SUMMIT COUNTY — Copper Mountain wants to improve skier flow and access on the mountain by improving trails, as well as replacing several existing lifts and adding a few new ones. The resort is also focusing on a major upgrade of the beginner area, said U.S. Forest Service winter sports ranger Shelly Grail, announcing the start for a formal agency review of the proposal. starting with a 30-day public comment period.
The resort is also looking forward to getting input from the public, said spokesperson Austyn Williams. Along with the trail and lift projects, the resort also wants to boost its renewable energy production with a pair of wind turbines on Union Peak, she added.
Specifically, Copper wants to replace the Kokomo and Storm King lifts, add a new Union Meadows surface lift and a new terrain park surface lift that will also help enhance Woodward at Copper's camp operations.
The resort is also proposing improvements to the T-Rex Connector trai, a vexing spot for snowboarders trying to get out of the Timberline terrrain pod. More trail work is slated for the Spaulding Bowl runout trail, improved access to the Enchanted Forest area and grading around one of the towers of the Sierra Lift.
The proposal also includes adding two 24-foot vertical wind turbines on Union Peak to generate about 2,000 kilowatt hours per year. The proposed wind turbines will add renewable energy capacity generated by existing turbines installed in 2011.
The last major lift improvements at Copper were in 1998, when the resort installed the Super Bee and the Excelerator chairs. Since then, Copper has tweaked a few trails, added snowmaking capacity and done some glading on the front side of the mountain.
The improvements to the Spaulding Bowl runout trail could enable Copper to open the bowl earlier. Often, the terrain in the upper part of Spaulding Bowl is ready to go before Copper can open the egress trail. Rock removal, relocation or even blasting, along with some grading, would help address the issue, according to a scoping notice issued by the U.S. Forest Service.
On the beginner side of the mountain, the resort and the Forest Service propose replacing the existing Kokomo Lift with a high-speed quad and moving the terminal closer to the village .
Higher on the mountain, the funky Storm King lift has run since 1985, but now requires too much maintenance and operates unreliably — thus the proposal to replace Storm King. Copper is also eying a new surface lift in the Union Meadows area, where people hike to access Copper Bowl.
Written comments must be submitted via mail, fax, or in person (Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays) to: Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor, c/o Shelly Grail Braudis, Snow Ranger, PO Box 620, Silverthorne, CO 80498. Electronic comments including Word (.docx) or PDF attachments can be submitted to https://cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?Project=41009. The name and mailing address of the person submitting electronic comments must be included.