Breck’s new Imperial Express opens today | SummitDaily.com

Breck’s new Imperial Express opens today

NICOLE FORMOSAsummit daily news

BRECKENRIDGE – Breckenridge Ski Resort will become the official home of the highest chairlift in North America this morning, as lift operators fire up the new Imperial Express SuperChair more than a month early.The resort plans to hold a grand opening for the high-speed quad at 10 a.m., then skiers and riders can hop on the lift for a short ride to the top of Peak 8 at 12,840 feet.The Imperial Express provides access to 400 acres of previously hike-to terrain, including chutes, cliffs and bowl runs.The Imperial Bowl will be the only terrain accessible by the Express today, with the Lake Chutes and Peak 7 terrain remaining off-limits.The bowl is expert level, although the plan in the future is to provide intermediate and advanced terrain serviced by the new lift, said resort spokesperson Nicky DeFord.Skiers and riders can expect the snow in the bowl to be soft, similar to conditions in Vail’s back bowls, DeFord said.”Because we’ve gotten new snow every day, it’s like first tracks every time they open that lift,” DeFord said.The Imperial Express has been running off and on for the past three days, and those who were in the right place at the right time got a sneak peek at what’s to come.”We’ve been doing some test runs. It was kind of one of those things, if you were up there, you got to ride, but it hasn’t been opened steadily,” said resort communications coordinator Katie Coakley.The lift is opening five weeks ahead of schedule, thanks to superb early season conditions.Breckenridge has had received 15 inches of snow since Friday morning and more than three feet in the past week.Skiers and riders can access the new Imperial Express by riding the Rocky Mountain SuperChair from the base of Peak 8, then taking the T-bar.If the weather looks windy and snowy, people are urged to call (970) 453-5000 or log on to http://www.breckenridge.snow.com to make sure plans are still in place to open the lift today.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 13625, or at nformosa@summitdaily.com