Keystone, Copper, Loveland and Arapahoe Basin ski areas to see changes this season | |

Keystone, Copper, Loveland and Arapahoe Basin ski areas to see changes this season

Antonio Olivero
Summit Daily News
This photo showcases pre-existing guided-snowcat skiing open at Loveland Ski Area, Loveland's "Ridge Cat," which provides skiing and riding access to Field of Dreams, Velvet Hammer, Tickler, 13,010 and Marmot, when conditions permit. The ski area is currently waiting to hear back from the U.S. Forest Service on its environmental assessment specific to Loveland's desired expansion into a neighboring area known as the "Dry Gulch" for more guided-snowcat skiing.

Come opening day on Nov. 9, Keystone Resort plans to offer terrain not only on its main Dercum Mountain, but on neighboring North Peak as well.

“If Mother Nature cooperates, we are looking forward to that, if we can pull it off,” Keystone Resort general manager Geoff Buchheister said at Friday’s COO breakfast.

At the breakfast, Buchheister also said this season the resort will upgrade its early season snowmaking with a handful of projects, namely a new pipeline on Dercum Mountain’s heavily skied, intermediate “Paymaster” trail.

A-Basin’s past influences future

With the excitement surrounding the opening of lift-serviced terrain to the Beavers terrain expansion this season, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area COO Alan Henceroth shared another bit of knowledge about the Beavers and Steep Gullies terrain expansion at Friday’s breakfast.

In naming what will become two of the most heavily skied trails in the 34-run, 468-acre terrain expansion into The Beavers and Steep Gullies, Henceroth shared the inspiration behind the names “Loafer” and “Davis.”

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The names for Loafer and Davis harken back to A-Basin’s history, as they were the original names for two of the Basin’s primary lower mountain runs: the intermediate “High Noon” and beginner “Sundance.”

“We are very, very excited about these two trails,” Henceroth said. “We bought a second winchcat to help take care and manage these areas.

“You’re going to love those trails,” the COO continued. “We have what I think is going to be some of the finest glade skiing you’re going to find anywhere. Great trail names like ‘Pioneer Willy’ named after Willy Schaeffler. ‘Hawk’ named after Paul Hawk, who was one of our early snow rangers. ‘Bailey Brothers,’ named after a group of three brothers who were a big part of The Basin in the (19)40s, ’50s, ’60s and ’70s. As we built these trails and did these grades, we removed 5-10 percent of the trees in there, did some pruning, and I think you’re going to find this just absolutely amazing. It’s going to be such a treat for you.”

Loafer and Davis will be two of the primary blue, intermediate runs the new quad Beavers lift will service this season. Loafer will hug above-tree-line terrain, passing by advanced trails Ptarmagin, Marmot and Beaver Bowl before dipping below tree line to more advanced offshoots and, ultimately, down to the base of the new Beavers lift.

At the base of the Beavers lift is where Loafer will reconnect with Davis. Davis begins further down the Basin’s above-tree-line Cornice Run, on the opposite side of the West Wall trail that leads in the opposite direction, down to Dercum’s Gulch. As opposed to Loafer, Davis more quickly dips below tree line, also passing by offshoots into advanced, heavily treed terrain, before bottoming out at the base of the new Beavers Lift.

Woodward Copper record

Though Copper Mountain Resort is certainly looking ahead to a very busy few weeks before its Nov. 16 opening day — the resort focused both on making snow and completing the installation of its new American Flyer and American Eagle lifts — there was some time on Friday to reflect back on summer success.

Speaking on behalf of Copper, the resort’s interim general manager and senior vice president Jesse True said this summer was a record-best for the Woodward at Copper summer camps. True said more than 1,200 campers — both children and some adults — attended the camps over nine weeks, all-time high numbers.

Each summer, Woodward at Copper puts on action sports camps — both winter sports and non-winter sports — on-mountain and at its indoor facility near Copper’s Center Village.

Loveland looks to expand snowcat operations

If Loveland Ski Area gets its way, skiers and riders will have the ability to shred 500 new acres via snowcat before the end of this winter season.

At Friday’s annual ski area chief operating officers breakfast, hosted by the Summit Chamber of Commerce, Loveland COO Rob Goodell said the ski area is hopeful it will open guided snowcat tours in an area called the “Dry Gulch” in time for spring skiing.

Loveland is currently waiting to hear back from the U.S. Forest Service specific to its environmental assessment on the Dry Gulch proposal, which would provide guided-snowcat tours in an area to the north and east of Loveland, nearby the ski area’s Chair 8.

“It’s beautiful terrain back there, and we’ve very excited about it,” Goodell said.

The proposed project area is located in the upper reaches of the Dry Gulch region, which is located both within the current bounds of Loveland Ski Area’s special-use permit with the Forest Service and outside of those lines.

Dry Gulch guided-snowcat tours would begin at the ski area’s Chair 8 backcountry access point and head north over a saddle west of the ridge line of Mount Trelease. Once over the saddle, the snowcat would travel along the natural drainage within Loveland’s special-use permit boundary.

Of the 500 acres the Dry Gulch tours would service, 210 of those acres — about half — would come from outside of the forest service’s special-use permit boundary adjacent to the northern edge of the ski area, via what the forest service terms an “outfitter-guide” permit.

If approved, Loveland would operate three seasonal snowcat snow routes to allow the snowcat to access pick-up and drop-off points for customers participating in the guided tours. The ski area estimates five-to-seven runs per trip, with total runs of 160-224 per day. Only one snowcat would be used for the trips. Avalanche mitigation would be achieved by hand-tossed charges below the mountain ridgeline.

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