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April 16, 2013
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Breckenridge and Copper Mountain resorts to reopen for one last weekend

Mint snow conditions sparked Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Vail ski resort officials to announce their season will be extended this Friday through Sunday.

The last day of the season for all three resorts was originally scheduled for April 14, but now each resort will be open this weekend operating on limited terrain Friday through Sunday.

"Last Sunday the conditions were so amazing, and we knew we had more snow forecast during the week, so we didn't have the heart to shut the lifts yet," said Kristen Pettit Stewart, the communications manager at Breckenridge Ski Resort.

Breckenridge has been dumped on with more than 5 feet of snow so far in April, including a new foot of snow since the official closing on Sunday.

Copper Mountain also cited more than a foot of snow since closing day, with up to 20 more inches expected in the forecast through Sunday.

"Mother Nature is a fickle business partner, and apparently she wasn't ready for the ski season to be over. We can't think of a better way to thank our loyal guests for celebrating our 40th anniversary season with us," said Gary Rodgers, president and general manager of Copper Mountain Resort in a news release.

Copper will open American Flyer, Sierra and Timberline lifts from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Skier services including food and beverage offerings and rental and retail options will be limited to Center Village.

Breck will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day as well. The open terrain at the resort this weekend will include 1,180 acres on Peak 8.

Lifts open include the BreckConnect Gondola, Colorado SuperChair, Rip's Ride, 6 Chair, T-Bar and the Imperial Express SuperChair. Park Lane and Trygve's Terrain Parks will also be open.

"We are expecting powder conditions," Pettit Stewart said. "This should be one of those spring ski weekends you dream about all season long."

Mike Sweeney is a longtime Breckenridge resident who is happy to change his plans from bicycling to staying in his hometown and riding instead.

"Yesterday, I heard the rumor mill. But you never want to trust anything until you know it's for sure," he said.

Sweeney says it "just makes sense" to stay open when conditions allow for it.

"I think Vail Resorts is missing the mark when they have a set closing date in spring and try to be open as early as possible in the fall when the best snow is this time of the year," he said.

At the beginning of the year, ski area officials and their partners have to agree on a closing date, Pettit Stewart said, adding that there are quite a few challenges involved in extending the season.

"We have to make sure we have the staff and the ticket product to be able to pull off a great weekend. We believe we can, so we are moving forward with it," she said.

Bill Kight, public affairs officer with the Forest Service, said his agency tries to allow the public to have the best experience possible on the White River National Forest.

"For that reason, when snow conditions permit, we accept an extension of resort closing dates with a simple phone call to forest officials and their operating plan will be updated," he reported.

All Copper Mountain season pass products will be valid including Rocky Mountain Superpass and Superpass Plus, Four Pack's with remaining days and Copper Mountain season passes. The Snow Day pass will be valid if 4 inches or more are reported. Lift tickets are available for a special 40th anniversary rate of $40.

Vail Resorts' season passes will be valid for the extended weekend at Breckenridge and Vail. A $50 lift ticket for casual skiers and boarders can be purchased at the ticket windows. There will also be a special $25 lift ticket for guests who hold season passes from non-Vail owned and operated resorts. Free parking will be available this weekend in the Breckenridge gondola lots.

The Vail Resorts' extension will include special lesson prices, with half-day adult lessons starting at $59 and full-day children's lessons for $99. Discounted private lessons with a reservation will also be available.

"We are already receiving a great response," Pettit Stewart said. "People are so excited that we are able to be flexible and keep the pass open, and are adding value for season-pass holders and other skiers and snowboarders across Colorado."

Loveland is scheduled to close on May 5, and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is aiming for June 2.

Heather Jarvis contributed to this story.


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The Summit Daily Updated Apr 16, 2013 11:59PM Published Apr 16, 2013 11:45PM Copyright 2013 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.