Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Volunteers sought for Breckenridge Ski Resort Mountain Cleanup Day on Thursday

#Breckenridge #Colorado

Summit Daily News Link

In a partnership with Friends of Dillon Ranger District and as part of Vail Resorts' promise toward a zero-impact footprint, the annual Breckenridge Ski Resort Mountain Cleanup Day will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday.
The group will meet up at the Ski Hill Grill Patio where coffee and donuts will be served. Volunteers also will be treated to a free barbecue lunch following the cleanup, compliments of Vail Resorts.
Volunteers can register online at, and organizers also will be accepting a canned food items for the Family and Intercultural Resource Center. Cleanup volunteers should wear sturdy footwear, dress properly for the weather and bring plenty of water, sunscreen, sunglasses and gloves. Volunteers must complete a waiver form. It can be found at the same website, but anyone who has not yet completed it should print the form, fill it out and bring it with them to the event. Drivers should park in the South Gondola Lot and take the Gondola up to Peak 8 to the Ski Hill Grill Patio.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Colorado Parks and Wildlife hosts public meeting on financial future in Steamboat Springs Sept. 6

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Summit Daily News Link

Colorado Parks and Wildlife's ability to manage the state's wildlife and state parks continues to face significant challenges in light of the agency's budget shortfall.
If the situation persists, CPW officials believe future generations may have less opportunity to enjoy some of Colorado's primary natural resources. So to help find potential solutions, the agency invites the public to learn more and provide ideas and feedback during several meetings in key communities across the state.
The first public meeting will take place at CPW's Steamboat Springs office (925 Weiss Dr.) on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 6 p.m. All are welcome.
"Operating with a strained budget is not just a problem for the agency, it's a problem for everyone in the state — whether you hunt, hike, fish, camp or boat, or depend on the revenue these activities generate for businesses and the state's economy," CPW's Katie Lanter, said in a news release. "The public will need to be heavily involved and help decide how the management of some of Colorado's most important natural resources will be funded."
For more information about CPWs financial future, visit:

Monday, August 28, 2017

Summit County begins weighing rules for AirBnB, VRBO rentals

#Summit County #Colorado
Summit Daily News Photo

Summit Daily News Link

Taking the lead from the town of Breckenridge, Summit County government is deliberating whether to develop new guidelines on short-term rental units for the unincorporated areas it oversees to get a better handle on just how many exist.
Breckenridge created its first ordinances requiring owners obtain a business license on investment properties as far back as a decade ago to collect sales and lodging taxes on their use as vacation rentals. The fees go toward the town's marketing budget as it continues to attempt to stay competitive with other resort destinations.
Still, the proliferation of services like VRBO, HomeAway and AirBnB make verifying the actual number of residences in the community available for short stays that compete with the hotel industry a challenge.
"It's hard to identify how many short-term rentals there are, but we try to work through the management companies to make sure their clients are in compliance," said Rick Holman, Breckenridge town manager. "But the AirBnBs are tough, especially if someone has a couch or a spare bedroom listed."
“Just relying on Hampton Inns and other hotels, we just simply don’t have enough rooms. Short-term rentals have a huge positive impact on our economy for restaurants and other businesses and allows more visitors and guests to be here.”Don ReimerSummit County planning director
This past June, Breckenridge's council amended a town code so that all short-term listings must now include a business license number to better track whether a property is operating properly. The town is also primed to hire an outside consulting firm that uses proprietary software to help monitor the online inventory and ensure owners conform to the regulations.
As the county increasingly experiences similar obstacles from the annual expansion of short-term rentals — and has heard unease from full-time residents about the issue through ongoing master plan outreach — the planning department is looking for direction from the Board of County Commissioners. Planning director Don Reimer and community development director Jim Curnutte raised the idea of beginning the process for establishing the county's own set of rules at a work session this past Tuesday.
"We've heard from the community with concerns of short-term rentals, some based on the noise, traffic, parking and trash — things like that," said Reimer. "It's also partly some concerns that short-term rentals have decreased the opportunity for long-term rentals."
The American Community Survey, an annual study produced by the U.S. Census Bureau on the country's varied regions and economic health, estimates that between 65 and 70 percent of Summit's residential properties are designated as second homes. That means they either sit vacant for large chunks of the year, or are a part of the short-term business model.
The county defines a long-term lease as one of six months or more, otherwise it's considered short-term. And as more owners decide to convert past rentals at or beyond that length to AirBnB, that hurts the overall stock of options for would-be year-round residents, which contributes to the current local housing crisis.
Like Breckenridge, however, the county does not at this point have its sights set on banning the commercial enterprise while it works to solve the area's housing difficulties. Despite drawbacks noted among full-time residents who live in neighborhoods where short-term rentals are prevalent, the model also provides a necessary boost to the county's hotel stock and allows more tourism — and tourism dollars — through the community.
"It's essentially part of the operations of the resort," said Reimer. "Just relying on Hampton Inns and other hotels, we just simply don't have enough rooms. Short-term rentals have a huge positive impact on our economy for restaurants and other businesses and allows more visitors and guests to be here."
As a result, finding the middle ground is what county staff hopes to do once it receives direction from the commissioners on how to start. Determining that rentals are safe, in addition to assisting with mitigating potential impacts to neighbors from the turnstile of visitors not as familiar or concerned with local norms for garbage and recycling services, parking protocols and when community quiet hours go into effect, is also of high priority.
Initial feedback from the commissioners was to consider working with the other municipalities, perhaps through the Summit Combined Housing Authority where each is a member, to come up with a consistent methodology countywide. Even so, Breckenridge has created the starting point for discussions with its ahead-of-the-curve approach, even if it's still not as popular with year-round residents.
"There's an impact to long-term rentals and the quality of life for the mix of people who live full time in neighborhoods that have nothing but short-term rentals," said Holman. "You have a turnover of people and that's not always a great experience, so you just try to control and manage it as best as possible. But it's also an important business model to the resort communities so you just try to find a balance."

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Real estate boom turns up heat on Leadville — “the last frontier mountain town”

Courtesy the Denver Post

Denver Post Link

Leadville could have withered along with the sputtering mine up the road.
But the community recast itself as a tourist destination, rich with cultural and outdoor charms. And now, as its tourism economy hums, the highest-altitude incorporated city in the country is enthralling investors and second homeowners, promising a boom that could eclipse the historic gold rush that founded Leadville.
For years, Leadville has watched its resort-anchored neighbors throb with vibrant real estate markets, spurred by second homeowners willing to pay ever higher prices for mountain homes. Finally, the city of 2,700 people is joining that real estate party.
Homes are selling in a day. Prices are soaring. Investors are going big. Businesses are flocking to Leadville. There’s a vigor and optimism — familiar in the popular communities that border Lake County — that is floating hopes that Leadville has at last arrived after years of economic toil.
“Welcome to the ride, Leadville,” said former Mayor Jamie Stuever, who’s eyeing retirement after selling a downtown apartment building to investors who plan to install a natural-food grocery store there. “We are the last-frontier mountain town that is still intact and still rough around the edges, which people love. We are affordable, and people want a piece of that rustic mountain town. With broadband, of course.”
In 2007, when irrational exuberance dominated the high-country resort real estate market with a dangerous mix of easy money and skyrocketing home prices, Leadville simmered with slow growth. When the bubble burst and resort communities saw sales volume and prices crater, Leadville saw a slight slowdown.
As the other resort communities clambered out of the recession, Leadville resumed its leisurely pace of modest annual price increases and slight upticks in residential sales and prices.
For decades, the resort communities surrounding Lake County and Leadville have boasted diverse and growing economies spinning off the ever-rocking resort tourism industry. This summer, real estate sales and visitor spending around the 10,150-foot Leadville have exploded, joining the neighboring markets. Real estate sales in Eagle, Pitkin, Summit, Grand, Routt, Chaffee and San Miguel counties are up 24 percent to 60 percent through the midpoint of the year. Median prices are climbing.
And finally, Leadville is not just in the mix but posting the strongest gains.
The median home price in Lake County is $250,000, up 42 percent through July compared with the first six months of 2016. Average home prices are up 23 percent, and the length of time a home stays on the market — 62 days through July — is down 33 percent. The price spike is connected to fewer homes for sale: In July 2016 there were 220 homes on the market, and this July there were only 52. Sales volume for 2017 is pacing to match or exceed last year’s record- setting $66.8 million.
“It’s been a hot summer,” said Amy Morrison, a broker with Re/Max Aspen Leaf. “We’ve been lagging, but it looks like we are finally catching up.”
Leadville and Lake County have long lingered as the sleepy bedroom community to the resort-anchored Eagle and Summit counties. An estimated 2,800 of Lake County’s 4,000  workers commute over mountain passes into Vail and the Eagle Valley or the resorts in Summit County. Home sales in Leadville and Lake County over the years have typically centered on those resort-area workers who were ready to buy in the always-affordable Leadville.
This summer, with Land Title Guarantee Co. buyer-profile stats showing the booming population of the Front Range comprising more than 57 percent of all the sales in Winter Park’s Grand County and 38 percent of all sales in Summit County, second-home buyers from the cities are hunting a bit farther. And they’re finding Leadville.
Investors are eyeing Leadville too, seeing opportunities in renting or building and selling homes. A Japanese investment group last summer spent $13.5 million on Leadville’s 162-unit Eagle Nest apartment complex — one of the largest on the Western Slope. Last fall a Missouri developer bought 40 acres in downtown Leadville’s old rail yard, with plans to build a 250-residence village blending commercial, retail, apartments and single-family homes.
“It’s a pretty strong mix of buyers these days,” said Amy Tait of Centennial Real Estate. “Anything under $200,000 right now sees multiple offers and goes really fast with those three pools of buyers competing.”
Mike Bordogna is a former Lake County commissioner who now serves as head of the Leadville/Lake County Economic Development Corporation, which pushes, cajoles and lobbies for business development in the region.
He is seeing investors and Front Range second homeowners buying homes for $250,000 or less without even seeing them. Affordable homes that once sat on the market for two or three months are now selling in a day. There’s a nervousness about missing a chance to get into the mountain market, he said. He has more businesses that want to locate in Leadville than he has office space for them.
“A lot of folks have realized that the Arkansas Valley is that outdoor, small town paradise that hasn’t been overrun with people like you see in Eagle and Summit counties,” Bordogna said.
It started with that sale of Eagle’s Nest to Japanese investors last year.
“That woke people up to Leadville as a good, long-term investment,” he said.
The new vitality in Leadville’s business community could help keep more workers in town. Bordogna said most of the area’s over-the-hill commuters are in the construction business. But a growing portion of them are professionals with talent that could thrive in Leadville with the right investment in the business community.
Lake County and Leadville leaders recognize that potential, he said. The city has 1,000 acres of developable land on its edges. It’s been securing water rights to feed that land. It’s luring broadband companies to set up shop. New leadership in freshly renovated schools — such as the middle school and high school — are buoying school performance. Leaders are focusing on affordable and attainable housing so more local families can stay in the region as prices climb and economies grow.
“Is there a growing sense of optimism? Yes, and it’s combined with a nervousness of the coming change. This community has seen little growth in waves over time. But there’s a new normal up here. We are seeking, as far as housing and as far as Lake County becoming a viable play place year-round, to keep people from having to commute out of the county for work,” Bordogna said. “As more and more people discover this place, they are wanting to invest. Once all these new second homeowners get a taste of this pace and this lifestyle and the growing opportunities that are here, they will want to be here full time.”
That’s all good news for Leadville, which has long leaned on tourism as the economic engine to help supplant the declining operations at the Climax molybdenum mine up the road. And tourism is delivering. Sales tax revenues have climbed for three consecutive years in Leadville, increasing 22 percent in 2016 over the previous year, and tax receipts through June are up 12 percent this summer. Lodging tax revenue in Lake County grew by 21 percent in 2016 over 2015 and this year is pacing 26 percent ahead of last year. Businesses in downtown are reporting that July was the busiest in 20 years, Bordogna said.
It harkens back to Leadville’s decades-long boom days, when the Climax was humming with more than 3,000 workers. But the town suffered mightily when the mine closed in the late 1980s. A partial reopening in 2012 has helped, but Leadville has labored to shed its bedroom community and mining-town status by developing a rich summer tourism scene that has reduced its boom-bust reliance on the whims of the international molybdenum market.
Bolstered by high-profile events such as the Leadville Trail 100 bike and running races, town boosters hope to push that warm-weather energy into winter, elevating the city-owned Ski Cooper ski area and a growing roster of winter events.
“Our local business community is trying to get more people interesting in investing up here and then, hopefully, they will start spending their money up here,” Tait said.
The investment is happening in Leadville and Lake County. And across the Colorado mountains, buyers are pumping near-record amounts into real estate, with chances strong that sales in 2017 will end up close to previous mountain-town records set in 2006 and 2007.
The uncertainties around last year’s presidential election dampened sales in the high country. That happens just about every four years. This year, sales are rebounding. Eagle County, just to the north of Leadville, passed the $1 billion mark in June, pacing toward a record year and up 47 percent from the previous year. To the east, in Summit County, sales volume is up 24 percent and the median sales price is up 15 percent, according to Land Title data.
And to the south, the real estate markets in Salida and Buena Vista are red-hot with a steep decline in for-sale homes triggering solid price increases. The median sales prices for homes in both Chaffee County towns have climbed more than 10 percent a year for the past few years. So the pressure on Leadville is now coming from all sides.
“There were a few years of this where I was like, ‘Really, why isn’t Leadville seeing this?’ ” said Morrison, who moved to Leadville in 1990 and has been selling real estate there since 2005. “But it looks like we are rocking and rolling now.”
Leadville and Lake County are feeling a real estate revival that is floating hope that the community is back on a firm economic footing.
Leadville / Lake County median sales price / sales volume:
2009: $180,000 / $15.4 million
2010: $160,000 / $15.2 million
2011: $136,000 / $14.5 million
2012: $166,000 / $24.3 million
2013: $145,000 / $22.3 million
2014: $163,000 / $28.9 million
2015: $175,000 / $42.7 million
2016: $176,000 / $66.8 million
2017: $254,000 / $21.7 million (through June 2017)
Source: Realtors of Central Colorado
Residential real estate sales are trending upward in high-country counties across Colorado. 
Total sales volume / percentage annual YTD change through June 2017:
Eagle: $1.1 billion / up 47 percent
Grand: $277.7 million / up 56 percent
Lake: $21.7 million/ down 10 percent
Pitkin: $871.3 million / up 60 percent
Routt: $286.2 million / up 29 percent
San Miguel: $267 million / up 50 percent
Summit: $663 million / up 24 percent
Source: Land Title Guarantee Co.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

RE/MAX Golf Tournament raises over $1,000,000 since 2001 for CMN


Golf Tournament raises more than $1 million.

Just like that, another RE/MAX Alliance Golf Tournament benefiting Children's Miracle Network is in the books! We had a gorgeous day in a gorgeous setting, all for an amazing cause!
We at RE/MAX Alliance have been doing this tournament for 24 years now and it just seems to get better and better and better.

Is it hard work? Well, over the last few years, it sometimes feels like the tournament runs itself. But the days just prior, and the "day of" are always a little chaotic and really, really long! And the wrap up is a lot of work. Is it worth it? Beyond all measure!

This year, our net total (why talk about gross amounts? That's not what we give the kiddos!) will be a little over $87,000 and with that we will have raised $1,000,000 since 2001 just from the tournament!
It's more than a golf tournament. It's offices and agents buying a golf ball number for $20 (almost 1000 sold this year). It's great auction items – silent and live. So, how have we grown the tournament to this level?

We've been incredibly blessed with continuity – in our committee members, our volunteers, our sponsors and our golfers. I read a great quote that says it perfectly:

"Even a small dot can stop a big sentence. But a few more dots can give a continuity. Amazing but true. Every ending can be a new beginning." – Anonymous

So, really, our goal to help the kiddos never ends. I looked at all of our faces at the tournament this year, and I realized how many we see year, after year, after year. That gives us continuity and makes it great!

And the most important parts of our continuity are our kiddos. We've always had the honor of hosting a number of our kiddos at the tournament. And what makes the tournament so special is seeing them grow up.

• Garrison Hayes has been with us since 2009. He's now on to college and will be representing RE/MAX Alliance in track and field at the Tokyo Para Olympics.
• Peyton Palermo joined us in 2010 as a Champion. She's a wonderful grown up young lady now headed to college.

• Carson Cline is a little one who is full of energy and joy! He is now running thanks to CMN!!
These kids, and many more, are my "why!" They have become part of the fabric of what makes this tournament so great, and they bring folks back year after year.

One of our great agents, Nicole Brandt, who plays each year said it best: "That is really amazing to see the numbers grow and grow over the years. The tournament really does have a great turn out, and we look forward to playing every year. There is something humbling when you are out there playing and having a good time, then you come upon the hole that Carson was at. The whole world just seems to stop for a moment and you just watch him having fun, with everyone looking at the world so differently through his young eyes. It puts a sense of peace over you that is indescribable."
We're already planning next year. Knowing we are making a difference for these kiddos is our double rainbow! And we were gifted with that reminder at our dinner/auction this year!

Friday, August 25, 2017

Breckenridge Hogfest celebrates its second year

#Breckenridge #Colorado
Summit Daily News Photo

Summit Daily News Link

The truly enlightened believe that bacon may be the most-loved food in the universe, insanely irresistible and is the route to all things swine and divine. Add the quintessential American liquor bourbon and stunning views of the Tenmile Range, and let your mind be blown. This Saturday, Aug. 26, from 2-6 p.m. the Breckenridge Hogfest returns to Main Street Station and the Village, right at the bottom of Peak 9.
The festival is hosted by Rocky Mountain Events and benefits the Breckenridge Mountain Rotary Club. Hogfest organizers have partnered with Tender Belly, a Denver-based pork provider that sources only the best pedigreed pigs. Tender Belly believes in sustainable, humane and environmentally conscious products. On Friday, Aug. 25, Hogfest starts with a kick-off, four-course dinner with bourbon pairings, featuring Woodford Reserve. All this takes place at Sauce on the Maggie in Breckenridge, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $65 in advance.
Saturday's samplings begin at 2 p.m. at Main Street Station and the Village. Supreme Sampler tickets are $45 in advance and $50 at the gate (if available). Guests can taste their way through a spectrum of pork, cleaning their palettes with premium whiskeys and barrel-aged spirits.
Crafted in small batches, the Breckenridge Hogfest brown spirit lineup includes single malt scotches. Some of the small batch brown spirits include, Old Forester, Woodford Reserve, Breckenridge Distillery, Basil Hayden's, Bird Dog, 10th Mountain Distillery, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam, Jameson, Maker's Mark and Stranahan's.
Old Forester Bourbon Specialist, Jackie Zykan will be on-site to share the good bourbon word, whiskey wisdom and life-changing cocktails. Jackie Zykan has been the face and spokeswoman of Old Forester and now serves as the master taster and master bourbon specialist. Ask Zykan anything bourbon-related, she'll have the answer. Festival cuisine will consist of bacon-infused dishes, and there will be live music by John Turscelli, The Pamlico Sound and The Ghosts of the Highway. For more information on the festival, or to purchase tickets, visit
What: Bourbon Pairing Dinner with Woodford Reserve
Where: Sauce on the Maggie, The Village at Breckenridge
When: 6:30 p.m. (doors open); dinner at 7:30 p.m.
12:15pm: Will Call and Ticket Sales Open – The Village Entrance on South Park Avenue
12:30-1 p.m.: VIP Lounge Opens with Old Forester Sampling and Exclusive Seminar Starring Jackie Zykan – VIP Lounge at Sauce on the Maggie at The Village
12:30-6 p.m.: VIP Lounge Open – Sauce on the Maggie at The Village
1-6 p.m.: VIP Festival Tasting – Main Street Station and The Village
1-2 p.m.: Live Music with John Truscelli – Main Street Station Stage
2-2:30 p.m.: Jackie Zykan Old Forester Mixology – Main Street Station Stage
2-5 p.m.: Live Music with The Pamlico Sound – The Village Stage
2:30-3:30 p.m.: Live Music with John Truscelli
3:30-4 p.m.: Jackie Zykan Old Forester Mixology – Main Street Station Stage
4:30-6 p.m.: Live Music with Ghosts of the Highway – Main Street Station Stage
2-6 p.m.: General Admission Tasting – Main Street Station and The Village

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Breck rec center closes for front desk facelift Sept. 5-25

#Breckenridge #Colorado
Summit Daily News

Summit Daily News Link

You don't have to go home, but you can't work out at the Breckenridge Recreation Center for most of September.
From Sept. 5-25, the rec center will be closed for a round of renovations and between-season cleaning. That means all fitness and pool classes (with a few exceptions) are canceled for three weeks, including yoga at Carter Park. During the closure, Breck rec passholders can visit the Silverthorne Recreation Center for free or the South Park Recreation Center for a small fee ($5 for adults, $3 for children). The Silverthorne rec pool is also closed from Sept. 9-15, but passholders can take any fitness classes there for no extra charge.
When the Breck rec reopens, expect a new main lobby and new location for Avalanche Physical Therapy. Also expect construction to continue through at least April 2018 as crews work on the new fitness and cardio space.
For more info on the $17.2 million renovation, see

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Colorado’s most popular 14ers ranked by visitor numbers

Quandary Peak | Summit Daily News

Summit Daily News Link

The number of visitors to Colorado's most iconic mountains experienced a 20 percent increase in the last year, according to the latest counts.
Approximately 311,000 treks up one of the state's 54 official 14,000-foot peaks took place in 2016, according to the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative. The year prior, the group estimated a more conservative 260,000 hiker days — a metric that recognizes that use includes repeat climbs and people who hike multiple 14ers per year.
The sizable uptick is not necessarily representative of a dramatic expansion in visitation or the number of hikers who have joined the "peak-bagging" trend during the prime hiking season. Instead, the CFI believes it's more likely a result of fortified efforts and investment to get more accurate totals.
"The only place where we really saw a surge where we had had a counter in a prior year and then saw a different count was on Mount Elbert," said Lloyd Athearn, CFI's executive director. "All three of the main hiking routes are covered with these thermal counters, so we feel very confident that that means a real increase in the number of hikers year on year climbing that mountain."
After Mount Elbert sat tied with Grays and Torreys Peaks — which border Summit County — and Mount Bierstadt with 20,000-25,000 visits from late-May to mid-October, the updated data moved Colorado's tallest mountain into the new lead at 25,000-30,000 annual use days. Those other three remain in that prior elevated status.
Summit's Quandary Peak, along with the Mosquito Range — Mounts Sherman, Lincoln, Bross and Democrat — in neighboring Park County each also maintain the projections of 15,000-20,000 yearly hikes. Pikes Peak, just outside of Colorado Springs, also joins that group to round out the state's most frequented summer and fall traverses. (Winter numbers are not included in these counts, though CFI surmises Quandary would be one of the most popular for backcountry skiers.)
Just getting to the point of fully understanding all of this took considerable time and energy, however. The assistance of thermal counters starting in 2014, and subsequent grants to now deploy 20 of them around the state for this past year's work, helped reach the current tallies.
A handful of years back when the organization began trying to get a real handle on how many people might be starting into the checklist climbs, the common theory was hiker days were probably about 500,000 per year. After early in-person counts along well-trod Front Range routes, Athearn said he concluded that estimate — and thoughts that increasing popularity in recent years may have even boosted it to 750,000 — was "clearly a bogus number."
Now into the third year producing data, which entails working out the kinks of where best to position sensors and supporting formulas used to create realistic projections in locals where the U.S. Forest Service does not permit the equipment, he believes the numbers will only improve by the season.
"It'll be a few years before what we think is a much more accurate number, even if we still think we probably have most accurate number of anyone out there," said Athearn. "On the first part we were trying to get a better number, and 260,000 was more accurate than 500,000. And now 311,000 is even more accurate than the 260,000, but who knows."
The numbers are important for CFI as it attempts to get buy-in from cities and towns where the various destination peaks exist so each will contribute funding toward trail building and maintenance. Outside of educating hikers on leave-no-trace wilderness practices and protecting delicate mountain ecosystems, upkeep of these public trails is the group's primary mission.
Using a 2009 study by two Colorado State University economists on Quandary Peak's economic impact, CFI calculated that more than $84 million in consumer spending related to bagging 14ers was generated in 2016.
"That's really changed conversations with local governments for investing in maintenance of the peaks, because they realize it's good for the environment, as well as for the local recreation-based economy," said Athearn. "Because if we don't do the work to protect the resource, at some point land-use agencies will have to step in and say, 'There's too much damage, we'll have to restrict use.' That could be a big impact to trailhead communities, because it's so much a part of their tourism economies."
Mount Elbert: 25,000-30,0000
Grays and Torreys Peaks: 20,000-25,000
Mount Bierstadt: 20,000-25,000
Quandary Peak: 15,000-20,000
Mount Sherman: 15,000-20,000
Mounts Lincoln, Bross and Democrat: 15,000-20,000
Pikes Peak: 15,000-20,000

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Aspen Skiing buys Deer Valley Resort

Courtesy Deer Valley Resort

Summit Daily News Link

Countermoves are coming fast and furious in the ski industry by a sister firm of Aspen Skiing Co.
Vail Resorts made the first big moves a few seasons ago with the acquisitions of Stowe, Vermont; Whistler-Blackcomb, B.C.; and Park City, Utah. Now a sister firm of Aspen Skiing Co. is quickly catching up with equally splashy acquisitions.
An affiliate of Henry Crown and Co., which owns Aspen Skiing Co., and KSL Capital Partners announced Monday they reached an agreement to purchase Deer Valley Resort. They anticipate finalizing the deal by the start of ski season for an undisclosed amount.
The proposed deal leaves Skico’s sister company with 13 resorts in its lineup — plus an affiliation with Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk. The joint venture purchased Intrawest Resort Holdings and Mammoth Resorts in earlier transactions. KSL brought Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows in California into the fold from previous ownership.
The 13 resorts combine for about 22,000 skiable acres of terrain.
David Perry, Skico’s former second-in-command and president and chief operating officer of the new firm, said Deer Valley is a “tremendous addition to our existing portfolio.”
“Prior to this acquisition, we were able to offer our guests exceptional experiences throughout most of North America’s major ski regions, but we did not have a resort in Utah, a state that is renowned for great skiing and mountain-town life,” Perry said in a prepared statement.
Vail Resorts has 14 ski areas in its mix — ranging from gargantuan Whistler-Blackcomb to Midwest feeder Afton Alps. It snatched up ski areas at a dizzying pace earlier this decade and appeared to be an unchallenged heavyweight of the ski industry.
Aspen Skiing Co. President and CEO Mike Kaplan said in a public presentation in 2015 that consolidation was a trend Skico ownership and staff was watching and prepared to act on. His comments foreshadowed the Crowns’ moves.
“The main point is, it’s more competitive than it’s ever been on all sides of our business and we need to be aware of that, focused on that and treat it with a sense of urgency,” Kaplan said.
Skico’s sister company, which remains unnamed, has its bases covered in Colorado — with Steamboat and Winter Park — and in California, where it owns six resorts, including Mammoth, Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows.
What it lacked until now was a foothold in Utah, one of the top states in the country for skier visits. The 14 ski areas in Utah logged their best season ever in 2016-17 with 4.58 million skier and snowboarder visits.
Deer Valley has a reputation for setting the bar for customer service and luxury in the ski industry. It limits the number of skiers on the hill at busy times. It offers ski valets and free parking.
It’s also among the handful of resorts in the country that doesn’t allow snowboard riding on its slopes.
“There are no plans to allow snowboarding at this time,” said an FAQ posted on the Deer Valley Resort website Monday.
Vail Resorts already had a major presence in Utah with its acquisition of Park City in September 2014. It combined the resort with the Canyons, another of its holdings.
An FAQ posted on the Deer Valley resort blog asked why KSL Capital Partners and Henry Crown and Co. are interested in Deer Valley.
“This transaction allows the new company to reach skiers and vacationers that desire to ski and travel to Utah, one of the premier ski destinations in North America,” the company answered. “This acquisition will benefit the skiing public by providing Utah skiers an option in their state and destination options within a larger portfolio of resorts; it also provides guests at the other 12 resorts another destination with premier skiing.”
The blog also states that while Aspen Skiing Co. will remain independent, “We will explore opportunities to work together when and where it is appropriate.”
One of those areas of cooperation could be a joint ski pass. The FAQ provided by the ski conglomerate on Deer Valley’s blog asks, “Will Aspen Snowmass be involved in a joint pass in the future?” The answer was, “This is open to discussion and consideration in the future.”

Monday, August 21, 2017

Breckenridge eyes new law to regulate drones

#Breckenridge #Colorado
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Breckenridge Town Council is poised to act where the Colorado Legislature has not, as council prepares to take up a proposed ordinance on Tuesday's meeting agenda to regulate unmanned aerial drones.
Passage of an ordinance clearly spelling out what drone operators, commercial or recreational, may and may not do in Breckenridge would come as welcome news for people like Mike Gamache, who runs the website
On the website, Gamache shares various videos, photographs and articles about local activities and businesses. It also serves to promote his freelance video-production business and as a forum where people may share their own experiences, videos and pictures.
Posted online are a number of Gamache's videos, some of which feature footage taken high above the ground that was clearly shot with a drone.
“If I understood what I could do, I would be using the technology to make some really cool videos to show the world. But, like I said, it’s a liability that’s not worth taking on right now.”Mike Gamache videographer
Reached over the phone, the videographer said he has worked with drones as recently as spring 2015, when he was sidelined by an injury and could do little else, but he gave up on drones after deciding the risk wasn't worth the reward.
"If I could understand clearly what the rules are, I might be doing it every day," he said. "But it's just not a liability worth taking on at the moment."
The Federal Aviation Administration has taken the lead in trying to get a handle on the booming drone business, issuing regulations for operators flying the machines both as a hobby and to make a buck.
Other cities and states have also passed laws regulating drones, but as highlighted at the Breckenridge Town Council's latest work session on Aug. 8, all state and municipal drone laws must run parallel with current FAA's guidelines, and Colorado has not yet taken up the issue.
The FAA rules on drones include operators maintaining a clear line of sight with the unmanned aircraft. The FAA also imposes restrictions on where people may fly, how much the drones can weigh and on their uses.
Federal law imposes stricter rules on commercial drones than it does recreational or educational flights, but the problem really isn't one of regulation as much as it is about enforcement.
That's because, according to town officials, with a small staff, the FAA has little ability to enforce laws it has on the books, save the most egregious infractions. As a result, Breckenridge town staff came to council on Aug. 8 pushing for passage of a local ordinance.
The issue came up shortly after drone flights were reportedly interfering with efforts to fight the Peak 2 fire, and on Aug. 8 town staff told council a local ordinance would allow Breckenridge police to step in and fill the gap.
The proposed town ordinance borrows much of its language from federal law, and if passed, it would address reckless and careless operation, voyeurism and interference with law enforcement, firefighting or other emergency operations.
Piggybacking on the FAA, the proposed ordinance would specifically ban drones from flying more than 400 feet above the ground; weighing more than 55 pounds, including equipment, payload and fuel; and from flying over top an individual or crowd without that person's or people's consent.
Additionally, if the ordinance passes as written, it would ban people from flying drones in a handful of restricted areas, including the Cucumber Gulch Preserve, Carter Park Dog Park and the town's golf course and Nordic center when any golfers or skiers are present.
"If I understood what I could do, I would be using the technology to make some really cool videos to show the world," Gamache said as he expressed support for a local ordinance. "But, like I said, it's a liability that's not worth taking on right now."