Sloan Shoemaker was executive director of Wilderness Workshop for less than two weeks in May 2003 when he dropped a bombshell on Aspen Skiing Co. and Aspen Highlands base area developer Gerald Hines.

Shoemaker claimed in a letter to the U.S. Forest Service that a proposed Skico gondola connecting Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk was just a ploy to boost the value of Hines’ property. While the goal was understandable, public lands shouldn’t be part of the scheme, Shoemaker wrote to officials at the Aspen Ranger District.

The gondola was never built, but the brief confrontation established there was a clear, unwavering voice speaking for the Aspen-area environmental movement.


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