Top 5 most-read stories last week: Ski resort upgrades, snowy forecasts, fraud lawsuit and mushroom hunting

A dusting of white fell on Peak 6 at Breckenridge Ski Resort on Friday, Aug. 11, as documented in a Facebook post by the resort. In 2022, the first snow was on Sept. 15, according to the resort's social media. Some people commented on the post suggesting the white stuff was just hail from a passing storm. Either way, the layer hints at winter.
Sarah Mclear/Breckenridge Ski Resort

Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on from Aug. 20-26.

1. Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are almost guaranteed to see an El Niño winter. Here’s what that could mean for ski season.

It may be August, but early indicators are already brewing for what the 2023-24 winter season could look like in Colorado. 

At Breckenridge Ski Resort, a dusting of white on Peak 6 was photographed on Aug. 11. Whether it will herald another blockbuster ski season remains to be seen, though one factor is nearly certain: atmospheric patterns are set to change this winter. 

“We are going into what looks to be a strong El Niño season,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Bernie Meier. 

El Niño pushes the jet stream south and can bring more precipitation and cooler temperatures to southern regions. In Colorado, this can translate to heavier, wetter snow in the southwest, particularly for the San Juan Mountains, as well as the central mountains. In the state’s northern areas, such as Steamboat Springs, weather may be warmer while snow is dryer, Meier said. 

— Robert Tann

2. All the dirty details on this year’s ‘strange’ mushroom season in Colorado

Fungi are already perplexing. They’re not animal, nor plant, but provide crucial support to both, while serving as one of the planet’s main decomposers. 

But the fruiting bodies of fungi, widely known as mushrooms, are acting especially strange this year in Colorado. 

A wet spring was expected to create a moist haven for mushrooms across the state this summer, but the organisms are just starting to appear. 

“It’s a very strange season because we’re late,” said Jon Sommer, the president of the Colorado Mycological Society. “We’re … late, behind on everything. We had all that rain earlier, we were expecting lots of mushrooms, but they didn’t grow because it was cool.”

— Shelby Reardon

3. Colorado judge punts ‘massive’ lawsuit involving $300 million Kindred Resort to New York court

A Breckenridge judge last month granted a stay in a lawsuit involving two firms picked by Vail Resorts to co-develop the $300-million Kindred Resorts, a luxury ski-in, ski-out commercial and residential complex in Keystone.

Describing two “massive” lawsuits, one in New York City and one in his own Summit County courtroom, Judge Reed Owens ruled New York was the proper venue for the dispute, adding he believes the Colorado case had been intended, at least in part, to “harass.”

Kindred Resort broke ground last fall at the base of Keystone Resort, next to the River Run Gondola, and is scheduled to open in 2025. With a 107-room hotel, 95-luxury residences, three new restaurants, a new ski school home, retail space, a full-service spa, ski valet and a private club, a Kindred Resort spokesperson described the development as “one of the most exciting real estate projects in the ski industry right now.”

But the two lawsuits have belied the glitz and glamor of the ritzy estate as once-business partners have exchanged various claims of fraud, extortion and other multimillion-dollar claims of malfeasance.

— Ryan Spencer

4. Copper Mountain announces opening day, lift upgrade

Copper Mountain Resort will open Nov. 13 for the 2023-24 winter season.

Copper and Leitner-Poma will upgrade the Timberline Express chairlift from a 4-person lift to a high-speed six-pack, according to a news release from the resort.

The new lift will debut in the 2024-25 winter season.

— Summit Daily staff

5. Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keystone Resort near completion on new lift, expansion projects

Though Summit County has seen several balmy, end-of-summer days over the last week, the upcoming winter season is not far away. Soon the warm weeks will give way to fall days, and before long, snow will once again be seen on the slopes of the region’s ski areas.

In preparation for the quickly approaching 2023-24 ski and ride season, Breckenridge Ski Resort and Keystone Resort have been keeping work moving over the summer, making sure the mountains are ready before lifts start turning again when the slopes are covered in snow.

Two of the major projects that have been taking place over the summer are the upgrade of Breckenridge’s 5-Chair and the development of Bergman Bowl at Keystone.

— Cody Jones

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