Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Learn To Ride Next Weekend

The Roxy Learn to Ride Camp is an exciting, unique program sponsored by the Breckenridge Ski & Ride School and Roxy .

Join Roxys pro riders and Breckenridge's top female coaches at this one-day snowboard camp for females only.

Class sizes are small and lunch is included. The fun continues off the slopes at the Cocoa and Cookies Party where the Roxy representatives give Roxy goodie bags to each participant!

Open to women and girls ages 7 to 70.

Moms: Consider taking this camp with your daughter and learning to snowboard together!

Date: Saturday, December 10

Times: 8:30am-3:30pmLocation: The Village on Peak 9Rate: $90; $45 for employees and employee dependents. Space is limited.

Hope to see you next week!

Laura L. AllenProgram Supervisor Breckenridge Ski & Ride School 970-496-7534

800-789-SNOW

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Imperial Express Chairlift to Open Early

After a year of planning, proposals, red tape and controversy, the Breckenridge Ski Resort will finally unveil the highest lift in North America next Monday.

The high-speed Imperial Express SuperChair, which will reach 12,840 feet and transport riders to the top of Peak 8, will start spinning five weeks ahead of its scheduled January 12 grand opening.

Great early season snow conditions, including the last few days of steady snowfall, can be credited for the surprise, according to Breckenridge spokesperson Katie Coakley.T

he $4 million quad lift will open access to 400 acres of intermediate to advanced terrain that now requires a hike above treeline. The opening of the lift could help boost skier numbers over the oft-packed Christmas holidays, but Breckenridge isn’t counting on a huge impact.

“It’s hard to tell,” Coakley said. “Half the population plans their vacations way in advance, (and) half the population makes last-minute decisions. If more of them decide to go here, then great. But we’ll just have to see.”

The resort is planning a grand opening celebration on Jan. 12.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Marriott Vacation Club Grand Residences for Keystone

In five years, Keystone's River Run base area will take on a new appearance with the River Run Gondola stretched across the Snake River against the backdrop of a new five-story timeshare development.

The Snake River Planning Commission unanimously approved Marriott Vacation Club International's site plan last Thursday for the Grand Residences at Keystone, which will be built in the Hunki Dori parking lot.

The plan calls for 149 multi-family units, 11,000 square feet of space for skier services and 1,890 square feet of commercial property encompassed in three five-story buildings.

The project goes hand-in-hand with the resort's plan to relocate the gondola to the north side of the river and build a new skier bridge.

The Grand Residences will replace two buildings adjacent to the parking lot that house Keystone Sports, the ski and ride school and restrooms, but those facilities will be replaced in the bottom levels of two of the new buildings, said project architect Michael Noda.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Total Telemark Tour to visit Breckenridge

This Sunday, November 27, the Total Telemark Tour will be at Beaver Run on Peak 9 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Tour is a one day, on-snow telemark demo event featuring approximately 20 manufactures representitives.

Vendors that will be at the event include: Black Diamond, G3, Volkl, Atomic, Rossignol, Fisher, Bomber, Mountain Outfiters, Crispi, Garamont, Scarpa, K2, Flylow, Totem Telemark, and Desert Mountain Medicine.

This year's tour features professional instruction from PSIA and Babes in the Backcountry, equipment demos from all the major gear manufacturers, athlete appearances, kids' equipment and instruction, movie premiers, women's clinics, steep camps, backcountry safety seminars, apres ski parties and more.

Contact Nat Ross for more infomation: 970-390-9730, www.totaltelemark.com

There is no cost to attend.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Frisco Main Street to get Facelift

The west end of Frisco's Main Street, near the #201 exit at I-70 is getting a facelift.

On Monday, Rep. Mark Udall announced that he had secured $1 million in federal dollars to improve the area, and the town of Frisco will match that with $1 million of their own for the project.

Udall’s money was included in the Transportation, Treasury, Housing and Urban Development spending bill approved last week. The town of Frisco had set aside their $1 million in the town’s capital fund, which would have been used for redevelopment of West Main even if the federal funding didn’t come through, town officials say.

For many visitors to Frisco’s historic and economically vital Main Street, their tour of the area ends at town hall, at the intersection of Main Street and Madison Avenue. There, pedestrian walkways end, and much of the commercial business does as well. That’s where the new redevelopment comes in. The new $2 million project will aim to make that part of town more commercially viable, more friendly to visitor traffic (both pedestrian and vehicular), and more of a “gateway” to historic Main Street.

According to the town of Frisco, specific improvements to the area are likely to include: signage, lighting, pedestrian pathways between town hall and the Tenmile trailhead, landscaping, drainage and parking. Frisco also said the Frisco Recreation Open Space and Trails (FROST) committee will be involved in the planning process to represent recreational and trail interests.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Earliest Opening in History for Some Breckenridge Slopes

The Breckenridge Ski area announced today that Peaks 8 and and 10 will open tomorrow - November 23 - for the 2005/06 season. I've been here for a LOT of years, and this is the earliest I can remember opening this much of the ski area this early!

There will be 20 lifts and 96 trails open tomorrow.

That's 1,440 acres open on November 23. Wow!

The mid-mountain base is 32 inches.

Total snowfall since October is 84 inches - that is 7 FEET!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Breckenridge Ski Area Opens More Lifts

The Breckenridge Ski Area has announced the opening of more lifts and more ski runs.

The snowstorm over the weekend provided lots of new snow (32 inches in the last 72 hours) and the ski area will be opening Peaks 8 & 10 next Wednesday, November 23. The lifts that will be opened are: Falcon, A, C, Eldorado, Peak 8 SuperConnect, Snowflake, 5, Colorado, Rocky Mountain, and possibly 6 Chair if conditions allow.

In addition, on Peak 9, they will open the QuickSilver Super6 and the Mercury for this weekend (the QuickSilver on Friday and the Mercury Friday or Saturday, depending on snowmaking for the maze).

All supporting services will also be operating to provide the level of guest service expected from the #2 most popular resort in North America. This is probably be the best opening we've had in years.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Yes, it snowed - a lot - over the weekend

A-Basin: 13 inches since 8 a.m. Monday, 38 inches in four days. It will be up to ski patrol whether conditions are safe enough to open new terrain.

Breckenridge: 18 inches in the last 36 hours as of noon Monday. Breckenridge will be opening several advanced runs under the E Chair on Peak 9 North Slope.

Keystone: 11 new inches as of Monday at noon. More than 2 feet since Friday. The mountain hopes to open a portion of the bottom of the mountain today.

Copper Mountain: 12 new inches as of 3 p.m. Monday, in addition to 17 inches the previous two days. Nearly 200 acres of terrain is open.

Loveland: 32 inches since the storm began on Friday. Chair 6 is scheduled to open Wednesday.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I-70 Saga Continues

While the state continues to study what improvements to make to ease congestion along Interstate 70, summit County's towns are split when it comes to the question of future funding for the I-70 Mountain Corridor Coalition.

The coalition consists of 30 towns and counties along and near I-70 that joined together to develop a common vision for addressing future transportation solutions in the corridor.

At a recent town council work session, Breckenridge Mayor Ernie Blake suggested his town won't pay $7,500 to hire an executive director for the group. But Frisco Mayor Bernie Zurbriggen thinks it's important to have someone in place who "eats, sleeps and breathes" I-70 during the next year, as the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) finalizes a programmatic impact study for a planned slate of improvements to the highway between Golden and Glenwood Springs.

At issue is a tentative plan by the coalition to create an executive director's position at a cost of about $75,000 to $100,000. The idea is to get the various entities to share that cost.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Copper Mountain Giving Away Heli-skiing Trips

Copper Mountain Resort is set to give away eight heli-skiing and riding trips with Canadian Mountain Holidays at the conclusion of Lift Off this weekend. Lift Off is the name of Copper's season opening celebration.

Skiers and riders get a chance to win a trip when they purchase a $19 Boarding Pass and sign up a team of four participants. For each day that a skier or rider gets their Lift Off Boarding Pass scanned, their team will earn another chance to win. Teams can get their passes scanned until noon Saturday.

Lift Off Boarding passes are available at any Copper Mountain Guest Services desk, and do not provide lift access.

The event continues today with more live music, apr├Ęs parties and new movies. Copper has partnered with BIAS media to bring Level1's, "Shanghai Six," Mack Dawg's "From _ with Love" and Teton Gravity Research's, "Tangerine Dream" to the Lift Off movie event on Saturday. Doors open at 6 p.m. A Lift Off Boarding Pass or $5 movie ticket is needed for admission into the Copper Conference Center.

The winners of the Heli Days Canadian Mountain Holidays trip will be announced at the movie.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Colorado Mt. College May Stay in Breckenridge

A 20-acre parcel at the northern outskirts of Breckenridge could be a backup location for a new Colorado Mountain College campus, under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) approved by the Breckenridge Town Council recently.

According to the document, Breckenridge will be first in line to buy the existing CMC facility in town for $2.25 million - once the college finalizes plans to build a new consolidated facility elsewhere in Summit County, foreseeably at a preferred location somewhere near Frisco.

"The Dam Road location is still our first choice," said CMC Dean Leah Bornstein, referring to current plans to pursue a land trade with the U.S. Forest Service for a parcel of land between the Dam Road and Interstate 70.

CMC has also eyed land near the County Commons for its consolidated campus.

But the 20-acre Breckenridge parcel on the so-called Block 11 property, north of the rec center along Highway 9, would also be a fine location for a new campus, Bornstein said.

"The MOU is the culmination of efforts and discussions with CMC that have been in progress for a year," said town of Breckenridge spokesperson Kim DiLallo.

"We are very interested in turning (the CMC campus in Breckenridge) into Town Hall," she said.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Breckenridge Ski Resort Opens for Season


Breckenridge Ski Resort is celebrating the beginning of the Breckenridge ski season by handing out gifts to locals.

Members of Breckenridge's management team handed out 200 free coffee mugs at six local coffee shops this morning. The mugs were stuffed with coupons from local businesses.

"Wake Up Breck" is designed to thank to community members who show ski resort guests incredible hospitality all season long, according to the resort. Mugs were given away at Starbucks, Clint's Bakery & Coffee House, Cool River Coffee House, Petal and Bean, Seattle's Best Coffee Cart at City Market, and Daylight Donuts.

The Breckenridge Ski Resort opens tomorrow - November 11 - for the 2005/06 ski season.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Backcountry Ski Huts

Ski huts began showing up in Colorado in the 1940's.

In Summit County alone, there are four backcountry huts that are open to the public on a reservation-only basis. Summit's huts are operated by the Summit Huts Association (SHA), a non-profit organization which was founded in 1987. SHA works loosely with the Aspen-based 10th Mountain Division Hut Association, which handles marketing and reservations for SHA.

Tenth Mountain operates 14 huts in the Aspen, Leadville and Vail areas. Both organizations operate under special use permits from the U.S. Forest Service.

Although most of the huts are open during the summer, they are much more popular during the winter months. In fact, reservations for this winter are going fast - as usual. According to Letti Alvarez of 10th Mountain, most of the prime winter weekends sell out a year in advance. If you still want to visit a hut this winter and you haven't booked one yet, don't worry, midweek reservations are still available.

Taking a hut trip is a great way to experience nature first hand. All one needs to bring on a hut expedition is personal gear and food. The huts are equipped with pots, pans, silverware, a propane-burning stove and a wood-burning stove. The average cost for one night's stay is $28 per person.

Most of the region's huts can accommodate up to 16 people. Groups tend to have four of five people, but individuals are also welcomed. Most of the 10th Mountain Division huts are seven to 11 miles apart and can be linked together with the use of a detailed map. For people that lack backcountry experience and safety knowledge, several guide services are also available. To book reservations, get directions and learn more about the hut system, go to www.summithuts.org or www.huts.org.

Monday, November 07, 2005

NBC Shooting Film in Breckenridge this Week

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Breckenridge. What? It's way to early. But wait.

NBC will be shooting the holiday episode of its reality television show "Three Wishes" this week in Breckenridge.

Taping will take place primarily on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Breckenridge Resort Chamber (BRC) in cooperation with the town and resort has asked all Main Street businesses to decorate for Christmas a little early for the show, so a trip through Breckenridge right now brings with it sights of lights, wreaths and ornaments.

"When I was driving down Main Street last night and saw everyone putting their Christmas lights up, I've never been more proud to represent Breckenridge ... just with the outpouring of support," BRC spokesperson Kristen Petitt said.

The show features five-time Grammy Award winner Amy Grant as host along with leading contributors Carter Oosterhouse (NBC's "Today," "Trading Spaces"), Eric Stromer ("Clean Sweep") and Diane Mizota ("Trading Spaces: Boys vs. Girls") visiting communities all over the country to grant wishes to deserving people.

The Christmas episode, however, is a bit of a departure from a traditional episode, in which the crew sets up in one town, has a central "Wish Tent" for people to tell Grant their wishes and then grants three wishes from that area. According to NBC spokesperson Jill Carmen, the holiday episode to be partially shot in Breckenridge will feature Grant and company granting wishes for kids from all over the country, so there will be no Wish Tent or locally-granted wishes in Summit.

Part of the show is being filmed in Breckenridge primarily as a backdrop for the concert Grant will be performing Wednesday, during which she'll be singing Christmas songs, and there will be a wish granted on stage, according to Carmen. The entire cast of the show will be in attendance at Grant's concert.

The concert will be standing room only in the Blue River Plaza area, Petitt said, and Main Street will be closed during the performance.Other roads will be closed as well for the show Wednesday.

"Breckenridge is a charming, quaint location, and we really like the Main Street charm. It's the perfect backdrop for a special about Christmas wishes and kids," executive producer Andrew Glassman said. The Christmas episode of "Three Wishes" will air on NBC Friday, Dec. 2.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

BOLT Tax Resurfaces - Enforcement Stepped-up

Town officials are going to focus more sharply on collecting business license fees and taxes, especially from vacation homeowners who rent their properties for short-term vacations via do-it-yourself websites.

Any number of sites offer short-term rentals by owners, with no way of telling whether they hold the appropriate town business license.

Tim Gagen, Town Manager, said the growth of the web in the vacation rental business and the proliferation of absentee-owned homes have given the issue a higher profile.

“People are buying these larger homes as an investment and only spend a few weeks of the year in it,” Gagen said, adding that some of those owners then look for a way to get a return on that investment, including short-term rentals.

The town has earmarked $30,000 in the 2006 budget to pay for some contractual auditing, said Gagen, explaining that Breckenridge may work with some of the other local towns in this effort if a cost-sharing arrangement can be reached.

At issue is the Business and Occupational Licenses Tax (BOLT), established in 1986 to generate revenue for marketing the town and town events.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Copper Mountain Ski Resort Opens for the Season

Friday was sunny and cold in Copper Mountain - a perfect day to open the ski resort for the 2005 ski season.

Copper Mountain became the third ski area to open this season. Arapahoe Basisn and Loveland opened last month.

Two intermediate trails, Rhapsody and Main Vein, were ready to ride. The resort opened with a 20-inch base that was both manmade and natural snow.

Copper Mountain also showcased its early season festival - Lift Off - in the resort's village. It included live music, ski and snowboard films and a demonstration center that featured the newest equipment.. The festival runs through November 13.

While light snow was expected overnight in Summit County with maybe an inch of accumulation, according to the Weather Service, there was over a foot on my deck this morning! Yes, another big snowfall. It's looking like a good winter for skiers and riders to me.

Friday, November 04, 2005

October Snowfall Way Above Average

A storm in the middle of October helped boost moisture totals for the month to 40 percent above the long-term historic average, said Rick Bly, who tallies snow and rainfall for the National Weather Service in Breckenridge.

Bly measured 2.06 inches of precipitation on his backyard gauge, compared to the average 1.25 inches in October, historically the driest month of the entire year. Much of that moisture came in the form of snow - 20.5 inches, to be exact, as compared to the average 11.8 inches.

Does any of this bode well for the winter? Not according to Bly, who said there's no statistical correlation to show that a wet October means a snowy winter.

Looking forward, November averages about 20.7 inches of snow. The record November snowfall totaled an impressive 59.2 inches, way back in 1898. On the other extreme, only 2 inches fell in November of 1904 and again in 1905, making those the driest Novembers ever.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Mountain Lion Sighted in Breckenridge


A resident in the Winterwood subdivision at the north end of Bart Road on Peak 7 in Breckenridge encountered a mountain lion Saturday night.

Returning home shortly after 7 p.m. their headlights illuminated an animal standing in the driveway. They knew it was too large to be a dog, but thought it might be a lynx. Then they saw its tail.

"It kind of straightened up and turned around to face me, and it was a mountain lion with a big fat tail like they have," the residend said. "I sat and watched it for a couple seconds then it took a look at me and charged down the driveway and it was gone in about five big bounds. I got a pretty good look at it."

Sightings like this are rare, said Randy Hampton of the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

Mountain lions are populous locally, but are typically elusive creatures. They don't spend time around people and are commonly only seen when passing through an area.

This summer a hunter eventually shot a lion after throwing things at the animal didn't scare it away. Given that there are 300,000 hunters in the woods every year to have only one encounter through 10 months of the year speaks to the elusive nature of the predators. The animals can cover 50 miles in a day, Hampton said.

Still, caution is the best policy, Hampton said. A Durango woman was scratched across the shoulders in August when a lion jumped at her as she sat on her deck.

"It's part of living in Colorado," Hampton said. "People live here because they love the wildlife and like to see what's out there, but with the deer and the elk that everybody likes to watch come the predators."

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

More Snowfall in Colorado

Summit County ski areas reported 4 to 6 inches of new snow Monday morning.

Other Colorado resorts also received significant snowfall from the latest storm.

Telluride in southern Colorado was hit the hardest, reporting 19 new inches on top of the mountain.

Snowmass reported 14 inches, while neighbors Aspen Highlands and Aspen Mountain received 12 inches and10 inches, respectively.

Powderhorn on the western boarder of Colorado also received a foot of snow.

This latest storm has moved out of the region, however cooler temperatures, and possibly snow, are expected to return at the end of the week. With Arapahoe Basin and nearby Loveland Basin Ski Area already open for the season, Copper Mountain is opening this Friday.

Breckenridge and Keystone are scheduled to open on Nov. 11.