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Golden Peak could expand terrain next year

Ashley Simione and Jane Geisman return to Ski and Snowboard Club Vail's Golden Peak facilities after competiing in the GS Spectacular in Vail on Sunday.
Townsend Bessent | Townsend@vaildaily.com |

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The Vail Town Council is set to hear a presentation from Ski and Snowboard Club Vail at its April 7 afternoon work session. The meeting begins at 2 p.m.

VAIL — Ski racing has always been a big part of Vail Mountain. That racing tradition could take a big step forward in the next couple of years.

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail is the town’s oldest nonprofit group. Its 1964 creation predates Vail becoming an incorporated town. Over that half-century, thousands of kids have gone through the club’s programs. Many remain in town, and the club counts Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin as its most renowned members.

For years, the club has called Golden Peak home. The current clubhouse dates to 1977. A 1986 addition added a second floor. For years, the club has worked to expand both its clubhouse and the area it can use for on-mountain training. That need has become more acute as events including the Burton U.S. Open Snowboard Championships vie for space at Golden Peak.



DOWNHILL COURSE POSSIBLE

Expansion plans took a big step forward in March, when the U.S. Forest Service started a review process for a roughly 75-acre expansion of the Golden Peak training area. The proposal, submitted by Vail Resorts, includes surface lifts and training courses for events ranging from slalom to downhill, as well as freestyle and other events. To accommodate downhill racing, the proposed expansion area would have the steepest downhill pitch within Vail Mountain’s boundaries.



Aldo Radamus, the club’s director, said the current plan for lifts calls for one running from the base area to the top of the downhill course and another two in other areas, so club members don’t have to go all the way to the base area to catch another lift.

While the expansion area’s main purpose is training and a bit of separation from events including the snowboard championships, Radamus said the plan is for snowsports training in general and not just club work.

“This way we can separate (club activities) from the general public,” Radamus said, adding that the new training area would be ideal for events including an annual police officers’ race.



CLUB IS GROWING

In a memo to the Vail Town Council, Radamus wrote that the terrain expansion will help a club that’s grown dramatically during the past 30 years. When the most recent clubhouse addition was built, about 100 kids per season used the facility. At the moment, the club has more than 600 students and more than 100 coaches.

With that growth, the expansion is a “must have,” rather than a “like to have,” Radamus wrote.

Beyond club members, the Golden Peak training course is also used in the early season by a number of national ski teams, including the U.S. Ski Team.

The memo to the council states that the early-season training accounts for 8,500 to 9,000 skier visits per year. Factoring in family members, coaches and others, the total is as high as 12,000 skier visits, with those visits coming in November and early December.

Now that the plan is in the hands of the Forest Service, work could begin as soon as 2016.

NEW CLUBHOUSE

Besides on-mountain improvements, the club is also looking to rebuild its clubhouse.

The Vail Planning and Environmental Commission in 2014 approved a plan to redevelop the property. In fact, the plan calls for an entirely new building. The new structure would provide 20,000 square feet of club space.

As part of the plan, the new clubhouse will include 10,000 square feet of residential property — no more than two condominiums — the sale of which will help finance the rest of the project. That won’t be the first time in the Golden Peak neighborhood that new residential property has been used to help finance other improvements. Manor Vail Lodge several years ago added another floor to that structure, with sales of those units financing improvements throughout the property.

Town of Vail Community Development Department Director George Ruther said while the clubhouse project has its town approvals, the club hasn’t yet submitted plans for building permits.

Radamus said that the request for building permits will arrive at town offices once sales agreements for the condos are in hand.

Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930, smiller@vaildaily.com and @scottnmiller.


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