Sure, Mount Snow won a temporary injunction shutting down Haystack’s fledgling rebirth. They successfully convinced the judge that Haystack’s owners hadn’t met the commonly accepted criteria for how a “private ski club” should operate. While one can argue the merits of that ad nauseum, the bottom line is the judge agreed with Mount Snow, and told the two parties to keep talking and try to work out an agreement.
So Mount Snow wins the injunction. We don’t fault them for doing what they feel is in their best interest.
However, shutting off Haystack’s water, even if it’s just for a month, doesn’t help Haystack get to their goal of stable operations, let alone reaching Mount Snow’s definition of a what viable private ski club should be. Haystack, of course, could lose what little bit of momentum it was starting to build, not to mention the money the owners have sunk into the restart. Then there are the employees, homeowners, and skiers at Haystack, who lose out as well. Plenty of losers in this go-round.
The real elephant in the room in this dispute, of course, is water. Or at least access to it. Honestly, if Mount Snow had completed the West Lake project, this would not be an issue. The reality is that both local ski areas must be assured of reliable access to adequate snowmaking water supplies. Otherwise, neither of them will be stable in their operations. Looking back over the past 20 years, there have been numerous efforts to expand the water supply to Mount Snow, and just about all them have led to dead ends. In fact, the only successful expansion has been the addition of Haystack’s snowmaking pond, Mirror Lake, to the Mount Snow system. Which in many ways leads us back to Monday’s hearing.
We’ve said it before in this space, but it needs saying again. As a community, we must assist both ski areas in reaching their goals of reliable water supplies. Indifference toward that end invites economic disaster, not just for the operating companies of both ski areas, but for the broader community as well. It’s that simple.
As local communities talk about economic development, form committees, and put action plans into place, there has to be discussion about the ski areas and thier water supplies.
Having Haystack as a successful, viable resort is in everybody’s best interest. There is no value in having Haystack sit dormant: none for the towns, none for skiers and riders, and none for Mount Snow.