Mount Sunapee

Britta Greene / NHPR

About 100 people packed into the lodge at Mount Sunapee Ski Resort Tuesday night for an information session about Och-Ziff, the controversial hedge fund that's newly involved in the resort’s ownership.

The ski area at Mount Sunapee sits within the state park, but is privately run under a lease agreement with the state. Och-Ziff, which was recently involved in high-profile criminal proceedings surrounding foreign bribery charges, bought the leaseholder last year.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/scottfidd/with/3211176586/">scottfidd</a> vis Flickr/Creative Commons

The state will hold a public meeting Tuesday about Mount Sunapee ski resort in response to controversy around the resort's new leaseholder, Och-Ziff.

The hedge fund recently paid over $400 million to settle charges that it bribed government officials in Africa to secure mining and energy deals.

New Hampshire owns the Mount Sunapee ski area, but operations there are privately run under a lease agreement with the state.

State officials and representatives of Och-Ziff will be at the meeting Tuesday night at 6pm at the Sunapee Lodge.

Ben McCleod via Flickr CC

 

New Hampshire's Executive Council has approved a plan to expand a ski resort on Mount Sunapee.

The vote was 3-1, with Colin Van Ostern, a Democrat, voting against the proposal Wednesday. Fellow council member Chris Sununu, a Republican, recused himself because he's CEO of another ski resort. Both are running for governor.

The ski mountain leases part of its land from the state, and the Department of Resources and Economic Development supports the expansion plan.

NHPR Staff

A member of New Hampshire's Executive Council who's running for governor says he'll recuse himself from an upcoming vote on a plan to expand skiing on Mount Sunapee, because he's the CEO of another ski resort.

Chris Sununu, a Republican, said Tuesday elected officials must be transparent and impartial in their deliberations on public projects. 

Aaron Plewke via Flickr CC

 

A years-long effort to expand a ski mountain will finally get an up-or-down vote this week and, with it, force two gubernatorial candidates to pick sides in an emotional and unique New Hampshire issue.

The five-member Executive Council is set to vote Wednesday on whether to approve the expansion at Mount Sunapee Resort. The ski mountain leases part of its land from the state, and the Department of Resources and Economic Development supports the expansion plan, saying it appropriately balances economic development with public concerns over conservation.

Ben McCleod via Flickr CC

The Executive Council is holding a work session on a proposal to expand the Mount Sunapee ski resort, which is supported by economic development officials and businesses, but opposed by environmental groups.

The five-member Council and Gov. Maggie Hassan are scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Aaron Plewke via Flickr CC

Today the Mount Sunapee Ski Resort won final state approval to construct a new lift, new trails and a new base lodge in the town of Goshen. The decision comes nearly a year after the state Department of Resources and Economic Development first indicated it would okay the expansion.

It's a decision that comes after years of wrangling, legal fights, and delay on the proposed West Bowl expansion.

Some of the stipulations of the proposal are :

Ben McCleod via Flickr CC

  

A state Department of Resources and Economic Development committee is scheduled to discuss details of a proposal to expand the Mount Sunapee ski resort.

Critics have said they are worried that a real estate sprawl will scar the mountain.

The advisory committee to Commissioner Jeffrey Rose is meeting Thursday morning in Newbury.

Mount Sunapee Resort has been trying to expand for nearly two decades, looking to add a lift and four trails.

Opponents and supporters of the proposed expansion to the Mount Sunapee Ski Resort are pushing to have their say one last time before a state deadline for comments.

The Friends of Mount Sunapee and the Sierra Club teamed up for a campaign that gathered over 1,900 comments. These opponents say they will fight the expansion – which would add a new lodge, lift, and trails on the western side of the mountain – every step of the way.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

  Opponents and backers of an expansion to the Mount Sunapee ski area packed a public hearing on the state's proposed deal that would allow that expansion.

After two hours of testimony in the packed Sunapee Base Lodge, opponents of putting a new chairlift and trails in the western bowl of the mountain outnumbered proponents.

The Future Of Ski Expansion at Mount Sunapee

Apr 27, 2015
Kelsey Ohman / Flickr/cc

The state-owned park is beloved for both its mountain and lake. But the private company that owns the ski operation has long wanted to expand.  Now, the state has given preliminary approval, setting off a process of review and hearings and raising a larger conversation about balancing natural beauty with economic development.

Aaron Plewke via Flickr CC

On a stage in Newbury, in front of an expectant audience, state officials carried out what looked like a standard meeting of the Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee. But, the audience of more than fifty people was gathered to find out whether Mt Sunapee’s West Bowl expansion would be allowed to go forward.

What they heard is that after more than a decade, the state has proposed granting permission to expand the Mt Sunapee Ski Area with a new chairlift, six new trails, a new parking lot and lodge.

But the approval carried conditions.

Courtesy of Loon Mountain

The owner of 16 major ski resorts including New Hampshire’s Bretton Woods, Loon Mountain and Mount Sunapee is considering leaving the ski industry.

The real estate investment trust CNL Lifestyle Properties says it is still weighing its options, which may include a private buyout or listing the properties as a publicly traded exchange.

The firm owns resorts from Maine to California including Sunday River and Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine, Okemo Mountain in Vermont, Brighton in Utah,  Crested Butte in Colorado and Sierra-at-Tahoe in California..

Mount Sunapee Advisory Committee

The Mount Sunapee ski resort is hoping to build out a new 75 acre area of the mountain known as the “West Bowl” with new trails and a new, high speed chairlift. But to do that, it needs to overcome some environmental concerns. Opponents to the plan say the build-out would likely raze a section of forest that a new report says is part of a thriving ecosystem with some trees as old as 170 years-old.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

  The Mount Sunapee Ski Resort is asking the state for permission to build new lifts and new trails. It’s a proposal that was stymied by political resistance in Concord for ten years. Now with a change of governors, a court victory, and growing local support for the expansion, the lay of the land for the expansion has shifted dramatically.