On January 21, I was delighted to host a panel discussion and presentation entitled at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco. In the last episode of Samland, I began to summarize the event to the best of my knowledge in Part One of this Mineral King series.
From Slope to Nope.
The October deadline for a decision passed. Then, on December 17, 1965, the announcement came. The Disney team was selected. The terms would be a 30-year lease for 80-acres and an additional year-to-year lease for 300-acres. Disney would be granted a 3-year development agreement while the funding for the road improvements would be pursued.
The Disney proposal was huge compared to the original program proposed by the US Forest Service. The budget was $25 million. What is more remarkable is that they were not the most expensive proposal. One bid came in at over $40 million.
The Country Bear Jamboree by Disney Legend Marc Davis. Another innovation was a very high speed, high capacity ski lift designed by another Disney Legend, Bob Gurr. The concept was so appealing that Disney had the system patented and created a business unit and sent Gurr out to find buyers.
The Disney News
Then came setbacks. The winter of 1968-1969 was the snowiest on record. At one point there was twenty feet of snow on the valley floor. One member of the Disney surveying crew, Randy Kletka, was buried in an avalanche and killed. In June 1969, the Sierra Club successfully sued to stop the project in District Court and Judge William Sweigert imposed an injunction.
I previously covered the court case in some detail in
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