Breckenridge Town Council gets Peak 6 update

Resort officials say new terrain is needed to stay competitive

The view from the summit of Peak 6, now a popular backcountry ski destination that would become part of Breckenridge ski area's developed terrain under a proposal being reviewed by the U.S. Forest Service. PHOTO COURTESY ELLEN HOLLINSHEAD.

Listen to an audio transcript of the Peak 6 presentation at the Jan. 25 Breckenridge Town Council work session, including a presentation by ski area chief Pat Campbell and questions from town council members.

By Bob Berwyn & Jenney Coberly

SUMMIT COUNTY — Even as she acknowledged that Breckenridge has been among the top two most-visited ski areas in the U.S. during the past decade, resort chief Pat Campbell said the ski area needs the proposed Peak 6 expansion to stay competitive as a premier resort in the ski industry.

“It’s no secret that Breckenridge Ski Resort in the last decade has been has been either the most or second-most visited resort in the United States,” Campbell said Tuesday afternoon, updating the Breckenridge Town Council on the status of the expansion plan. “In fact we do that on less than half the skiable acreage that Vail has,” Campbell said. “Peak 6, we feel, is our best opportunity to really mitigate some of the crowding and guest experience issues that we have come to experience.”

Campbell said that, on peak days, Breckenridge regularly exceeds its comfortable carrying capacity of about 14,000, sometimes reaching 20,000 skiers per day.

Comfortable carrying capacity is a number based on lift capacity and skiable acreage that’s used as a planning tool in the industry. A new Peak 6 lift would serve about 450 acres of new terrain, including 70 acres of clear-cut trails, and raise the area’s CCC to about 16,000.

The plan is aimed at meeting existing demand, but some town council members think it will also create new demand and increase visitation.

“One thing is … the assumption this won’t grow skier visits,” said council member Jeffrey Bergeron. “I think a lot of people are hoping it will and, I think some people that are in favor of this would want the town to be more crowded,” he said. “I think Rob Katz said it’s the most important thing that could happen to our town as far as marketing, so you guys will market it, obviously, and that probably would grow skier visits.”

“Well yes, we will market it if it’s approved and we build it, just like we’ve done with everything else,” Campbell said in reply.

The update was aimed in particular at bringing several new council members up to speed on the proposal and the Forest Service review process now under way.

The presentation was informational, so there was no public comment, but about 20-30 cirizens attended, listening intently to the presentation and the questions from the Council.

The draft EIS (Environmental Impact Statement) is due from the Forest Service around March or April of this year.  At that time, the public will have the opportunity to comment.


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