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Evening skiing a go – for now

FRISCO – The town of Frisco likes to do things right, and that includes experimental evening-skiing at the Frisco Nordic Center.

The Frisco Town Council agreed Tuesday to spend $15,000 on additional lights for its Nordic lighting pilot project – a surprise turn of events for Nordic center operators Gene and Therese Dayton.

The town already owns three lights, at a cost of $600 each. When town officials met with the Daytons a month ago, they seemed hesitant to spend any more money on the lights, which have not been tested at this altitude and climate and do not meet town code.



When the Daytons met with the council again on Tuesday, the couple proposed that they purchase one more light and Christmas lights for the experiment, with no additional investment from the town.

The Daytons wanted to show that they, too, were invested in the experiment, Therese Dayton said.



They were surprised when the town offered money for additional lighting.

“It took a turn we weren’t expecting, and a very positive turn,” Therese Dayton said. “We’re thrilled, and we’re very excited.”

“For me, it was that we have to do it right,” said Councilmember Jon Zdechlik. “We need to make sure we have an interesting trail … let’s make sure people really use it.”

The town received a $75,000 donation for improvements at the Nordic center as a part of an agreement to purchase the Willow Preserve Open Space earlier this year from the Mark Richmond and Scott Downer families.

“It was supposed to be spent on improvements on the Nordic center, and lights were the first thing we wanted to do, if it was feasible,” Zdechlik said.

If the lights don’t work at Frisco’s high altitude and low temperatures, the town can return them to the manufacturer, he said. If they do work, but the evening skiing experiment does not, the town can use the lights elsewhere.

Thanks to the town’s decision to purchase additional lights, the Daytons can illuminate a larger portion of trail – about 3,000 feet – for their pilot project. The trail will use a portion of the Lower Buzzsaw. Parking for evening skiing will be isolated to what’s known as the eye of the needle parking lot, officials said.

Town officials felt it was important that they offered night-skiing to citizens, while also respecting their contract with Two Below Zero Dinner Sleigh Rides, Zdechlik said.

“I think we have a major win-win here,” Therese Dayton said. “I’m excited to give it a try.”

The Frisco Nordic Center is scheduled to open for day-skiing on Nov. 15, Therese Dayton said. Night-skiing will be offered, initially, to season pass holders only and should begin after Thanksgiving.

The Daytons will monitor skier use and gather user input for the first month, before returning to council with an update.

Lu Snyder can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 203, or lsnyder@summitdaily.com.


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