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Breckenridge: Town council update on Peak 6

A recent rendering of one possible alignment of new ski terrain on Peak 6 at Breckenridge.

* This is the text of a memo included in the Jan. 25 Breckenridge Town Council packet. View the full council packet here.

Proposed Peak 6 Expansion Project Overview Presentation to Breckenridge Town Council January 25, 2011 Work Session

Breckenridge Ski Resort (BSR) has fluctuated between the most- and second-most visited resort in the U.S. over the past decade making it consistently one of the busiest mountain resorts in North America. Historically, peak visitation days put pressure on the existing terrain and infrastructure capacities.
As visitation increases, the quality of the recreational experience is impacted. High trail densities and long lift lines are associated with three periods:

(1) peak days;

(2) average days during key egress periods; and

(3) new snow days in areas of off-piste, lift-served terrain.

To begin to mitigate these issues and improve the guest experience, Breckenridge has identified the need for the following needs:

•    Better accommodation of current daily visitation levels;
•    Reduced skier/rider congestion on BSR’s existing Intermediate and Advanced
intermediate terrain network and associated lifts;
•    Reduced waiting time for lifts at BSR; •    Efficient dispersal of Intermediate and Advanced Intermediate skiers/riders across the
entire skiable terrain network;
•    Additional lift-served terrain to accommodate the existing terrain distribution deficit;
•    Additional hike-to access servicing advanced ability levels

In 2007, BSR proposed an expansion to Peak 6 on National Forest Lands of the White River National Forest in the Ten Mile Range. Peak 6 meets these needs by providing additional terrain to serve the existing levels of visitation. This project is not intended or designed to increase visitation above the levels currently projected. Additionally, as shown on the attached map, Peak 6 adds ski terrain and basic skier service facilities, and does not contemplate or allow for any base area development.

Project Overview
•    The proposed expansion to Peak 6 was contemplated in the White River National Forest Plan and includes terrain already in the BSR special use permit boundary.
•    Peak 6 would make available an additional 450 acres of skiable terrain – 70 acres of cleared (cut) intermediate ski trails with an additional 380 acres of high alpine (above timberline) intermediate (79%)/expert (21%) terrain.
•    One detachable 6 person chairlift 8200’ long with a vertical rise of 1670’ and a mid- load station 2400’ up the line so guests can re-circulate the terrain pod without going back to Peak 7.
•    Base of lift would be on Peak 7 and accessible by the Colorado, Rocky Mountain or Independence SuperChairs at the confluence of Monte Cristo and Angel’s Rest trails.
•    Lift alignment was modified from the original proposal to improve access and to lessen potential impacts to the environment.
•    Proposed Ski Patrol/warming hut at top of lift and satellite food/beverage facility at mid-load.
•    Construction of a service road with utilities from existing Peak 7 road down 1000’ from Wirepatch across to Angel’s Rest to base of proposed lift.
•    One small (30’ wide) skiway would be constructed between Pioneer and Wirepatch to provide access from the Colorado and Rocky Mountain Superchairs without adding guests to the base of Peak 7. The service road would serve as a connecting skiway between Wirepatch and Lincoln Meadows.
•    The proposal includes backcountry access gates for guests looking to leave the developed ski area into Peaks 5 and beyond.

EIS Process Milestones
•    The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to analyze environmental impacts of the Peak 6 in a process that involves public review and comment. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is being prepared by the USFS, a draft of which will be publicly circulated for review and comment.
•    The review process required by NEPA began in 2007 with acceptance by the USFS of BSR’s proposal.
•    The NEPA process began with scoping and a 30-day public comment period.
•    Based on internal and external comments during scoping, the USFS identified issues
and began to develop alternatives to the proposed action.
•    Since that time, the USFS has been conducting field studies and analysis of the
potential environmental impacts of the proposed action and alternatives.
•    We expect the USFS to issue a Draft EIS during spring 2011, which will be followed
by a 45-day public comment period.
•    The USFS will then respond to comments and begin preparing the Final EIS.
•    An alternative will be selected by WRNF Supervisor (Scott Fitzwilliams).
•    A Section 7 consultation (up to 135 days) will result in a Biological Opinion from the
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.
•    The USFS will issue a Final EIS and Record of Decision (ROD).
•    There is then a 45-day ROD appeal period.

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