USFS OKs road to private land at Breckenridge Ski Area

The ultimate ski cabin?

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Road construction to a private inholding at Breckenridge Ski Area could begin this summer.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO —The U.S. Forest Service has authorized construction of a 1,300-foot road across national forest lands at Breckenridge Ski Resort to access a privately owned 10-acre parcel.

The inholding was bought last year by a Breckenridge resident who plans to build a cabin on the tract, located located near the top of the Zendo Chair and base of the Kensho chair on Peak 6.

There’s been no final decision on when the road will be built.

“We are working with the landowner to obtain additional documents before we issue the permit to allow for implementation, which may occur later this summer,” said Paul Semmer, land specialist with the USFS Dillon Ranger District.

The parcel is in Summit County’s backcountry zone which allows one dwelling per 20 acres. Under existing zoning, any structure on the property would be limited to 1,200 square feet and subject to review by county planners.

White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams approved the road June 26 with a decision memo, explaining that there was no need for a lengthy environmental study.

Fitzwilliams’s memo said the road construction is “a routine activity” under Forest Service regulations, with no “extraordinary circumstances … that may result in a significant individual or cumulative effect on the quality of the human environment.”

The agency is obligated by federal law to provide reasonable access to such private parcels. In winter, access would be over the snow via skis or snowmobile. Year-round vehicular use would require a separate environmental study, according to the decision memo.

Ski resort officials previously offered this statement: “BSR is cooperating to provide reasonable access that is compatible with ski area operations and are participating in the public process along with other interested parties.”

Reasonable access to the private parcel is ensured by the Alaska National Interests Lands Conservation Act. Similar development on private lands has happened at Telluride Ski Area and a few other places, but a slopeside cabin this far up the mountain would be a first for Breckenridge.

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