiful new lodge that people can have weddings and community events at.”

Butcher says vital, initial phase recommendations for the ski area total $6.4 million and include new magic carpet and fixed-grip chair lifts, new maintenance and lodge buildings and upgrades to Hogadon’s snow-making equipment. Operational costs would total $400,000.

Optional amenities could push the price tag to $8.4 million - operational costs would remain at $400,000. Options include the addition of a viewing deck and another chair lift.

The second phase includes an expanded trail system for hikers, the installation of a new electronic purchasing system and a new zip line attraction.

The plan, however, does not include an alpine slide, which was recommended by several of Hogadon's users. Butcher says the inclusion of an alpine slide, at this stage, would be too expensive for councilors to consider.

Casper City Council will review a final draft of the proposed master plan at a July 23 work session. The public comment period will end July 16.

The current draft of the proposed master plan can be viewed here.

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