Breckenridge to continue subsidy for the Gold Run Nordic Center
summit daily news
BRECKENRIDGE – Town officials plan to continue subsidizing the Gold Run Nordic Center operations after two failed attempts at securing a private operator.
As cuts were made across town budget last year to cope with the economic recession, the town’s subsidy of Nordic center operations dropped from $170,000 to $80,000.
Hours, grooming and trail access were reduced, and nordic center revenue went from covering 50 percent of its operating costs to covering 68 percent of them.
With no suitable offers made by private entities to run the town, the center is expected to continue with this business model.
“That doesn’t mean we won’t continue to explore other opportunities,” town manager Tim Gagen said at Tuesday’s town council work session.
Town recreation director Lynn Zwaagstra said there were about 8,200 visits to the nordic center this season – with 3,400 from season passes and 4,800 from day-use passes.
Gagen said both the Breckenridge and Frisco Nordic centers, which involve private operation, drew more visits. He added that it “doesn’t pencil” for a private operator to operate Gold Run.
Councilman Mark Burke, who owns the adjacent Clubhouse Restaurant, said of the existing Gold Run Nordic Center staff: “They’ve done a phenomenal job. I vote to keep it as it’s going.”
Councilman Jeffrey Bergeron said he, too, is “comfortable” with the subsidy but would like to give the staff further flexibility as far as what terrain is available and how it’s groomed.
“I’d like to give the nordic people a little bit more autonomy,” he said. “The experience I think has improved dramatically, but I think we can improve the ski experience.”
Bergeron also suggested at the work session that offering transit to Gold Run could increase user traffic.
The Gold Run Nordic Center is open daily during the season, which ended April 4. It offers skiing and snowshoeing.
The center includes 22 kilometers of groomed classic and skate ski trails and more than 10 kilometers of snowshoe trails, according to http://www.townofbreckenridge.com.
Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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