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Copper Mountain looking to replace lift, expand mountain bike trail system

Public comment is now open for both of these projects
mountain biking
Copper Mountain in summer
Posted at 6:34 AM, Sep 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-21 08:34:54-04

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — Copper Mountain is seeking public comment on two improvements to the resort — one for winter recreation and one for the summer.

On Tuesday, the White River National Forest announced that it wanted to hear any comments or concerns from the public before starting the environmental review for the proposals at the popular ski resort, which sits at the intersection of Interstate 70 and Highway 91 in Summit County.

The first project is to replace the Timberline Express Chairlift, which moves visitors around the mid-mountain.

Timberline Express changes at Copper Mountain

The lift is only used in the winter.

The current aging lift — which was installed in 1994 — would be replaced with a 4,825-foot high-speed, detachable six-person chairlift. The U.S. Forest Service said this will improve skier circulation and access to intermediate terrain.

"As part of the chairlift replacement, a diesel generator would be installed at the top terminal of the lift, the existing underground powerline would be replaced, and a new 900 square-foot lift maintenance structure would be built," the USFS continued. "Some tree clearing and minor road improvements will be needed."

The resort is hoping to move the bottom terminal about 75 feet uphill and the top terminal about 50 feet west to avoid wetland impacts. This would require about one acre of tree removal. The new towers would disturb about 0.1 acres on the ground.

A new lift like this would provide "an uphill capacity of 3,000 people per hour," the USFS said.

The second project is to construct 22.06 miles of new mountain biking trails that can be accessed from both the American Eagle and Woodward Express Chairlifts. These trails would replace a proposal that was previously approved to construct 18 miles of trail — that project has not started yet.

proposed mountain bike trails_Copper Mountain

The USFS said these would be characterized as "singletrack, flow, hybrid, or jump trails" to appeal to a variety of biking styles and levels.

"Proposed trails would be built using sustainable trail construction techniques, employing hand crews and small machinery when necessary," the USFS said. "They would be constructed and maintained using methods that minimize user conflict and maximize a natural surface texture, including bare soil and bedrock."

Both of these projects would occur on National Forest System land within the resort's special use permit area.

Click here to learn more.

Comments on these projects are due by Oct. 20.

To submit a comment online, click here and reference the Copper Mountain project. Written comments can be submitted to:
Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor, c/o Sarah Strehle
Dillon Ranger District
PO Box 620
Silverthorne, CO