Sunday, October 16, 2011

Fido Not Welcome at some Breckenridge Events

Pets are no longer on the guest list for some Breckenridge events, and crashing the parties could mean fines for their owners due to an ordinance passed by town council.

The new measure, passed at the most recent town council meeting, prohibits animals, except for those involved in the event, from attending certain pre-designated “no pet” or “no animal” events.

“It's primarily based around safety issues and food issues,” Breckenridge chief of police Rick Holman said.

The ordinance requires the town to post signs saying pets are prohibited at the entrances of “no pet” events, and gives Breckenridge officers license to write tickets, associated with a possible $100 fine, to people who do not comply with warnings to remove their animals.

The ordinance follows the Stage Five finish of the Pro Cycling Challenge in Breckenridge Aug. 27. The event drew crowds of more than 50,000 people, but pets were not allowed in.

In recent years there have been more and more events held in Breckenridge that do not allow animals, usually due to the presence of food or large crowds of people. While the majority of pet owners have been compliant with the rules, authorities have recently had people challenging the policy, according to a town memo.

The ordinance gives police the power to write tickets to uncooperative pet owners, Holman said.

Not all events will be pet free. An event committee will decide whether pets will be allowed at individual events.

The town is following a precedent set in other municipalities in Colorado, Breckenridge officials told council members prior to the vote Oct. 11.

“Grand Junction passed a very similar ordinance to this, but they banned animals in all of their downtown special events categorically,” town manager Tim Gagen said. “We're not the only ones looking at regulating animals in these situations.”

Event staff or Breckenridge authorities will first give verbal warning to people that bring animals into no pet/no animal events and will “continue to educate and warn to gain compliance,” according to the memo.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Let the Ski Season Begin!

Arapahoe Basin opened today, the second Colorado ski resort to start turning lifts for guests this season.

The Oct. 13 opening is just 100 days after it closed on July 4. It's not the earliest, though. In 2009, the mountain opened on Oct. 9, and in 2007, it opened on Oct. 10.
“It seems like we just closed, but we're excited to get it open again,” spokeswoman Leigh Hierholzer said, adding that everyone has their fingers crossed for a snow year along the lines of 2010-11.

According to Hierholzer, snowmakers at the mountain have been working throughout the week to create an 18-inch base on the intermediate High Noon run along with several features in the High Divide Terrain Park. There is no beginner skiing open at the mountain.

Several inches of fresh snow this week helped snowmakers finish the task and open Black Mountain Express at 9 a.m. today.

“We're open for the season,” Hierholzer said.

Wolf Creek Ski Area in southern Colorado was first in the state this season. It opened Saturday, but has not remained in operation. Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort outside Las Vegas claims it was the first in the nation to open, beating Wolf Creek by 27 minutes.

This morning, the day begins with a tribute to Arapahoe Basin founders Marnie Jump and Max Dercum, who both died this year. The tribute will take place before the lifts open to the public. Local radio station KYSL will do a live morning show and give away lift tickets on-air. KSMT will also be on site in the base area with a live remote, playing music and handing out give-aways. More info

What: Arapahoe Basin opening day

When: 9 a.m. today

Where: Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Cost: Adults — $59; Youth ages 15-18 — $49; Children ages 6-14 — $30

The ski and snowboard rental shop, tune shop, food and beverage service, the 6th Alley bar and retail shop will be open to the public. Snowsports lessons will be available on a limited basis.

Loveland opens Friday

Last year, Loveland Ski Area beat out Arapahoe Basin in the race to opening day — their lifts started turning on Oct. 24 with the Basin following the next day. This year, Chair 1 at Loveland starts turning at 9 a.m. Friday.

“Warm weather delayed the start of snowmaking, but cold temperatures settled in and our snowmaking crew has done a great job making up for lost time,” said Rob Goodell, director of business operations at Loveland. “We still have some work to do, but the mountain looks great and we have 18 inches of snow from tree-to-tree for skiers and riders on Friday morning.”

Loveland's open terrain includes a single top-to-bottom run, dropping 1,000 vertical feet in a little over a mile via the trails Catwalk, Mambo and Homerun. Snowmaking was going nonstop since last Thursday with the exception of a short stoppage on Tuesday.

Loveland will be open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and designated holidays. Early season lift tickets are $47 for adults and $22 for children ages 6-14.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Breckenridge to Get New Library

A plan to construct a new, bigger library in Breckenridge seemed to win favor with Summit County Commissioners and the public this week after developers Tuesday presented two plans: one to expand and another to replace the facility.

The project is intended to fix growing crowding problems in the south library branch's current building and to identify space for the district attorney and probation offices on the justice center campus.

The architectural firm charged with designing the new facility submitted two proposals for the project. One would remodel and expand the south branch of the library located on Airport Road in Breckenridge, but wouldn't increase the size enough to meet the community's long-term needs. The other, more expensive plan proposes constructing a whole new facility on Rankin Avenue in Breck.

“Even though (expanding the existing library) would more than double the space, if you look at the type of community you are and benchmark yourself against other similar communities in the region, even at that expanded size, you'd be small for the population served,” project architect Bruce Flynn told residents at a public open house Tuesday night.

A new building would also provide more opportunities for green construction and sustainable, Flynn from Denver's Barker Rinker Seacat, the firm leading the project, said. Both projects include additional space on the justice center campus for the probation and DA's offices. If a new library is constructed, the old building will be renovated to provide the office space.

The price tag on a new facility, for which architects presented two different layouts, could range from $2.5-$2.9 million. Renovating and expanding the old facility would cost between $1.7 and $2.1 million.

From residents at the meeting, the response was almost unanimous.

“I'd just hate to see you spend $1.5 million on this building, when it might not serve the (community's) needs down the road,” Breckenridge resident Stan Hodge said. His sentiment was echoed by others in the room, who called the decision a “no-brainer” and said, as taxpayers, they'd rather see their money invested in a facility that will last.

The county prioritized the project to expand or replace the south library branch due to space and crowding problems.

The library in Breckenridge had 92,000 visitors last year, compared to 86,000 at the main branch in Frisco and 80,000 at the north branch in Silverthorne, though it is smaller than both of the other facilities.

“We do the best we can with the space we've got,” library director Joyce Dierauer said. “But we need to have a bigger, better facility so that we can do a better job of serving the public in that end of the county.”

The funding to build that facility will likely come primarily out of county government's pockets. The project rises to the top of the list for capital funding next year, county officials said.

Funds raised from private donors and revenue from the sale of the building that currently houses the DA will also help cover the cost of the project.

County commissioners are expected to select one of the proposals by later this year. Fundraising efforts and a more detailed design process will take place through 2012, with construction likely to begin in 2013.

Courtesy of Summit Daily News

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Race is On!

It's a domino effect: First Copper Mountain, now Loveland Ski Area.

Snowmakers at Arapahoe Basin shouldn't be far behind.

Making snow at Summit County's ski areas has begun, leading the way among Colorado Ski Country USA member resorts. A fall storm that pushed into the mountains Thursday lent a hand with a few inches of snow to get things going — bringing with it the race to opening day.

Crews at Loveland were on a 24-hour standby before they fired up the guns at 2 p.m. Thursday. They start at Catwalk at the top of Chair 1 and work their way downhill to Mambo and Homerun to create a top-to-bottom trail that's more than a mile and nearly 1,000 vertical feet. When it's complete, they can announce Opening Day 2011.

“We had to wait out some warm nights,” said Eric Johnstone, Loveland's snowmaking and trail maintenance manager. “We thought we might be able to start last night, but the weather did not cooperate. Fortunately, the cold temperatures arrived today and we were able to fire up the snow guns this afternoon. The forecast is looking good, and we are ready to take advantage of the cold temperatures.”

On the other side of the Divide, at Arapahoe Basin, officials have intimated a high probability they'd begin making snow Thursday night. And at Copper, “production has begun, not a ton last night, but we're coating the ground in white,” spokesman David Roth reported from the snowmaking crews.

All the while, snow gracing the valley for the first time has snow enthusiasts itching for the real season to begin.

It typically takes about two weeks for Loveland's snowmaking team to cover the opening day run with an 18-inch base and tree-to-tree coverage for opening day, Loveland spokesman John Sellers wrote in an email. Loveland opened on Oct. 24 last season. Arapahoe Basin opened a day later.

“Firing up the snow guns in the middle of a blizzard is a great way to kick off the countdown to the season,” Sellers said. “The start of snowmaking means that opening day is just around the corner. Both employees and guests alike have been eagerly awaiting this day, and we are excited to get started. We are starting a little bit later than previous years, but we are still optimistic that cold temperatures will allow our crew to be very productive and keep us on track for our typical October opening.”

Stay posted on the Loveland crew's progress at

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Snow in the forecast for Summit County Tonight

With a blast of cold weather moving in from the west, snow is in the forecast for Summit County Thursday and into the weekend.

The higher elevations could get 2-4 inches of snow Thursday, while the valleys will likely see a rain/snow mix starting Thursday afternoon, according to weather forecasters at the National Weather Service in Boulder.

After dark, there could be some accumulation on the roads at Loveland Pass and the Eisenhower Tunnel as the storm continues to move through the area, but there likely won't be more than a light dusting at lower elevations by Thursday night.

There is a 70 percent chance of precipitation Thursday, and temperatures are expected to sink into the 20s overnight tonight.

Friday is expected to be cool, with highs in the 40s, but dry before the next wave of wintry weather moves in this weekend.

More snow may fall Friday night and into Saturday with possible accumulation of less than 3 inches in the lower elevations and 3-6 inches on the peaks, according to forecasts.

Temperatures likely won't reach 40 degrees on Saturday.

While Summit County is only expected to see cold temperatures and limited precipitation, the storm is expected to hit other parts of the state hard.

Southwestern Colorado is under a winter storm warning and could see up to 12 inches of snow by Thursday night.

Hikers and motorists are encouraged to be ready for quickly changing conditions over the next few days.

Next week the weather may clear out and warm up again with “no storms on the horizon that we see right now,” said NWS meteorologist Bernie Meier.

So far, only the highest peaks around Summit have seen short-lived dustings of snow.

With good news in the forecast, Arapahoe Basin is gearing up for its annual race to opening day with Loveland. The ski area is shooting to start the season sometime in mid to late October.

The Associated Press contributed to the reporting of this story.