Cuchara Mountain’s latest revival effort has failed. The Colorado Sun reported that Huerfano County commissioners ended their negotiations with Moss Adventures last week. The group, based out of Florida, had big plans for the site, including a magic carpet for beginner skiers and winter/summer tubers, upgrading two of the chairlifts, twelve two hundred-square foot tents across the land, an ice-skating rink, climbing walls, ziplines, luxury camping, Land Rover tours, an amphitheater, eco-farm, bike pump-track, converting the old ski patrol shack at the summit into an event space and classroom, canopy tours, and yurts. But the county, which had to approve the plans, became wary of the owners and their investors. Private landowners who neared the ski area spoke out against the ambitious plans, and some locals didn’t like a private company coming in and taking away public land that they can currently access for free. Huerfano County Administrator Carl Young said the following about the ending of negotiations:
“There were a bunch of reasons. As negotiations went on, we didn’t feel this was the right deal for the county. We also had, I guess I’ll call them personality conflicts between the Moss team and the county. We found interactions on social media we did not find encouraging. We want to stop now and revise our approach and try again in a couple of months. I think we can find someone else.”
Scrolling through Moss Adventure Facebook page, the company accused the county of changing the rules and keeping the negotiations out of the public eye as much as possible. Moss Adventures are now looking at other spots out west, including the abandoned Ski Rio Ski Area in New Mexico. Workers at the Cuchara Mountain Park voiced their frustration at the country, saying they’ve received no help from them. As pointed out in the prior Cuchara update, the current group restoring the mountain, the Cuchara Mountain Foundation, is bone dry cash-wise and needs additional funding to make their revival plans successful. Mike Moore, who has worked on reopening the ski resort for nearly the past twenty years, said the following about negotiations.
“Switching it over to the county was a big mistake. If we had kept it with the Cuchara Foundation, we would have a deal with the Moss Adventures group and we could have been up and running this winter. But the lawyers told us the county would be a better entity to own the park and we went with it and now the county is trying to figure out how to run a park and a ski area and they don’t have a clue, not a clue, what they are doing. We aren’t going to stop.
We’ve spent 17 years to get here and in another 17 years, I’ll be 92. We are making snow[They got twenty inches a couple of days ago]. We are gearing up for next season. Who knows what the county is doing, but we aren’t going to wait for them.”
What comes next is not certain. Moss Adventures said part of the reason the county ended negotiations was that a new company with millions in its pocket reached out to buy the ski resort. The county denied these claims and said the group that spoke out at one of the meetings lacked evidence that could finance such a revival effort. In the meantime, Mike Moore is gearing up Chair 4 to pass its state inspection soon. Hopefully, the county figures this out and lets the local community shred at their home mountain again. Image Credits: Colorado Sun, Skimap.org