Tom Chapman’s plan for a ski area next to Telluride stirs locals |

Tom Chapman’s plan for a ski area next to Telluride stirs locals

Tom Chapman’s latest proposal for a ski area based from his mining claims in the upper Bear Creek drainage adjacent to the Telluride ski area has folks in the box canyon scratching their heads.

The controversial property-rights advocate – known for proposing developments to add value to remote mining parcels in pristine terrain – announced Friday plans to develop a 1,300-acre helicopter- and human-powered ski area in the steep terrain of the basin popular with backcountry skiers. Chapman partner Ron Curry said the duo has begun the formal permitting process to access Forest Service land surrounding the 103-acre belt of mining claims they acquired in 2010.

That’s news to local District Ranger Judy Schutza.

“He’s talked about it, but you can’t just talk to us about it or think about it or put an ad in the paper. That’s not a proposal. They need to give us something written. They really have not started the process,” she said.

A proposal is vetted before it becomes an application, Schutza said.

Part of the helicopter-skiing area Chapman is proposing is inside the permit for Telluride’s Helitrax helicopter-skiing operation.

“There would be an overlap there,” said Helitrax director Joe Shults, noting there are no overlapping helicopter permits on federal land in the Lower 48 states.

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