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Sweden’s Jessica Lindell-Vikarby just edges out U.S. slalom ace Mikaela Shiffrin at Beaver Creek World Cup GS

Close race on Birds of Prey course

Mikaela

Mikaela Shiffrin on track for a second-place finish at the World Cup GS race at Beaver Creek. Photo by Kim Fenske.

FRISCO — Sweden’s Jessica Lindell-Vikarby skied two near-perfect runs to take the World Cup GS at Beaver Creek Sunday, but U.S. slalom ace Mikaela Shiffrin wasn’t far off the pace. Cheered on by the hometown crowd, Shiffrin snagged her first GS podium after dominating the slalom circuit last season. Shiffrin’s previous best GS result was a sixth in Soelden, Austria to open the 2014 Olympic season. Tina Weirather (Liechtenstein) took the third podium spot. Continue reading

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Skiing: Vail, Beaver Creek plan lift upgrades

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The U.S. Forest Service is taking public comments on planned infrastructure improvements at Vail and Beaver Creek.

Eagle County resorts to add some six-seater lifts

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Vail Resorts is looking to boost uphill capacity at its Eagle County resorts by replacing a few aging quad chairlifts with six-seaters, as well as making a few other on-mountain infrastructure improvements. The upgrades are consistent with previously approved master plans for Vail and Beaver Creek, but the U.S. Forest Service is taking  public input on the projects before approving them. Continue reading

Vail Resorts 2012 earnings, revenue and skier visits down

Company reports increases in season pass sales and advance bookings

Breckenridge ski resort peaks seen from Dillon, Colorado.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After one of the toughest seasons in memory, Vail Resorts wrapped up its fiscal year 2012 with earnings down about 7.5 percent from 2011, according to the company’s earnings statement released today (Sept. 25).

Total net revenue was $1,024.4 million in 2012 compared to $1,167.0 million in the prior year, a 12.2 percent decrease.

For 2012, VR reported a net income of $16.5 million, down from $34.5 million in 2011, as skier visits dropped steeply at the company’s California and Colorado ski areas. In Colorado (Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge) visits dropped 8.9 percent, from 5.2 million in 2011 to 4.8 million in 2012.

Overall VR skier visits dropped by 12.1 percent, from 7 million in 2011 to 6.1 million in 2012. Continue reading

USA Pro Challenge: Voigt claims big stage win

Van Garderen back in overall lead

Jens Voigt is all smiles after winning the Aspen to Beaver Creek stage. Photo by Daniel Dunn. Click the pic to visit Dunn’s Facebook page.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Jens Voigt, the King of Pain, put the big hurt on the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Thursday, pulling away from the field in a high country rain storm and easily winning Stage 4, from Aspen to Beaver Creek.

As the riders headed out of Aspen, they almost immediately began the climb back up Cat. 1 Independence Pass (12.095 ft.), a breakaway of about 16 riders formed off the front, which included Voigt and KOM contender Camilo Castiblanco (COL) of EPM-UNE. As they continued up the climb, Voigt pulled away on a solo breakaway, followed by a couple of chase groups that would eventually merge before cresting the top of the summit.

With a solid five-minute lead, Voigt crossed the line at the top of fan-packed Independence Pass first to take maximum points. In an effort to gain some ground in the KOM competition, Castiblanco struck out on his own from the chase to take second place, followed by Lachlan David Morton (AUS) of Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda in third. Continue reading

Vail says 100,000 skiers activated EpicMix accounts

Resort company to add Northstar-at-Tahoe, release 2.0 version for next season

Vail's EpicMix app proved popular in its first season.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — About 15 percent (100,000 people) of Vail Resorts’ eligible guests activated their EpicMixaccounts this season, collectively racking more than 55 billion vertical feet of skiing and riding at the company’s Colorado and California ski areas — and almost half of those people opted to share their stats via social media networks, the company announced in a recent press release.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the success and positive feedback … from our guests. The 15 percent adoption rate of EpicMix compares very favorably with the typical first-year experience for new mobile applications,” said Vail CEO and chairman Rob Katz.

EpicMix is a digital application that Vail Resorts guests can access online, at their computer, or via a free mobile application that can be downloaded to iPhone and Android devices or accessed via other smart phones. The app captures  guest activity via radio frequency scanners, tracking lift rides and calculating vertical feet skied. Continue reading

Colorado: Vail chops season pass prices by $20

Colorado ski areas are offering some spring deals for next winter's powder.

Rollback valid for three weeks; Copper offers great late-season deals for passholders from other areas

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The tulips may not be sprouting yet in Colorado, but the spring ski deals are, as Vail Resorts announced a $20 rollback on season pass prices, valid for three weeks (April 15 – May 8), and Copper revived the Swinger Pass, good for $39 walk-up tickets if you have a season pass from any other ski area.

The Vail deal is valid for the Epic Pass, Epic Local Pass, Epic 7-Day, Summit Value Pass and Tahoe Value Pass. Skiers and riders who have already purchased a 2011-2012 season pass will automatically receive this new promotional price, including a refund, if applicable. Continue reading

Open house for Beaver Creek ski area upgrades

A scoping map shows some of the proposed improvements at Beaver Creek.

Forest Service sees upcoming 2015 ski event as a chance to showcase national forest lands

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The public will have a chance to learn more about plans to add new trails and improve existing facilities at Beaver Creek during a Jan. 6 open house at the Avon library (5:30 p.m.), when Forest Service personnel and resort staff will be on hand to discuss the proposed improvements, review maps, and answer specific questions from the public. More info on the Forest Service website.

The project proposal, designed to enhance and sustain Beaver Creek’s ability to provide a world-class venue for Alpine ski events in preparation for the upcoming 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships.

“We welcome the public to join us to learn more about Beaver Creek’s proposals and how they are seeking to enhance the visitor experience,” said Dave Neely, District Ranger for the Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District. “Beaver Creek’s position as the only alpine ski racing World Cup venue in the United States that is entirely held on public land provides unique opportunities for us to partner and showcase the resort and the National Forest”.

Proposed improvements include:

  • A new women’s downhill racecourse
  • A women’s giant slalom racecourse using portions of existing ski trails on Grouse Mountain
  • Modifications to the existing men’s downhill racecourse
  • Replacement of Red Tail Camp and expanded finish area
  • A new domestic water tank to supply the new Red Tail Camp facility and Beano’s Cabin

Over the coming months the Forest Service will continue a review under NEPA planning direction to consider potential biological and social effects that may result from implementation of the Beaver Creek Improvements project as proposed.  This analysis will be presented in an Environmental Impact Statement scheduled to be completed with a formal Record of Decision during the winter of 2011/12.

Beaver Creek to upgrade for 2015 ski championships

The White River National Forest scoping map for proposed improvements at Beaver Creek. Click for a full-size view.

New trails sought at Eagle County ski area. Forest Service begins environmental studies with public comment phase

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The U.S. Forest Service and Beaver Creek Ski Area are starting to study a plan that would add a new women’s downhill race course and new giant slalom course, the latter using parts of existing trails on Grouse Mountain. The proposed improvements would be in preparation of the 2015 FIS Alpine World Championships.

White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams started the process with a notice of intent in the Federal Register aimed at soliciting public comments. Continue reading

Colorado skiing: 100 inches and counting …

The powder is piling up in Colorado.

Several resorts have already tallied almost 10 feet of snowfall. Breckenridge to open Peak 7, Vail‘s Blue Sky Basin also opening this week

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Several Colorado ski areas have already picked up more than 100 inches of snow this season, with Steamboat leading the pack at 111 inches.

Breckenridge has reported 109 inches of snowfall for the season, and announced it will open 334 acres of terrain on Peak 7 Dec. 3, a week earlier than scheduled, giving the area more than 1,500 acres of terrain. Continue reading

Summit County: Beetle battle takes to the slopes

A map of Keystone ski area in Summit County, Colorado.

The Forest Service wants public comment on a far-reaching plan to treat beetle-killed forests at Keystone Ski Area.

Forest Service, Vail Resorts propose plan to tackle beetle-kill at Keystone, Vail and Beaver Creek; public input wanted at April 21 open house

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The U.S. Forest Service and ski areas in Summit and Eagle counties are preparing to meet the pine beetle onslaught head-on, with treatments aimed first and foremost at removing dead trees that could threaten visitors, workers and facilities. The broader goal is to address forest health by promoting diversity and vigor in forested areas. At the same time, the resorts need to figure out how the treatments — possibly including patch clearcuts in some areas and thinning in others — will affect ski runs.

The White River National Forest this week announced public meetings for the projects, to be authorized under the Healthy Forests Restoration Act, a law that expedites preparation and implementation of forest health and fuel reduction projects on publicly owned lands.

Project leader Dan Sokal described the proposal as “a range of vegetative treatments for overall forest health, with the removal of standing dead trees that could threaten public safety as the top priority.” Re-planting key areas with seedlings and protecting some high-value trees with pesticides are also included in the range of treatment options.

In Summit County, only Keystone Ski Area is covered under this proposal. Beaver Creek and Vail are also included. Forest health work at Breckenridge Ski Area is covered under a separate study, Sokal said. Continue reading

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