Top 5 most-read stories last week: A 14ers feat, Keystone’s incorporation, Uptown 240 worries, gear rental changes and concerns about the newest state park
Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on SummitDaily.com from March 26 to April 1.
1. ‘The journey itself was so big and so vast’: Breckenridge’s Christopher Fisher bags 59 of Colorado’s 14ers over the winter season
Frostbite, fragile avalanche fall zones and variable Colorado weather conditions are just some of the things sponsored mountain endurance athlete and Breckenridge resident Christopher Fisher faced while on a mission to climb 59 of Colorado’s 14ers in a single winter season.
Fisher was inspired to embark on the 59-peak mission after successfully claiming the fastest known time for the traverse across the Mosquito and Tenmile mountain ranges at the end of last summer.
Fisher was making a trip back to Colorado from the Guadalupe Mountains in west Texas when a podcast episode with Andrew Hamilton spurred him into his next extreme endurance challenge.
“It took him 84 days, and he was on the roll of being a dad with a full-time job,” Fisher said. “After I heard that he did it like that, I thought there was a good chance I could probably do it because I don’t have a job and I don’t have kids.”
With more thought and research, Fisher realized that not only was it possible for him to climb all 59 14ers before the start of spring, but he could also possibly break the record that was set by Hamilton during the 2018 winter season.
2. Vail Resorts plans to change the way skiers and snowboarders rent gear at Breckenridge, Keystone resorts
Vail Resorts has plans to transform the way guests select and pick up rental gear with the creation of a unique program called My Epic Gear, revealing the concept in a news release on Monday.
Users will be able to select the gear they want to rent through an app and it will be delivered to them if they are staying at lodging within a resort area. If not, they will be able to pick it up and drop it off via slopeside valet service, eliminating the need to stand in line at a ski shop. They also will be able to change their gear selections throughout the season, such as choosing skis specifically designed for skiing powder on days when fresh powder is anticipated.
My Epic Gear won’t be fully available until the winter of 2024-25, but a “pilot season” next winter will make it an option for a “limited number” of Epic Pass holders at four of the company’s resorts, all in Colorado — Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail and Beaver Creek.
When the program is launched for 2024-25, users will pay a $50 up-front membership fee and $50 per day for their rentals. Details of the pilot program in Colorado next season, including what it will cost and how Epic Pass holders can participate, have yet to be announced.
3. Colorado’s next state park will attract a lot of attention; that could be a problem for neighbors
GLENWOOD CANYON — Eighteen months after the White River National Forest acquired a scenic and historic property 12 miles north of Glenwood Canyon at the doorstep of the remote Flat Tops Wilderness, officials are moving forward with plans to make it Colorado’s 43rd state park.
The 488-acre Sweetwater Lake property encompasses Colorado’s third-largest natural lake, which is framed by limestone cliffs. It currently offers limited camping, hiking, horseback riding and fishing provided by a commercial outfitter which operated there for decades when the property was privately owned. But forest officials and Colorado Parks and Wildlife see it as a gem with untapped potential, saying their goal is to improve access and modernize antiquated facilities without altering the rustic character of the site.
But before tapping that potential, they’ll have to repair the relationship with locals, who were blindsided in October 2021 when Gov. Jared Polis held a media event to announce that Sweetwater Lake would become a state park.
4. ‘Makes me sick’: Uptown 240 condo buyers worry that they will lose their deposits amid project’s bankruptcy proceedings
Barbara O’Brien, 78, Joel Cochran, 63, and dozens of other people signed contracts to buy condos at Uptown 240, a slickly marketed project that broke ground in Dillon in 2019, floundered financially for three-plus years, and then declared bankruptcy last month. Only the foundation has been built, and that will need to be replaced due to weather damage.
In doing so, they unknowingly wagered not only their combined $6 million but also their life plans on the assumption that Uptown 240’s developer, who has never built a building, would complete the project or at least return their deposit. Neither is guaranteed now.
Between 2018 and 2022, 41 condos were sold on the top four floors of the proposed eight-story building. The buyers are residents of a dozen states and include an Omaha philanthropist, a spacecraft engineer from Golden and owners of an organic coffee farm in Hawaii.
Keystone is poised to become Colorado’s newest town, which will end decades of governance by elected Summit County officials.
Approximately 68% of voters cast ballots in favor of incorporation, with 291 votes of approval and 140 votes of disapproval, according to unofficial results released Tuesday night around 8:15 p.m.
The decisive victory for advocates of incorporation puts the resort community on a path for self-governance — so long as voters also approve a charter, the governing document for the town, at a later date.
Along with choosing to break from unincorporated Summit County, voters also chose who will form the nine-member commission tasked with drafting the town’s charter. Along with Riley, the commission members include Gretchen Davis, Dan Sullivan, Julia Metzger, Sarah Keel, Tim Huiting, William Schorling, Erich Swartz and Valerie Thisted.
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