DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — The Bureau of Land Management has approved the expansion of helicopter skiing terrain near the southwestern Colorado town of Silverton.
The Durango Herald reports that Silverton Guides will swap about 8.7 square miles (22.5 sq. kilometers) for about 25.4 square miles (65.8 sq. kilometers) of BLM land in other areas of the San Juan Mountains around Silverton. Silverton Guides, an arm of the Silverton Mountain ski area, now boasts more than 39 square miles (101 sq. kilometers) of helicopter ski terrain in the area.
The owners asked for the land swap in 2015, saying they wanted to exchange high elevation, avalanche-prone terrain for lower elevation areas that are safer.
One of the owners, Aaron Brill, says the expansion will be good for Silverton's economy, but opponents say the approval only benefits the company. They also have expressed noise concerns.