Last week we told you about Inside Edition’s over-the-top report on stoned skiing and snowboarding in post-legalization Colorado. The report seemed harmless enough, with the correspondent placing hidden cameras inside decades-old smoke shacks and conducting gotcha-styled interviews with dudes lighting up in the trees and on the lifts — proving something known for decades by mountain regulars: Many smoke on the hills.
But now one of those Breck smoke shacks has been reduced to a pile of rubble. The legendary two-story Leo’s is now a pile of wood in Breckenridge’s treeline, according to sources who have been on the mountain this week.
Did the “Inside Edition” report push Breck’s owner Vail Resorts over the edge? The timing certainly seems right.
“We are going to proactively continue to destroy these smoke shacks as we find them,” Vail Resorts’ director of communications Russ Pecoraro told Denver TV station KDVR in the above video (found here, if it’s not showing up on your mobile device).
Blaise Carrig, president of Vail Resorts’ Mountain Division, sent his message via a press release on Feb. 26: “The safety of our guests and our employees is our highest priority and we therefore take a zero tolerance approach to skiing or riding under the influence. We do not permit the consumption of marijuana in or on any of our lifts, facilities or premises that we control. In addition to destroying illegal structures where this kind of illegal activity may be taking place, we are communicating the legalities around marijuana use with our guests and the community through signage, our websites, social media, and handing out informational cards to our guests in the base areas. We want the public to know that the consequences of being caught smoking marijuana on our mountains are removal from the mountain and the suspension of skiing and riding privileges.”
Meanwhile “Inside Edition” is reporting on the hate mail received in the aftermath of Leo’s destruction, including emails and texts to producers saying, “I hope you die and burn in hell” and “We’re all watching you very closely right now. We’re going to show you a real good time when you’re back here” and “It’s probably best that you never take another ski trip to Colorado.” The U.S. Forest Service commented to the syndicated TV show: “Thank you for your story … You did a great job messaging how unsafe the use of marijuana can be on the slopes.”
The Forest Service released its official word on the matter in Vail’s press release:
“Despite Colorado law, marijuana remains illegal on federal lands period,” said Scott Fitzwilliams, forest supervisor for the White River National Forest. “For the 22 ski areas in Colorado that operate on national forest system lands, marijuana is still prohibited. Let me remind everyone that you can be cited and fined for marijuana use and possession on national forests.
“I will also add that it is against the law for anyone to build any structures on national forest system lands without a permit.”
So will the Leo’s Rebuild Project pull a permit for Leo’s II?