Tracy Ross weaves her way through wide-open powder at Keystone’s Bergman Bowl in February 2016. The U.S. Forest Service recently approved a new lift and trails in the area. Photo by Phil Lindeman / Summit Daily archives
The U.S. Forest Service announced Friday that it had approved Keystone Resort’s plan to bring lift-served skiing to Bergman Bowl.
The project includes a new detachable chairlift and ski patrol hut in Bergman Bowl along with 13 new trails. The lift, which will serve about 555 acres of terrain, is expected to have a capacity of about 2,400 people per hour, according to a report by the Forest Service. There also will be three new trails and gladed terrain cut in Erickson Bowl.
The new trails will include beginner and intermediate terrain in an area that is not currently served by a lift and consists only of black terrain.
“Our decision provides expanded recreational opportunities within Keystone’s existing permitted area,” acting Dillon District Ranger Bobbi Filbert said in a news release announcing the decision. “After hearing from the public last spring, we made a number of changes to the original proposal to reduce impacts to sensitive resources, including avoiding wetlands and reducing the amount of tree cutting.”
The collection of new trails would be located on Bergman Bowl terrain that, since opening in 2003, has been accessible only by hiking or paid snowcat. The cat track would turn into the location of the primary green beginner run.
The Forest Service reports about 25-50 skiers and snowboarders hike into Bergman Bowl each day while the Keystone Adventure Tours snowcat service typically shuttles 400-600 guests into Bergman and Erickson bowls each week when open, though the service is operating under limited capacity this season.
The snowcat service will continue in Bergman and Erickson bowls until the completion of the project, according to the Forest Service.
The project also includes additional snowmaking infrastructure on 20 acres in the Bergman Bowl area. The additional snowmaking is expected to increase Keystone’s average annual water withdrawals by about 33 acre feet, according to the report.
The Outpost Restaurant would also be expanded as part of the project, adding an additional 6,000 square feet of space for seating and restrooms. The project is expected to add about 300 seats indoors and 75 outdoors, according to the report.
White River National Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams wrote in a letter last spring that the resort wants to execute the lift-served expansion in order to reduce overcrowding by redistributing skiers from the resort’s front-side terrain.
A “special entertainment district” in Beaver Creek has been popular with both guests and business owners. Vail is exploring creating similar districts for Vail Village and Lionshead. Chris Dillmann [email protected]
State’s current liquor regulation relaxations set to expire July 1
One of the few benefits of the COVID-19 pandemic was some loosening of the state’s liquor laws. Communities including Vail are now working to keep some of those exemptions in place.
Back in the years B.C. — Before COVID — if you bought an adult beverage in a bar or restaurant, you couldn’t leave the establishment with that drink in hand.
As restaurants and bars struggled with the pandemic, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis issued executive orders loosening some of those restrictions, including the ability to purchase a to-go cocktail. Vail officials in 2020 created “common consumption districts” in which guests can legally wander around portions of the town’s resort villages with a drink in hand.
The executive orders are set to expire July 1, so Vail business owners and officials are looking into creating state-authorized “entertainment districts” in which people can stroll certain areas of the villages with a drink in hand.
Those districts were authorized in 2019 by the Colorado Legislature. Beaver Creek created one of those districts that year.
During a presentation at the Vail Town Council’s Feb. 16 meeting, restaurateur Brian Nolan, who owns the Blue Moose Pizza restaurants in Vail and Beaver Creek, told councilmembers the Beaver Creek district has been a success.
Nolan also provided a bit of first-hand experience on how those districts would work.
Replying to a question about insurance requirements from Mayor Dave Chapin — a minority partner in Vendetta’s restaurant in Vail Village — Nolan said entertainment districts — also known as common consumption areas — don’t impose any further insurance burdens on individual businesses.
The town and the business community will have to create an authority for those districts, something Vail Town Attorney Matt Mire said is fairly straightforward.
But any state-sanctioned districts may be different than the ones currently in place. The state law prohibits creating common consumption areas where motorized traffic is allowed.
The idea, Nolan said, is to not have traffic driving through a festival or other event.
The town’s current consumption areas include the pedestrian portion of East Meadow Drive through Vail Village. Town buses usually run through that area, but don’t now due to passenger restrictions on the town’s transit system.
Mire said districts can be time-limited, which would allow deliveries into the resort villages. Transit, though, is a different story. State law currently doesn’t distinguish between transit and other vehicle traffic.
Nolan said he’s spoken with State Senator Kerry Donovan, who represents Eagle County and was a co-sponsor of the 2019 legislation. Nolan said Donovan is willing to go back to the legislature to try to amend the bill if needed.
Forming an entertainment district and drawing its boundaries could provide a serious boost to restaurant and bar revenue, even without pandemic restrictions in place.
Nolan said areas including Denver’s Larimer Street and 16th Street Mall have formed organizations for special districts, adding that state officials see those districts as a good thing.
At Beaver Creek over the summer, “There was an astronomical amount of cocktails sold,” Nolan said. “It’s a lot of revenue.”
While all council members agreed to move forward with creating districts for Vail, Chapin was particularly enthusiastic.
“Let’s keep this thing going,” he said. “People love it.”
About entertainment districts
• A formal “special entertainment district” allows people to wander with alcoholic beverages in traffic-free areas.
• Patrons carry drinks that bear the name of the establishment that sold those drinks.
• Beaver Creek has a county-authorized district.
• Denver’s 16th Street Mall is also a a special entertainment district.
(CNN) — In January 2019, Simisola Oke traveled with a friend to Flachau, one of Austria’s busiest ski areas. Following their arrival, they were greeted with many hellos and waves from fellow skiers. Initially, “we just assumed people were being kind and friendly, or maybe they thought we were famous,” Oke recalls.
This all changed during apres-ski amid the warm fires and hearty meals. Skiers began opening up with probing comments such as, “It’s different for people like you to be here.”
Oke describes two young men asking her and her friend for their photograph. When the girls questioned why, the men replied, “You guys are just so beautiful.” Not convinced by their flattery, she notes that “there were plenty of beautiful girls. We all knew the reason behind their request.”
Ski Gondolas Repurposed As Private Dining Spaces. CREDIT: MICHAEL MOWERY MEDIA
A Colorado woman is revamping used gondolas to help restaurants stay afloat with outdoor dining.
By Sarah Kuta
February 12, 2021
With cold winter weather on the horizon and ever-changing local COVID-19 rules limiting indoor dining, Wendy and Rich Tucciarone began worrying about the fate of their Steamboat Springs, Colorado, craft brewery and restaurant last fall.
In the summer, it was easy to spread out the tables on Mountain Tap Brewery‘s large patio and prop open the building’s garage doors. But even with heaters and firepits, the patio would be a tough sell during the icy evening temperatures and frequent snowstorms in this Colorado ski town famous for its “champagne powder.”
During one creative brainstorming session, their accountant suggested converting out-of-service ski gondolas—small, enclosed, cube-like spaces that transport skiers and snowboarders uphill—into private outdoor dining spaces. The Tucciarones are avid skiers and mountain bikers, so they liked the idea immediately.
But even in a mountain town, used ski gondolas are hard to come by.