By Dom Nozzi
Eldora Ski Resort here in Boulder County, Colorado is preparing to commit a colossal yet still all-too-common blunder. After getting furious, enraged pushback last year when the Resort proposed to charge for existing parking (which, as an aside, is exactly the correct tool for managing their parking), the Resort was just given unanimous approval from the County Planning Board to install approximately 800 new “free” spaces at the Resort — which will require the clearing of about six acres of forest (assuming 325 square feet of parking lot per space).
This new parking would be in addition to the existing large parking lot, as well as at least one overflow parking lot.
This additional parking will result in more air emissions in the region (undercutting climate change reduction efforts by our community), cause a lot of forest removal (which will aggravate stormwater pollution, erosion, and flooding), increase “heat island” problems, increase the number of single-occupant vehicles driving through Nederland and to the Resort, increase congestion in Nederland and the length of the backup of cars trying to enter the Resort on popular snow days, reduce the number of carpoolers, reduce the number of transit users, and increase the need for shuttle buses at the Resort.
As an aside, I should note that for decades, whenever the Resort planned to engage in various modest expansions of recreation areas on their property (or any action that might increase the volume of cars in the nearby town of Nederland), they almost invariably got strong opposition. But in this case, the prospect of a six-acre asphalt parking lot replacing a forest is met with a consensus of happy, enthusiastic support.
I should also note that the Resort imposes an indirect tax on those who ride the bus to the Resort. In addition to the hefty charge for a bus ticket, bus riders usually have to pay for a locker to store their non-ski items while skiing — unlike motorists, who are able to use their car as a storage locker.