White River National Forest approves trail building, snowmaking projects at Copper Mountain, Frisco Nordic Center | SummitDaily.com

White River National Forest approves trail building, snowmaking projects at Copper Mountain, Frisco Nordic Center

U.S. Forest Service ranger Bill Jackson stands in front of the American Eagle chairlift at Copper Mountain on Tuesday, Aug. 13, and talks about the additional snowmaking at the resort.
Liz Copan / ecopan@summitdaily.com

FRISCO — White River National Forest officials have announced their final decision to approve two new recreation projects: Copper Mountain Resort’s snowmaking and summer uses project and the Frisco Nordic Center trails project.

The Copper project allows for 73.4 acres to be opened to snowmaking, 35 miles of additional hiking and mountain biking trails, improved summer camping areas and an extension of the A-1 mountain access road. The Nordic Center project plans to construct 4 miles of Nordic ski trails, 9 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails and 3.75 miles in extensions to existing trails. Both projects were approved following a series of public comment. 

“We looked at all of the comments during the comment period, and a lot of those comments were positive, and any negative comments we were careful to address in our environmental analysis,” said Bill Jackson, Dillon district ranger for the White River National Forest.

In order to mitigate environmental impacts, Copper will create a stream management plan for Wheeler Gulch and a drainage system to compensate for additional snow runoff. 

Jackson explained that the goal of these projects was to increase the amenities offered to current users of Copper Mountain Resort and the Frisco Nordic Center.

The additional snowmaking at Copper will allow for an earlier season as well as a more extensive early season, both for recreational users and competitors, including the U.S. Ski Team, which trains at Copper.

At the Frisco Nordic Center, the trails project is intended to create a better venue for races the center hosts in winter.

“The goal of these projects is not to bring more visitors but to improve the existing product,” Jackson said.

Public Comment

Another U.S. Forest Service approval process that is in the works is Breckenridge Ski Resort’s plan to install a new chairlift. The chairlift would be installed on Peak 7 in an effort to increase access to intermediate terrain and improve circulation. The project will require grading and vegetation removal. This project is still open for public comment.

Trail construction begins at Copper Mountain Resort.
Courtesy Copper Mountain

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