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Colorado "Smoke Shacks" Destroyed by USFS and Vail Resorts


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[h=1]"Smoke shacks" backlash billows[/h]By Kelsey Fowler

Summit Daily NewsPosted: 03/02/2014 12:01:00 AM MST

BRECKENRIDGE — A swirling storm of social media backlash hit Vail Resorts last week as beloved secret structures on ski resort lands were destroyed in an effort to prevent marijuana consumption.

A number of structures reportedly associated with prohibited marijuana use, and constructed illegally on U.S. Forest Service land, have been destroyed during the last few weeks. The structures, often known as "smoke shacks," have been destroyed as Vail Resorts and the Forest Service are made aware of them. Mountain operations teams and USFS officials have destroyed "several" over the last year at Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge.

On Feb. 14, an "Inside Edition" video showed skiers and riders smoking what appeared to be marijuana inside one such structure at Breckenridge Ski Resort — a two-story building known as "Leo's." Officials destroyed the structure using explosives shortly after the video aired. A Facebook page, "Leo's Rebuild Project," has received more than 2,300 likes since Feb. 22.

In a prepared statement, Blaise Carrig, president of Vail Resorts' Mountain Division, said: "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."

Public consumption of marijuana is illegal under Colorado law, even though the state now allows for retail sales. The four Colorado ski resorts operated by Vail Resorts — Vail, Beaver Break, Breckenridge and Keystone — all are located on Forest Service land, where possession and consumption of marijuana is illegal. Using any ski lift, ski slope or trail while under the influence of drugs or alcohol also is prohibited under the Colorado Ski Safety Act.

In her report to the Breckenridge Town Council on Feb. 25, Breckenridge Ski Resort executive vice president and chief operating officer Pat Campbell said she heard about the video after the fact, and "Inside Edition" did not follow normal media protocols for filming on the mountain.

Russ Pecoraro, Vail Resorts spokesman, said the company is taking a "zero tolerance" approach to skiing or riding under the influence. The consequences of being caught smoking marijuana include the suspension of skiing and riding privileges. On the Breckenridge Ski Resort Facebook page, the company responded to comments questioning the decision to tear down Leo's.

"Ski Patrol has worked over the past decade to take down smoke shacks as they've become more dangerous, or elicited more illegal activity. With the 'Inside Edition' report, Leo's was moved to the top of the list," the resort wrote.

Bill Kight, USFS public affairs officer, said he was not previously aware of Leo's. It was taken care of, he said, as soon as it was reported.

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Here's a link to the Inside Edition expose at WestWord.

They also have video of Leo's being destroyed by explosives.

This is now the most important thread on the forum.

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Edited by ExcelsiorTheFathead
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