Land owner closes Telluride backcountry terrain

Posted By: The Ski Channel on April 3, 2010 2:44 pm

Real estate owner Thomas Chapman has announced that a thin strip of Upper Bear Creek mining claims will be closed to skiing and hiking. Backcountry skiers coming over from the Telluride ski resort will be immediately affected, as will Telluride’s guide service.

Chapman is linked with the Gold Hill Development company. He frequently buys in-holdings within Forest Service property, then sells them for more. Skiers can still ski E-TIcket and Nellie without trespassing, but if they do, Colorado trespass laws will be enforced.

Chapman bought the 103-acre property March 26, paying $246,000 for land that sold for $75,000 in 1997. Aaron R. Clay, a Delta attorney for the buyers, said the chief concern for the claim holders is enforcing their boundaries. So, it doesn’t seem like they’re joking about these trespass laws.

Clay said that “they bought this property to develop it, maybe. They need to protect their property. I think at this point we’re just trying to let people know that we are up there. This summer, we’ve got to go up there and mark it. It’s and issue with the skiers, too. The snow lays on [Gold Hill's] property”.

Many skiers may share Mike Munno’s feelings, who plans on skiing the area anyway. “The avalanche conditions are much more of a factor than trespassing. Generally when you’re trespassing, it makes it a little more fun”.