Ski resorts spiff up for winter!
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I can't believe it's the last day of August, and we're already thinking about ski season....but local ski areas have been working all summer to improve snow, lifts, lodging and more for the upcoming ski season....JUST FOR YOU!
SUMMIT COUNTY — Summit's ski areas are putting the final touches on a variety of summer projects that will make winter fun all the better.
From chairlifts to snowmaking to lodging and dining, local resorts are upping the ante for the coming ski season.
Breckenridge Ski Resort
Crews at Breckenridge have been working on a new alpine coaster — the Gold Runner — that will operate in summer and winter. Located in the Peak 8 base area, riders will twist and turn down 2,500 feet of raised track between two ski runs.
“You control the speed of the two-seater car, so if you or your pint-size passenger is feeling timid, you can take it easy navigating the corners,” Breckenridge spokeswoman Kristen Pettit said.
Construction on the coaster will wrap up in coming weeks, and resort officials aren't sure yet whether it will be open for the tail end of the summer season. If not, look for it on winter's opening day, Nov. 12.
Breckenridge's on-mountain summer updates also include improvements to snowmaking lines on Peak 8, scheduled to be ready for action in October.
Off the mountain, Breck's One Ski Hill Place resort opened to the public on June 1. The new property features high-end condos, indoor pools, a bowling alley and dining options. The resort's T-Bar, a slopeside apres ski bar, will debut on the ski area's opening day.
Skiers and riders at A-Basin are in store for big improvements in the uphill transportation department this winter, with the addition of the ski area's first detachable high-speed quad chairlift. Black Mountain Express will supplant the Exhibition triple chair, cutting ride time in half and making loading and unloading easier on riders.
On Thursday morning, crews slowly towed the new lift's top terminal up the switchbacks of the mountain's summer road to reach its final destination near Black Mountain Lodge.
“As we get into late September, it will be substantially complete,” A-Basin COO Alan Henceroth said. “We anticipate being licensed and ready to go in early October.”
With help from the International Mountain Biking Association, A-Basin's summer crews have also been hard at work on a new biking and hiking trail that criss-crosses the mountain from the base area to the lodge.
“I think it's really neat — the views from the trail of the East Wall are amazing,” A-Basin spokeswoman Leigh Hierholzer said. “We put a lot of features in there you wouldn't expect to see on a normal trail.”
Henceroth expects the Black Mountain Lodge will become a prime spot for weddings and other special events next summer, given the improved access the new lift and trail will provide.
The Basin will host a public celebration of the two projects Saturday afternoon, with a barbecue buffet and free live music from Funkiphino.
Early-season skiers and riders at Copper will have better snow and more of it this year, thanks to expanded and improved snowmaking. Snowmaking operations will expand onto the American Flyer and Windsong trails (comprising 35 acres) in the Timberline Express area. And a new compressor will increase the snowmaking system's production capacity.
“Our guests are definitely going to notice that, and we're really excited about it,” said Bruce Hodson, director of operations at Copper. “It's one of the biggest snowmaking expansions we've had since 1998, so it's really sizable for us.”
Parking will be easier at Copper this season, with about 500 new spaces. A new 100-space pay lot in the Union Creek area will cater to beginner skiers, and the existing Corn Lot will feature about 400 new spaces. Both projects are on schedule to be complete by Oct. 15.
“I think our guests are going to see an improvement on the way we get them into the resort and onto the hill. We're looking forward to the season already — it's coming quickly.” Hodson said.
Keystone has spent the summer putting extra polish on its lodging and dining amenities. The Summit House received some freshening up of its outdoor bars, and Parrot Eyes underwent a complete remodel that extends all the way through to the menu. Summit Seafood Company, inside the Keystone Inn, is getting a full makeover and will re-emerge as the Black Bear Grill, with a totally new menu.
Crews installed new energy-saving windows and efficient flat-screen televisions throughout the Keystone Lodge, continuing the resort's commitment to sustainability.
On the slopes, the resort replaced snowmaking equipment on the Prospector run on North Peak.
SDN reporter Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-4630 or [email protected].
And now for your Tuesday Coffee Break..."We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have." ~ Frederick Keonig
Enjoy the day!