Friday, March 31, 2006

New Development at Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain Resort’s latest proposal for new development at the base area has been formally submitted to the county and could get its first review by the Ten Mile Planning Commission as soon as May 11.

The amendment to the resort’s planned unit development (PUD) includes redistributing some of the existing 703 “equivalent units” of density to new locations around the resort. The amendment includes a significant upzoning component that would add density by creating 613 new equivalent units.

According to documents submitted to the county, the bulk of those new equivalent units of density would be added in the Village Center neighborhood (353 units) and the A Lift neighborhood (218 units), south of the existing maintenance yard along Highway 91.

The plan includes the addition of a 320-unit Hard Rock Hotel to serve as a commercial lodging anchor for Copper’s base area.

The amendment also proposes boosting the number of parking places to 4,200 by adding a new 810-space lot in the vicinity of the existing tennis courts, the existing Play Lot and the fourth hole of the golf course. This new Center Lot would become the resort’s primary close-in parking area.

Copper Road would be converted to four lanes between Highway 91 and the Beeler Roundabout by eliminating the existing medians and by eliminating parking along the road.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Colorado Real Estate Outlook is Bright

Economic analyst Patty Silverstein painted a rosy picture for Colorado at Silverthorne's second annual business community breakfast.

Colorado has come back strong since the 2001 and 2002 recession years, which she described as the most severe in modern Colorado history.

"Statewide, we're back to a very strong job growth rate," she said. But she acknowledged that in some areas the mountain communities still lag the Front Range - in particular in the service and retail sectors. Still, she said, like the rest of Colorado, the mountain region should continue to see economic growth.

Silverstein, president of Development Research Partners, was one of four presenters at the breakfast meeting jointly sponsored by the town of Silverthorne and its Economic Development Advisory Committee.

She said unlike several other states there is not a significant concern over a housing bubble in Colorado, where last year average home prices increased about 6 percent. Obviously, she noted, some areas including the High Country saw stronger price increases, but not to a level of concern.

She cited Arizona and Phoenix and Tucson specifically as regions where median home prices indicate a bubble that could burst. Last year, Phoenix median home price increased 55 percent.

Other speakers at the meeting included St. Anthony Summit Medical Center Administrator Paul Chodkowski, Outlets at Silverthorne general manager Rod Goodell and EDAC chairperson Heidi Bimmerle, who recapped the group's past year activities.

Chodkowski said the hospital, which opened in early December, is already looking at expansion as demand for services have significantly exceeded expectation.

"We have been stretched since the doors opened, no doubt about it," he said, adding that as the facility expands and as the adjoining medical offices open the effect on all areas of the county will be dramatic. And the effect, he said, will touch retail sales, real estate and housing and secondary services.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

NRO Fundraiser this Thursday

An NRO fundraiser will take place this Thursday at the Breckenridge Fine Art Gallery.

Local artist Jerry Georgeff will paint - an auction later will include a piece he has donated - while harpist Janet Harriman provides some easy listening and jazz background music.

Taste Rado restaurant's appetizers and wine from 6-9 p.m. during the event.

Georgeff has been a professional painter for more than 20 years, and recently, the Colorado Avalanche presented former player Adam Deadmarsh with a Georgeff painting commissioned to honor Deadmarsh's hockey career.

The art event is a fundraiser for NRO musicians. Tickets are $25 per person and are available at the door or in advance.

Call (970) 453-5825 or visit for more information.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Breckenridge Spring Massive Events

Bite of Breckenridge (April 1 - 23): Participating restaurants will feature a 3 course menu (appetizer, entree and dessert) for $15 or $25 per person, depending on the restaurant.

Massive Shopping (April 1 - 23): Stores and merchants all over town will feature massive showcases and massive sales. Events include visiting artists, previews of next year's merchandise, fashion showcases, visits with snowboard and ski reps and more.

Telemark Saturdays (April 1, 8, 15 and 22): Check-out telemarking for the first time and learn the basics or enrich your technique if you're already part of the free heel revolution. Experienced instructors offer guidance on varied terrain based on your individual goals. Call the Breckenridge Ski Resort for more information - 888-LRN-2SKI.

Massive Rail Jam (April 7): All proceeds will be donated to Matt Wyffels, a competitive snowboarder who was paralyzed. Entry is limited to 125 participants. Call 970-453-3234 or email for details and registration information.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Breckenridge's Ruckriegle Wins Silver

Breckenridge's Sarah Ruckriegle earned the best result of her career at the U.S. Freestyle Championships dual moguls competition Sunday, finishing with silver to Vermont native Hannah Kearney's gold.

Kearney grabbed her second U.S. title of the weekend at Killington Resort, while newcomer Sho Kashima, 19, from Zephyr Cove, Nev., outskied a slew of U.S. national team skiers - including a finals race against Team Summit alum and Friday's singles winner, David Babic - to win his first U.S. title.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Mesa Verde National Park Celebrates 100 Years

Most national parks protect natural wonders - mountains, forests, canyons. But Mesa Verde was the first national park created to preserve man-made wonders - ancient cliff dwellings, made from sandstone, perched on ledges at elevations of 7,000 feet.

This intricate architecture, dating to the 12th century, is as awesome to behold today as it was when cowboys and ranchers first saw it. Two men looking for lost cattle, Richard Wetherill and Charles Mason, came upon the most spectacular site, the 150-room Cliff Palace, in 1888. Mesa Verde National Park was established 18 years later, in 1906.

The park's centennial is being observed this year with festivals, lectures and access to sites that have been closed to the public for decades.

A four-day party, free to the public, with a birthday cake, music, Indian dances, a traders' festival, craft demonstrations and other events is scheduled for June 29-July 2. Other highlights of the centennial include monthly lectures and demonstrations; daylong horseback rides in September to Spring House, which has been closed since the 1960s; and ranger-led hikes to two other dwellings. One of these, Mug House, has never been open to the public before, and another, Oak Tree House, has been closed since the 1930s.

Other events are being held in communities around the region; for advance reservations and a complete schedule, visit The celebration ends Dec. 9 with a "luminaria" - nighttime illumination - of Cliff Palace and Spruce Tree House, another dwelling.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Copper Mountain's Sunsation Celebration

Copper Mountain's annual spring celebration - Sunsation - will kick off in April.

Better Than Ezra, Toots and the Maytals, Keller Williams and Rusted Root will preform at the multi-day event.

Besides bands, the end-of-season celebration includes parties and on-hill events.

Better Than Ezra will be performing April 1, and Particle brings its rock n' roll funkatronic mix April 2.

April 8 brings Planet Earth Outerwear's Shop Wars and music from The Southland, Oteil & the Peacemakers and Toots and the Maytals.

Toubab Krewe, Liquid Soul and Keller Williams take to the stage on April 9.

Rusted Root is at Copper April 15.

Madame Andrews & The Heavenly Echos and The Lee Boys will perform on April 16.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Peak 7 Base Area Development Underway

Last week, Vail Resorts and the town of Breckenridge announced their plans to build a long-awaited gondola connecting Peaks 7 and 8 with the town below.

This week, Vail announced that the project to develop the area around the gondola stop at Peak 7 is also under way.

“Between the gondola announcement and this (news), the past week or two has been great for Breckenridge,” said Alex Iskenderian, vice-president of development for Vail Resorts Development Company (VRDC). “We’re really taking Breckenridge real estate to a new level with this project,” Iskenderian said.

VRDC and locally owned Grand Timber Development Company are partners on the project to develop the new base area at Peak 7. Plans call for 44 whole ownership condominiums developed by VRDC and a 114-unit fractional ownership facility developed by Grand Timber.

Work began last week clearing trees in the Cucumber Gulch area, so that County Road 3 can be moved down the hillside lower than it currently is.

Along with the road shift, developers will be moving the relatively new Peak 7 Independence SuperChair about 100 yards down from where it loads skiers and riders today. Vail Resorts will add a couple of towers to relocate the lift, and the new base area will spring up around the new lift site.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Spring Massive in Breckenridge

The 6th Breckenridge Spring Massive begins in just a few days. Known as a "Fusion of Sport, Music, Family Fun and Legendary Spring Conditions," it includes lots of events and specials celebrating the end of ski season.This April you'll find concerts, competitions, celebrity racing, nightlife, exhibitions, jams, film shoots, kid's activities and the legendary spring conditions that Breckenridge is famous for.

APRIL 1 - 23 . 06 Spring Massive Festival Bite of Breckenridge Massive Nightlife

1 SnowBash Ski Race and BBQ @ NASTAR
Peak 9, 10am – 4pm

7 Massive Rail Jam: Benefit for Matt Wyffels
Peak 8, Freeway Terrain Park 12:30 – 2:30pm. Register now:

8 Massive Slopestyle
Peak 8, Freeway Terrain Park 10:30am. Register now:
Wyffels Benefit Party in Town at Cecilia’s

8 - 11 Rocky Mountain Trophy Series
Peak 10

9 Massive Superpipe
Peak 8, Freeway Terrain Park 10:30am. Register now:

13 Spring Chicken Day: Senior Appreciation Day

15 Jim Salestrom Concert
Peak 8, Bergenhof 1:30pm – 3:30pm
Mountain Top Children’s Museum Interactive Kids Tent
Peak 8, 10am – 4pm
Ripperoo’s Mini World Cup
Peak 8, Twister 10am – 3pm

16 Sunrise Service
Peak 8, Colorado Chair 5am
Easter Brunch
Peak 9, Breck Burger Bar 8-11am
Mountain Top Children’s Museum Interactive Kids Tent
Peak 8, 10am – 4pm
Fiesta Latina
Peak 8, 12 - 3pm
Ripperoo’s Mini World Cup
Peak 8, Twister 10am – 3pm

22 FREE concert at the Riverwalk Center featuring Ozomatli
3pm in Town
Imperial Challenge
Registration: Great Adventure Sports

23 Annual Bump Buffet
Peak 8, High Anxiety 10am – 3pm Registration: Mountain Outfitters
Closing Day

For more information please call 970- 453-5000 or go to!

Monday, March 20, 2006

First Day of Spring Brings Snow!

Spring blew into Colorado today with a blast of icy, windy weather, leaving nearly a foot of snow on the Eastern Plains and closing more than a dozen school districts.

Summit County's ski resorts received snow, as well. As of 5 a.m. this morning, Breckenridge Ski Resort reported 5 inches, Keystone Resort reported 1 inch, Copper Mountain Ski Area reported 3 inches and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area reported 3 inches.

Local roads were snowpacked this morning, as snow continues to fall. A winter storm warning was issued through 11 a.m. today, with forecasters predicting 8 to 16 inches of fresh snow covering the foothills. About 6 to 12 inches was forecast for the Front Range and northeast plains.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Dillon Studies Water Supply

A study of Dillon’s primary water source — Straight Creek — revealed the town will likely have enough water to survive a drought year like 2002, but the results will not stop the town from possibly exploring alternative water sources for emergency situations.

The firm yield study was commissioned to determine whether Straight Creek and Laskey Gulch would provide enough water when the town reached build-out.

The town gleans 75 percent of its water supply from Straight Creek, which runs down from the Continental Divide at the Eisenhower Tunnel, along Interstate 70 and into the Blue River in Silverthorne. Laskey Gulch, which lies south of the Williams Fork Mountain Range, provides the other 25 percent.

According to the research firm, Longmont-based Deere and Ault Consultants, a flow of 2.54 cubic feet per second (cfs) from Straight Creek is necessary to support buildout. Half of that amount, or 1.27 cfs, would be available for Dillon because the town shares its water right with the Dillon Valley Water District.

To put that into context, during the 2002 drought, the town saw 24 days when the flow was below the buildout demand of 2.54 cfs, town engineer Dan Burroughs recently told the town council. But, mandatory water restrictions like the town has instituted in the past could help during a drought situation. In 2004, restrictions reduced water use by 25 percent, Burroughs said

Friday, March 17, 2006

Don't Fall for the Ski Pass Scam

Skiers and riders beware. If a last minute deal on one of Copper Mountain’s popular ski passes seems too good to be true, it probably is, said Copper spokesperson Carlos Garcia.

Copper Mountain’s four passes are being resold in abundance on the internet and in local classified ads, but the purchaser might end up wishing they’d gone to the ticket window instead.

“From our estimation, 60 percent of pass sales that are happening outside of Copper are involving some type of scam,” Garcia said.

Four passes are typically sold during the early season for anywhere between $69 and $89, and entitle the buyer to four days on the mountain, with some blackout dates, Garcia said. They are not transferable.

Most of the problem takes place on eBay, where a quick search for “Copper Mountain ski pass” brings up a long list of four passes for sale. The scam involves people who bill the pass as a four-day deal when they’ve already used a portion of the allotted days, or people who sell the pass, then call Copper to report it lost. The resort will send out a new pass and cancel the pass the person just sold on eBay.

“They’re selling nothing and screwing over (the buyer),” Garcia said.

Copper Mountain prohibits people from reselling its tickets anywhere on its property. It’s also illegal to resell lift tickets from any ski area — be it on eBay, in the classified ads or via a different venue — if the voucher is being sold for a profit, he said.

Illegally reselling a ski pass is a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to a $300 fine, said Summit County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Paulette Horr.

While Copper has had to call in the sheriff’s office on occasion to cite scalpers, the resort is attempting to handle the problem on its own. It has contacted eBay about pulling the illegal ads off its website, and has been in touch with local newspapers with the same request.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Vail Resorts Reports Record Profit

Reporting its second-quarter earnings, Vail Resorts had mostly sunny news from the snowy skies that have boosted skier visits as well as the bottom line this season.

The company posted a 7.9 percent increase in skier visits in its second fiscal quarter, which ended Jan. 31. Also reported was an increase in revenue of 8.4 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, along with record net income of $43 million — a 33.4 percent increase over the second quarter of 2005.

The company also announced about $80 million in spending for upkeep and new projects for the coming year. The biggest news may be the announcement of construction on the long-awaited gondola connecting the town of Breckenridge to the resort. The company also has plans to add a new high-speed lift at Heavenly; upgrade snowmaking systems at all four Colorado resorts; build an expanded spa at Keystone Lodge; and making improvements to the company’s central reservations system.

The company’s board of directors approved between $185 million and $195 million in real estate capital expenditures in 2006. That includes ongoing projects like construction of the Arrabelle Lodge and Gore Creek Place in Vail; the Vail Front Door project; development of a golf course in Jackson Hole, Wyo.; and the second phase of the Mountain Thunder Lodge condos in Breckenridge.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ski Area Visits on Pace to Set Record

Coming on the heels of a record first period, Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) recently announced that its 25 member resorts have set a new record for period two skier visits.

Colorado resorts are now one step closer to achieving their goal of hosting more than 12 million skiers and snowboarders this season, which would make the 2005-06 winter season the state’s best season ever.

In total, Colorado resorts hosted more than 5.2 million skiers and snowboarders from January 1, through February 28, 2006 — an increase of more than five percent over the same time period last season, and more than 230,000 visits ahead of its previous best period (during the 2003-04 winter season).

“It’s been a season of which all of Colorado can be proud,” stated Rob Perlman, CSCUSA President and CEO. “The snow is the best it’s been in 20 years and the resorts have done a phenomenal job delivering that message around the globe.”

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Summit Schools Renovations

After a delay of several months, groundbreaking for the construction of an addition to Summit High School and a major renovation of Summit Middle School will take place this spring, the Summit School District Board of Education decided last week.

Both projects, originally slated to begin last fall, were temporarily derailed by unexpected inflation in the cost of building materials.

A combination of factors - including construction demands in areas hit by Hurricane Katrina, high oil prices and a global building boom - contributed to double-digit inflation in construction prices, prompting the local delay.

The two projects in question were part of a four-project facilities improvement plan authorized by local voters in November 2004 with a $32.5 million bond issue. The other two undertakings - renovations of Frisco Elementary and the Summit Education Center - were completed before last fall's unusual spike in the cost of building supplies.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Breckenridge Gondola to Open for Christmas 2006

The Breckenridge Ski Resort and the Town of Breckenridge have announced that construction on the much-anticipated Breckenridge gondola will start this spring. The new gondola will start from the Breckenridge Transportation Center located in the parking lot right off historic Main Street and have terminals at both Peak 7 and Peak 8, providing an integral link for skiers, riders and visitors from town to the ski resort base areas. It will allow the ski resort and the Town to upgrade the skier experience and improve the overall experience by reducing the number of people that need to be bussed to the mountain. In addition to stops at the base areas, the new gondola will include a mid-station at Shock Hill. Setting the stage for the planned developments on Peak 7 and 8, the 8-passenger gondola is expected to be completed by Christmas 2006.

The gondola has been talked about in the community for 20 years and now the timing is perfect as this project will continue the incredible momentum that Breckenridge Ski Resort and the Town of Breckenridge have worked together to build from the success of the Imperial Express, the popularity of the Skyway Skiway and a strong real estate and development market, said Roger McCarthy, co-president of the mountain division for Vail Resorts and chief operating officer of Breckenridge and Keystone. In May 2002, the Town of Breckenridge and Breckenridge Ski Resort signed a landmark agreement outlining a development plan for
Peaks 7 and 8 designed to maintain both the resort town's world-class stature and quality of life.

As a part of this plan, the Mountain Thunder Lodge and Townhome project and the Skyway Skiway have been completed in the past year ahead of schedule. The gondola represents one of the last major steps in implementing the development plan and the transportation framework as well as the continued relationship between the Town and the resort. As part of the agreement, the Town of Breckenridge has committed to a contribution of $6.7 million toward the completion of the gondola. For its part, the ski resort has guaranteed parking at the gondola base, transferred density from the parking lots to the Peak 7 and 8 base, sunset density consistent with the Upper Blue Master Plan and reduced commercial density at the Peak 7 and 8 future bases. The ski resort also has obtained virtually all necessary approvals to build the gondola and buildings associated with theproject. In addition to the monetary commitment from the Town of Breckenridge, the Breckenridge Land Company (the developers of Shock Hill) is contributing $500,000 to the gondola project and the necessary easements to complete the gondola.

The mayor of Breckenridge, Ernie Blake, said, The Town of Breckenridge is thrilled with the ski area's decision. We recognize that Vail Resorts has many choices for its investment dollars and appreciate the confidence it has shown in Breckenridge with this commitment. It comes years ahead of the agreed upon schedule and is another example of what a model public/private partnership can produce. We are fortunate to be economically capable of contributing to this wonderful amenity upgrade for our guest.

The Breckenridge gondola will be one of the most modern gondolas in North America with seating for 8 and room for ski and ride gear inside. Right now, the ski resort plans to operate the gondola in both the winter and summer seasons. It will have a ride time of
approximately seven and a half minutes from the transportation center to the base of Peak 8 and will be able to carry 3,000 peopleper hour.

Breckenridge Gondola Facts:
7.5 minute ride time from Transit Center to the Peak 8 terminal. Two mid-stations at Shock Hill and Peak 7 base area. 7,842 ft. in length. 391 ft. vertical rise. 25 towers. Capacity of 3,000 per hour. 143 cabins

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Dillon to get Harley Davidson Shop?

Dillon's planning commission will consider an application to rezone six acres of land beside the Dillon Ridge shopping center to accommodate a new development that could include a Harley Davidson motorcycle shop, a Chili's restaurant and an Aveda spa, said developer Jim Walsh.

"We're very close to hammering out a deal with all three companies, and we haven't even put a shovel in the ground yet," said Walsh, who is partnering with local developers Mark and Dan McCrerey for the project.

Walsh is applying to rezone the land from mixed use to planned unit development. It sits off Dillon Ridge Road near the Blockbuster and is known as the Ptarmigan Trails Estates.

The first phase of the project proposes an approximately 25,000-square-foot retail building that would house Harley Davidson and Aveda if negotiations pan out with those companies. The Chili's would be next to the Comfort Suites, and would be constructed by the company under a potential lease agreement with the developers.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Breckenridge Olympian Returns Home

Dressed in a white USA sweater and sporting red, white and blue streaks in her short brown hair, Breckenridge Olympian Katie Uhlaender returned home Sunday from the winter Olympics.

Uhlaender, a 2002 Summit High School graduate, placed sixth in the skeleton event in Torino, Italy, last month.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Deed Restricted Housing in Breckenridge

Local housing officials have completed their annual review of deed restricted housing, trying to ensure that owners abide by the affordable housing covenants outlined in local regulations.

According to a report on the monitoring effort, the Summit Housing Authority reviewed 484 deed restricted units in Breckenridge. All but 41 owners have provided the required documentation.

Town officials so far have not been able to confirm whether the remaining 41 owners are in compliance with the deed restrictions.Summit Housing Authority program director Joanne Van Steenberghe said she doubts that all those owners are in violation. She said it’s more likely just a communication issue.

Violations of local affordable housing rules have been in the spotlight recently, as the town of Breckenridge pursues legal action against an Indiana couple who bought a deed restricted home in the Wellington Neighborhood. The town alleges the owners violated the covenants from day one, never living in the home or working in Summit County, as required by the deed restriction. A trial date has been set for the end of March, while settlement talks have been held sporadically.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Hard Rock Hotel for Copper Mountain

Intrawest will partner with Hard Rock International to bring a four-star Hard Rock condo-hotel to Copper Mountain.

Intrawest and Hard Rock International agreed on the deal last summer, said Intrawest public affairs manager Laura Goode, explaining that the hotel proposal is contingent on county approval of a new base area development plan that will be considered by local officials during the next few months.

A formal application could be submitted as early as next week.

A countywide open house on the base area proposal is scheduled for March 13.Copper wants to add several hundred residential units and some new commercial space to the base area.

The proposal has been studied closely by Copper Mountain stakeholders, and Intrawest officials hope their collaborative, up-front approach will pay off with a smooth run through the planning process. The Hard Rock hotel announcement anticipates construction beginning as soon as 2007.

Friday, March 03, 2006

More Capacity for Imperial Express Chairlift

The line at Breckenridge's Imperial Express SuperChair has been moving faster these days, but it's not because there are fewer people waiting to ride the resort's newest lift.

In mid-February, Breckenridge doubled the number of chairs on the high-speed quad from 15 to 30.

"The whole idea was to find out what the right capacity for the terrain was, so we wanted to start with a lighter number and see how that worked," said director of lift operations for Breckenridge and Keystone, Jon Mauch.

"It's quite a popular project and a lot of people are enjoying that, so we felt like we needed to increase the capacity."

When the lift opened last December, it had the capacity to service 600 riders per hour. Now it handles 1,200 people per hour and can be upgraded to serve 1,800 people per hour, Mauch said.

Mauch said he doesn't anticipate taking the lift, which zips skiers and riders to the top of Peak 8 in two-and-a-half minutes, to its full capacity this season.

The number of chairs can be lowered back down to 15 when snow conditions aren't ideal, he said.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Vail Resorts Responds to Kinderhut Controversy

While the Breckenridge Ski Resort has been under fire for its role in the looming demise of the popular Kinderhut childcare center at Beaver Run, the company has long been a leader in addressing childcare issues countywide, said Roger McCarthy, newly promoted to co-president of Vail Resorts' mountain division.

Responding to a round of heartfelt criticism that was unleashed at a town council session Tuesday, McCarthy said there aren't any other local companies that have done as much for childcare as Vail Resorts.

"It's kind of bizarre for us ... I'm kind of surprised we're being painted as the bad guys here," McCarthy said, outlining the company's continued contributions to what he said is a community issue.

Vail Resorts led the local lobby when it came to garnering support for Referendum 1A, aimed at providing reliable funding for early childhood needs. The company has given $200,000 to Little Red Schoolhouse, and recently committed another $50,000 toward local childcare needs as part of a trade-off on a density transfer from town up to the ski area base. The ski area also works with other local childcare providers on a ski program and donates up to $500,000 to The Summit Foundation through the Medallion Pass program.

"We provide subsidized daycare for our employees, but we can't afford to do that for everyone in town," McCarthy said.