Breckenridge, CO – The debate on whether resort officials can move ahead with plans to expand Breckenridge Ski Resort’s skiable terrain by 550 acres has been a hot topic since the project’s announcement earlier this year. Despite strong opinions on both sides, progress has been made in the form of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) review process, which opened the debate up for commenting in June. Community response was so great that the process was extended an additional month, concluding this past week on August 25th.
The goal of the project is to develop a new six-person chairlift, summit ski patrol facility, and mid-station lodge — while expanding into 550 acres of previously hike-only backcountry. While this is a very complex plan with a multitude of opinions and concerns, the main points center on the environmental impact of such designs, resort crowd control, and the loss of previously exclusive backcountry runs.
There are three actions proposed by the DEIS. The first is a decision of no action, which would prevent the resort from pursuing the expansion, and would be mandated by the National Environmental Protection Agency to ensure “a continuation of existing management practices without changes, additions or upgrades.” The second action would allow Breckenridge Resort to develop the new six-person lift and facilities according to their proposed plan. The third option would serve as a compromise between the opposing sides and allow for limited expansion of the resort within its existing network of lifts and trail boundaries.
The comment period has concluded and a decision will be announced in the upcoming weeks.