Vail may tweak its halfpipe |

Vail may tweak its halfpipe

VAIL, Colo. (AP) ” The Forest Service is reviewing a proposal that could help Vail Mountain build its halfpipe without using as much water.

Vail Mountain has asked the Forest Service for permission to build two 400-foot-long, 16-foot high berms that will be the base for Golden Peak’s 400-foot-long, 18-foot-tall halfpipe.

Snowmaking could be reduced by as much as 25 percent after the project, saving water and energy, resort spokeswoman Jen Brown said.

The change also could help the halfpipe open earlier, since the berms will give the resort a head start building the pipe, but early season snowfall will still play a big part in when riders can use it, Brown said. The ski area tries to open the pipe usually by mid-December.

The Forest Service is collecting comments from governmental and environmental groups on the proposal. A decision is expected in July.

Vail Resorts operates Vail Mountain Ski Area under a permit from the Forest Service.

Vail also is getting new grooming machinery that will allow the pipe to have walls 22 feet tall.

Among other ski resorts, Aspen Skiing Co. has berms for pipes at both Snowmass and Buttermilk, whose pipe hosts the Winter X Games. Company spokesman Jeff Hanle said it takes about a third less snowmaking when the pipes are made from berms.

“It does make it a little easier to get it open,” Hanle said. “You don’t have to make as much snow.”

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