Loveland Ski Area gets initial thumbs up to expand beginner terrain, add parking

Fresh corduroy is pictured at Loveland Ski Area in October 2017. The ski area is planning to expand its beginner terrain as soon as next season.
Photo from Loveland Ski Area

The U.S. Forest Service has given initial approval to Loveland Ski Area to expand its terrain and parking in Arapaho National Forest.

The Forest Service released a draft decision Wednesday, but the final decision will not be made for about another two months. If the Forest Service does give Loveland the final go-ahead, the ski area would be able to start the projects as early as this summer.

Loveland’s proposed projects include work on the existing Zig Zag and Boomerang beginner runs, adding two new beginner runs and building a new parking lot. The Forest Service tentatively has approved the project proposal and said in a public notice that while the feedback received during the Forest Service’s comment period was positive, the last piece of the puzzle is giving commenters the opportunity to object to the project. Objections can be submitted at for 45 days, after which a final decision will be made.

The proposed parking lot would accommodate up to 500 new parking spots near the base of Loveland Valley, the Forest Service notice explained. According to the Forest Service’s environmental assessment, the need for the parking lot is based on the day skier analysis conducted in the ski area’s 2017 Master Development Plan Update. The analysis found that in addition to Loveland’s current parking, 529 new spots are needed to meet current and future anticipated needs.

As for improvements to existing trails, the goal is to make Zig Zag and Boomerang more appropriate for beginners. Certain areas on the two trails that are too narrow would be widened, and the runs would be graded to a more gradual slope with a maximum 25% slope grade. The assessment explained that the work would correct an issue with Loveland’s terrain network that progresses new skiers from Chair 7 to Chair 3, which brings guests to the two trails that have sections that are too steep for beginners.

“The goal is to make these runs easier and more accessible for the beginner skiers who use this terrain,” Clear Creek District Ranger Scott Haas said in the Forest Service’s notice.

As part of the project, two beginner trails also would be built on either side of Boomerang so that Loveland can offer more beginner terrain options.

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