A look at some of the most ill-conceived ski resorts in history

Not all ski resorts are destined for greatness.

In fact, many a ski resort has been borne of such ill-conceived notions that they were (or are) seemingly designed for failure.

Here are some of the oddest ski resorts that have either been proposed or have already shuttered their doors:

The Missouri ski resort that just couldn’t handle Missouri winters

Looking back, it almost seems comical that a ski resort attempted to open in Kirksville, Missouri, which sees an average of 15 inches of snowfall per year.

And yet, the Rainbow Basin Ski Resort was built in January 1982. Featuring a small single lift, the resort endured a tough life, changing hands multiple times before it was ultimately closed down in 1991.

Now its facilities sit abandoned and dilapidated, a testament to the reality that opening a ski resort in northern Missouri is a risky idea.

Walt Disney’s failed ski resort in Sequoia National Forest

In 1965, Walt Disney was awarded a contract by the U.S. Forest Service to develop a $35 million year-round resort on the Mineral King glacier valley of Sequoia National Forest.

Disney’s proposed resort area would feature a completely self-sustained alpine village and a ski resort with 14 lifts serving roughly 3,600 feet of vertical. It was predicted that it would attract 2.5 million visitors within its first year of operation.

There was just one problem: The plan was contingent on the building of an all-weather, 25-mile highway to Mineral King that would replace the access road to the area, which was only open during the summer.

But Walt Disney died in 1966, and that highway never was built.

Mounting opposition from conservationists caused interest in the highway to wane after Disney’s death, and by 1978 congress had annexed the Mineral King area into the Sequoia National Park, effectively ending any chance of the Mineral King resort ever being built.

The upcoming $110 million war-themed ski resort in Russia

war-themed ski resort
Who wants to try to send it over a tank? Photo: Courtesy of Tony Bowden/Flickr

Russian filmmaker Nikita Mikhalkov is in the process of building a $110 million war-themed ski resort with the goal of ensuring a “patriotic upbringing” for Russian youth.

RELATED: Russian filmmaker to build $110 million war-themed ski resort

“Ski slopes will be located on an imitated battlefield, marked with barbed wire, but it will be made of rubber,” Mikhalkov said about his proposal earlier this year. “There will also be burnt tanks, but you won’t get injured bumping on them.”

Mikhalkov’s proposed ski resort begs the question: Who, exactly, is pining to go skiing on a ski slope festooned with tanks and barbed wire?

The huge $1B year-round Canadian resort that Patagonia opposed

Jumbo Valley glacier resort
The potential ski resort on Jumbo Glacier was contested by many. Photo: Courtesy of Danny Laroche/Flickr

The proposed year-round Jumbo Glacier Resort attracted international attention after Patagonia distributed a documentary in 2015 titled Jumbo Wild profiling the controversy surrounding the proposed $1 billion ski resort in British Columbia.

RELATED: New Patagonia featurette shows the fight for Jumbo Valley

Originally introduced in 1991, the proposal was immediately beset with criticism from the community and conservationists who believed that the resort would not only likely lead to the demise of endangered and threatened species like grizzly bears, but may also violate the religious freedoms of the Ktunaxa First Nation tribe.

The proposed resort’s environmental certificate expired in 2015 — likely ending the long battle.

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