Breck ready to take Gold Run Nordic under its wings
BRECKENRIDGE – The town of Breckenridge will take over Nordic operations at the Gold Run Nordic Center this fall to ensure operations there continue to go smoothly.Nordic experts have operated the center for two years under a trial basis to see if the operations could become viable without doing damage to the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course on which the trails were run.Although the Blue River Valley didn’t see even normal snowfall in those two years, the center was deemed a success.Earlier this month, town planners unveiled a five-year operating plan outlining grooming and operations costs.”While taking the grooming in-house allows us to have the most control of protecting the golf course, it is the most expensive to take on,” planners wrote in a memo to council. “It is actually the operation and programming element of the proposal that makes this business plan work. By the town taking on the program, our own expectations will result in (improvements in) the operation to make it on par with our other facilities.If the Nordic operations are under the town’s umbrella, it also will help with marketing the center with the rec center and ice rink.Under the proposal, new passes will be available. The holder of a six-month or year-long Breckenridge Recreation Center pass will be able to add the Nordic center for a nominal fee – proposed to be about $10 or $15. New weekly passes will be geared toward visitors, allowing them to use any town-owned facility.The town also plans to continue holding special events the Summit Nordic Association began, advertising through local shops, brochures, at town facilities and in the schools.All this comes with a price tag.Start-up costs for staffing the center, grooming staff and miscellaneous items – office supplies, advertising, insurance, phone, utilities and programming – are estimated at $110,157. That would fall to $93,674 in the 2003-2004 season.The council will need to approve a capital improvement expenditure of $88,000 this fall to lease a snowcat, buy two snowmobiles and grooming implements and install signs. Town council members said they would prefer to lease, rather than buy, a snowcat. A new snowcat would cost about $136,000; under the lease proposal, it would cost $52,700 this fall and $26,025 each year until 2007.In return, the town could expect to see revenue totalling about $49,050 the first year, requiring a $149,107 subsidy. That money would be generated through season- and day-pass sales, lessons, equipment rental and retail and food sales.The following year, that number is projected to increase to $51,003; by the 2007-2008 season, town staff said, revenue could almost reach $60,000, requiring a $42,489 subsidy.To reduce the need for town subsidies, planners propose obtaining sponsorships for events and activities, increasing fees as the terrain and services expand, increasing the number of customers to the restaurant, promoting entertainment and joining others in marketing endeavors.Proponents don’t envision that subsidy lasting forever, particularly if it can be marketed successfully as a hub for numerous winter activities.”We envision it becoming truly a destination in itself, as a gathering place for sightseers, for snowshoers and skiers, sleigh rides and moonlight adventures,” the memo reads. It’s also possible the center could be tied into various nearby properties the town is in the process of acquiring, including the B&B Mines lands in the Swan River drainage and the McCain and Block 11 properties across the highway.Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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