Vail Mountain’s first expansion since Blue Sky Basin received authorization from the Forest Service on Friday, Nov. 9, as the Golden Peak Improvements Project final environmental impact statement, along with a draft record of decision, was published by the White River National Forest.
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In it, Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams wrote that the project gives Vail Mountain and the Forest Service an opportunity to provide world-class training and competition at Vail Mountain while enhancing the safety and efficiency for the general public, reports Vail Daily.
“I am approving the (Golden Peak Improvements Project) because it best meets the project purpose and need to meet the growing demand at Vail Mountain Resort’s Golden Peak for developed competition terrain and to improve the guest experience and training venue across the ski area by providing separation between user groups,” Fitzwilliams wrote.
In a news release, the Forest Service wrote that work is expected to begin in summer 2019, and that the decision authorizes the construction of one surface lift (T-bar or similar design) and approximately 42 acres of new ski trails for women’s downhill and men’s super-G courses, a moguls course and skier cross course; various maintenance and storage facilities; infrastructure to support snowmaking; an access road for construction; staging areas and logging decks for construction materials and timber and vegetation removal; and surface smoothing/grading for new ski trails and drainage management.
The 42-acre expansion would add about 760 vertical feet of skiable terrain to Golden Peak, according to the plan, and the lift would be roughly 1,870 feet in length and able to transport about 1,200 people per hour. Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes are expected to be the primary users of the new area.
“I believe that the approved projects will enhance the visitor experience of competitors and the general public alike by expanding the competition and training terrain and providing adequate separation between the general public and the athletes,” Fitzwilliams wrote. “When Golden Peak is not being actively managed for training or competitions, the terrain will be accessible to the general public.”
The release of this Draft Decision initiates the 45-day objections period. Individuals who submitted timely and specific written comments during the scoping and/or comment periods have standing to file an objection to the Draft Decision Notice.