Forest Service approves Copper’s proposed expansion |

Forest Service approves Copper’s proposed expansion

Lu Snyder


Notice of appeals must be submitted by Aug. 12, 2002 to the appeals officer at the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region headquarters in Denver to be considered.

Note: only those who have submitted prior comment on the proposal may submit appeals

For more information, or to obtain a copy of the decision, contact Michael Liu at the Dillon Ranger District (970) 262-3440

COPPER MOUNTAIN – Forest Service officials announced last week they will approve Copper Mountain’s request to expand and improve the resort’s beginners area.

“We’re excited with the prospect of being able to provide a new and exciting experience for beginning skiers and snowboarders in the future,” said Copper Mountain communications manager Ben Friedland.

Ski area officials have been waiting for the go ahead to make changes to their Union Creek area with the hopes of enhancing beginners’ experiences. Those changes include expanding the beginner terrain, building a warming hut, replacing the Kokomo lift with a gondola, and adding 53.5 acres of snowmaking.

All of the changes are within the ski area’s current boundaries, said Mike Liu, special projects coordinator for the Dillon Ranger district of the White River National Forest.

The plan was approved with a few changes last week by White River National Forest Supervisor Martha Ketelle.

Forest service changes include the use of a sewer line instead of septic facilities for the warming hut at the top of Kokomo lift.

“We also added in several management requirements to minimize impacts to wildlife and other resources,” Liu said.

The clearing required for the 12.3 acres of teaching terrain will affect the area’s snowshoe hare population, thus reducing lynx hunting areas, Liu said. To mitigate those impacts, Liu said forest service officials will work with the resort to provide a substitute hunting area for lynx.

The decision can be appealed, but only by those who have previously submitted public comments – if submitted to the Forest Service by Aug. 12.

If no one appeals Ketelle’s decision, there is a five-day waiting period before Copper can proceed with construction. Should someone appeal, construction could be delayed by as little as one week or as long as a couple of months, Liu said. A formal review might mean Copper would have to wait until next year’s construction season, he added.

Friedland said Copper does not have an anticipated starting date for construction, as resort officials are first waiting to determine whether the decision will be appealed.

Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or

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