Stagecoach buyers aren’t talking, conceptual drawings on website do it for them |

Stagecoach buyers aren’t talking, conceptual drawings on website do it for them

Stagecoach partners mum, website shares concept

The trails of the old Stagecoach Ski Area stand out from the forest in this September 2016 photo, taken from the north side of Stagecoach Reservoir. The sale of the ski area to new developers has been pending since October 2016, and the principles say they are bound by a sale contract not to publicly discuss their plans.
Matt Stensland/file

— More than five months have passed since the original planned October closing date of the long dormant Stagecoach Ski Area, and Don McLean and Scott Sober, co-founders of Stagecoach Mountain LLC, are maintaining their silence on the status of the deal. But conceptual plans available at reveal what the two men have in mind for the reinvigoration of the ski area, situated about 15 miles and 20 minutes south of Steamboat Springs.

Asked March 10 to discuss the details of conceptual plans for the base village and surrounding neighborhoods posted online, McLean politely declined, saying, “We are under confidentiality per the terms of the purchase agreement. We’ve agreed with the sellers not to make any public announcements or make written application to the county (planning department) until we close.”

McLean confirmed, however, they do have permission from the Wittemyer family, current owners of the ski area, to maintain a website to inform the public. Stagecoach opened in December 1972 and closed in February 1974, when the original Texas-based developer, Woodmoor Corp., foundered. In recent years, the Wittemyers have hosted limited snow coach skiing on the mountain.

Routt County Planning Director Chad Phillips said this week it was ironic that the planning commission had delayed the recent update to the overall Stagecoach neighborhood’s master plan several times last year in hopes that McLean and Sober would agree to submit a loose “bubble diagram,” indicating where certain types of activities might take place in the new development, so it could be recorded with the master plan update, but the developers declined.

The prohibition in the sales contract of any written application to the county would seem to explain McLean’s reticence.

However, it’s on the website where the vision for how the new developers hope to modernize the ski mountain and the resort village emerge.

Schematic drawings of the north-facing ski mountain that overlooks Stagecoach Reservoir reflect multiple chairlifts and more than two dozen runs, as well as a zip line on the west side of the mountain.

Two different aerial drawings (one in winter and another in summer) of what the real estate development at the base of the ski area would look like are divided into three zones — one called the Basecamp, where the Stagecoach Lodge, a public plaza, event/conference center and lift terminals would be located. Other facilities there include a ski school and ticketing office, town market and ice rink.

In addition, there is a “garden neighborhood” (McLean has previously spoken about his desire to allow space for people to grow their own food in the development) and a third zone, with neighborhood streets and cul de sacs, offered as the locals’ neighborhood. The garden neighborhood also indicates employee housing could be incorporated into the master plan.

Asked in September to describe the niche of a revived Stagecoach, McLean said he sees it complementing the Steamboat Ski Area by offering a change of pace for visiting skiers and an alternative to the ski experience at resorts along Interstate 70.

Design Workshop, with offices in Aspen and Denver, is responsible for the design of the mountain village, and Mountainworks is overseeing design of the the winter and summer trails.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1

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