More Vail Mountain trees will be cut |

More Vail Mountain trees will be cut

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL ” Some of the most-skied areas on the front side of Colorado’s Vail Mountain might look a bit more bare next season.

The U.S. Forest Service hopes to cut more dead or dying lodgepole pine trees along the Vista Bahn and Chair 2 (Avanti) this summer. The Forest Service is seeking public comment on the project before a decision is made in May whether or not to cut the trees.

The project would encompass 26 acres throughout the mountain, and could mean 2,000 to 3,000 felled trees. The cutting is a safety precaution because the decaying trees are at risk of falling.

“The focus is on the potential of the trees to strike the line of the chairs,” said Forest Service Snow Ranger Don Dressler. “We’re more focused on the immediate hazard areas. We’ll be doing this for the foreseeable future. Our focus is on the lift lines, restaurant areas, then by the roads and trails.”

The mountain cut about 4,000 trees along the gondola last summer, creating an open space where the trees will eventually grow back.

“There are currently no plans to replant,” Dressler said. “Lodgepoles are a very hardy species. It will be three to five years before the (new) trees are noticeable above the snow.”

The main concern for the project is the cost to Vail Resorts, which will buy the timber. The timber could be disposed of a variety of ways by the resort ” it could be hauled off the mountain for other uses, piled and burned, or offered to the public as firewood.

Vail Mountain representatives did not return calls seeking comment on Tuesday.

The timber from other Forest Service cutting projects go to places around the state to specialty mills. Most of the wood from the West Vail beetle kill project went to a pellet mill in Kremmling for pellet fuel production.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

The public can comment on the Vail Mountain pine beetle kill cutting project until April 20.

Address comments to Mary Morgan, acting forest supervisor c/o Don Dressler, Eagle/Holy Cross ranger District P.O. Box 190, Minturn, CO 81645 or by e-mail at

For more information contact Dressler at 970-827-5157 or

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