Summit County is kicking the tires on electric buses. At the county commissioner's work session this week, officials started taking a serious look at replacing the aging Summit Stage diesel fleet with the expensive, yet incredibly efficient, electric coaches.
"Our fleet is in need of replacement," Summit Stage transit director Curtis Garner told the commissioners. "For heavy diesel buses, the useful life is 12 years or 500k miles. Most of our buses have hit either one of those limits, or both."
Garner said that 18 of the fleet's 26 diesel buses need to be replaced. Several of those buses have already been "rehabbed" with fresh parts, adding a few hundred thousand miles. However, trying to squeeze any more life out of these old buses could be dangerous, as their chassis can't handle much more strain beyond their mechanical life.
The discussion followed Breckenridge's recent month-long demo of an electric bus on its busiest route back in March and April. Assistant county manager Thad Noll said that the county had been considering electric buses for a while, but the technology had not advanced far enough to make them useful or efficient in the mountains.
But now, the tech has advanced to the point where electric buses are seeing regular use in bus fleets across the country. Proterra, the California-based tech company that demoed its electric bus in Breckenridge, broke a world record last year with an electric bus that traveled over 1,100 miles off a single 5-hour charge. In the mountains, that range would be significantly reduced, but would still be up to six to 10 times more energy efficient than diesel buses.
Proterra has buses operating for several public transit systems across the country, including at the mountain resort town of Park City, Utah. The company just finalized an order with the Chicago Transit Authority for 20 buses at $32 million.
The cost might still be the sticking point for replacing diesel with electric.
"With grant funding from the Federal Transit Authority, the cost to us for a new diesel bus is $1 million to $2 million," Garner said. "If we go down the electric bus route, it's more like $8 million to $9 million. So there's a significant investment going electric versus diesel. It's not as high as it used to be, but it's still quite high."
However, Garner pointed out that the costs could be recouped over the long term from efficiency. For example, in Park City the average fuel cost to run a diesel bus is 51 cents per mile. For electric buses, the average electricity cost there is 20 cents a mile. Costs might also be saved on maintenance.
"We do know in general, an electric bus has less maintenance requirements than a diesel bus," Noll told the commissioners. "There's less moving parts, less heat generated, and all those things that really wear engines out don't exist on the electric bus."
Another consideration is the fact that Colorado still gets most of its electricity from coal, meaning electric buses would not be as green as they seem. However, Xcel energy has been working on a comprehensive plan to shift at least 55 percent of energy production to renewable sources.
The county would also need to build the infrastructure required to charge and support the buses, as well as electric cars as they become more popular. County senior planner Kate Berg said there are a number of public and private proposals to build up electric charging infrastructure.
Given the range of considerations and unknown variables that need to be sorted through, the county will need to have more discussions on the topic before making such a huge investment. But Commissioner Dan Gibbs, who sits on the Summit Stage board, was optimistic we will see electric buses running up and down Highway 9 or along Interstate 70 in our future.
"I think our community wants to see electric buses in the county, to reduce both air and noise pollution," Gibbs said. "I think those factors alone make it important that we move very aggressively and make it happen. But as we do that, we need to get more information from communities who have already adopted the tech and make the right decisions at the right time for us. "
Crowding was on many people's minds as they took the Breckenridge Expectations Survey, but the biggest take away from the latest efforts to gauge public perceptions, spearheaded by the Breckenridge Tourism Office, is that most people are still pretty keen on the small mountain town.
A rough draft of the survey results came to Breckenridge Town Council in March, and they were again the topic of discussion Thursday morning inside the Speakeasy Movie Theatre during a public presentation.
The new survey was designed to gauge a variety of public perceptions and focused exclusively on three main areas — overcrowding; parking, transit and housing; and the Breckenridge experience. Creating different slices of data, respondents were segmented into one of five groups — residents, business owners, second-home owners, employees and accommodation owners.
While most of the survey results weren't all that surprising, said BTO president Lucy Kay during a Wednesday interview ahead of the public presentation, they could be invaluable as the town looks to manage growth and BTO continues to promote the Breckenridge brand.
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
The survey results regarding questions about crowding landed largely along two lines of thinking with accommodation owners and second-home owners registering similar feelings about crowding, while the perceptions of residents, employees and business owners tended to trend together.
The second-home owners and accommodation owners typically had the most positive survey responses, according to the BTO. Not all that surprising, employees, residents and business owners "were most sensitive to crowding and provided lower overall ratings."
QUESTIONS OF CROWDING
To establish some benchmarks for what crowding actually is, the BTO took traffic counts and paid parking receipts on their lowest day of the year, which came in May.
"That is probably understated," said Brett Howard, the BTO's marketing director. "We know a lot of people are out of town in May, but it was a good benchmark for us to at least start on."
Then the BTO compared the slowest day to the town's top 40 busiest days of the year to frame a general idea of what crowding in Breckenridge looks like. Howard sought to determine if people felt like Breckenridge was overcrowded.
"And with this question came additional questions," Howard added, explaining the survey aimed to dive much deeper into perceptions about crowding than simply asking if the town seems like it's too busy.
"It's interesting when you look back and say, 'OK, are we overcrowded?' and you see all these people saying, 'Yes,'" he said in highlighting one of the survey's follow-up questions about crowding. "Well, how many days?"
Howard said officials at the BTO had "always assumed" most people felt like Breckenridge was at capacity around 25-30 days a year. With this survey, however, they now believe that's probably in the range of 30-40 days.
One interesting caveat, however, was an overwhelmingly positive response regarding the many special events in Breckenridge, which obviously drive some of that traffic. As a result, the BTO has determined that crowding can mean different things to different people, whether it's being stuck in traffic, waiting in line at a grocery store or trying to grab a ski lift.
The survey also identified Breckenridge residents by the neighborhoods in which they live and how long they've been here, but the number of responses per neighborhood was too small to make any determinations about perceptions in specific areas of town, Kay said. Still, the survey found a correlation between how long someone's lived here and feeling the town is becoming too crowded, she added.
Another survey finding included most respondents rating the overall direction of the town as positive.
This is an important piece of the survey, according to the BTO, because despite some of the negativity around overcrowding, the overall sentiment in town remained positive.
Additionally, after being asked to rank downtown Breckenridge's most important attributes, all five segments put the "home feel and the friendly atmosphere" as the most important attributes.
Another survey question asked people if they were aware of the parking and transit improvements undertaken by the town. The vast majority said they were, and over 90 percent of employees and residents reported feeling like they're in the know.
The survey also sought to find out if those improvements — or changes — were making the situation better, worse or no different. On a high note, over half the survey respondents said they felt like conditions were getting better or no worse with the changes.
Residents and accommodation owners recorded the highest percentages for those who felt like the parking and transit situation is getting worse, with one-fourth of each segment saying they feel the town's changes are contributing to the problem.
A WEALTH OF DATA
The number of responses was mind-blowing, according to Kay and Howard. According to the BTO, the results presented Thursday came from 1,059 responses, including 256 residents, or those with Breckenridge post office boxes, in addition to 385 employees, 236 second-home owners, 88 business owners and 94 accommodation owners.
In fact, the BTO has pulled so much data from the survey that the BTO produced over 100 potential slides for Thursday's presentation before whittling it down to just over a dozen, Howard said.
Howard noted that representatives of the third-party company contracted to do the survey actually told him they had never seen such detail in a survey's comments section and even joked that Breckenridge has some of the best spellers.
A CONTROLLED RELEASE
During Thursday's presentation, questions among the audience were encouraged, and one man asked if all the slides Howard referenced, not just the 15 shown on Thursday, would be made public.
Howard responded that they're trying to get as much of the information out as possible, but he said he hesitates to release all the slides out of fear that pieces of the data "could be taken out of context" and give a false impression that's contradictory to the overall survey results. Instead, Howard offered to go over the data in detail with anyone who would like to set up a meeting at the BTO.
WORDS IN THE CLOUD
"I think that nearly everyone that filled this (survey) out filled out a comment, so we did these word clouds to get an idea of what would those words look like," Howard said in reference to a collage of words of differing sizes corresponding to how often that word came up in the survey comments.
Parking, town, traffic, people and restaurants were some of most common language, but grocery was another common word associated with the survey.
Even though grocery stores are technically outside the town's purview, Kay said, the BTO is hoping the survey will help identify specific issues that, if solved, could relieve some of the stress that's leading to the most negative opinions.
Nearing the end of Thursday's presentation, Howard talked about the next steps for the BTO and for the town.
The BTO, he said, is in the process of crafting a new destination plan in conjunction with the town's 2040 Vision, a study that's designed to forecast what Breckenridge could look like 20 years from now and help the town better manage that growth.
The BTO also aims to increase community communication, specifically on topics like eventual build out in Breckenridge, while diving much deeper with more research into topics not covered in the survey.
Kay said the BTO plans to perform the survey again, and combined with similar surveys down the road, perhaps once every two years, could provide a great tool for tracking how different people's perceptions of Breckenridge are improving or declining over time as the town tries to manage growth.
As Frisco gears up for its biggest event of the year, what makes the annual Colorado BBQ Challengeso delicious depends upon just whom you ask.
The shindig featuring teams competing for coveted titles in categories such as best pork, ribs, chicken, brisket, anything goes, barbecue sauce, side dishes, salsa and dessert, extends over six blocks on Main Street Frisco, pulling in tens of thousands to downtown every year.
It starts with a kickoff concert at 8 p.m. tonight, but things really start smoking Friday and Saturday when barbecue sales begin. On Friday, the barbecue goes from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
It sounds like the barbecue can't come soon enough for the two young women who were all smiles Wednesday as they worked the Foote's Rest Sweet Shoppe on Main Street.
One of them, Keelie Rix, is no stranger to the annual event, and she knows it's one box she has to cross off this summer. The other, Holly Richardson, who's new to town, is eager to see what all the sauce is about.
"It's my favorite time of the year," Rix said of the barbecue. "Awesome food, awesome music, and there's always this one little place that has like the best mac and cheese I've ever had in my entire life."
Originally from Texas and partial to brisket, Richardson comes from a state that knows a thing or two about good barbecue. She's staying in Summit County for the summer, and while Richardson hasn't experienced Frisco's beloved event herself, she's already heard plenty about it.
"When (my friend and I) saw the barbecue festival, we were like, 'This is perfect for us,'" Richardson said. "Everyone says it's insane. The streets are shut down. I can't wait."
Just down the street at Calisco Wearables, a boutique that specializes in outdoor fashion, yoga and active lifestyle clothing, along with other items, the store's owner, Lua Ton, just restocked her inventory ahead of the big weekend.
For Ton, summers are the busiest time of the year at the store, and she said the barbecue always provides a nice boost to kick off the season, especially when good weather holds.
"In general, summertime is generally bigger (for sales)," Ton said. "The barbecue is a good start, and it's a push where the sales really kick off for the rest of the summer."
As a result, Calisco is going all out for the event. In addition to having food and drink at the store, Ton has a small stage set up with guitars, bongo drums and more for open mic performances.
Pictures of previous open mics grace the walls inside the store, and Ton has the photo, dated Sept. 13, 2007, to prove four-time Grammy winner Keb' Mo' once played there.
The first official state BBQ challenge was in 1993. Twenty-two-year-old Cameron Bobb, a Breckenridge native, wasn't yet born when the event came to Frisco 25 years ago, but over the last two decades he's come to know it well.
For Bobb, the best part isn't the food, the live music, the street performers or even the piglet races. Instead, he said it's the "social aspect" of the event and running into so many familiar faces.
The Colorado BBQ Challenge is free, but Hogbacks remain the going currency for food, drink, souvenirs and children's activities.
Each Hogback represents $1. The purchases are non-refundable, but participating restaurants, bars and shops — look for signs that say "Hogbacks Accepted Here"— will continue taking them through Sunday.
Because of the large crowds, parking can become an issue. This year, parking lot construction in town has organizers "willing to pay" festivalgoers who take Interstate 70 to Exit 195, Copper Mountain.
At Copper, any cars with three or more people inside will get five Hogbacks per carload and a coupon that's good for 25 percent off a purchase of Hogbacks. Cars with four or more will get the same coupon along with 10 Hogbacks.
A shuttle will ferry people from the mountain to Frisco from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Because there is so much food at the event, dogs are not allowed. A fireworks show on Friday has been canceled. For more information, go to FriscoBBQ.com or call 1-800-424-1554.
Funded by a $3.9 million capital campaign, Keystone Science School broke ground Sunday on a long-awaited project designed to bolster the science-minded nonprofit for years to come.
The school reportedly served more than 7,000 people in 2016, up from 2,800 in 2006. At the same time, its annual budgeted revenue has risen from $780,000 to over $2.7 million while the staff has grown from 34 to 111 workers. Despite all of that, investments in infrastructure have been flat.
Now, the fear is that rapid rate of growth will stagnate without necessary upgrades to instructor housing and more office space, causing the school to miss out on opportunities imporant to its mission of inspiring critical thinking and curiosity through science-based outdoor education.
"One tour around this place told me there was a need for facilities, so it wasn't too hard to get involved," said Howard Carver, chair of the school's capital campaign committee.
The challenges facing the science school are obvious. The instructors cabins lack basic amenities, and the administrative buildings, in addition to being inefficient and expensive to maintain, are poorly located on the campus, with only a limited amount of space.
The school has embarked on the $3.9 million capital campaign to address those problems. With all but a half-million dollars already raised, school officials broke ground on the project Sunday at the school's campus.
"This next project is a pretty momentous thing," said Ellen Reid, the executive director, during the ceremony. "I will admit I'm nervous because it's been something that's been out in the future for many, many years and I'm so, so thankful that all of you have supported it."
Referencing that support, Doug Sims, chairman of the school's board, said that science school leaders challenged the board members to come up with $500,000 out of pocket before the campaign officially kicked off, and the response was beyond a nice surprise.
"We got $750,000 pledged by about 10 board members," he said, adding that another $550,000 came from members of the campaign committee.
"My point is, just so you know where the leadership of the science school is, before we started calling on people to contribute to this campaign, the board and campaign committee had $1.3 million," Sims explained.
One of the planned additions that money will pay for is The Hub, a new administrative building that will serve as the center of activity on the school's campus. Most basically, The Hub will bring the school's staff all together under one roof, allowing instructors to plan programs alongside the school's marketing and development team, while also providing an added layer of security as it sits at the entrance to the school. Should the school need more space in the future, there's an easy option to expand the building.
The new living quarters for instructors stand as another critical piece of the school's capital campaign project. Combine the local housing crisis with Summit County's high cost of living, and it's not too hard to see why school leaders have struggled to attract and retain quality staff.
"If you haven't seen the inside … there's only one out of 10 (cabins) with running water," Reid said before addressing a couple county officials in the audience. "County commissioners, you did not hear that."
The new Instructors Village should ease that burden. While the cabins will look and feel like the rest of the old-timey campus, they'll soon have modern amenities like running water and kitchenettes.
Construction on the new buildings is expected to wrap up in early 2019. According to the Keystone Science School, which was founded in 1976 by Robert W. Craig, this will be its fifth capital campaign since 1988 and fourth since 2007. In 1988, the Henry and Bighorn dams were built. The next campaign wasn't until 2007, when the school added an observatory and yurt, along with some campus beatification efforts.
In 2010, the River Dining Hall renovation was completed, and in 2013 there was a $2.3 million campaign to buy the school's campus and make the school an independent nonprofit organization. According to Sims, it was the largest capital campaign in Summit County at the time.
Additionally, Keystone Science School picked up a healthy boost on Sunday, courtesy of Vail Resorts' charitable drive, EpicPromise. During the ground-breaking ceremony, Breckenridge Ski Resort chief operating officer John Buhler and Keystone Ski Resort vice president Geoff Buchheister gave the school a check written out for $50,000. The Summit Foundation and The Gates Family Foundation also made substantial contributions.
Before 2,000 cyclists departed Breckenridge Recreation Center to start the annual Ride The Rockies multi-day bike tour on Sunday morning, a handful of riders took in an extra dose of Summit County cycling on Saturday.
For the first time in the tour's history, Ride The Rockies conducted its pre-tour prologue event from Breckenridge, down to Fairplay and back to the start and finish line of this year's tour. The prologue totaled 54 miles of pedaling and 4,434 feet of elevation gain.
And this year's prologue not only provided cyclists the chance to ride wheel-to-wheel with some of the state's most acclaimed pros, such as Olympian Mara Abbott. It also for the first time featured a gravel cycling component at and around Boreas Pass on the return from Fairplay to Breckenridge.
"Specifically on the dirt you have to be so aware," said Steamboat Springs pro cyclist and first-time Ride The Rockies participant Amy Charity. "You can't go in a pothole that is too deep, you can't hit a sharp rock or you will instantly flat. It's fairly intense focus to ride on dirt like that and in a group."
Despite the gravel terrain more suited for a mountain bike on the return to Breckenridge, the U.S. pro and 2016 Olympic road racer Abbott opted to remain on her preferred road bike for the Boreas Pass portion.
Along with Charity and pro cyclists Petra Schmidtmann, Chris Anthony, Chris Carmichael and Ron Kiefel, Abbott and the Prologue's "VIP" riders departed Breckenridge in the morning and cycled up and over Hoosier Pass and down through Alma before circling counter-clockwise back north at Fairplay.
At Fairplay, prologue participants had the option of returning via the unpaved route up and over Boreas Pass and back to Breckenridge. The majority opted out of the return haul for a motorized shuttle back to Breckenridge. But for the professionals like Abbott, Anthony, Charity and Schmidtmann, Saturday's clear skies and relaxed atmosphere encouraged them to have as much fun as they could on the gravel return — even if it meant staying on their road bikes.
Also as part of the prologue, cyclists got the chance to dine and check out the heart-of-the-Rockies historic sights in the middle of South Park City with the celebrities like Abbott.
"It was a really awesome day," Abbott said. "The group stayed together. There were lots of different options. We stopped for tamales in the middle of the ride. We got a tour of South Park. There were some really scary looking dummy things in the museum. Chris Anthony led the really scary cycling section, we had to go up some dirt, which is kind of fun. And we got to go down some dirt."
After departing for the prologue experience at 8:30 a.m. from One Ski Hill Place at the base of Breckenridge Ski Resort's Peak 8, the group of Abbott, Anthony, Charity and Schmidtmann were the first to return to the departure point just before 3 p.m.
And though all four pros pedaled ahead of the rest of the pack at the very end of the return to Breckenridge, Charity was the only one to do so on a gravel bike.
"It was bumpy, it was really, really bumpy," Charity said. "So I knew they'd have a harder time on the gravel. You get on one of these gravel bikes and it's a Cadillac. You have smooth sailing going down the bumps and that's not the case on a road bike. I remember how jarring it is. Everyone is skilled enough to do it. It's just a comfort thing.
"There was a really steep pitch on the dirt on Boreas and so that I would say was the hardest," Charity continued. "Somebody said it was over 10 percent grade, and it must have been, so I think that was the biggest challenge. Gravel, you can't necessarily get out of the saddle, so that makes it challenging. You need to kind of sit back and make sure you still have traction going up."
This year's Ride The Rockies features riders from more than 47 states. Saturday's first day of the full six-day tour required riders to bike 77 miles and climb more than 4,400-feet. The course took them up and over Fremont Pass and Tennessee Pass before finishing in Edwards, Colorado. Subsequent stops on the 419-mile tour include Steamboat Springs, Grand Lake, Winter Park and a conclusion back in Breckenridge on Friday afternoon
"As Colorado's longest cycling tour we made this first day one to remember with two of Colorado's most beautiful and challenging passes to climb," said Ride The Rockies director Deirdre Moynihan.
Breckenridge council members took an in-depth look Tuesday at the town's next step in workforce housing — the Block 11 Apartments.
The apartments are slated to go up on 4.8 acres directly south of the Blue 52 Townhomes, and grading work is underway. Block 11 sits north of downtown, between Coyne Valley Road and Valley Brook Street, with about 18 acres designated for housing. Build out of Block 11 is expected to take place sometime within the next five years.
The apartments stand as one of the first in a line of looming workforce-housing projects on the property. Because the apartments will be so visible from Highway 9, they're being envisioned as a "first-impression site."
With that in mind, architects said they tried to vary up the designs with different building sizes, stoops, steps, rooflines and massing to soften the edges and create a taper that's pleasing to the eye. Based on council's comments, it appears they've succeeded.
The schedule calls for the installation of infrastructure in the late summer and fall with vertical construction in spring 2019. If everything goes according to plan, the first apartments could be available for lease in late 2019. The project will be funded by the voter-approved housing tax.
The goal is to create a neighborhood along the Blue River with a mix of residential densities and different housing types at a variety of price points as Breckenridge continues to chip away at what senior planner Laurie Best described as a "perpetual" problem.
"Our most significant need by far is apartments in the Upper Blue," she said of Breckenridge's housing crisis. "We have been adding some townhomes and some for-sale products … but our most significant need is apartments."
The new apartments Breckenridge is looking to build are meant to target lower income households. Rental rates are yet to be determined, but the hope is to give "front-line employees," or workers whose wages range from $13-$18 an hour, some additional housing options.
"There's just so little inventory to serve a really broad range of income targets, from front-line employees that work on Main Street to folks like me, teachers or others in the community who are looking for a rental option," Best said. "There are just no rental options."
The site plan includes six studio apartments, also called "micro units" at about 400 square feet each, along with 90 more one- and two-bedroom apartments with washers and dryers, full-size kitchens, parking and extra storage closets.
The total project price tag is expected to come in at $25.2 million, but that could change as plans continue to get refined and a general contractor comes onboard. The town will be the owner of the apartments.
Coming into Tuesday's work session, town staff were forecasting 96 new apartments in 10 buildings with a community building and "a significant central open space" for the Block 11 Apartments.
Most council members were highly supportive of the project, but with only six micro units in the mix, Mayor Eric Mamula felt like they were "missing the boat."
"At some point, we need to get more people on acreage because we're running out of dirt," he said, expressing his desire to see more studio apartments and less of a focus on parking. "I will just boil it down to say we're running out of room and we need to get as many people on this dirt as possible because we have a huge housing crisis."
While other council members talked about what they liked about the project, nobody seemed too terribly receptive to the idea of devoting one of the buildings to a community center. As discussions continued, one of the architects did some "quick cowboy math" and estimated the community center could instead be used for an additional 16-17 micro units, and that was well received.
Both Breckenridge Ski Resort and Copper Mountain Resort will re-open operations for the summer season on Friday. Each resort will feature zip lines, obstacle course challenges and opening weekend giveaways, among other activities.
This summer will be slightly different at Copper Mountain as the resort will not have lift-serviced mountain biking, scenic lift rides or access to the Big Island Terrain Park until September at the earliest due to construction of the new American Flyer and American Eagle chairlifts. The resort will also not offer its Woodward Copper mountain biking camps this summer due to the construction.
However, Copper Mountain spokeswoman Taylor Prather said hiking and mountain biking access will still be available on the Colorado Trail through Copper. Also, the Copper Creek Golf Course will not be affected by the construction as the full course will be open for business from June 8 through early October.
The resort is still offering all of its Center Village activities all summer, including the Woodward WreckTangle obstacle course and the Rocky Mountain Coaster, which will be open for its first summer after opening last December.
The resort is also touting an opening weekend deal this Saturday and Sunday where visitors who spend $15 at one of Copper's on-mountain restaurants, bars or retail stores will be able to redeem that receipt for a free Summer Activity Day Pass at any of Copper's guest services locations. The stipulation is the free day pass offer must be redeemed the same day as the $15 purchase. Included in the summer activity day pass — which is typically $69 — are three bungees, one zip line ride, two passes through the Woodward WreckTangle, one ride on the Rocky Mountain Coaster and one go-kart session, plus unlimited access to mini-golf, lake activities and Copper's climbing wall.
The deal coincides with Copper's "Colorado Days" in Center Village, which will feature local artisans, food, live music and more. As part of "Colorado Days," visitors will be able to take a free family portrait from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Through the remainder of June, Copper's REI Adventure Station will open for its first summer season. The new Ales & Astronomy course, where instructors will discuss the constellations of the Northern Hemisphere over beer and wine while observing the stars from the top of Copper Mountain, is one of many outdoor education classes this summer. Other REI Adventure Station courses to be offered include Adventure Race Navigation Techniques, Backcountry Self Reliance and a Spikeball Tournament, among others.
On June 17, Copper Mountain's inaugural Summer Music Series will begin at 1 p.m.with a free concert featuring Blood, Sweat and Tears at 1 p.m. The music series will return on June 30 and July 1 with free performances from Jefferson Starship (June 30, 2 p.m.) and The Magpie Salute (July 1, 1 p.m.).
And on June 23 and June 24, the second annual Copper Mountain Film Festival returns with two free evenings of short and feature films for free. The event also features special guest speakers, Q&A's with the filmmakers and a screenwriting contest hosted by the Denver Filmmakers Collective.
Breckenridge Ski Resort is anticipating a "festival-like atmosphere" for its opening weekend of Epic Discovery, including a Denver Zoo Show, live music, free giveaways and much more.
It all starts Friday at 9:30 a.m. when the resort's Epic Discovery summer activities open on Peak 8. Those who show up Friday morning between 10 a.m. and noon will have the opportunity to get a free personalized Epic Discovery button with their photo at the Peak 8 basecamp. Then throughout the day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., DJ Tidal Wave Dave will perform while prize giveaways will be offered at the Ski Hill Grill Patio on Peak 8.
Then from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the resort will kick off its new free scenic hikes with U.S. forest rangers, who will share their knowledge of Breckenridge's diverse flora and fauna during guided hikes beginning at Alpine Camp. As part of the first day of the scenic hikes, the resort is offering free Epic Discovery collapsible water bottles while supplies last.
On Saturday morning from 10–11 a.m., the Denver Zoo will host an interactive learning show at Peak 8 Basecamp. And on Saturday and Sunday mornings from noon to 2 p.m., Tina Ferguson will perform live music on the Ski Hill Grill Patio on Peak 8.
With Friday's opening, Breckenridge will also open its first full season of Epic Discovery, which includes adventure activities above the Colorado SuperChair at around 11,000 feet. These include the two-hour, 10-tower Expedition Zipline Tour, the 15-feature Alpineer Challenge Course and the 16-route Gold Summit Climbing Wall. The resort also added that mountain biking and bike haul operations will begin as soon as trail conditions permit.
For these and all other on-mountain adventure activities, the resort offers its new Value-Added Epic Discovery Passes. The value-added pass provides a family of four the chance to purchase three Ultimate Adventure passes and receive a fourth pass free. And the resort is also offering guests the chance to turn a half-day pass into a full day by permitting guests who purchase and use an Ultimate Adventure Pass after 2:30 p.m. to use the same pass the next day. The cost of the Ultimate Adventure Pass is $89 online and $62 for those 53 inches and shorter.
Also new this year at Breckenridge is the $29 "Dining At Altitude," lift and lunch at 11,000 feet on the Vista Haus deck, which is expected to open in mid-June.