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Colorado: Pennsylvania Mine cleanup set to begin

EPA removal action aims to reduce acid mine drainage at polluted site


The ruins of the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine.

USGS and EPA experts sample soils near the Pennsylvania Mine.

USGS and EPA experts sample soils near the Pennsylvania Mine.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — After years of study, state and federal mine reclamation experts say they’re ready to try and reduce the amount of tainted water oozing out of the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine, in Summit County, Colorado.

The old mining site high in the Peru Creek drainage above Keystone has been identified as a key source of toxic heavy metals that impair water quality for miles downstream. Concentrations of lead, cadmium, managanese and especially zinc exceed standards set to protect aquatic life in the stream.

The mine operated between 1879 and 1908, and intermittently through the 1940s, producing gold, silver, lead, copper and zinc. As water and oxygen interact with the highly mineralized rocks, so-called acid mine drainage forms, loading the stream with dissolved heavy metals. Continue reading

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Colorado: Keystone aims to boost lodging occupancy, destination biz with a kids-ski-free deal for overnight visitors

Keystone offering free skiing for kids under 12 this season, but not for day-trippers.

Youngsters under 12 ski free with a two-night stay at the resort; other family offerings beefed up for the coming season

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Keystone Resort is stepping up its already strong appeal to families with season-long free skiing for kids under 12 for guests staying at least two nights at a resort property.

The program is aimed at boosting occupancy and also helps Vail Resorts segment its Summit County business, potentially shifting a bit of business from hyper-crowded Breckenridge to its sister resort on the other side of Summit County.

Numerous other resorts also offer special deals to entice kids, but Keystone is differentiating its program by emphasizing the no-strings, no-blackout aspects.

“With the introduction of a Kids Ski Free offer that’s really restriction-free, we’re letting families travel as their schedule allows,” said Keystone VP and general manager John Buhler.

Keystone says it has also enhanced it s Kidtopia program with daily animation and entertainment all winter long, including the third installment of what the resort bills as the world’s largest snowfort, street performers in the base area commercial zone, kids’ apres gatherings, a weekly Kidtopia parade, on-ice dance parties at the resort’s two ice skating rinks, and the new Snowed-In Festival. Continue reading

Homegrown: Summit County celebrates local food with the Garden to Table dinner at Keystone Ranch

Kyle Wiseman harvests edible borage flowers at the community garden greenhouse in Frisco, Colorado.

Homegrown movement going strong in the high country

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Community gardening in the high country has grown just about as fast in the past couple of years as the lettuce, spinach and radishes thriving in greenhouses and plots from Silverthorne to Breckenridge.

If you don’t have plans yet for this Saturday night, consider attending the Garden-to-Table dinner at the Keystone Ranch, where the local gardening movement will celebrate its harvests and look ahead toward the future. Chef Steve Vlass is planning an all-star Colorado menu featuring venison, Rocky Ford cantaloupe, Palisade peaches and much more. Continue reading

Colorado: New uphill & downhill mountain bike races featured as Keystone launches the summer season

New mini-mountain bike park opening near the River Run base area

Family mountain biking fun at Keystone, Colorado. PHOTO COURTESY VAIL RESORTS.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Uphill, downhill or just plain on the hill, Keystone  has it covered going into the summer season. Along with a summer opening weekend, (June 15-17), the resort has scheduled a series of enduro, op-to-bottom races, an ascent series, and has also created a new mini-bike park near the River Run base for kids and newcomers to mountain biking.

Opening weekend means the the resort will open its extensive system of mountain bike trails, and there will be music in River Run Village, along with a BMX showcase and a kids balance bike competition. Just like opening day of ski season, the fun starts with free hot chocolate and donuts at the base of the River Run gondola. For non-cyclists, there’s a free  kids fishing derby.

For unbeatable views of Summit County, Dillon Reservoir and big slice of the Rockies, join the Friday Afternoon Club, with free lift access from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Free live music, lawn games and drink and food specials are on tap at the Summit House. Continue reading

Colorado: Pre-registration starts for TBEX’12

River Run Village at Keystone Resort during the annual Beer and Bluegrass Festival.

Travel media conference at Keystone also taking proposals from prospective speakers

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Even though TBEX’12 is still 11 months away, pre-registration for the 2012 Travel Blog Exchange in Keystone, Colo. is now open.

The popular conference often fills early, and the advance rates are a good deal, at $59 for travel bloggers and $349 for PR reps through Aug. 31, when rates go up. As of July 10 there were still 148 tickets left at the $59 rate.

Regular registration starts Oct. 1 with rates going up to $85 for travel bloggers and other media types, and $549 for PR and industry people.

TBEX’12 organizers are also taking pitches for speaker slots, so anyone with a particular area of expertise who is interested should check out the proposal forms, online here. Continue reading

Summit County: Keystone to redevelop Summit House

The summit of Dercum Mountain as seen by Google Earth.

Proposal submitted to Forest Service includes lift and trail upgrades to ease congestion around the top of Dercum Mountain

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Keystone Resort has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Forest Service for some major upgrades at the summit of Dercum Mountain, including a complete replacement of the existing Summit House with a new 20,000 to 30,000 square-foot facility. The Summit House plan is part of a new master for Keystone, recently posted online at the White River National Forest website.

The Forest Service hasn’t yet formally accepted the proposal, but has tentatively scheduled the start of public scoping sometime this summer, said Dillon District winter sports ranger Shelly Grail. Continue reading

Summit County ski areas submit trail, forest project plans

Keystone is planning some mountain bike trail improvements and a few other projects this summer.

Public comment period on summer projects taken through June 24

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Breckenridge and Keystone are planning a few small on-mountain improvement projects this summer, including a new waterline on the Peak 8 Freeway trail and Breckenridge and development of a new ski school trail on Peak 7.

Keystone will try to do some forest regeneration by transplanting trees from one part of the mountain to another, according to a blanket scoping notice issued last week by White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams. Keystone also wants to cut about 20 trees at the bottom of North and South bowls to enable grooming in those areas. Continue reading

Summit County: New ice rink proposed at Keystone

A new ice rink is proposed for Dercum Square at Keystone.

New facility could be used for in-line skating and special events in the summer

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Vail Resorts is proposing to build an outdoor ice rink on a 0.7-acre site in Keystone’s River Run district, close to the Dakota Lodge in Dercum Square — an area long envisioned as the location for a community hall or chapel.

The resort submitted a development application to Summit County in early April, where the project is under review by the planning department and subject to hearings by the Snake River planning commission and the county commissioners. All the county documents for the proposal are online here.

According to the project narrative, the rink would have a refrigerated surface and removable railings, with pole-mounted lights on the edge of the ring and strings of lighting directly above the ice. Continue reading

Steep shots: Skin away from the crowds

Ski columnist Emily Palm skins Keystone's back bowls.

In-bounds adventures at Keystone

By Emily Palm

Ah, spring skiing: Muscles warmed up for the season, bluebird skies, pleasant weather, and tourists careening at you from all angles atop iced-up slopes.

Quick side note: I do not begrudge out-of-towners unacquainted with mountain culture and lacking ski skills (commonly called “gapers”), for they subsidize my inbound skiing.

At the end of the season, I’m not sure the resorts break even from my packed sandwiches, backpack beverages and me. Furthermore, isn’t it healthy for Americans to break out of their comfort zones? Isn’t compassion toward such folks on the slope good karma for when we’re out in other realms bumbling through as a newbie? I digress, but suffice it to say, “Love thy gaper.”

Now back to the topic at hand. To enjoy the aforementioned benefits and escape the latter, get thee to the backcountry or up to non-lift-served inbound areas. Continue reading

Keystone invokes emergency clause for snowmaking water

A team of volunteers, led by Colorado Division of Wildlife biologists and technicians, works during a summer rainstorm to capture and count trout in the Snake River at Keystone Resort. This year's survey found numerous young brook trout living in the stream.

*Editor’s note: In a local version of wiki-leaks, a series of e-mails and letters circulated among elected officials, planners, attorneys and public land managers show that everyone was aware that drawing down the Snake River to 2 cfs would probably wipe out a small brook trout population that is just starting to gain a foothold in the river. Read more about the trout here.

This story is still developing and will be updated.

Resort could draw Snake River down to 2 cfs, though it’s unlikely that level will be reached this year, thanks to solid stream flows and plentiful early season snow

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — A Dec. 15  maintenance closure of the Roberts Tunnel spurred Keystone Ski Area to activate a backup clause in its water rights portfolio that allows the resort to cut Snake River flows down to two cubic feet per second under an agreement dating back to the 1980s.

Water attorney Glenn Porzak, who negotiated the arrangement on behalf of Vail Resorts, said the deal helps ensure continued snowmaking operations on an emergency basis when needed.

“This is the first time it’s shut down the snowmaking,” Porzak said, referring to the maintenance work.

Generally, the resort is required to maintain flows at 6 cfs, measured at a gage below the snowmaking diversion. The level was set by the state to protect aquatic life in the stream. However, under the agreement with the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, the flow can be reduce below that minimum level to ensure adequate water for snowmaking under extraordinary circumstances — for example an extremely dry early season and low natural flows in the Snake River. Continue reading


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