Thursday, January 11, 2007

Breckenridge Ski Area Outlines Plans

Ski area executives shared their vision of a conceptual plan for build-out of the Breckenridge ski area at a town council work session Tuesday night, outlining a number of upgrades and improvements to existing lifts and trails, as well additional snowmaking and a new terrain on Peak 6.

Town council members had a lot of questions about the plan, which includes some previously approved projects as well as new elements. The list of projects is an informal master plan that revises the ski area's existing Forest Service master plan, a document that dates back to the 1980s and has been updated on a piecemeal basis with projects like the Imperial Express chair and the Peak 7 expansion from a few years ago.

The Forest Service no longer does formal ski area master plans, with the associated public scrutiny and comment required by federal environmental laws. Comprehensive master planning was dropped as part of the agency's overall streamlining push.

"This is a road map for the next six to eight years," said vice president of operations Rick Sramek. "It's important to note that this is not an approval process, it's conceptual."

Site-specific review and approval for the various pieces would be part of a U.S. Forest Service process, Sramek explained.

"I haven't added up the dollars yet," said Roger McCarthy, co-president of Vail Resorts mountain division, explaining that the implementation of some of the projects are real-estate dependent, in terms of some of the lift improvements, on-mountain services and renovation of the Bergenhof at the base of Peak 8.

"These are all the potential things we want to do, but it doesn't mean we'll do them all," McCarthy said.

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