The U.S. Forest Service approved Vail Resorts plan for a 543-acre expansion of terrain at Breckenridge. Breck is part of the Tenmile Range, which has its share of lift serviced skiing but is also an extremely popular backcountry destination. The Breck expansion is into the Peak 6 Area just to the north of the town of Breckenridge and will provide 400 acres of lift-served terrain and 143 acres of hike-to terrain.
“Peak 6 will be a tremendous addition to Breckenridge, significantly improving the guest experience by adding both new terrain and lift capacity.” “In addition, the new terrain provides access to intermediate runs and high alpine bowl skiing that will be enjoyed by a wide variety of our guests.” - Rob Katz, chairman and CEO of Vail Resorts, in a Press Release.
Peak 6 is a current hot spot for backcountry access and would now be accessed by two new lifts, the first being a high speed six-seater with a 1,550’ vertical rise and the other a fixed-grip quad that will serve as a connecting lift to the six-seater from Peak 7. There is concern that the expansion will take away a lot of terrain for the backcountry skiers who frequent Peak 6. Peak 6 is easy to access and doesn’t require a huge time commitment to get to.
The approval is still subject to appeal for 45 days and those within the community are not entirely thrilled with the decision. Many community members asked for an upgrade to the existing terrain and lift service at Breck as opposed to jumping head first into northern expansion. Studies also showed that the expansion would have an impact on the habitat of the threatened Canada Lynx as well, but federal biologists decided in the end that there wouldn’t be a significant effect on the overall United States Lynx population. In response, Vail Resorts dedicated $300,000 in seed money to lynx and wildlife conservation.
Many view the expansion as a marketing stunt, trying to bring in more business through the opening of a new peak. The purpose of the expansion, according to the resort, is to help the flow of traffic and stop over-crowding, but it seems as though the untouched powder haven that peak 6 has provided in the past, may be tracked out pretty quickly.
Some, however, are welcoming the expanded lift serviced terrain.
The expansion, as indicated by Vail Resorts, should be ready for the 2013-2014 ski season, but is more likely going to ready for the 2014-2015 season according to White River National Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams.
Follow this link for more information on the appeals process.
Breckenridge Peak 6 expansion wins Forest Service OK, but community concerns, and some hard feelings, remain, Summit County Voice article
Breckenridge: Forest Service Oks Peak 6 expansion, Summit County Voice article