‘Tis the season for resort renovations | SummitDaily.com

‘Tis the season for resort renovations

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Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk

SUMMIT COUNTY ” The rental shop at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area hit the dirt Tuesday as ski area officials demolished the building to prepare for a summer construction project that will bring a new skier services facility to the base area this fall.

A-Basin’s new building is just one of several summer projects both large and small at the county’s four ski areas.

Plans this year are characterized by tweaks and improvements that will prepare the areas for a future round of development, said winter sports administrator Joe Foreman with the Dillon Ranger District.

The county’s four ski areas operate under special use permits from the U.S. Forest Service, which oversees construction.

With one of its five base area buildings demolished, A-Basin will begin construction on a new 7,200-square-foot building that is expected to open around Thanksgiving. It will be twice the size of the former building but be located on the same ground.

The new facility will include rentals and repair, large public restrooms, lockers and public meeting space. The design will match the base area’s other buildings that are white stucco with green trim, said director of mountain operations Alan Henceroth.

While Breckenridge Ski Resort officials wait through an appeal period for its planned Peak 8 Summit Lift, they are moving forward with a few small construction projects for the summer season.

The 40-year-old deck on the Bergenhof restaurant at Peak 8 will be replaced. The new deck will be slightly larger on the slopeside to offer more seating, said resort spokeswoman Nicky DeFord.

More snowmaking will be added to the Monte Cristo run on Peak 7, which is the northern most trail on that side of the mountain.

The resort also proposes to widen the Four O’clock run but the Forest Service is still considering the project, Foreman said.

The deadline for appeals to the Forest Service approval of the resort’s planned Summit Lift is July 17. DeFord said the resort still wants to begin construction this summer on the lift that stands to be the highest in North America. It would take skiers to the top of Peak 7 and eliminate a 45-minute hike to access steep terrain.

Copper Mountain Resort is cutting trees near the Kokomo lift at Union Creek to prepare for a future learning center on the west side of the resort.

This summer’s plan includes only preparation work for a future gondola that would take beginning skiers about a mile up the mountain to a learning center, said Copper vice president and general manager Steve Paccagnan.

Work involves clearing about 17 acres of trees near the Kokomo lift line for the future lift. The timber company is using new machinery called a stump grinder to remove tree stumps from the terrain.

Tree stumps are typically removed on ski trails by pulling them out, then bulldozing the area to make the ground smooth. The stump grinder machine works like an upside-down blender to reduce the stumps to a pile of wood chips, thereby reducing the amount of soil and vegetation disturbance.

Paccagnan said the learning center could be open in three years.

Plans call for a tent-like structure with restrooms and tables and “magic carpets” or moving walkways at the top of the gondola.

The snowmaking system on Dercum Mountain at Keystone Resort will be automated on the Flying Dutchman and Jackwacker trails this summer. Automation is already in place on lower Mozart, Spring Dipper and the trail access to River Run.

“It’s a very efficient and high-quality system,” said mountain operations manager Chuck Tolton. Computerized snowmaking reduces the guesswork involved in making snow during finicky early season weather and allows the staff to better control snow quality, Tolton said.

Other construction projects at Keystone focus on upgrading existing facilities and trail design.

A proposal being considered by the Forest Service requests widening and grading on Prospector and Alamo, the main egress trails on North Peak.

Better visibility will be achieved for skiers on the last pitch of Dercum Mountain’s Last Chance trail with slope grading that has already been approved. The small project is part of the resort’s attempt to look for ways to improve visibility on trails and at intersections, Tolton said.

Another proposal aims to open up access to the Black Forest at The Outback. Tolton said he wants to provide access for snowcats, not to groom the trails but to reduce wind effects at the entrance to the north side of The Outback’s popular tree runs.

The resort wants to widen Freda’s Incubator ” the entry-level terrain park ” to enhance skier and rider flow and provide more space.

Tolton said 40 percent of the resort’s terrain park goers use the Incubator.

The Superpipe will potentially be realigned to put it in the fall line, reduce effects from the sun and provide better viewing from the lift.

Kim Marquis can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 249, or at kmarquis@summitdaily.com.

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