Ski area leaders stoke excitement for upcoming plans for this year’s 2022-23 season and beyond
With snowmaking operations underway at three out of the four ski resorts in Summit County, those in the ski industry gathered at the Ski Area Chief Operating Officer (COO) Summit on Friday, Oct. 14, at the Keystone Conference Center in order to discuss the expectations for the 2022-23 ski and ride season and beyond.
As part of the summit, the COOs at Loveland Ski Area, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, Copper Mountain Resort, Keystone Ski Resort and Breckenridge Ski Resort all shared the stage to present how last season went and what is in the works for this season.
Breckenridge Ski Resort
Breckenridge Ski Resort Vice President and COO, Jody Churich broke the news that Breckenridge and Keystone will help launch a Summit County-wide child care program, which aims to help solve Summit’s lack of after-school programs and summer child care offerings. In partnership with the Summit Foundation and local community partners, Beckenridge and Keystone resorts donated $750,000 — over a three-year period — to the Summit School District, which will help launch the child care program.
The longterm goal of the program is a coordinated effort to provide equitable and affordable opportunities for working families throughout the county.
Churich also had several updates regarding the start of the season.
“We are now in snowmaking season, and the plan is to fire up the snow guns on Monday (Oct. 17),” Churich said.
Once the snow guns start spewing powder, the ski resort will begin the process of getting ready for its opening day on Nov. 11.
Prior to opening day, the ski resort will host its beloved winter kickoff event, Wake Up Breck, on Nov. 10.
Churich also announced plans for the ski resort to replace 5-Chair with a high speed quad chair next summer.
“We have taken down our sprung structure and the kid’s castle,” Churich said. “That’s all in preparation. We are planning to put in a high-speed quad chair at 5-Chair, which will put us at all high-speed lifts at all of our base areas.”
Keystone Ski Resort
Vice president and general manager of Keystone Ski Resort Chris Sorensen concluded the COO Summit with updates from Keystone.
The first update was about the Bergman Bowl project, which came to a halt this summer after sensitive Alpine tundra areas, where minimal impacts were authorized, were bulldozed through.
Sorensen did not have a huge update to give but stated that Keystone takes full responsibility for the damage that was done and that the ski resort has continued to work closely with the U.S. Forest Service to restore the damaged areas.
“We are optimistic that Bergman Express will go in next summer,” Sorensen said of the planned chair lift. “We created and completed a restoration plan that is one of the most thorough plans the U.S. Forest Service has ever seen. I am happy to say that we already have native growth in some of the impacted areas.”
In the meantime, Keystone will once again offer guided snowcat tours in Bergman and Erickson bowls, allowing guests to ride terrain that is not yet lift serviced.
Lastly, Keystone has plans of opening Kindred Resort which will be a 24,000 square foot commercial space that will include two restaurants, a large event space, ski school, a rental shop and more.
“Kindred Resort will feature ski-in, ski-out residency as well as a RockResorts hotel,” Sorensen said. “It will bring unique features and amenities to Keystone.”
Kindred Resort will sit right behind the River Run Gondola and recently broke ground on the project on Oct. 14.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
At Arapahoe Basin Ski Area this season, Kid’s Club will be returning, allowing families to put their kids in the program for the day while the parents ski or ride.
Over the summer, the team at A-Basin upgraded the triple chair, Lenawee Mountain Lift, to a detachable six-pack. The newly named Lenawee Express Lift will help transport visitors up from mid-mountain to the top areas of the resort’s inbounds areas. The lift should open in mid-November.
The ski area — along with several other Summit County ski resorts — will also focus on public transportation this season by encouraging guests to carpool, use the Snowstang or ride the Summit Stage bus system.
COO Alan Henceforth was of the opinion that a lot of parking issues at ski areas — like A-Basin — can be solved through car pooling or the use of public transportation
Copper Mountain Resort
Copper Mountain Resort will be celebrating an anniversary of its own this season. It began operations 50 years ago in 1972.
As part of the 50th anniversary season, Copper is aiming to host events almost every weekend throughout the season. Events will include concerts, ski and snowboard competitions and a Dec. 3 50th anniversary celebration.
In terms of projects, Copper is working on a new neighborhood in East Village called Born Mountain Club which will feature single-family homes and townhomes.
“Our development has continued, and they have completed groundwork on the project,” President and General Manager of Copper Dustin Lyman said. “The new development will include new snowmaking, a new boutique hotel, slope-side accommodations and a membership club with dining options that will be open to the public. Once completed, Born Mountain Club will be a unique and upgraded addition to our Copper community.”
Copper Mountain will open to the public on Nov. 14.
Loveland Ski Area
Even though Loveland Ski Area is just outside of Summit’s county line, Senior Vice President and COO Rob Goodell shared insight on multiple new offerings at Loveland’s slopes this season.
The first update was about the upgrade of Lift 6 to a Poma fixed-grip triple chair that will aid in the transportation of skiers up the mountain to service intermediate terrain as well as the area’s terrain park.
Goodell also highlighted the expansion of the Loveland Valley Lodge. The lodge expansion will help service parents and athletes competing in Alpine skiing competitions as well as house the ski and ride school, rental shop, sales office and ski patrol.
The 2022-23 winter season will also be the 50th anniversary for the Upham family’s ownership of the mountain property. The Uphams have owned Loveland Ski Area since Chester “Chet” R. Upham Jr. purchased the ski area with his wife back in 1972.
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