Front Range skier hits tree, dies at Keystone Ski Area

The latest skier death occurred March 9 on the Spring Dipper trail an intermediate run on the front side of Dercum Mountain.

Skier deaths spike above average in low-snow year

By Summit Voice

*Story updated 11:15 a.m. March 10

SUMMIT COUNTY — For the second day in a row, a skier died on the slopes of a Summit County ski resort, this time on the Spring Dipper trail at Keystone Ski Area.

According to Summit County Coroner Joanne Richardson, the accident occurred Friday (March 9) at about 1 p.m.

On March 10, he coroner’s office identified the skier as  Truitt Hunter, of Castle Rock.

On March 8, an 18-year-old high school student from Wisconsin died at Copper after crashing into structure on the Andy’s Encore trail.

According to witnesses, the 23-year old day skier from the Denver area skied off the side of the trail and crashed into a tree. According to the coroner’s office, witnesses said it looked like Hunter caught an edge before veering off the trail.

The Keystone ski patrol and a Flight For Life crew responded with life-saving measures and transported the victim to the Keystone Medical Center, where further life- saving measures were continued to no avail.

The cause of death is multiple skull fractures. The name will not be released until next of kin have been notified, potentially by mid-day Saturday.

Colorado: Snowboarder hits tree, dies at Keystone ski area

Keystone's Elk Run. PHOTO COURTESY COLORADO SKI AUTHORITY.

Helmeted rider suffers massive trauma in Summit County, Colorado ski area crash

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The string of on-slope ski and snowboard fatalities continued this weekend, as 24-yar-old Joshua B. Allen, of Tampa, Florida, died from injuries suffered in a crash at Keystone Ski Area. According to the Summit County Coroner, Allen, who was wearing a helmet, died of massive facial injuries and brain trauma.

The coroner’s office reported the accident as a transfer case at 3:25 p.m., reporting that Allen was found in the trees on the intermediate Elk Run Sunday morning. The Keystone ski patrol was contacted at 11 a.m. and performed advanced life support.

Joshua B. Allen.

Allen’s death is the fourth of the season at Keystone. For the season to-date, there have been at least 11 reported ski and snowboard related deaths in Colorado, close to the long-term average of 12 deaths per season.

Allen was subsequently flown to the Summit Medical Center for stabilization for a flight to Denver. He died in the emergency room at St. Anthony’s in Lakewood at at about 2:30 p.m.

Allen had been skiing in the area with two friends since Wednesday.

Colorado: Skier dies after crash at Keystone

Keystone Ski Area.

Helmeted had suffered broken neck, brain injury; was found face-down on expert trail

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —The Summit County coroner’s office is reporting that 72-year-old William Emberton, of Stonington, Connecticut, died Thursday (Feb. 9) from injuries suffered at Keystone Ski Area. Stonington died at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood.

Stonington was found Feb. 7, at about 1:30 p.m. face-down on the Geronimo Trail at Keystone. He suffered a broken neck and an anoxic brain injury. According to the coroner, he was wearing a helmet. The accident is still under investigation.

 

Summit County: Keystone gets OK for forest health work

Salvage logging approved on about 1,600 acres at Colorado ski area

The mountain pine beetle epidemic has advanced far up the slopes of Keystone Mountain.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Keystone Ski Area has a green light to begin salvage logging and other forest restoration efforts across 1,648 acres at the resort as part of a project to reduce risks to the public and infrastructure from falling trees. The resort’s forest health project should also help increase lodgepole pine regeneration following the mountain pine beetle epidemic by removing dead, dying and susceptible trees, the Forest Service said in a press release announcing the go-ahead. Click here to read the White River forest supervisor’s decision. 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: Winter remix on Memorial Day

Keystone re-opens for snow tubing and terrain park sessions; Arapahoe Basin still going strong with a 97-inch base and 70 percent of its terrain open going into the holiday weekend

This year, there was powder skiing well into May at Arapahoe Basin.

SUMMIT COUNTY — After one of the snowiest winters in recent memory, Keystone will celebrate the traditional start of the summer season with a winter remix, including a fresh rail setup, a terrain park with 20 features and some Hawaiian-flavored snow tubing at Adventure Point.

The action starts Friday, May 27 and continues all weekend long, through May 30, with access to the terrain park just $18 for pass holders and $25 for non-pass holders. Along with the snowy fun on Dercum Mountain, the resort is also opening for scenic gondola rides, kids activities in the village and a free BMX stunt show on Sunday, May 29. Mountain biking on Keystone Mountain will be limited during the weekend, as late-season snow and cool weather have delayed the season, but the Summit recpath system is clear. A full schedule is online here.

Meanwhile, at Arapahoe Basin, the ski season is still in high gear, with some of the best late-season conditions in recent memory. The ski area is reporting a 97-inch base with 70 percent of its terrain still open. On his blog, A-Basin chief Alan Henceroth said the ski area will keep as much terrain open as conditions and demand warrant. Continue reading

Summit County: Keystone forest project close to OK

A map shows the overall forest treatment area at Keystone Ski Area in Summit County, Colorado.

Beetle-kill trees targeted for salvage logging, some spraying planned to protect high-value trees

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Keystone Ski Area may be able to begin an extensive forest health treatment program this summer, clearing dead trees, spraying others to protect them from pine beetles and replanting seedlings to help speed recovery of beetle-stricken forests.

A final decision will be issued after a 30-day objection period. All the project documents and maps are online at the White River National Forest website.

The White River National Forest released a completed environmental study for the project this week. According to the agency, the proposed action would “implement hazard tree, salvage and regeneration treatments on about 1,650 acres of lodgepole pine on National Forest lands within special use permit boundary of the Keystone Ski Resort.”

The goal is to reduce risks to the public and infrastructure from falling trees and to create conditions that would increase lodgepole pine regeneration following the mountain pine beetle epidemic by removing dead, dying and susceptible trees through salvage.   Continue reading

Denver Water: Roberts Tunnel off through April 2011

The Roberts Tunnel, a key link in Denver Water's supply system, took about 16 years to build. PHOTO COURTESY DENVER WATER. Click on the photo to visit Denver Water's online gallery of historic water project photos.

Major maintenance of valves at east end, near Grants, will take several months to complete

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — The trans-mountain Roberts Tunnel, which transports water from Dillon Reservoir to the South Platte drainage, will remain shut off until April while Denver Water does major maintenance on the valves at the east end of the underground aqueduct.

The 23-mile tunnel under the Continental Divide was completed in 1962. It’s often shut down in the fall for shorter periods of time for regular maintenance, but this year’s project required a longer closure, said Bob Steger, Denver Water’s manager of raw water resources. 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

Cloud seeding under way for 3 Summit County ski areas

A state map shows the location of cloud-seeding generators and target areas in western Colorado, including the Vail and Beaver Creek ski areas and the Upper Arkansas River watershed. A similar map for the new Summit County operation will be posted soon at the Colorado Water Conservation Board website. Click on the image for a full-size view. MAP COURTESY CWCB.

Keystone, Breckenridge and A-Basin invest $75,000 in an effort to boost mountain snowfall

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado’s early season conditions are getting rave reviews from skiers and riders, and this year,  Mother Nature can’t take all the credit. Three Summit County ski areas are funding a regional cloud-seeding program operated by Durango-based Western Weather Consultants to boost early season snowfall.

Combined, Keystone, Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin are pitching in $75,000  to help pay for the installation of five new silver iodide generators and two months of operations, with an option to extend the deal for a third month at a cost of $20,000. Continue reading

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