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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

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Breckenridge: Some Peak 6 history

Ski area zoning was at issue in 2002 White River forest plan revision

From left to right, Peaks 8, 7 and 6, in the Tenmile Range near Breckenridge, Colorado.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — While Vail Resorts may claim that Peak 6 has always been allocated for lift-served skiing, the U.S. Forest Service at one point proposed limiting Summit County ski areas to their existing boundaries.

And an unprecedented boundary adjustment that affected both the Breckenridge Nordic Center and Breckenridge Ski Area also helped set the stage for the current expansion proposal on Peak 6.

The preferred alternative (Alternative D) in a draft version of the White River National Forest plan released in the late 1990s under then-forest supervisor Martha Ketelle would have taken Peak 6 out of the ski area prescription. That proposal was based in part on concern about impacts to natural resources. At the time, the EPA was very involved in the forest plan revision as a cooperating agency.

In early comments on the plan, the EPA was very specific about outlining its concerns. Even though the ski industry likes to claim that its footprint is relatively small when compared to the overall size of the White River National Forest, the EPA said ski area development has the single-largest impact to alpine tundra. Continue reading

Ski industry rebounding from recession

Resort leaders offer preview of new goodies at annual resort COO breakfast

The base at Breckenridge Ski Area's Peak 8 will have a new look and feel with completion of One Ski Hill Place this season.

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Ski resort leaders from Summit County and nearby Loveland said they’re waiting for some snow along with eager skiers around Colorado, but hinted that the season will be under way soon.

“We’re really close,” said A-Basin chief Alan Henceroth, addressing a big crowd of local business leaders at the annual pre-season pep talk.

A-Basin, Loveland, Copper and Keystone have all been making snow the last few nights, and Copper is far enough along that ski teams will begin training this weekend high on the mountain, the resort announced yesterday.

With colder weather and some natural snow in the forecast, best estimates are that A-Basin and Loveland should be able to open next week, and Keystone has a scheduled opening date of Nov. 5.

This year’s breakfast session was hosted by the Breckenridge Resort Chamber and co-sponsored by the Summit County Chamber of Commerce and started off with a wide-angle look at reservation and skier number trends by Ralf Garrison. Garrison said that, based on numbers reported to his Mountain Travel Research Project, the ski industry outperformed many other segments of the travel and tourism industry during the recession of the past two years. Continue reading

Ski area chiefs to give annual update in Breckenridge

Snorkel-deep in A-Basin's Montezuma Bowl. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

Panel talk on resort news followed by Q & A at annual ski area COO pow-wow

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Ski resort executives come and go, new lifts can be installed, but the mountains are eternal — and that’s a good thing for skiers and snowboarders, because all we need is a snow-covered hill and some wax-coated boards.

But we’re always curious about what’s new at the ski areas as the season nears, and the leaders of Breckenridge, Keystone, A-Basin, Copper and Loveland will once again oblige at the annual COO breakfast, which has become an autumn rite in Summit County. This year’s edition is set for Oct. 21, 8 a.m. at the Beaver Run Conference Center. Continue reading

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