Breckenridge Peak 6 Advances

The U.S. Forest Service has approved Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 6 expansion plan despite opposition from some environmental groups. The draft EIS, released on Friday, would allow the area to add 550 acres of lift-served and hike-to terrain, a six-pack detachable chairlift, and a 150-seat lodge at the lift’s mid-station.

In approving the plan, forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams of the White River National Forest said the expansion would accommodate rising visitation levels and reduce congestion at Breck.

The release of the draft EIS kicks off a 45-day public comment period, which may still impact the final EIS. Fitzwilliams said that a final ruling on the Breck plan could be made by early next year.

“We are excited to see the approval process move forward because we firmly believe the proposed Peak 6 expansion will greatly enhance the recreational experience for our guests,” Breckenridge senior vice president Pat Campbell said in a news release.

Public opposition led to a two-and-a-half year negotiation process among the ski resort, the Forest Service, local governments and residents, which culminated in the release of the draft EIS. Local governments and the Forest Service have explored possible social consequences while the EIS process mapped out the environmental impacts.

The other alternatives in the draft EIS include no action and the option to open approximately 326 acres of new terrain on Breck’s existing Peak 7, 8, 9, and 10.

The preferred alternative consists of seven new groomed trails, totaling about 68 acres, 143 acres of hike-to terrain, and about 339 acres of lift-served above-treeline terrain. The breakdown is about 182 acres of intermediate terrain, 62 advanced intermediate, and 163 expert.