Breckenridge gives final OK to Peaks 7 and 8 development |

Breckenridge gives final OK to Peaks 7 and 8 development

BRECKENRIDGE – A 20-year plan for ski resort redevelopment of Peak 8 and a new base area on Peak 7 was given the go-ahead Tuesday by the Breckenridge Town Council, concluding years of wrangling about the extent of development and cementing a compromise plan hailed by many.

Town council ratification comes five days after the planning commission approved the same changes.

The new master plan will guide development the ski resort says is needed to update skier services and provide new lodging to revitalize the lucrative destination visitors market.

The bulk of the revised master plan contains details hammered out last May, when ski area Chief Operating Officer Roger McCarthy and town Mayor Sam Mamula sat down in Mamula’s home and crafted a development agreement that came to be embraced by elected officials.

The agreement allowed the ski resort to begin immediate construction on two high-speed lifts, the new Peak 8 SuperConnect and the Peak 7 Independence SuperChair.

The Independence gives skiers access to the new terrain on Peak 7; the other provides a much-needed link from Peak 9 to Peak 8 and distributes skiers more evenly over the resort’s four peaks.

Future development – the details of which will be determined in upcoming planning commission meetings – will comprise 501 units of density at the bases of the two mountains. Included in that will be a grand lodge, single-family homes, townhomes, skier services and commercial space.

Additionally, resort officials agreed to provide an array of public benefits, including dedicating more than 50 acres of Cucumber Gulch wetlands as open space, donating $200,000 to improve childcare in the community and giving an acre of land to the town for a planned transit center.

The resort will reduce density on in-town land, limit commercial density to 15,000 square feet and provide 2,500 parking spaces.

The guaranteed parking was an issue on which Mamula and the town council stood firm.

“To continue to be one of the most visited ski and ride destinations in North America, it is critical that the town and ski resort share a common vision,” McCarthy said in a press release.

“With our amended master plan, we have struck this common vision with the town of Breckenridge to move forward with a plan that meets the growing needs of the resort and local business community while simultaneously protecting the environment.”

Mamula commended the resort, saying officials there are leaders and good corporate members of the community.

The master plan was last amended in 1986 when the resort was owned by the Aspen Skiing Co. Those plans called for hundreds of parking spaces at the base area, a 300-room hotel, 33 homes bordering the wetlands – and a 326-space parking lot and four tennis courts in the wetlands.

Redrafting the master plan took numerous meetings and consultations with wildlife, wetlands, land planning, hydrogeology, architecture and traffic experts.

Other parts of the master plan will require the town and ski area to build a $16 million gondola, monitor water quality in Cucumber Gulch, and move density from the Watson and Sawmill day skier parking lots in town to the base area to preserve the historic character of the town. The gondola will run from the in-town parking lots, over Shock Hill and Cucumber Gulch, to Peak 7. There, it will veer south to drop skiers at the base of Peak 8.

Vail Resorts, owner of Breckenridge Ski Resort, and the independent developer of the Shock Hill subdivision are finalizing easement agreements that will allow the gondola to have a loading area in the Shock Hill development.

The town-ski resort development deal includes $4 million to build a “skiway,” a half-mile ski trail that will take skiers from the Four O’Clock ski run on Peak 8 down to the Watson and Sawmill parking lots. Vail Resorts has agreed to complete the trail by December 2008.

The base of the gondola will also serve as the site of the transit transfer center. The town plans to finance about $6.7 million of the gondola and skiway costs from future tax revenues derived from new development.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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