Roller Coaster at Sandia Ski Area- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Roller Coaster at Sandia Ski Area

    Hey folks.

    Not sure if this has already been discussed but the FS is asking for public comment regarding buiding a privately-owned roller coaster on public land at the Sandia Peak Ski Area. This would totally affect 10k and Golden Eagle trails, and perhaps others as well. We already have a roller coaster in town and we don't need another affecting the trails. Here is the link for comment: https://cara.ecosystem-management.or...?Project=56985

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benjah View Post
    Hey folks.

    Not sure if this has already been discussed but the FS is asking for public comment regarding buiding a privately-owned roller coaster on public land at the Sandia Peak Ski Area. This would totally affect 10k and Golden Eagle trails, and perhaps others as well. We already have a roller coaster in town and we don't need another affecting the trails. Here is the link for comment: https://cara.ecosystem-management.or...?Project=56985
    I would love for Sandia to have more trails, and if a flippin roller coaster is what the organization needs to bring in money to start upgrades, I'll support it.

    I see Sandia peak as an under utilized resource. The current two trails aren't enough to make it a destination.

    I'm ignorant on the long term plan, so I have no idea of the future of Sandia but two user maintained trails on that mountain isn't enough to attract users. If the coaster brings revenue and people, it would be worth it. They can't cut off the ski area, so it would only be two trails that would need re-routes. If the coaster goes in, we just need people to help with the re-routes. That would be win-win.

    https://sandiapeak.com/future-mountain-coaster/

    How would the existing skiing, biking and hiking trails be affected?

    Robís Run and a small portion of Fredís Run would be closed for skiing as well as the upper headwall of Inhibition.

    4 to 5 switchbacks of the Golden Eagle mountain bike trail would be rerouted to accommodate the coaster.

    The coaster would not affect the 10K Trail, King of the Mountain Trail or South Crest Trail.

  3. #3
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    Seems like they're thinking of putting a roller coaster on the wrong side of the mountain

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    I don't think that any of the funds raised would go to the trails, which arent just user maintained--they would go to the developers and owners. And it sets the precedent that if you develop one area, why not another, Besides, development is precisely what has brought us to this point in world history where there are rampant wildfires and other extreme weather conditions due to man-made climate change (just look at the weather over the last 72 hours here). We need to think of outdoor wild-life habitats not as a commodity to develop but ones to preserve. I don't know if you've noticed all of the out-of-state licence plates from people trying to flee Covid hot-spots, they are coming here and buying properties and soon this place will be like California. What makes New Mexico special is that it is an amazingly beautiful and largely preserved geography. Why anyone would want to upend that is foreign to me. And yes, there is a ski lift structure built as it is obviously a ski area, which I consider a carbon-neutral, natural activity. Building a mountain coaster will be far more invasive and hideos to look at. Deer and other wildlife will absolutely stay away. The ski area is the one place where I am consistently able to ride among deer and I would hate to see that go. Moreover if anyone believes that vacationers will decide to come to NM to ride a mountain coaster are mistaken. What brings people here are unspoiled natural lands. We need to protect that. Also, there are a lot more than two trails in the Sandias but the ones i mentioned will probably be the ones most affected and I can't image how you could re-route those trails as they repeatedly traverse the mountain. Its one of the few screaming decents around. What mtb'er would want to see that go?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benjah View Post
    I don't think that any of the funds raised would go to the trails, which arent just user maintained--they would go to the developers and owners. And it sets the precedent that if you develop one area, why not another, Besides, development is precisely what has brought us to this point in world history where there are rampant wildfires and other extreme weather conditions due to man-made climate change (just look at the weather over the last 72 hours here). We need to think of outdoor wild-life habitats not as a commodity to develop but ones to preserve. I don't know if you've noticed all of the out-of-state licence plates from people trying to flee Covid hot-spots, they are coming here and buying properties and soon this place will be like California. What makes New Mexico special is that it is an amazingly beautiful and largely preserved geography. Why anyone would want to upend that is foreign to me. And yes, there is a ski lift structure built as it is obviously a ski area, which I consider a carbon-neutral, natural activity. Building a mountain coaster will be far more invasive and hideos to look at. Deer and other wildlife will absolutely stay away. The ski area is the one place where I am consistently able to ride among deer and I would hate to see that go. Moreover if anyone believes that vacationers will decide to come to NM to ride a mountain coaster are mistaken. What brings people here are unspoiled natural lands. We need to protect that. Also, there are a lot more than two trails in the Sandias but the ones i mentioned will probably be the ones most affected and I can't image how you could re-route those trails as they repeatedly traverse the mountain. Its one of the few screaming decents around. What mtb'er would want to see that go?
    I think you are ill informed and your speaking from emotion rather than reality.

    I posted a link, which you obviously didn't take the time to follow and learn. The coaster only impacts the top part of the golden trail, and re-routes for golden are planned.
    I made the comment about user maintained trails because my understanding is that is the case for the last two years since Sandia is not open in the summer. I have heard (maybe incorrectly) that it is mostly users who clean the deadfall in the spring. To me that ius user maintained.

    the last time I rode a summer lift at Sandia, the majority of riders were there for the lift. Mountain bikes were the minority. That tells me there is a draw outside of mountain biking. I know my wife will never ride a bike on that mountain, she may ride the coaster. It's not all a bout out of townees, it's about using an underutilized resource.

    Frankly, I don't care about the deer. I live in the east mountains and we have an over population of deer.

    Anti-growth attitudes are the reason NM is so poor. I hate golf, but people seem really excited for top golf, and I'm an ass for saying it's a blight on our city and unwelcome.

  6. #6
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    I am really sorry man. I thought that this was a mountain bike forum. Yeah I read the info from the forest service website after I posted this thread. Altering the switch-backs on Golden Eagle will totally suck but you wouldnt know that because you haven't ridden it in forever. And you said it--shit you admitted you don't even care about wildlife because you are privileged enough to see deer regullarly so it doesn't matter if the rest of us get to see them. Development is a scourge. Look at California right now. Anti-development attitudes run deep her because of centuries of colonization and land grabs. That's why there is anti-development attitudes here but that is exactly why New Mexico is so pristine. Again what NM has that is rich and will attract tourists is our outdoors. No one is gonna plan a trip around a mountain coaster. The mountain isn't under-utilized either. There are always people out there but I bet less so once there is an amusment park ride overhead. I know I'll be less inclinded. NM is poor because of mismanagement, not lack of develoment. There was a report that came out sometime ago that said coruption and an over-dependance on oil and gas, which boom and bust, are to blame for poverty here. Development has taken place all throughout Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and now Santilina and neither has delivered us from poverty . . . So how will a mountain coaster help? Look--I am speaking from emotion right now. That mountain means everything to me. My blood has mixed with that soil over and over. It has tried to kill me more than once and yet I will always love it. However I will become the most informed mofo out there because I intend to stop it because here is why. This quote is from the bike racers listserv and I think it is instructive.

    "I have worked at Purgatory resort in July for most of the past 11 summers. Development and tourism have bred more development and tourism and sadly, traffic. 11 years ago I would ride from Durango to Silverton, or even Ouray, but not today. Once past Purgatory resort the constant stream of traffic in both directions and narrow roads make it a less than wonderful experience. 11 summers ago I would carry bear spray on my 6 am runs from the resort. Now, I just have to be mindful of the constant traffic: campers, motor homes, construction trucks and commuters traveling to Silverton or Durango.
    I can't see the benefit to cyclists of even more development and tourism to the area. Four years ago I encountered a bear at the four mile marker while riding solo up to the Crest. It would be nice to continue to have those experiences. I think I already encounter enough vehicular traffic.

    Aaro Paavo Heinonen"

  7. #7
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    ^^^ These points are great. I was in Durango a couple decades ago for a summer, that's where I really began to love mountain biking - bought a $90 hardtail from one of the shops and spent every day for a month riding the testing trails, CT, Hogsback etc. The modern development in La Plata County had already been established, but wasn't near the point it has become. I saw bears and other wildlife regularly, almost hit a bear cub riding down what's now Valentine Drive one night, it jumped out from the road a good 15 feet, fully extended and took off into the woods, which are now gone and been replaced with kit homes. When the ski area opened for summer I worked the lifts and camped on NF lands for a couple months, used to ride north towards Coal Bank Pass and back after our day shifts, it was rad. Very little traffic. Clear roads. Then there was even motivational Yoda quotes painted on the roads for bikers. It was still Colorado, not the modern, faux-glamorous insta-g fantasyland destination it's now become. I've been up there a few times since and the difference is noticeable. A few months camping there another summer, about a decade ago, spent a lot of time around Molas and wouldn't trust riding that highway anymore, it's just not safe 'cause there's more traffic, more ignorance behind the steering wheels, and a general disrespect towards cyclists has come along with that.

    After that summer I was riding and working around Durango and Purg I continued north to Summit County, and spent five years working at Copper Mountain, then a year at Keystone before setting back to Taos. At Copper I was on the crew that built the Elk Alley trail then the next year led the crew that built Fat Marmot, each a lift-served mtb trail. That second year I worked with that crew there was a pack of four deer that was always nearby when we were digging, they seemed to like our presence and the sound of picks on rock and dirt, and by the end of summer they were basically like the trail crew's pets, or vice versa. DH biking was new at Copper, Keystone was well established and Angel Fire was starting to build out their park. The cross country, mountain riding in Summit was already rad. CDT from Copper, up Guller to Searle Pass and over to Tennessee Pass was epic. Could ride it a few times a week and see a handful of hikers and other riders. When I went back there for a few weeks, again about a decade ago, it was crowded, like stopping every few minutes to let other trail users pass. One day there were droves of people riding down that trail - groups of ten+ riders, all hauling ass and not yielding right of way to the uphillers. General disrespect, within our own community! I found out later it was an IMBA group that had made that their annual riding trip alongside a major road biking event. CDT between Copper and Breck, up and over Wheeler Pass - another great ride that used to be rideable without stopping every few minutes, now most days it's impossible to ride up or down with any flow. All this does affect the wildlife, and that in turn affects the characteristics of these lands. There has to be a good balance between development and use, and the integrity of natural attributes of a resort community for that community, and area, to continue to be what it is and why it is that way. Anyhow the point of this - a few years ago Copper built a mountain coaster. It looks awful, required the bike trails to be rerouted, changed the dynamics of the winter trails, and has affected the wildlife in areas that weren't directly affected by winter ops or the summer bike trails. It's a wide corridor, and also vertical height is significant. And above this - quite literally and figuratively - according to a my friends who still work at the resort it hasn't been overly popular. It's mostly used by the tourist families who will do whatever activity is available as part of their manufactured vacation. Which is fine for them, and for the resort, it just brings to the table the point of whether or not it was necessary as a now-permanent fixture on this mountain, on Public Lands and used exclusively for private gain and what's proving to be minimal profit. It doesn't enhance the character or appeal of this mountain environment, and in no way benefits wildlife and the natural ecosystems - it does add to the developed vibes of what now is becoming a Denver suburb.

    Then there's Leadville - a place that has earned a part of my heart and soul - and the faux-glamour mentioned earlier. It's a great town with ok riding opportunities, and one of the three nicest bike shops I've ever been to (my two favorite hoodies are from Cycles of Life and the Broken Spoke, and Absolute Bikes is the other of those three). So all the "modernization" that's happening in Leadville isn't all so bad. But a look a property values, and what the recent influx of people moving there to get away from everywhere else seems to think or at least wants to believe, shows they don't realize what this town is, with a directed ignorance at the fact it's built on contaminated tailings and during the summer on a hot day when it hasn't rained for a while the air is hazardous to breath thanks to all the toxins from the exposed mines saturating the lower atmosphere. But in the name of progress and development, it doesn't matter so long as someone gets their $ at the expense of what can never be recovered, which is starting to become more valuable than anything.

    So back to what originally influenced my response, to the quote about riding on 550 - it's happening here too, riding around Taos is straight up sketchy, more traffic on the roads than there used to be and more reckless and/or ignorant drivers, no real bike lanes except two roads one of which is an actual highway that should be avoided if possible. Would anyone ride from Taos to Espanola, or Santa Fe? Highways 567 and 285 used to be part of a popular cycling route, and 64 from Tres Piedras to access the CDT is used by a handful of bikepackers. Some areas aren't affected much by development because there really isn't much, and where there is it's becoming really noticeable, to the point where it's almost overwhelming and cannot be complimented by anything else. Will a mountain coaster benefit the community in which Sandia Ski Area operates, on mostly Public Lands, or is this another hopeless attempt to produce material gain that will never come about, while permanently affecting already-existing character? I submitted my comments about this project to the Forest Service a couple years ago, and my opinion hasn't changed. With 2 decades working in the ski area industry, my own thoughts are that this company would be better inclined to invest their modest resources towards replacing their old and sketchy lifts with new, safe and reliable equipment.
    Last edited by AlienTrees; 1 Week Ago at 08:07 AM. Reason: CT not CDT

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    Thanks for your thoughtful response, AlienTrees. I lived up in Denver in the early-90's when I was in college and then up in Horse Tooth outside of Fort Collins and spent a lot of time skiing as well as some mtb. I went back 2 years ago for the first time in at least 20 years. When I got to Pueblo, maybe even before, I sat in traffic for 2 hours, which never would have happened back then. When I got to Denver I didn't recognize the city at all. It went from a podunk town that haid a laid-back vibe to a gentrified metropolis. I'd hate to see that happen here but I think it will because people are coming here to escape covid and the fires, so I think our little secret that is NM is out of the bag. I just don't want to spir than on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benjah View Post
    I am really sorry man. I thought that this was a mountain bike forum.
    I think it is, and if you could get past my disagreement with how you want to manage the mountain, you'd see that I want the coaster so that the people who own the mountain will do more with it.

    Adding 5 more trails will do little to nothing for the owners, but that what I want, and would assume you'd like as well.

    You are correct, nobody is going on vacation to go to the coaster. But people who live in ABQ who don't mountain bike would, just like I'll never use top golf, doesn't mean it isn't good for our community. It's just one step in a process.

    The deer live in the mountains. The coaster doesn't make them leave, they learn. I see the same herd of deer in my neighborhood running from the cars every week. BTW people on trails have the same impact of a coaster, deer don;t like people on trails either, but we all seem to be OK.

    I'm sorry you don't like people, I'm not a huge fan either. But population grows and people need a place to live and it gets more crowded. The good news is we are having fewer babies so that will help. However the government wants to make that up with immigration, so you may be screwed there. Either way that has zero impact on a coaster.

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    Yesterday there were so many people at pine flats at 4pm, so much so that I had to repeatedly stop for trains of 10-15 guys. I've never seen anything like it out there. Look I get why people may want a mountain coaster. But I don't get the development spurs the economy argument. All over the world governments like China and Turkey just build and build as a means of deficit spending in order to stimulate the economy. It works, historically. However we are in different times. The planet is rapidly warming and that is destroying the planet, not in some far off calculation, but now. It is not far fetched for us to be in a situation where the east mountains burn. It is feasable that some mountain coaster rider will flick a cigarrete or a lightening stike may set the place ablaze and I think that we need to be mindful of that. And I think that we need to be mindful of that fact that within this moment that conserving our forrests is essentially a measure of national security. Indeed the national security agencies of this country warn that climate change is an existential threat to the country. So if we are to use development as a means of economic stimulation, I think that putting people to work building and installing wind and solar energy platforms, for instance, makes sense. Oh and deer and other animals, especially birds, will aviod that area should this project move foward because there will be bright lights and it has been proven that artificial lights disturb animal's circadian rythm and sense of direction and we already have lost so much of our bird population, which then affects pollinators, which affects food production and so on. When people alter the natural world we alter not one thing but everything.

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    Deep breaths

    Yesterday, we ran into about 9 riders in a group on Delberts. For some odd reason the thought of global warming/climate change, development, sandia roller coaster, lightning strikes, bright lights and circadian rhythm didnít pop into my mind....

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  13. #13
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    Has Mike Vanderman moved to NM?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Benjah View Post
    Yesterday there were so many people at pine flats at 4pm, so much so that I had to repeatedly stop for trains of 10-15 guys. I've never seen anything like it out there.
    I appreciate your passion, but you are making a bunch of strawman arguments.

    Pine flats is heavily used because it's mostly flat. I go there for my light fun rides, and I see lots of people. I rode a cedro loop yesterday, and saw 2 cars in the lot and nobody on trail. That loop is rocky, so it gets less use. The people who go to pine flats do not go to Sandia without lifts running. You have to be hardcore to want to climb the 1000+ feet on a sandia trail. That cuts off the bulk of people who ride, and at least 75% of who you see at Pine flats.

    Lighting happens with or without a coaster. While a cigarette butt is a legitimate concern, it would only happen when people are actually there and staffed. More likely to respond.

    The way I see it is they will have to staff the one lift that operates the coaster. If they are going to actually have people working there, I'm expecting them to open a second lift for the walkers and bikers at the same time. Something that hasn't been done for 2 years. But if they commit to the lifts, we might get more trails. Heck, I'd volunteer my time to make new trails.

    As a side note, let me know when you want to rattle the cages that be to allow us to ride the south boundary trail, or Faulty south down to Tijeras. Now that seems to be a battle worth fighting for.

    I don't expect to change your mind, and you won't be changing mine. We obviously see a different impact of the coaster. So I'm stepping back I don't need to repeat myself anymore.

    Enjoy your rides, don't scare the wildlife.

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    I undersatnd where everyone is coming from, I just worry about these mountains burning.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benjah View Post
    I undersatnd where everyone is coming from, I just worry about these mountains burning.
    In the long view it's not looking good. Hotter and drier every year, and they're forecasting a sustained drought for the entire southwest. The only thing that is going to save those mountains is some serious forest management (e.g. removing any kindling and man-made sources of ignition) and maybe some geo-engineering, since we all know humanity isn't capable of scaling back our greenhouse gas emissions.

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