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Skiing: Colorado areas dominate SKI mag poll again

Breckenridge remains the top-ranked Summit County resort

Breckenridge Ski Area ranked 13th in this year’s SKI magazine reader poll.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado ski areas once again dominated the annual SKI magazine reader polls, but only two Summit County resorts cracked the top 20 — not surprising, given that most of the local areas — with the exception of A-Basin — emphasize quantity over quality.

After a five-year run in the number one spot, Deer Valley yielded to Whistler-Blackcomb, which won on the overall strength of its many attributes, including terrain variety, snow quantity and, of course, its vibrant nightlife. But readers of the magazine, who rate resorts annually in detailed surveys, recognized that the somewhat unpredictable weather in the Pacific Northwest can sometimes be a damper.

The poll is a fall publishing ritual that spurs plenty of water-cooler discussions and helps set the mood for the impending ski season. Continue reading

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2012 water year ends with another dry month

A few wet days in September weren’t enough to make up the year-long moisture deficit.

September precipitation below average at Breckenridge and Dillon; temps slightly above average

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — September precipitation dipped back down below average in Summit County, with Breckenridge weather watcher Rick Bly reporting a total of 1.07 inches for the month, compared to the average 1.47 inches.

The weather year also ends Sept. 30, and in Breckenridge — perhaps surprisingly, given all the drought talk — precipitation ended up at 18.56 inches of rain and melted snow combined, just about 89 percent of average (20.67 inches).

Meteorologists use and Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 year because it matches up better with seasonal hydrological cycles than the calendar year. 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

Breckenridge: Riverwalk Center ski swap benefits Team Summit

Bigger and better than ever in its 32d year

Get ready! Bob Berwyn photo.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — It’s never too early to start thinking about the upcoming season, and for a lot of people, that means upgrading gear, whether it’s the big stuff, like boards or boots, or just a few new accessories.

In any case, the Team Summit Ski Swap in Breckenridge, now in its 32d year, is always one of the best places to start. The swap is on again this weekend at the Riverwalk Center, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and again from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, offering some of the sweetest deals of the  year on ski and snowboard gear. Continue reading

Morning photo: 2012 USA Pro Challenge in Breckenridge

Celebrating two-wheelers

Riders jockey for position during a parade lap around Breckenridge, Colorado before the start of Stage 5 of the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge.

SUMMIT COUNTY —Breckenridge has always been a bike-crazy town, and when the 2012 USA Pro Challenge came to town Aug. 24 it was a great excuse for a day-long party. After a thrilling start along Main Street, some cycling enthusiasts enjoyed citizen sprints, live music and bike-themed art, while other simply settled in to watch the racers on a huge outdoor screen. Stage 5 saw the racers climb Hoosier Pass, speed through the wide-open spaces of South Park, then breach the Front Range mountains before speeding down into Colorado Springs, where the peleton caught up with an early breakaway group to set up an exiting sprint finish, won by Tyler Farrar, just ahead of Taylor Phinney. Tejay van Garderen is still wearing the yellow jersey but could face some challenges on Saturday’s all-important Golden-to Boulder-stage. Get all the results and follow the tour live at  http://usaprocyclingchallenge.com/.

Faces in the peleton …

Continue reading

Colorado Dems target Senate District 8 as key race

Emily Tracy.

Competitive senate district encompasses resorts, rural ag communities

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —Following Randy Baumgardner’s victory in the Senate District 8 GOP primary, state democratic leaders say that Emily Tracy‘s bid for the seat has become a top-tier race in the contest to hold on to a slim majority in the State Senate.

Tracy, a Breckenridge resident, is former city councilwoman and a trained mediator with a career in child protection. She will receive financial, communications, grassroots and strategic support from the party organization in what could be a tight race in a presidential election year. Continue reading

Drought watch: Breckenridge to ban fires and small fireworks

Continued drought prompts Breckenridge to take additional steps to try and avoid a fire start.

Ordinance would enable mayor to ban in-town burning and fires by proclamation

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —On top of Stage 2 fire restrictions on National Forest lands and a statewide fire ban enacted by Gov. Hickenlooper, the Breckenridge Town Council may vote to give Mayor John Warner the power to ban fires on public and private lands within town limits.

According to police chief Shannon Haynes, the imminent threat of a destructive wildfire justifies the move. In a June 20 memo to the town council, Haynes wrote that extremely dry weather conditions are expected to persist and even worsen in the foreseeable future.

The council will discuss the emergency ordinance at the June 26 meeting. Passing the ordinance would give the mayor to immediately issue a proclamation. The order would be lifted when it’s determined that the severe fire threat has diminished. Continue reading

Drought watch: Breckenridge eyes water restrictions

Last year, an excess, as the Blue River ran at flood stage July 8 near the town rec center. This year, not enough, as the town council considers water restrictions. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

Town council to consider emergency water ordinance at June 26 work session

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Keeping a close watch on ever-dwindling flows in the Blue River, Breckenridge officials may adopt Stage 1 water restrictions limiting outdoor irrigation to three days per week between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Details are on page 89 of the Town Council work session agenda, online at the town website.

The restrictions also apply to school fields, and the Stage 1 restrictions would also control how and where residents can wash their cars, while letting people water flowers as long as they use a hose with a shutoff valve or a hand watering can. Drip irrigation is also OK. Continue reading

Colorado: Forest arson investigated in Breckenridge

With wildfires burning around the West, someone in the Breckenridge area decided to try and set the local forest on fire.

Firefighters manage to extinguish small blaze near Peak 8

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY —Residents of Breckenridge and Summit County are being asked to help find a suspect who is trying to start a forest fire.

Police detectives and fire investigators say several small fires were set intentionally in the forest near Breckenridge may have been started Sunday and smoldered overnight before igniting Monday afternoon as temperatures climbed and the humidity dropped. Continue reading

Colorado: Summit sheriffs arrest murder suspect

Gregory Scott Gavin has been arrested as a suspect in the murder of Karl Fred Kohler.

Officers say DNA analysis, physical evidence at scene links Gregory Scott Gavin to the brutal beating death of Karl Fred Kohler

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Summit County Sheriff’s Office Thursday arrested Gregory Scott Gavin as a suspect in the murder of Karl Fred Kohler.

Sheriffs Office spokesperson Tracy LeClair said Gavin was arrested near Keystone about four hours after a warrant was issued.

Gavin was also a transient resident of the area who lived in the forest by choice, according to LeClair, who added that the two camps were not in close proximity. It’s not know whether Kohler and Gavin had any previous contact or conflicts, she said.

Kohler, 45, was beaten to death while camped on National Forest Service land near the Burro Trailhead in Breckenridge.

His body was found May 19, triggering a three-week investigation that resulted in this week’s arrest.

Gavin, 50, is currently being held in the Summit County Detention Facility on charges of  second degree murder. His bond has been set at $250,000. Continue reading

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