Breckenridge: Peak 6 comment period winding down

A flow chart shows the timeline of the Peak 6 decision-making process. Click on the image to see a full-size version.

Long-term ski area growth questions linger

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — After two extensions, a public comment period on the proposal to add several hundred acres of new lift-served terrain at Breckenridge is coming to an end Aug 26, and the Peak 6 expansion is no less controversial now than when it was first proposed publicly in 2008.

The public debate about the expansion shows how ski communities in general are divided on ski area growth. There is strong support for the expansion plan from part of the town’s business community, including the Breckenridge Restaurant Association and some other ski-related businesses. Other residents feel strongly that the resort is big enough and that additional growth will undermine quality of life in the community.

Resort leaders say the plan to add new terrain served by a six-seat chair will help disperse skiers and riders across Colorado’s busiest ski area, easing congestion on existing lifts and trails. Critics of the plan say it will attract more visitors, ultimately resulting in even more crowding, both on the mountain and in the town.

There’s still time to get informed about the proposal by visiting the official Peak 6 website, which offers great access to information about the project and links for submitting comments. You can also read background stories on Peak 6 and listen to several town council discussions about the project by visiting the Summit Voice Peak 6 page. Continue reading

Breckenridge smart phone app offers timely tourism info

The new GoBreck mobile app even works on an older model Blackberry.

With opt-in, GPS technology will enable site specific messages 

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — A new mobile app launched by the Breckenridge Resort Chamber will help keep guests and locals up to date on the Aug. 27 USA Pro Cycling Challenge and much more by using GPS technology to deliver location-specific information.

Some of the app’s functionality will be launched during the Breckenridge stage of the upcoming bike race to give timely information about road closures, and when to expect the peleton’s arrival, as well as info about post-race concerts and other activities.

The first phase offers a listing of current events. Download the app by texting BRECK to 25827 or visiting www.GoBreck.mobi.

Additional phases will feature up-to-the-minute Breckenridge news and information, including maps and tourism resources, event calendars shopping, activity and restaurant details, road and weather reports and special offers. The custom application is expected to enhance the guest experience by providing an additional source of local information and reaching audiences that may not be receiving real-time updates via the current channels. Continue reading

Breckenridge: Big Head Todd performs at the Riverwalk Center to help celebrate the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Big Head Todd and the Monsters will play a free Aug. 27 show at the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center as part of the festivities surrounding the USA Pro Cyclinig Challenge.

Big bike day includes citizen sprint races, cruiser ride, race expo; bonus concert features local bluegrass-fusion favorites, The Pine Beatles

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Breckenridge will celebrate the arrival of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge with a free Big Head Todd and The Monsters  show at the Riverwalk Center after the cyclists spring down Main Street for the finish of Stage 5 — the next-to-last stage of a seven-day race featuring the best cyclists in the world.

Several local pubs will also be hosting special viewing parties featuring drink specials and live race coverage. The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance will host a VIP viewing party on the lawn of the Barney Ford House Museum; tickets start at $40 and can be purchased by calling 970-453-9767, ext. 2.

Visit BreckProCycling.com for event and transportation details. Continue reading

Breckenridge: Town council looks for Peak 6 consensus

Breckenridge Town Council members are formulating comments on the draft study for a proposed expansion on to Peak 6.

Elected representatives about to comment on draft ski area expansion plan in the name of the town and its citizens

By Bob Berwyn & Jenney Coberly

BRECKENRIDGE — Some town council members said they want Breckenridge Ski Resort to consider blackout dates, upgrades to existing lifts and an overall cap on skiers to address the issue of skier congestion that has taken center stage during the recent discussions about a controversial plan to add lift-served skiing in Peak 6.

Those ideas, and more, surfaced Aug. 9 during a council work session aimed at writing a set of formal comments to the Forest Service. The agency is currently taking comments on a draft environmental study on the proposal. Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams has picked a preferred alternative that would add about 550 acres of new terrain and a six-seat lift on Peak 6. Detailed project and comment information is online at http://breckenridgepeak6.com/

Most council members were quite outspoken about what they want to tell the agency, while a few demurred on making direct comments, citing concerns about a divided town and divided town council.

In absentia, Mayor John Warner said the resort should create a five to seven-year plan for upgrading existing lifts, and work to mitigate impacts to backcountry skiers by adding a new backcountry access point and new trailhead.

Council member Jen McAtamney said the Forest Service should wait to amend forest plan wildlife conservation standards until there is more information on lynx movement in the Tenmile Range.

Council member Jeffrey Bergeron said the draft study doesn’t pass the sniff test, and that he, for one, is not ready to make Peak 6 a sacrificial lamb to the altar of ski area expansion. Listen to the entire discussion in the following audio clip and read more Summit Voice stories on Peak 6 here for background.


Tour champ Cadel Evans joins USA Pro Cycling Challenge

500-mile stage race includes stops in Aspen, Vail and Breckenridge

Stage 5 of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge will end with a sprint on the streets of Breckenridge, Colorado.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The USA Pro Cycling Challenge — already touted as a highlight for Colorado cycling — will shine even brighter next month, as race organizers announced last week that Tour de France winner Cadel Evans will compete in the 500-mile race in late August.

Tour organizers officially confirmed the rumor in an interview with the Associated Press late last week, when the Denver Post reported the story, followed by the Aspen Daily News.

Evans, a former mountain bike racer, rides for the American-based BMC team, which had previously committed to the seven-day race. But the Colorado race competes with the Vuelta de España, a prestigious European race. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge will include stages over two 12,000 foot passes, well above any elevations encountered by racers during the Tour de France. Continue reading

Breckenridge: Great Divide Lodge becomes a DoubleTree hotel under a partnership between Vail Resorts and Hilton

Renovations planned for the summer, with re-opening late this year

Breckenridge, Colorado from the crest of the Tenmile Range.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After getting a facelift and a makeover, the Great Divide Lodge in Breckenridge will re-open late this year as a DoubleTree Hilton, according to a July 28 press release from Vail Resorts.

DoubleTree executive Rob Palleschi said the partnership with Vail Resorts represents part of an effort to bring the DoubleTree brand to leisure travel destinations around the world. The Great Divide change takes place under a franchise license agreement between Hilton and Vail Resorts. It will be the 14th DoubleTree by Hilton property in Colorado, situated right across the street from the Valdoro Mountain Lodge, which is also Hilton-owned.

Continue reading

Breckenridge Town Council weighs Peak 6 pros and cons

Citizens learn about the proposed Breckenridge Peak 6 expansion during a mid-July site visit.

Ski area expansion hearing fills town hall

By Bob Berwyn

BRECKENRIDGE — The proposed Peak 6 expansion at Breckenridge Ski Area is turning into a high country version of Goldilocks, with the new lift and trails being either too big, too small or just right, depending on who you listen to.

For White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams, who started a town council session on Peak 6 with a brief outline of the plan, the resort’s proposal to add 550 acres and a six-seat lift best meets the need to disperse crowds across the busy ski area — that’s why he chose it as the preferred alternative mid-way through an exhaustive environmental review process.

Fitzwilliams intro:


Public comment:


Continue reading

Breckenridge, Vail Resorts clash over Peak 6 expansion plan

A draft map of the proposed Peak 6 expansion show one possible configuration of trails and lifts.

Resort pressures town council to support more ski area development

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — A carefully crafted agreement between Vail Resorts, the town of Breckenridge and Summit County may be at risk after Breckenridge ski area officials delivered an ultimatum of sorts to the Breckenridge Town Council, threatening to pull out of the deal unless the town fully supports a proposed expansion on Peak 6.

Both Breckenridge Mayor John Warner and town manager Tim Gagen were called by ski resort chief Pat Campbell, who said the resort won’t sign on to the memorandum of understanding unless the town supports the full-scale version of the expansion, rather than a modified option seen by many residents as a palatable alternative to the original proposal.

“The contact was with Pat Campbell,” Gagen said a day after the issue was discussed by the council. “In my case, it was fairly direct. She said if council doesn’t go along with the preferred alternative, the resort won’t sign the MOU … I’ve never quite experienced anything like this … maybe it’s happened over in Vail,” Gagen said.

According to Gagen, Breckenridge Mayor John Warner received a similar call. Vail Resorts officials have also been visiting with members of the business community to rally support for the full-on Peak 6 development proposal, he said.

*Background, stories and audio reports on Peak 6 are online here: http://summitcountyvoice.com/breckenridge-peak-6-expansion/

The entire draft proposal is online here: www.BreckenridgePeak6.com

Continue reading

Summit County: High water closing roads, recpath

This section of the recpath near Breckenridge, Colorado is now closed. Click on the image to see a video of the washout.

Denver Water maintaining steady outflow from Dillon Reservoir just below flood level

 

*Click here to view a Summit Voice video of the Coyne Valley Road washout

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — High runoff and heavy rains have led to some traffic disruptions, as State Highway 9 has been cut to one lane of travel between Breckenridge and Hoosier Pass. CDOT workers are monitoring traffic and alternating travel for north- and southbound traffic.

In Breckenridge, Coyne Valley Road is closed until further notice due to flooding. Drivers should use the detour on Airport Rd through the Block 11 property as an alternate route to Valleybrook Rd and HWY 9.

Also, Airport Road at Summit Landscaping is closed until further notice due to high water. Businesses are open in the area. Detours are in place. And the recpath is now closed until further notice between Coyne Valley Road and 13217 Highway 9 (at High Country Furniture & Gallery). The Rec path is closed until further notice. Town officials are asking cyclists to  avoid this portion of the bike path due to the dangerous, high water conditions. Continue reading

Summit County, Breckenridge take different path for E-bikes

Lone Star Sports owner and former Breckenridge town councilmember Greg Abernathy pedals through the parking lot on one of the electric-assisted bicycles he rents and sells at his shop.

Town and county split on permitting electric-assisted bikes

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The town of Breckenridge and Summit County are taking different paths with regard to the regulation of electric-assisted bicycles.

The Breckenridge Town Council Tuesday is likely to approve on second reading an ordinance that permits the electric-assisted bikes on the town’s seven-mile section of the countywide recpath system, stretching from downtown to the vicinity of the Fourmile Bridge along Highway 9.

Town manager Tim Gagen said the issue has been discussed several times by council members, and that a general consensus has emerged on electric-assisted bikes. Most people can’t tell just by looking at them that they are electrically assisted, Gagen said. And most council members don’t believe that they pose a safety threat, he said. In general, there hasn’t been much comment from the public either for or against, he added. Continue reading

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