Breck, Vail Resorts squabble over parking

Spring season extended at Breckenridge Ski Area. PHOTO COURTESY VAIL RESORTS/JACK AFFLECK.

 Breckenridge Ski Area. PHOTO COURTESY VAIL RESORTS/JACK AFFLECK.

Lift-ticket tax proposal stirs up bad blood

Staff Report

FRISCO — The long-running love-hate soap opera between Breckenridge and Vail Resorts took a nasty turn this week, as town officials vowed to forge ahead with putting an admissions (lift-ticket) tax on the November ballot, while the resort company questioned the town’s legal authority to do so.

At issue, according to Breckenridge, is an urgent need to address parking and transit issues — something the town should have started addressing 15 years ago. Based on community input, town officials say, the best path forward is to build a parking structure on F-Lot and to boost transit options.

To do that, the town wants to establish a new revenue stream by taxing lift tickets and other for-profit attractions. But Breckenridge and Vail Resorts have apparently failed to find common ground. In a press release, Mayor John Warner said ongoing negotiations have failed, leaving the town no option but to pursue voter approval for a new tax in the fall. Continue reading

Poll: Breckenridge residents want a parking structure

BMX biking Breckenridge Colorado

A crowd of tourists watches a BMX bike demo in Breckenridge. Colorado.

Voters support new tax to address parking and congestion

Staff Report

FRISCO — Polling early this summer in Breckenridge appears to confirm what many residents and visitors already know — parking and congestion are serious issues for the Colorado resort town, which in some ways is choking on its own success.

According to the survey, voters want their town leaders to make parking and congestion a top priority, and they think a tax on lift tickets and special events is the way to pay for it. Continue reading

Breckenridge to vote on Main Street pot sales

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Buds in Breckenridge?

Drug stigma lingers for some residents of Colorado mountain town

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Breckenridge voters will have a chance to micro-manage their town’s regulation of legal marijuana sales next month, with a special election set to determine whether the herb and its derivatives will be sold on Main Street.

If you’re not from Colorado, you may scratching your head at this point, wondering why, if pot is already legal, is there yet another election. After all, Breckenridge helped set the stage for legalization in 2009. when voters decriminalized the possession of small amounts of cannabis. In 2012, 70 percent of the ski town’s voters gave Amendment 64 a thumbs up. Continue reading

Breck snowfall above average 4 months in a row

Fourth-snowiest year on record in Summit County

Big snows coated the Gore Range in March 2014. bberwyn photo.

Big snows coated Colorado’s Gore Range in March 2014. bberwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Another month of above-normal snowfall has put Breckenridge on track for its fourth-snowiest winter on record, according to National Weather Service observer Rick Bly, who measured 37.4 inches at his backyard gauge.

That makes it the 10th-snowiest March, a month that sees average snowfall of 25.5 inches. Bly said precipitation has been above average for four straight months. During the current water year, which started Oct. 1, only November saw slightly below normal snowfall. Precipitation (the combination of melted snow and rain) for the water year to date is already at 15.2 inches, nearly six inches more than average. Continue reading

Vail ditches ‘Epic Pass’ as of April 1

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Front Range skiers may have to get lift tickets for Breckenridge through a statewide lottery.

Resort officials discuss best way to allocate tickets to powder-crazed Front Rangers

Staff Report

FRISCO — Vail Resorts announced Tuesday that it’s curtailing sales of the so-called Epic Pass effective April 1 due to overcrowding on the slopes of Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail.

The move came as part of a rebranding effort that will see Vail Resorts focus on quality rather than quantity, chairman and CEO Bob Slatz said in a prepared statement.

“This spring break, we’ve come to realize that enough is enough,” Slatz said. “We’ve listened to our customers and we’ve heard them loud and clear. Starting April 1, the Epic Pass will be history.”

The announcement came after a busy weekend at Breckenridge, when the lift line for the Colorado SuperChair extended from the base of the lift to within about 100 feet of the top.

“It was kind of ridiculous,” said Aurora skier Charles “Tazzie” Wayright. “We got on the lift, side-slipped down to the end of the line and then rode back up again. By the time we got to the top it was time to head back to Denver to try and beat the I-70 jam,” Wayright said, adding that the drive back to the Front Range “only” took five hours.

“A couple of weeks ago, it took us four hours just to get from Breck to the tunnel,” he said, wondering whether Vail will replace the Epic Pass with some other product.

Breckenridge Ski Area chief Cat Rambell said the resort is thinking about using a lottery system to allocate precious day passes among Front Range skiers who flock to the slopes on snowy weekends.

Another option is to direct skiers according to their vehicles, Slatz added, quickly saying that it wouldn’t be a case of vehicular profiling.

“If you think about it, it makes sense. Hummers and Escalades will be directed to Beaver Creek; all other giant SUVs go to Vail, and, oh yeah, Volvos, too,” Slatz said. Minivans will be steered toward Keystone, while Subarus showing the slightest bit of rust will have to make the trek up to A-Basin.

*Bwah-hah-hah-haaaa … APRIL FOOLS! I’m actually a big fan of Vail’s pass products. I think it makes skiing much more accessible and attractive. It’s absurd to blame Vail Resorts for I-70 traffic jams because it sells a product that people want.

That said, they could probably optimize their pricing to incentivize off-peak travel and skiing. In my mind, that would include a higher-priced unrestricted pass and deeper discounts for mid-week skiing.

And what about, finally once again, a locals pass that includes ALL local resorts, specifically Copper and Loveland.

Skiing: Breckenridge extends season by a week

It's deep at Breckenridge, Colorado. PHOTO COURTESY VAIL RESORTS.

It’s deep at Breckenridge, Colorado. PHOTO COURTESY VAIL RESORTS.

Peaks 6, 7 and 8 will stay open through April 27

Staff Report

FRISCO — Colorado skiers will get a few bonus days this year, as Breckenridge Ski Resort announced that it will extend the season by a week, keeping Peaks 6, 7 and 8 open through April 27.

The resort has tacked on extra days the past few seasons, but generally only on weekends. Due to plentiful snow and the timing of Easter, Breckenridge execs said they made the decision early this year. Continue reading

Vail bails on Peak 6 skiing, plans EpicWildlife sanctuary

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Lynx kittens will have the run of Peak 6 as it becomes Colorado’s biggest wildlife sanctuary.

APRIL FOOLS!!!

Wolverine reintroduction part of the plan for new nature preserve

By Snob Beerwhine

SUMMIT COUNTY — In a surprise move, Colorado’s biggest ski company announced April 1 that it will not pursue the Peak 6 ski area expansion after all. Instead, Breckenridge ski area and the town will expand the Cucumber Gulch preserve into a full-fledged wildlife sanctuary encompassing part of the Tenmile Range from the valley bottom up to the ridgeline.

With sponsorship of the ski area, the new preserve will be called EpicWildlife, set aside for lynx, elk, moose and boreal toads. Partnering with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Breckenridge also plans to reintroduce wolverines to the area, where they will find great habitat in the alpine cirques and couloirs along the crest. Continue reading

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