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Colorado: USFS OKs new Copper Mountain master plan

A map showing proposed upgrades at Copper Mountain. Click on the image for a full-size version.

Long-range vision for resort includes new lifts, a summer mountain coaster and new on-mountain restaurants

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Copper Mountain’s new long-range master plan for addressing deficiencies in its aging lift network includes removing and replacing seven existing chairlifts and adding four new lifts, as well as new conveyors for the teaching area at the west end of the resort.

With one of the planned new lifts going up Tucker Mountain, Copper will also relocate and expand its popular snowcat skiing operation to 500 acres on the south side of the ridge running between Tucker Mountain to Jacques Peak.

The overall idea is to increase out-of-base lift capacity and dispersal across the mountain, according to the resort’s newest master plan, accepted by the U.S. Forest Service earlier this year. Full implementation of the master plan would increase the ski area’s comfortable carrying capacity from 11,870 to 15,630 skiers per day. The plan and related documents and maps are online at this Forest Service website. Continue reading

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Does Breckenridge ski area need more terrain?

Forest Service holds July 7 Front Range open house on proposed expansion

Breckenridge Ski Area.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Front Range skiers and riders will have a chance to learn more about the proposed Peak 6 expansion at Breckenridge Ski Area next week, when the U.S. Forest Service holds an open house at the regional office at 740 Simms Street in Golden (4 p.m. to 7 p.m.).

Forest Service personnel will be available to discuss the draft environmental study for the project. White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams will make a presentation at 5 p.m. to describe the goals of the project and the alternatives discussed in the draft environmental impact statement. The meeting will also include information on how to comment on the proposal. The public comment period for the DEIS has been extended through August 9. Background and detailed stories on Peak 6 are online here. Continue reading

Summit County: A-Basin open for skiing through July 4

A fine end to an amazing ski season

Skiing at the Basin — photo by Liam Doran, courtesy A-Basin media library.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Keep those boards handy. The skiing and riding have been epic this year, and the season isn’t quite over yet. A-Basin has decided to extend the ski season to July 4 this year, staying open on weekends only through the holiday. It’s the first time A-Basin will be open on Independence Day since 1997. Details online here.

Two lifts are operating, the Black Mountain Express and Lenawee. Ticket window prices are $39 for adults, $29 for teens and $19 for kids. Details on ticket prices online here. The ski area is reporting a 50-inch base and 275 acres of open terrain. Lifts are operating from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

From Al’s Blog:

“The snow is good. People want to ski and ride. We will be skiing at The Basin on the 4th of July. We will re-open for two more weekends, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday June 24, 25, and 26 and Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday July 1, 2, 3, and 4.”

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: Arapahoe Basin extends ski season

A Google Earth view of snow-covered A-Basin.

Record-breaking April snowfall helps set stage for late-season turns

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — With the snowpack in the upper Snake River Basin nearly double the average for this time of year, A-Basin is going to extend its season well into June, and possibly through the Fourth of July, according to chief operating officer and vice president Alan Henceroth. More details on late-season operations here.

Full operations will end June 5 as planned, but the ski area will re-open for at least two subsequent three-day weekends, June 10, 11 and 12, and June 17, 18 and 19, Henceroth wrote in a May 13 blog post.

Skiing will start at 8:30 a.m. The Black Mountain Express will close at 2 p.m. and Lenawee will close at 2:30 p.m. For now, Henceroth said it’s still to early to say whether the Basin will be able to stay open through Independence Day. Continue reading

Morning photo: First sunny day in April

Brilliant Breckenridge backcountry

Amy Z. lappin' up Little Baldy Bowl.

Story and photos by Matt Krane

Elapsed skinning time to Little Baldy Summit— 1:25 for me, anyhow. Autopilot boot-top winter snow turns two thirds of the way down. Blew past a skier and two boarders building a big kicker. I was listening to a 1974 Grateful Dead show, ‘Big Railroad Blues’ at the time, definitely in a groove. They were definitely caught off guard. If I hadn’t been fiddling with my large camera so much on the way up, Leslie Ross and Amy would not have caught up to me on the pitch. A great surprise to find good friends to share some rarified air, long-needed sun, and some great vertical. if Father Dyer Peak wasn’t in the way, I think I might’ve been able to see the house i grew up in back in Los Angeles.” If you’re on the Summit Voice home page, there’s more, after the break … Continue reading

Opinion: C’mon Copper, tell it like it is!

Despite a few cuts, skiers and riders will still find awesome spring conditions at Copper Mountain during the last few weekends of the season.

Some Copper skiers not happy with late-season cuts in hours, terrain

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — This is a story about perception and reality, inspired by Copper Mountain’s recent announcement that it will close down part of the mountain and shorten the hours of operation on most of its lifts during the last couple of weeks of the season.

Copper outlined its decision in this blog post and in an email to property owners, claiming the decision was made to provide “safer and more enjoyable conditions.”

In a year when the resort reported its best snowfall in recent memory, the blog post also claims that coverage on some slopes is dwindling, and that closing terrain will help prevent equipment damage. The post also makes reference to the fact that this year’s closing date is unusually late. Continue reading

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