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Comments sought on Vail expansion plan

HOW TO COMMENT:

In public: Show up at the Holy Cross District Office, located at 24747 U.S. Highway 24 in Minturn, on April 6 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Via internet: Electronic comments including attachments can be submitted to:

https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=47937">https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public//CommentInput?Project=47937

Otherwise: Submit via mail, fax, electronically or in person (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays) to: Scott Fitzwilliams, c/o Max Forgensi, Mountain Sports/Special Uses Administrator, White River National Forest, P.O. Box 190, Minturn, CO 81645; fax 970-827-9343.

VAIL — The public will have a chance next week to share thoughts in person with the U.S. Forest Service on a proposed expansion of Golden Peak.

On Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the White River National Forest will host a public meeting about the project, which proposes adding to Golden Peak approximately 42 acres of new ski trails for race courses, lift operating buildings, race start buildings, various storage facilities, infrastructure to support snowmaking, an access road for construction, vegetation removal and surface smoothing and/or grading.

The meeting will be held at the Holy Cross Ranger District Office in Minturn.

In a press release, District Ranger Aaron Mayville encouraged all who are interested to show up with questions and feedback.

“The proposed project could help open up existing ski runs to the general public by providing an improved, dedicated place for racing activities,” Mayville said.

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In the release, the Forest Service detailed the long history of ski and snowboard racing and training at Golden Peak.

“Notable international events include the 1989, 1999 and 2015 World Alpine Ski Championships and the annual Burton Open … Golden Peak is the primary ski and snowboard racing and training venue for Vail and the Ski and Snowboard Club Vail, and provides a world-class venue for local athletes and international events.”

Freeing UP COOKSHACK?

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Executive Director Kirk Dwyer said the club was pleased to learn that the Forest Service is moving forward with the public comment period.

“With more than 650 athletes participating in club activities this season, (Ski & Snowboard Club Vail) has grown significantly in the last several years and has become constrained by its current training and competition arena,” Dwyer said. “The project, if approved, will provide a better, safer, more expansive training space for our local athletes. The expansion into a higher-elevation environment will also extend the club’s training season earlier and later into the fall and spring seasons, which will reduce travel expenses currently incurred by our local membership.”

Additionally, the proposed project would open up more terrain as the runs Black Forest, Whipper Snapper, and Cookshack runs are often closed for race training.

“This reduces the amount of terrain available for the general public, and the presence of racers increases skier traffic in these areas,” the Forest Service pointed out in the release.

The project of expanding Golden Peak, where there is already a noticeable cut extending to the top, is often described as a project which has been two years away for three decades.

“We are excited to be moving forward with this proposal,” said Doug Lovell, chief operating officer of Vail Mountain. “We look forward to receiving input, evaluating the impacts and working through this process with the Forest Service.”

The Forest Service is currently preparing an environmental impact statement to consider and disclose the anticipated environmental effects of the Golden Peak Improvements Project.

The Forest Service is asking to receive comments by May 1.

Those who submit comments during the comment period will be placed on a mailing list for future information regarding these projects.


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