Summit County humming for the holidays |

Summit County humming for the holidays

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Special to the Daily/A-BasinA-Basin park crew was busy last week getting the Treeline park ready to go for Christmas weekend.

SUMMIT COUNTY – Frosty the Snowman would have felt right at home in Summit County this Christmas weekend. With daytime temperatures in the single digits, he’d have had no chance of melting.

Thermometer readings topped out around 10 degrees throughout the county on Christmas, and they didn’t get much higher Saturday. Today, forecasters predict things will warm up slightly, with highs in the teens.

Snow has been scarce the past few days, with Summit County’s ski areas each reporting 3 inches or less between Christmas Eve and Saturday morning. Colorado Avalanche Information Center predicts sporadic snow showers with little accumulation for the early part of this week. The chance for snow increases toward the middle of the week.

The cold and lack of powder snow didn’t stop Omaha, Neb., resident Alex Jacobi from tearing it up on his teles Saturday. The 37-year-old was among the first to test out the new features in Arapahoe Basin’s Treeline Terrain Park, open for the first time this season.

“I think it’s a great park,” Jacobi said. “It’s got good trannies, and if the trannies are good, you can ride it when you’re 50.”

The newly opened park, located on Dercum’s Gulch above the Black Mountain Lodge, has nine skate-inspired features and a progression line of three jumps – meaning each jump is bigger than the one before it. It all added up to a whole lot of “awesomeness” in Jacobi’s eyes.

Copper Mountain, too, opened its main terrain park Saturday. Catalyst Terrain Park is home to two progressive jump lines – with three jumps each – and to 20 box and rail features. The park hosts a slew of events and competitions and has more jumps and features than any other freeride area at Copper.

“Folks will see some of the old favorites and some rails and other features revised and set up in different ways to provide something new,” said Copper spokeswoman Lauren Pelletreau. “There are so many features to pick from, including our largest 40-foot rails, that skiers and riders of all levels can have a good time.”

Both parks will continue to add new features as the season goes on.

Keystone opened Elk Run, offering top-to-bottom skiing in the Outback. The resort has all 20 of its lifts running and has 620 acres open for skiing and riding.

Summit County has been humming with welcome holiday crowds during the past week. Many businesses reported being about as busy as they were during last year’s holiday season.

“We’ve been doing really well,” said Chris Miller, co-owner of Silverheels and Kemosabe restaurants in Frisco. “It’s not the traditional rush yet, where we’re mobbed doing 300 dinners a night, but our bar is full tonight, Kemosabe’s got a pretty good crowd, and there are a lot of reservations on the books, so we’re optimistic and happy.”

Chef Brian Baker, formerly of the acclaimed Ski Tip restaurant in Keystone, just took over the Silverheels kitchen.

“We just put out a new menu, and the clientele is having fun checking it out. It’s been really fun,” Miller added.

At Copper, Pelletreau said the village has been bustling, and visitors have been streaming into Woodward, the resort’s indoor freestyle training center housed in a 19,000-square-foot red barn.

“We’ve been encouraged by the traffic we’ve seen in the barn,” Pelletreau said. “There have been a lot of people jumping on the trampoline, using the snowflex ramps, launching into the foam pits. We’ve had some good crowds here at Copper, and we’re expecting more in the next week.”

Mark Edwards, manager at Dillon Valley Liquors, said business has been comparable to last year’s Christmas.

“It’s not up, but it’s not down, so that’s good,” Edwards said. “And since it’s the holidays, people have stepped up to splurge on what they really want to buy.”

Julie Sutor can be reached at (970) 668-4630 or

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