Top 5 most-read stories last week: Ski area deaths, housing shortage and avalanche memories |

Top 5 most-read stories last week: Ski area deaths, housing shortage and avalanche memories

The Breckenridge Medical Clinic, located at the base of Breckenridge Ski Resort's Peak 9, is pictured Saturday, Feb. 19. The medical clinic is one of a handful around the county that offers medical care close to a ski resort.
Michael Yearout/For the Summit Daily News

Stories in this list received the most page views on in the past week.

1. Experts provide skier and snowboarder safety tips after 4 deaths occur in Summit County within a one-month time frame

In a month time frame, four skier and snowboarder deaths have occurred within Summit County. This year’s four deaths occurred between Jan. 21 and Feb. 9 and involved individuals ages 21, 23, 24 and 48. All of the deaths occurred at either Breckenridge Ski Resort or Copper Mountain Resort.

According to Summit County Coroner Regan Wood, last year had four skier or snowboarder deaths as did the year before. In 2019, there were only two deaths. According to the National Ski Area Association, skiing and snowboarding fatalities are rare. A fact sheet from the organization noted that over the past 10 years, U.S. ski areas averaged less than one fatality per 1 million skier visits.

Breckenridge safety manager Kip McCarthy emphasized the importance of staying in control as well as plotting a course based on conditions and ability level.

— Jenna deJong

2. Summit County commissioners are worried the fabric of the community has changed for good

Within Colorado, community needs and challenges differ depending on where you live, and with this in mind, the state identified 16 regional teams that would each have an appointed consultant who would come up with a “roadmap to recovery” coming out of the pandemic.

Guiding the Summit County-area entities through the process is the Utah-based economic development consulting firm Better City, which said the biggest hurdle is bringing in more people to fill open job positions.

During the meeting, Summit County Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said she worried that what has happened with the growth of short-term rentals, skyrocketing home prices, lack of affordable housing and exodus of local workers — among other new pandemic trends — is irreversible.

— Jenna deJong

3. How a Breckenridge avalanche 35 years ago changed the trajectory of Colorado skiing

It was sunny and cold on Feb. 18, 1987. Ski patroller Mary Logan rode the T-bar with patrol director Kevin Ahern. They watched helplessly as a skier triggered a massive avalanche atop Peak 7, just beyond the Breckenridge ski area boundary.

The Peak 7 slide triggered sweeping changes in avalanche awareness, education and messaging. It created a regionwide, communal response to avalanches. It solidified a U.S. Forest Service policy to never close access between resorts and public lands. It set in motion a statewide expansion of ski terrain, with resorts opening steeper-and-deeper slopes that appealed to a new generation of powder-chasing skiers.

— The Colorado Sun

4. Breckenridge commits $50 million to ambitious workforce housing plan

A Breckenridge plan to invest $50 million into workforce housing over the next five years could result in 970 additional units for workers living within town limits.

The Breckenridge Town Council gave its approval of the Five-Year Housing Blueprint at its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 22. The blueprint outlines the town’s goal to have 47% of the town’s workforce living in Breckenridge. Additionally, the plan aims to create a balance of 35% resident housing to 65% vacation or resort lodging in the community.

— Libby Stanford

5. Presidents Day weekend brings large crowds to Summit County businesses

No COVID-19 restrictions, fresh snow and dwindling omicron variant cases made for a busy Presidents Day weekend in Summit County.

Local business owners saw bigger crowds from Friday, Feb. 18, through Monday, Feb. 21, than during any other holiday weekend this season. For some, it seemed busier than even pre-pandemic numbers.

“This weekend was definitely elevated, more than any time this year or past years,” said Jay Beckerman, owner of Blue River Bistro in Breckenridge. “It was intense.”

— Libby Stanford

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