With ski resorts in limbo, town of Breckenridge plans for alternative outdoor winter activities
BRECKENRIDGE — At a special meeting Wednesday, Aug. 19, Breckenridge Town Council discussed ideas for winter activities outside of skiing and snowboarding that guests can engage in this year.
As a town with a tourism-based economy, council members are concerned about potential capacity limits at Breckenridge Ski Resort, a major winter attraction. Mayor Eric Mamula said he hopes tourism can remain successful with some of the town’s ideas to add other activities.
“We need to concentrate on the things that we can do something about,” Mamula said. “People are still going to want to come here. … We need to make sure that we’re offering them every opportunity to come here and do some outdoor activities.”
Using information from the Breckenridge Tourism Office survey, focus groups and committees, Assistant Town Manager Shannon Haynes presented ideas to the council that could help Breckenridge keep businesses open and keep people coming to town.
That focus was primarily on outdoor winter activities, which council member Jeffrey Bergeron said he’d like to keep entry-level so they can be geared toward the average visitor.
The council also discussed ways to make backcountry skiing safer for beginners after unexperienced skiers flocked to the backcountry when ski resorts shut down in mid-March. Council member Dick Carleton suggested the town partner with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and push out links to the organization’s website and hotline.
Haynes said the town could do a better job of marketing and educating guests about groomed areas, like the Gold Run Nordic Center. She also suggested the town groom other flat areas like the McCain property between Coyne Valley Road and the Fairview Boulevard roundabout.
Breckenridge Director of Recreation Scott Reid said creating better transportation to and from the Gold Run Nordic Center is another topic of conversation. He noted that the center has looked at doubling its fleet of fat bikes and snowshoes for rent as these are two activities people can do outside without much experience.
Town Manager Rick Holman brought up an idea for outdoor ice skating or games of broom ball at Maggie Pond, and Mamula suggested approaching the local HOA about ice skating at the pond. Council member Dennis Kuhn suggested opening parts of the Breckenridge Golf Club for snow tubing, but council member Erin Gigliello said there are concerns about how tubing might affect the course.
Beyond outdoor activity ideas, Haynes discussed how businesses might be able to put up tents on their properties, such as on restaurant patios or potentially on private parking areas, so that businesses can expand their footprints. She said the Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District is working on guidelines for businesses to safely put up tents. Haynes said the Breckenridge Tourism Office also plans to send out an FAQ sheet on the topic.
Council gave a thumbs up for creating designated pickup parking spaces for restaurants and retail stores, but shot down the idea of a one-way Main Street and Ridge Street due to safety and traffic concerns. Mamula suggested instead that the town and merchants use the riverwalk path to move pedestrian traffic off Main Street.
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