Keystone closes tennis center |

Keystone closes tennis center

KEYSTONE – As of 8 p.m. last night, the Keystone Tennis Center, revered by locals for more than a decade, closed its doors.

After reviewing resort operations in light of current economic conditions, Keystone officials announced Thursday they are closing the tennis center – indoor courts near the Keystone Lodge and Tennis Townhomes. A press release said the outdoor courts would remain open and free to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Keystone communications manager Mike Lee said the economic model of the tennis center, combined with the recreational focus of the resort, led to the decision.

“Ultimately, we’re a ski resort, so our core lines include that and Nordic skiing,” Lee said. “We’re a summer resort, which means golf, hospitality and the conference business. With this (the tennis center), what it cost didn’t equal what we got out of it.”

Lee said the resort sought offers from operators to run the tennis center on a contract basis, but no viable takers surfaced.

Lee also said he could not comment on any severance deal reached with the tennis center’s pro, John O’Connor.

Contacted at the tennis center Thursday, O’Connor declined to comment for this story.

The closure is a blow to a large contingent of Summit County tennis players. More than 600 people are listed on Keystone club rosters, and the tennis center also played host to clinics and fundraising tournaments.

“I started playing with a group about 13 years ago,” Frisco resident Art Burger said. “We started at the Gardner Center, then moved to Copper. That didn’t pan out, and we moved to Keystone. We’ll miss it. Our options are pretty limited now.”

The decision also affects the owners of the Tennis Townhomes and adjacent Quiksilver Condominiums, which count more than 100 units total. Tennis Townhome homeowners’ association president and Keystone Owners’ Association board member John Walton said in a telephone conversation from his home in Citrus County, Fla., that he didn’t know if too many owners bought property there because it was adjacent to the tennis center, but nevertheless, many owners were disappointed.

“Obviously, we’d like to see them maintain the facility,” Walton said. “I think as a well-rounded resort, they have to have tennis.

“I can see where they’re coming from – they want each operation to be a bottom-line profit,” Walton added. “But sometimes you have to have a loss-leader.”

The closure leaves Summit County with only two indoor tennis courts, both at the Breckenridge Recreation Center. Copper Mountain has permanently removed the tennis bubble over its indoor courts, spokesman Ben Friedland said. Although Copper has multiple outdoor courts for summer use, it will no longer offer indoor tennis.

Lee said Keystone’s tennis center site will remain a recreational area and that the resort’s planners are considering a new amenity more in line with the ski area’s other businesses. Lee said a new recreation facility might include tennis, too. Any new development would go before the Snake River and Countywide planning commissions and could require a change in the resort’s master plan document.

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or

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