EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado - Vail Resorts has submitted several proposed projects for Vail and Beaver Creek to the U.S. Forest Service for review. Those projects include replacing the existing quads at Mountaintop Express Lift (Chair 4) at Vail and Centennial Express Lift (Chair 6) at Beaver Creek with new, six-passenger lifts.
Timing of the projects is expected to be announced next week. The proposed projects at Vail include:
• The replacement of the Mountaintop Express Lift (Chair 4) from a detachable quad lift to a detachable six-passenger chair.
• The replacement of the Gopher Hill Lift (Chair 12) from a fixed-grip double lift to a reconditioned fixed-grip triple lift.
Proposed projects at Beaver Creek include:
• The replacement of the Centennial Express (Chair 6) from a detachable quad lift to a detachable six passenger chair.
• The addition of a non-potable water tank at Patrol Headquarters.
• The relocation of the avalanche explosives cache.
• The widening of the Cinch trail from Allie's Cabin to Gold Dust.
• A new snowmobile route from the top of the Brink to the tent site at the top of Chair 9 for use during events;
• A new racing equipment storage building on Westfall Road between Kestrel and Golden Eagle.
• A maintenance facility access road.
The applications were made in compliance with the National Environmental Protection Act for projects that may qualify for federal "Categorical Exclusions." A release from Vail Resorts states that the "proposed projects would be located at Vail or Beaver Creek in their current administrative boundaries and are consistent with the resorts' master development plans."
"These proposed projects were submitted by Vail and Beaver Creek in anticipation of the next several years and to allow for a timely review by the U.S. Forest Service," said Chris Jarnot, senior vice president and chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. "Vail Resorts is committed to continually improving the guest experience at our resorts as demonstrated by ongoing improvements. A decision on the timing of these projects will be made next week."
Forest Service approval is required before any work can begin on the projects.
According to a U.S. Forest Service press release, "decisions on the actual timing and implementation of approved projects are at the discretion of the ski area operator with appropriate Forest Service oversight."
"We see these projects as another example of a commitment to enhancing the guest experience for our forest visitors," White River National Forest Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams wrote in the release. "Our partners in the ski industry offer the public an amazing opportunity to experience the National Forest while providing economic strength and stability to our local communities. The public input part of this process is key to our understanding of any concerns regarding this proposal."
Public comments are requested by March 29. Written, faxed, hand-delivered, oral and electronic comments will be accepted. Comments can be addressed to: Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor, c/o Don Dressler, Winter Sports Administrator, White River National Forest, P.O. Box 190 Minturn, 81645. The fax number is 970-827-9343, and the e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.