Breckenridge voters approve new lift ticket tax

Morning alpenglow paints the summit of Breckenridge Ski Area.

Starting next season, some skiers and snowboarders will be paying an extra 4.5 percent on their lift tickets (season passes excluded) to help pay for needed transportation and parking infrastructure. @bberwyn photo.

New revenue to fund transportation improvements

Staff Report

The turnout wasn’t exactly overwhelming, but those Breckenridge voters who did bother to cast a ballot Tuesday overwhelmingly voted in favor of a ballot measure  authorizing a 4.5 percent lift ticket tax.

The preliminary tally shows 917 votes in favor of ballot measure 2A, with just 185 no votes. The new tax is aimed at funding long-term funding for parking and transit solutions in the jam-packed tourist town. Continue reading

Breckenridge, Vail Resorts compromise on proposed lift ticket tax

Morning alpenglow paints the summit of Breckenridge Ski Area.

Morning alpenglow paints the summit of Breckenridge Ski Area.

New ballot measure will exclude season passes

Staff Report

FRISCO — The ski town showdown over a proposed lift-ticket tax in Breckenridge ended with a whimper rather than a bang, as the town and Vail Resorts reached a compromise on the issue.

According to a press release from the town, the language of the ballot measure seeking voter approval of the new tax will be tweaked to exclude season passes and summer lift tickets from what town officials have called an admissions tax. Continue reading

Funding finalized, CDOT will four-lane more of Hwy. 9

Busy highway to be moved away from Dillon Reservoir


The new Highway 9 alignment will run where the recpath is now, while the recpath will be moved closer to the shore of Dillon Reservoir.

Some community discussion on this project at this Facebook post.

Staff Report

FRISCO — With Vail Resorts, Breckenridge and Summit County pledging more than $1 million combined toward Highway 9 upgrades, the Colorado Department of Transportation will be able to move ahead with widening the busy highway in the Iron Springs section, between Farmers Korner and Frisco.

CDOT had tabbed the four-laning of the highway as a high priority project that qualifies for accelerated construction and funding as long as there is a 20 percent match from local public and private partners. With that money now on the table, CDOT will be able to put the project up for bid this fall, with construction slated for 2016 and and 2017. Continue reading

Breck, Vail Resorts squabble over parking

Spring season extended at Breckenridge Ski Area. PHOTO COURTESY VAIL RESORTS/JACK AFFLECK.


Lift-ticket tax proposal stirs up bad blood

Staff Report

FRISCO — The long-running love-hate soap opera between Breckenridge and Vail Resorts took a nasty turn this week, as town officials vowed to forge ahead with putting an admissions (lift-ticket) tax on the November ballot, while the resort company questioned the town’s legal authority to do so.

At issue, according to Breckenridge, is an urgent need to address parking and transit issues — something the town should have started addressing 15 years ago. Based on community input, town officials say, the best path forward is to build a parking structure on F-Lot and to boost transit options.

To do that, the town wants to establish a new revenue stream by taxing lift tickets and other for-profit attractions. But Breckenridge and Vail Resorts have apparently failed to find common ground. In a press release, Mayor John Warner said ongoing negotiations have failed, leaving the town no option but to pursue voter approval for a new tax in the fall. Continue reading

Colorado: Vail Resorts to stand trial for avalanche death of local teenage skier


Vail Resorts compliance with Colorado Ski Safety Act signage requirements is at issue in a lawsuit over the death of a Vail-area teenager in a January 2012 avalanche on Prima Cornice. Photo courtesy CAIC.

Judge refuses to dismiss case, says it’s not clear that Vail Resorts followed all legal requirements for signing and closing dangerous terrain

By Bob Berwyn

*More coverage here

FRISCO — A final legal determination in the case of a January 2012 inbounds avalanche death at Vail Ski area could hinge technical details of how the ski area manages its terrain, and whether Vail Resorts complied with signage requirements of the Colorado Ski Safety Act, according to the latest ruling from District Court Judge Chris Melonakis. Continue reading

Vail ditches ‘Epic Pass’ as of April 1


Front Range skiers may have to get lift tickets for Breckenridge through a statewide lottery.

Resort officials discuss best way to allocate tickets to powder-crazed Front Rangers

Staff Report

FRISCO — Vail Resorts announced Tuesday that it’s curtailing sales of the so-called Epic Pass effective April 1 due to overcrowding on the slopes of Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail.

The move came as part of a rebranding effort that will see Vail Resorts focus on quality rather than quantity, chairman and CEO Bob Slatz said in a prepared statement.

“This spring break, we’ve come to realize that enough is enough,” Slatz said. “We’ve listened to our customers and we’ve heard them loud and clear. Starting April 1, the Epic Pass will be history.”

The announcement came after a busy weekend at Breckenridge, when the lift line for the Colorado SuperChair extended from the base of the lift to within about 100 feet of the top.

“It was kind of ridiculous,” said Aurora skier Charles “Tazzie” Wayright. “We got on the lift, side-slipped down to the end of the line and then rode back up again. By the time we got to the top it was time to head back to Denver to try and beat the I-70 jam,” Wayright said, adding that the drive back to the Front Range “only” took five hours.

“A couple of weeks ago, it took us four hours just to get from Breck to the tunnel,” he said, wondering whether Vail will replace the Epic Pass with some other product.

Breckenridge Ski Area chief Cat Rambell said the resort is thinking about using a lottery system to allocate precious day passes among Front Range skiers who flock to the slopes on snowy weekends.

Another option is to direct skiers according to their vehicles, Slatz added, quickly saying that it wouldn’t be a case of vehicular profiling.

“If you think about it, it makes sense. Hummers and Escalades will be directed to Beaver Creek; all other giant SUVs go to Vail, and, oh yeah, Volvos, too,” Slatz said. Minivans will be steered toward Keystone, while Subarus showing the slightest bit of rust will have to make the trek up to A-Basin.

*Bwah-hah-hah-haaaa … APRIL FOOLS! I’m actually a big fan of Vail’s pass products. I think it makes skiing much more accessible and attractive. It’s absurd to blame Vail Resorts for I-70 traffic jams because it sells a product that people want.

That said, they could probably optimize their pricing to incentivize off-peak travel and skiing. In my mind, that would include a higher-priced unrestricted pass and deeper discounts for mid-week skiing.

And what about, finally once again, a locals pass that includes ALL local resorts, specifically Copper and Loveland.

Morning photo: Mountain love

Epic …

Another stunning Peak 1 sunset in Summit County, Colorado.

Another stunning Peak 1 sunset in Summit County, Colorado.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO —I’m still super-annoyed that Vail Resorts has tried to hijack the word “epic,” but I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me. It was such a great mountain slang word at one time — you’d ask a skier or snowboarder how their day was and they’d reply, with a powder-glazed look in their eyes, “Epic, dude.” Used like that, the word conjures up echoes of Homer and the Iliad. But when it’s debased by the advertising culture and mentality of Vail Resorts, well, it seems to lose all its class — epic pass, epic burger … how NOT classy is that?

Hmm, not sure how I got off on that tangent. Oh, I know, I was in Breck today watching clouds of dust rise off the new clearcuts on Peak 6 — you could just about see the lynx scurrying for safety up there. Yes, seeing that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and reminded once again how greed and the lust for money are at the root of so much misery, and it’s made all the worse when it’s cloaked in a hypocritical green mantle. I prefer my greed pure and naked, thank you very much, that way I know what I’m dealing with.

But in any case, I had the chance to see a couple of “epic” sunsets recently … If you like our snapshots here on the blog, check out the hi-rez versions available for sale at our online FineArt America gallery, and feel free to leave a comment on by rant in the box at the end of the post! Continue reading


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