Category: Ski Resorts

Arapahoe Basin to host après-ski climate panel talk

April 8 session to focus on ‘nuts & bolts’ of global warming impacts

Dylan Berwyn carves fresh powder in the Alleys at Arapahoe Basin several years ago. @bberwyn photo.

By Bob Berwyn

In an era marked by political attacks on science and deliberate lies about climate change from the highest levels of the U.S. government, including the president and the head of the EPA, it’s more important than ever for Americans to inform themselves with the best possible information about the impacts of global warming.

Skiers have as much to lose as anyone. Glaciers are shrinking everywhere, overall there is less  snow and winters are getting shorter at both ends, but especially in the spring. In a groundbreaking 2013 study, the U.S. Geological study found a 20 percent decline in Rocky Mountain snow cover since 1980.

Another research paper published just this year in meticulous Swiss fashion documented that the snow season has shortened by 37 days since 1970, with a 25 percent decline in the average maximum snow depth across the entire Swiss Alps, at all elevations. The researchers were surprised to find the decline even at the higher mountain weather stations close to famous resorts like Zermatt and Davos.

Skiers need to be part of the solution, not the problem, and the first step is having science-based information to inform your actions. To that end, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is hosting an April 8 climate science apres ski session featuring researchers who focus on snow, water and climate. The idea is to  address some of the common questions people have about climate change from a nuts and bolts science perspective. The panel will be moderated by ski area chief Alan Henceroth and Lindsay Bourgoine from Protect Our Winters. Continue reading “Arapahoe Basin to host après-ski climate panel talk”

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Keystone old-timers show hypocrisy in opposing pot shop

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Nugs, or no nugs, at Keystone?

Will marijuana sales undermine the family vibe at a ski area where pot has been openly consumed since the 1970s?

Staff Report

Keystone-area old-timers who are totally OK with the purchase and consumption of alcohol are trying to rally their neighbors to oppose a proposed retail marijuana store near the resort, claiming it would undermine Keystone’s family atmosphere.

Summit County is currently reviewing the application for the store, which would be located behind the gas station and convenience store at Four Corners stoplight — in what used to be a liquor store.

The letter of intent filed with the application emphasizes that the location is discretely located behind the existing building, not visible from Highway 6, and that they don’t plan on putting up a sign to draw passers-by. Continue reading “Keystone old-timers show hypocrisy in opposing pot shop”

Copper Mountain eyes alpine coaster amusement ride

More snowmaking, bike trails to be studied by Forest Service

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More recreation developments proposed for Copper Mountain.

Staff Report

Citing a lack of recreational opportunities at Copper Mountain, the U.S. Forest Service has launched an early comment period for proposed new developments at the Summit County resort, including an alpine coaster ride on the front side of the mountain, increased snowmaking and new mountain bike trails.

“These projects will help connect people to their National Forest while at the same time improving the year-round guest experience at Copper Mountain Resort,” said U.S. Forest Service Dillon District Ranger Bill Jackson. “In particular, we are excited about the additional snowmaking coverage on the West Encore and Collage trails which will allow the U.S. Ski Team additional early-season training opportunities.” Continue reading “Copper Mountain eyes alpine coaster amusement ride”

Forest Service releases draft study for A-Basin expansion

Public comment sought on draft EIS

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Staff Report

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is one step closer to gaining final approval for a 492-acre expansion that would include a new lift in the Beavers area. The ski area plan also calls for replacing Pallavicini chairlift, removing the Norway chairlift and adding a surface lift to ferry skiers and snowboarders to the popular backside Montezuma Bowl terrain.

Last week, the U.S. Forest Service released a draft environmental study for the planned projects. The agency will take public comments on the draft EIS through March 21. More information is online at: http://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=41664. A public meeting on the draft Eis will be held at The Keystone Center (1628 St John Rd., Dillon, CO 80435) on March 2, 2016 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

In a cover letter released with the draft study, White River National Forest Supervisor said he is currently evaluating the recreational benefits of these projects against the identified resource impacts these project may create. Continue reading “Forest Service releases draft study for A-Basin expansion”

Forest Services tries to cover its tracks on Wolf Creek

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A controversial plan to develop private real estate near Wolf Creek Ski Area is on hold for now.

Paper trail shows agency hid and likely destroyed records related to controversial development proposal in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains

Staff Report

Environmental and community activists opposed to a massive real estate development in southern Colorado say they have new evidence that the U.S. Forest Service tried to cover up how political influence tainted several steps of the approval process for the project.

A review of more than 60,000 pages documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request and a subsequent court order shows that the Forest Service deliberately concealed and destroyed records related to the Village at Wolf Creek development project. Continue reading “Forest Services tries to cover its tracks on Wolf Creek”

Study shows differences between ‘graded’ and ‘cleared’ ski trails

‘We’re in this time of visible climate change …’

Land recovery after a ski slope is abandoned can be starkly different depending on how it was constructed. The graded run, left, was abandoned 13 years before with little sign of new vegetation. The cleared run, right, was abandoned 10 years before and plant life is abundant.
Land recovery after a ski slope is abandoned can be starkly different depending on how it was constructed. The graded run, left, was abandoned 13 years before with little sign of new vegetation. The cleared run, right, was abandoned 10 years before and plant life is abundant. Photo courtesy Andrew Burt/Jessica Hite.

Staff Report

Ski resorts around the West like to brag about their size in terms of skiable acreage, but what they don’t tell you is that, trails that are graded with bulldozers don’t recover well if the ski area is abandoned.

Trails that are merely cleared, with runs and some ground cover left in place, however, tend to grow back relatively quickly to blend in with the surrounding forest areas, according to a study published this month the Journal of Applied Ecology.

The findings have implications for land managers, especially winter sports experts with the U.S. Forest Service, who administer the public lands where much of the region’s skiing takes place. Continue reading “Study shows differences between ‘graded’ and ‘cleared’ ski trails”

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 “Breckenridge, Vail Resorts compromise on proposed lift ticket tax”