Breckenridge expansion ready for review
Summit County Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
SUMMIT COUNTY, Colorado ” Plans for a new lift and 450 acres of terrain on Peak 6 at Breckenridge are formally on the table.
The U.S. Forest Service announced this week it will take public comments on the proposal through Jan. 21. The comments will help determine the direction of the agency’s environmental review.
The proposal includes 450 acres of traditional downhill and hike-to skiing served by a single lift.
Trees would be cut down around six trails totaling 67 acres. An additional 285 acres ” including intermediate, advanced-intermediate and expert skiing terrain ” would be above treeline.
Breckenridge also wants to put a place to eat at the bottom of its new lift and ski patrol warming hut at the top.
“Breckenridge accommodates more visitors per acre than other surrounding ski areas. This project would allow us to better disperse skiers across the ski area,” said Dillon District Ranger Rick Newton.
Preliminary plans for the new Peak 6 terrain have been under discussion for several years. Wildlife biologist Rick Thompson, under contract to Vail Resorts, has studied the area during that time to evaluate impacts to wildlife.
During a meeting in March, several citizens raised questions about the town’s overall capacity, as well as concerns about impacts to wildlife from a Peak 6 expansion, noting that wildlife habitat in the Tenmile Range has been squeezed into an ever-smaller area.
Resort officials answered that the Peak 6 expansion wouldn’t significantly increase the number of skiers at Breckenridge. The idea is to spread out the massive number of skiers and snowboarders on peak days, said Rick Sramek, vice president of mountain operations.
But at other times, Forest Service and Vail Resorts officials have said they do expect growing demand and visitation numbers at Summit County ski areas, based on state population trends.