Keystone reservoir would increase snowmaking |

Keystone reservoir would increase snowmaking

Courtesy of USFSThe dark outlines amid the striped, shaded area mark the spot where Keystone wants to build a reservoir for water that would be used for snowmaking.

KEYSTONE – Keystone Resort wants to build a reservoir that could more than double its snowmaking capabilities, especially at the beginning of winter recreation seasons.

The proposed 550-foot-long rock dam and six-acre reservoir would be visible to the east from the lower points of the Outpost Gondola.

The reservoir would hold 110 acre-feet of water – roughly 36 million gallons.

If the reservoir is approved by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and built, Keystone would be able to make snow at 10,000 gallons per minute instead of the current 4,000 gallons per minute, said resort spokesman Mike Lee.

Keystone recently submitted a proposal for the reservoir to the Forest Service.

Depending upon how environmental reviews go, the reservoir could be built for the 2005-06 or 2006-07 ski season.

If the permit is granted, Keystone would build a 550-foot-long, 40-foot-tall dam for a 19-foot-deep pond.

The resort would grade 13 acres for the six surface-acre reservoir, cutting down existing trees on site. Less than one-tenth of an acre of wetlands would be disturbed, said Mike Liu of the Dillon Ranger District.

“The snowmaking pond would not require additional water rights or an increase in the water diversion rate over current approved levels,” said Rick Newton, the district ranger.

Keystone owns 1,350 acre-feet of water rights on the Snake River.

County commissioners recently discussed Keystone’s pond proposal, wondering whether they would have any authority over the matter.

County attorney Jeff Huntley said the ponds would be subject to review by the commissioners.

Keystone also wants to bury an additional mile of sewer pipelines on forest land. Right now, the Mountain House uses a septic system and leach field.

The pipelines would transport wastewater to the Snake River Treatment Facility.

The sewer pipe installation would disturb an additional 2.4 acres of forest.

Reservoir water would flow downhill, thereby using less energy than pumping it uphill to snowmaking machines.

Other government regulations might apply to the proposed reservoir.

Public comment on the potential effects of the proposal are due to the USFS by March 15.

For information, check the planning section at, call Liu at (970) 262-3440 or e-mail

Christine McManus can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229 or at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.

For tax deductible donations, click here.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User