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Outdoors: Skier visits rebound nationally

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U.S. resorts tallied 56.6 million skiers visits — and counting — in he 2012-2013 ski season.

All regions post increases from last year

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After a big dip last season, skier visits rebounded strongly in the 2012-2013 season, climbing up to 56. million with the season still going strong at areas like Mammoth Mountain and Arapahoe Basin.

For the country as a whole, skier visits climbed 11 percent from last season. Skier visits in the Pacific Southwest and Northeast regions climbed more than 20 percent from last winter, not surprising, since they were the areas hit hardest by sparse snowfall and an early meltdown last year.

Resorts in all regions started slow but skier visits gained momentum through the holidays and spring break. Overall, 78 percent of reporting ski areas posted increases in visits. The median resort experienced a 10.6 percent gain in visits, according to a release from the National Ski Areas Association. Continue reading

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Colorado: Forest Service revamps fees for bikepath events

Policy change enables agency to charge per-person fees

The 2012 Colorado Cyclist Copper Triangle, a cycling tour in Lake, Summit, and Eagle Counties, and based in Copper Mountain, Colorado, on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012. Photo Steve Peterson

Cyclists cruise the Summit County recpath on Forest Service land during the 2012 Colorado Cyclist Copper Triangle, a cycling tour in Lake, Summit, and Eagle Counties based at Copper Mountain, Colorado. Photo courtesy Steve Peterson/Copper Triangle.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The White River National Forest has revamped its fee structure for special events using local bike paths that cross national forest lands. Under the changes, organizers of cycling events like the Copper Triangle will pay a graduated per-person fee ranging from $1 per person, up to $2 per person for larger events.

The new fees, authorized under a local special use amendment, will affect special events using three specific bike paths: Vail Pass, Glenwood Canyon and the recpath system around Dillon Reservoir in Summit County, according to WRNF supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams. Continue reading

Saturday mail delivery to continue — for now

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Look for increased fees as U.S. Postal Service strives for financial viability.

U.S. Postal Service board says it will continue to push for service cuts in order to trim costs

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A plan by the U.S. Postal Service to cut Saturday mail deliveries has been blocked by Congress. “Restrictive language” in the budget prohibits the service cuts, according to a statement from the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service.

The new delivery schedule, which which would consist of package delivery Monday through Saturday and mail delivery Monday through Friday, and which would have taken effect the week of Aug. 5, 2013. Continue reading

Colorado: Dems launch push for more renewable energy

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More wind power in Colorado’s future? Photo courtesy UCAR.

New bill would expand renewable energy standards to rural electricity co-ops

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — New legislation proposed by Colorado lawmakers could help refocus the energy debate by shifting more demand to renewable sources.

Under the Ritter administration, Colorado took significant steps to move toward renewable sources, but that momentum has faltered under Gov. Hickenlooper, widely seen as tilting toward the fossil fuel industry.

Senate Bill 252 would expand Colorado’s renewable energy standard by raising the percentage of retail electricity sales that must be achieved from renewable energy resources by cooperative electric associations that provide service to 100,000 meters or more from 10 percent to 25 percent starting in 2020. Continue reading

Colorado: Breckenridge Ski Area wants to develop new summer recreation facilities on national forest lands

Resort submits plan to U.S. Forest Service

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A summer view toward Breckenridge from the flanks of the Tenmile Range near Peak 6.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Breckenridge Ski Area is preparing to create an outdoor-themed summer amusement park on the public lands it leases from the U.S. Forest Service. The resort wants to add  14 miles of beginner, intermediate and family oriented mountain biking trails across peaks 7 and 8, as well as adventure hiking zones, zip lines and ropes courses.

Vail Resorts submitted a formal proposal to the U.S. Forest Service this week. Following acceptance of the proposal, the agency will begin an comprehensive environmental review to analyze and disclose site-specific environmental impacts. If the U.S. Forest Service approves a plan, Vail Resorts would begin construction on Epic Discovery activities in the summer of 2015.

In a press release, the company touted the environmental and educational components of the planned new activities. According to the release, the company will partner with The Nature Conservancy and will donate 1 percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue toward forest restoration projects. Continue reading

Colorado skier visits stabilize during the heart of the season

Good late-season snow conditions should help Colorado ski areas bounce back partially from a so-so start to the season.

Good late-season snow conditions should help Colorado ski areas bounce back partially from a so-so start to the season.

Ski trade group reports slight increase from last season for the January-February period

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After dropping steeply last season and the first part of this winter, Colorado skier visits stabilized during the past few months, according to Colorado Ski Country USA.

The state’s ski industry trade group said skier visits at its 21 member resorts climbed 1.3 percent during January and February, compared to the same two months last season.

For the season to-date, visitation at CSCUSA resorts was down 4.2 percent compared to the same time last season, defined as opening day through February 28. Continue reading

Colorado: Vail Resorts says mid-winter business rebounded

Major capital investments announced for upcoming seasons

Vail Resorts is talking up the Peak 6 expansion at Breckenridge as part of its capital investment plan for the coming season.

Vail Resorts is talking up the Peak 6 expansion at Breckenridge as part of its capital investment plan for the coming season.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Vail Resorts said business bounced back after a slow start to the season, with some of the company’s resorts posting record business during the Christmas holiday period. VR’s net income climbed 30.5 percent, to $60.5 million in the second fiscal quarter compared to last season, with skier visits up 2.9 percent and mountain net revenue up by 9.5 percent.

“We are very pleased with our performance in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, which was notable for two distinct dynamics we experienced in the quarter,” VR CEO Rob Katz said this week during a call announcing the company’s second quarter earnings. “The first was our results through the middle of December, which were marked by unusually warm and dry weather in Colorado that limited the terrain we could open, leading to lower than expected results for our four Colorado resorts.  Continue reading

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