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Colorado: Water plan briefing in Vail today

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Water, water everywhere – for now. @bberwyn photo.

Colorado business community weighs in on water principles

Staff Report

FRISCO — Vail and Eagle County residents will have a chance to get up to speed on an emerging state water plan today (July 10), with a lunchtime briefing at Donovan Pavilion in Vail, 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Gov. John Hickenlooper ordered work to begin on the statewide water plan in May 2013; a draft is due to the Governor’s Office no later than Dec. 10, 2014, with the final plan complete by December 2015.

Business leaders have developed statewide business community water policy principles to be part of Colorado’s Water Plan and are seeking regional input to finalize the principles. Working through local business chambers, this statewide initiative seeks local feedback on the principles, which address the business and economic development needs of Colorado.

Speakers include:

  • Tom Binnings of Summit Economics will discuss the economics of water from a statewide perspective.
  • Linn Brooks of Eagle River Water & Sanitation District will share local water operations and policy, and discuss needs in the Eagle and Colorado River basins.
  • James Eklund, executive director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board – the state agency tasked with drafting the Colorado Water Plan.
  • Bryan Blakely of Accelerate Colorado and Mizraim Cordero of the Colorado Competitive Council will discuss the business community water policy principles.
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Vail, Breckenridge and Copper extend the season

Late-season snow spurs limited re-opening April 19-21

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Fine spring skiing conditions at Breckenridge.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Colorado skiers will get a bonus weekend at Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Vail, with all three areas firing up some of their lifts for a final spring fling.

“After skiing some amazing powder turns on closing day and more heavy snow in the forecast this week, we just don’t have the heart to shut down Breck’s lifts just yet,” said Pat Campbell, chief operating officer for the Summit County resort.

“Mother Nature is a fickle business partner and apparently she wasn’t ready for the ski season to be over. We can’t think of a better way to thank our loyal guests for celebrating our 40th Anniversary season with us,” said Gary Rodgers, president and general manager of Copper Mountain Resort.

Copper Mountain will open American Flyer, Sierra and Timberline lifts this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 19-21, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day. Skier services including food and beverage offerings and rental and retail options will be limited to Center Village.

Breckenridge will open 1180 acres, lifts and terrain on Peak 8 only this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 19-21, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. each day after picking up 60 inches of snow in April. Lifts open will include:  The BreckConnect Gondola, Colorado SuperChair, Rip’s Ride, 6 Chair, T-Bar and the Imperial Express SuperChair; Park Lane and Trygve’s Terrain Parks will also be open. Continue reading

Skiing: Vail, Beaver Creek plan lift upgrades

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The U.S. Forest Service is taking public comments on planned infrastructure improvements at Vail and Beaver Creek.

Eagle County resorts to add some six-seater lifts

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — Vail Resorts is looking to boost uphill capacity at its Eagle County resorts by replacing a few aging quad chairlifts with six-seaters, as well as making a few other on-mountain infrastructure improvements. The upgrades are consistent with previously approved master plans for Vail and Beaver Creek, but the U.S. Forest Service is taking  public input on the projects before approving them. Continue reading

U.S. Ski Team naming ceremony set for Nov. 15 at Vail

Lindsey Vonn racing in a 2006 slalom in Aspen. Photo courtesy Arthur Mouratidis, via Wikipedia and the Creative Commons.

Start to Vail’s 50th anniversary season marked with homage to resort’s ski racing tradition

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Vail will start its 50th anniversary season in style, as Olympic champions Lindsey Vonn, Bode Miller, Julie Mancuso and other U.S. Ski Team members gather Nov. 15 for the annual Nature Valley First Tracks event, which includes the ceremonial naming of the team and a fan appreciation and autograph session.

The event also kicks off opening weekend at Vail, where the lifts will roll on Nov. 16.

“It’s always fun for me to meet people who are as passionate about skiing as I am. The U.S. Ski Team naming in Vail is a blast and the community really comes out to support us,” said Lindsey Vonn, only the second woman to win four overall World Cup titles, and the first American woman to win an Olympic downhill gold medal. Continue reading

Skiing: Colorado areas dominate SKI mag poll again

Breckenridge remains the top-ranked Summit County resort

Breckenridge Ski Area ranked 13th in this year’s SKI magazine reader poll.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Colorado ski areas once again dominated the annual SKI magazine reader polls, but only two Summit County resorts cracked the top 20 — not surprising, given that most of the local areas — with the exception of A-Basin — emphasize quantity over quality.

After a five-year run in the number one spot, Deer Valley yielded to Whistler-Blackcomb, which won on the overall strength of its many attributes, including terrain variety, snow quantity and, of course, its vibrant nightlife. But readers of the magazine, who rate resorts annually in detailed surveys, recognized that the somewhat unpredictable weather in the Pacific Northwest can sometimes be a damper.

The poll is a fall publishing ritual that spurs plenty of water-cooler discussions and helps set the mood for the impending ski season. Continue reading

Vail Resorts 2012 earnings, revenue and skier visits down

Company reports increases in season pass sales and advance bookings

Breckenridge ski resort peaks seen from Dillon, Colorado.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After one of the toughest seasons in memory, Vail Resorts wrapped up its fiscal year 2012 with earnings down about 7.5 percent from 2011, according to the company’s earnings statement released today (Sept. 25).

Total net revenue was $1,024.4 million in 2012 compared to $1,167.0 million in the prior year, a 12.2 percent decrease.

For 2012, VR reported a net income of $16.5 million, down from $34.5 million in 2011, as skier visits dropped steeply at the company’s California and Colorado ski areas. In Colorado (Vail, Beaver Creek, Keystone and Breckenridge) visits dropped 8.9 percent, from 5.2 million in 2011 to 4.8 million in 2012.

Overall VR skier visits dropped by 12.1 percent, from 7 million in 2011 to 6.1 million in 2012. Continue reading

Opinion: Vail’s legacy includes wilderness

Udall’s wilderness plan good for wildlife, good for people

Wilderness helps protect water quality in the high country.

By Dr. Tom Steinberg

This year as we celebrate Vail’s 50th anniversary, I reflect on the people and attitudes that made this place blossom from a sheep pasture into a world class resort. Vail pioneers came here for the place – the beautiful mountains and great skiing. We came for a lifestyle of being in nature and appreciating it for all its challenges and wildness. Like anyone who succeeds in life, we had grit, determination, creativity and resilience.

Within a decade of Vail’s birth we began working hard to ensure our future by seeking wilderness protection for the stunningly beautiful lands around us. We held “wilderness walks” through town, wrote thousands of letters to decision makers, hiked the Gore and Holy Cross areas with community leaders and talked with anyone who cared to hear about protecting the resources that we saw as integral to the long-term future of the resort and the community.

We understood that the natural capital of this region is finite. We knew that in order to maintain the goose that was laying our golden eggs and create a sustainable tourism economy for our future, we needed to make regular deposits into the natural capital fund, by protecting streams, wildlife habitat, migration corridors, and forests from the biggest threat they faced, which was us – the growing human population. Continue reading

Morning photo: Bokeh?

Wildflower bliss at Shrine Pass

Shrine Pass, Aug. 3, 2011 - peak of the wildflower season.

SUMMIT COUNTY — Seems like so long ago, but on this fine summer day I actually managed to get out and spend a full day, or at least six or seven hours, just walking around and taking pictures. That might sound boring to some people, but it was actually quite satisfying. For me, photography is more of a meditation than anything else, a chance to to just bliss out on the scenery, trying to envision pleasing compositions. The day started sunny, but big thunder-boomers were building to the west … Continue reading

Colorado: Skier buried, suffers broken ribs in avalanche near Vail; ‘considerable’ slide danger persists in the backcountry

A slabby and fragile snowpack prevails in much of the Colorado backcountry. PHOTO COURTESY CAIC.

Triggered slides remain likely near and above treeline

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Considerable avalanche danger persists in the Colorado backcountry, where a skier this week was completely buried and suffered six broken ribs and a collapsed lung in a slide near Vail.

Forecasters with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center said the skier triggered the soft slab by jumping off a cliff on a north aspect hear Mushroom Bowl. His partners were able to uncover him from the slide that broke about 30 inches deep, 100 feet wide and ran about 380 vertical feet.

Another skier triggered yet another slide nearby while CAIC experts were on-site investigating the first avalanche. In the Tenmile Range, another slide was triggered by a falling cornice, illustrating the continued potential for natural slides. More information at the CAIC accidents web page.

With the backcountry avalanche danger rated as “considerable” triggered releases are still likely in many areas, specifically on northwest through south aspects near and above treeline.

Up to 12 inches of snow fell across much of the Vail-Summit zone fell since Monday, adding stress to a slabby snowpack riddled with weak layers. Check the CAIC forecast before heading into the backcountry.

Snow in Colorado

Storm delivers widespread moderate snow

For the first time 2012, snow graced the mountains of Colorado.

SUMMIT COUNTY — A fast-moving storm dropping out of the northwest brought a measure of relief to ski areas along the I-70 corridor, with snow totals ranging between 5 and 8 inches at most areas.

Copper's snowstake cam.

Beaver Creek and Echo Mountain both claimed 9 inches of snow, with most of the precipitation falling Saturday during the day. Several resorts reported 8-inch totals, including Vail, Aspen, Buttermilk, Snowmass and Copper Mountain, which has its snowstake cam to prove it.

The storm favored the northern and central mountains, while the San Juans reported less snow, with 4 inches at Telluride and 1 inch at Wolf Creek, which still has the deepest base in the state, at 52 inches.

High pressure will dominate Monday and Tuesday with warming temperatures, making for some of the best ski days of the season so far.

The weather models are still in some disagreement, but there’s a chance for another storm arriving along with some colder air Wednesday, then another warmup late in the week.

 

 

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