New adventure park revives the tradition of a neighborhood hill
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — There was a time not so long ago when many a small town in the Rocky Mountains had its own neighborhood hill, served by a ropetow, with a lodge at the bottom serving hot chocolate and homemade Rice Krispies Treats. Many of those small ski areas went out of business during the era of corporate conglomeration, but the tradition is about to be revived in a post-modern version in Frisco, with the upcoming opening of the town’s new adventure park.
Instead of a ropetow, a conveyor belt will transport visitors to the top of the mellow slope, and instead of Flexible Flyers, the downhill action will be on a manicured tubing hill, and on a series jumps, rails and fun boxes similar to what you might find at one of the local resorts, on a somewhat smaller scale. The terrain park is designed for beginners to intermediates, according to the adventure park website.
Snowmaking guns have been blasting on and off for the past several weeks at the site, as crews lay down a blanket of man-made white to create tubing tracks and a surprisingly extensive array of terrain features for jibbers and wanna-be huckers on the slope above the new lodge that’s undergoing some finishing touches in anticipation of an early December opening.
The snowmaking is going well, according to town manager Michael Penny, but the lanes on the tubing hill require a fair amount of snow, so for now, the town is eyeing a Dec. 11 grand opening, conditions permitting.
“We’re still a few weeks away from having enough snow, so that date is subject to change,” Penny said.
The adventure park will be operated by a newly formed recreation division and run as a town-owned enterprise, similar to the marina, with the goal of making money. Rates posted on the Adventure Park website show that tubing will cost $25 per hour.
A season pass covering both the tubing hill and the terrain park will cost $299 — exactly the same as an A-Basin adult season pass, and 10-punch transferable pass will go for $199.
Visit the Frisco Adventure Park website for rates and more details, including hours of operation.
The snowmaking water is part of the town’s portfolio of senior water rights, which has also helped the Frisco Nordic Center get ready for early season operations. The municipal water rights did not originally include a provision for recreational use, so back in 2007, the town worked with Denver Water and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (which operates Green Mountain Reservoir) to develop a new water supply plan that encompasses snowmaking.
The deal for the Nordic center snowmaking involved the future use of Frisco’s rights to water in Dillon Reservoir and included a pay-back clause under which Frisco repays Denver Water with 1.58 acre feet for every acre foot it uses. An acre-foot is about 320,000 gallons of water, about enough to supply a four-person household for a year, or to cover one acre 12-inches deep.