Breckenridge looks to ramp up its Nordic ski identity |

Breckenridge looks to ramp up its Nordic ski identity

Caddie Nath
Summit Daily News
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

BRECKENRIDGE – Nordic skiers, snowshoers and other backcountry recreators may someday see an expansion of and improved access to backcountry trails in the Upper Blue Basin, due to a recent revision of the Nordic Master Plan.

“Its goal is to protect existing routes,” Breckenridge Open Space and Trails planner Scott Reid said. “It envisions new routes as well. It’s a way of protecting and/or improving access points and trailheads.”

More specifically, the revised document looks ahead to possible long-term expansions to both the Breckenridge and Gold Run Nordic centers’ trail systems and provides for future parking and access improvement to backcountry trails.

Long-range future groomed trails highlighted in the plan would extend into the Peak 7 Siberia Loop area, Breckenridge staffers said.

Only the highest priority proposals are outlined in the plan, which is intended to be a more general “visioning” document.

“It represents a strong commitment to Nordic skiing and cross- or side-country skiing,” Breckenridge Mayor John Warner said. “It (is) a really good direction for the Upper Blue Nordic skiing experience.”

The new document revises the now 10-year-old Breckenridge Nordic Master P lan, which described the Gold Run Nordic Center, Breckenridge open space acquisitions and many of the trails through the Shock Hill area. A review committee has been working for the last year to draft the current revision document, which will be presented for adoption to the Breckenridge Town Council and possibly the Upper Blue Planning Commission.

County Commissioner Karn Stiegelmeier said the revision, by looking ahead to possible growth and improvement of backcountry skiing opportunities, is important given the explosion in the popularity of the sport.

“It’s very much a growing sport, so I think it’s important to get out in front of it,” Stiegelmeier said. “It’s an important part of our economy that people take for granted.”

The revised document is designed to complement the U.S. Forest Service’s forthcoming travel management plan, which directs which routes and trails can be used by different recreation groups. The travel management plan is expected soon, possibly by early May, according to Dillon District Ranger Jan Cutts.

The revised Nordic master plan will not deal directly with funding issues for expansions, new parking or trail grooming. Most of the projects will be handled on a case-by-case basis as more specific plans come into being.

“This document was definitely not intended to look for funding sources,” Reid said. “It was to look at what the future could be. Look at the success of the first document, you can see we can find ways to make these things happen.”

The Breckenridge Town Council has not yet reviewed the draft of the revised master plan.

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