An alliance begins |

An alliance begins

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Copper Mountain general manager Steve Paccagnan boards a Summit Stage bus at the Frisco Transfer Center Wednesday morning during the grand opening of the Frisco Visitor Center. The Summit Stage is expanding its services to include more buses between Frisco and Copper Mountain.

FRISCO – Barbara Flitcraft is “home again.”Flitcraft, Summit senior and longtime fixture in local visitor centers, wore a wide grin as she greeted the who’s who of Frisco and Copper at the grand opening of the newly christened Frisco/Copper Mountain Information Center on the corner of Main Street and Third Avenue.The opening was the final chapter in the town’s scramble to guide its visitors to local attractions after the former visitor center – where Flitcraft used to smile and greet – closed during the summer. It was also the first chapter of a new relationship between the town and Copper Mountain, forged to foster business and coordinate their attractions.

“It’s more than just marketing,” said Frisco town manager Michael Penny. “It’s a cultural shift – the idea that Frisco is Copper’s ski town and Copper is Frisco’s ski resort.”Both Copper Mountain and the town of Frisco contributed $25,000 to get the center up and running, and officials from both communities say that’s just the beginning.”It’s a really cool alliance and a step forward,” said Steve Paccagnan, general manager of Copper Mountain Resort. “It’s the beginning of a strong partnership for the betterment of promoting recreation and tourism between the two communities.”

Penny said the two communities’ combined events and amenities – Frisco’s marina and Nordic Center and Copper’s alpine skiing and golf course – can add up to a more attractive total recreation and entertainment package for visitors and locals alike.”We’re just starting to have those discussions,” Penny said.The two entities have also negotiated increased Summit Stage bus service to shuttle employees, local skiers and visitors between the town and the slopes.Express buses run every half hour from the Summit Stage Transportation Center behind Safeway directly up to Copper. Including local service, which takes riders along Summit Boulevard and Main Street before heading to the resort, three buses depart for Copper each hour during peak times.

“It’s better service for skiers and employees, and it helps with parking,” said Linda Lichtendahl, Frisco spokeswoman. “People won’t be leaving their cars on Main Street and side streets all day.” And eager information specialists at the visitor center will give Copper top billing and direct tourists to their transportation options.The Frisco Chamber, which now operates the center – officials expect a signed contract within days – just hired a new, full-time manager to run the facility. Morgan Liddick served as a cultural attaché at American embassies in Panama and Saudi Arabia and managed the U.S. Information Service speaker exchange programs in several countries.

“He’s overqualified, really,” said Frisco Chamber director Vivienne Johnson. “He’s going to bring a lot of good ideas.”For now, the information center won’t open until the afternoon hours on weekdays, but Johnson hopes to open earlier as more volunteers offer their time.Julie Sutor can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or at

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