Breck’ lift called marketing ploy

Kim Marquis

SUMMIT COUNTY – Breckenridge Ski Resort’s plan to build the highest lift in North America has much more to do with marketing than management, according to Colorado Wild, an environmental organization that spearheaded an appeal of the lift’s approval. The resort is engaging in what the group’s executive director and frequent critic of Vail Resorts, Jeff Berman, calls a ski area “arms race” – a competition between ski resorts to gain a marketing edge by advertising newer, bigger and better, “only to be followed by the next resort seeking to gain it back.”Berman’s organization is joined by the Backcountry Snowsports Alliance, Aspen Wilderness Workshop and several local skiers in appealing the U.S. Forest Service decision to approve the Summit Lift on Peak 8.In the flat skier market, expansion becomes a tool to gain market share, Berman says. “It’s a cycle that’s completely unsustainable and won’t address the individual needs of ski resorts,” Berman says. “We are all skiers and we want to see a quality recreational experience, but what they’re proposing here does not advance that.”Dillon District Ranger Rick Newton, who approved the lift in January, says he disagrees.”I do see a growth need in the county for expanded services for skiers,” Newton said. “We have almost 4 million visits per year in Summit County.”Newton cites the growing Front Range population and increased demand from Denver skiers as indicators that skier visits will rise. And while some may not see the need, Newton says, the door is already open for ski area expansions across the region.”In the forest plan, we’ve already made that decision that we’re allocating more land for skiing than we have in the past,” he says.Vail, Colorado

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