Error Pauses Bergman Bowl Construction at Keystone

Keystone Resort has apologized and halted some work on the Bergman Bowl expansion due to a mistake made by the construction team. “An area that was supposed to have a minimal construction route was instead approached as a temporary construction route. This was due to a misunderstanding by our construction team, for which we take full responsibility,” read a statement from Keystone Vice President and General Manager Chris Sorensen released this afternoon. “Keystone Resort has a long history of successful partnership with the U.S. Forest Service on projects that provide guests the opportunity to enjoy outdoor recreation within our National Forest. We take this mistake seriously, and at their direction have paused some work at the site while the USFS conducts an assessment to determine next steps,” he continued.

The expansion encompasses 555 acres with 16 new trails and is one of the largest capital projects in the United States ski industry this season. Leitner-Poma was in the process of building the six passenger Bergman Express, set to top out at 12,282 feet in elevation. Keystone’s statement did not specify whether it was resort employees or a contractor that made the mistake. “We deeply regret the impact this unauthorized construction activity has had on the environment that our team works carefully to protect every day. At this time, we do not yet know if this will impact the opening of lift-served terrain at Bergman Bowl this season,” said Sorensen, who promised to keep the public informed.

The Bergman project is part of the Epic Lift Upgrade, a push to build or replace 21 lifts across 14 Vail resorts in 2022. Two large lift projects at Park City were already dropped from this year’s program due to a successful appeal by local residents.


36 thoughts on “Error Pauses Bergman Bowl Construction at Keystone

  1. Ash July 27, 2022 / 2:39 pm

    Fail Resorts……need we say more. What a terrible company….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif July 27, 2022 / 2:57 pm

      Or this is just a matter of “things happen”. This could happen at any ski area, and we don’t know all the details.


      • Calvin July 27, 2022 / 3:09 pm

        This is a blatant disregard of their work permit. This isn’t a “misunderstanding” as they claim or an oops.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Nahms July 27, 2022 / 3:14 pm

          Blatant disregard for the environment… add it to the list of other things Fail disregards about their ops (guests, employees, safety…)

          Liked by 1 person

      • Ash July 27, 2022 / 3:10 pm

        Well, like they say opinions ….. everyone has got one…


    • skitheeast July 27, 2022 / 5:11 pm

      It was a contractor that messed up, not Vail Resorts themselves. It is absolutely their responsibility, as they hired the contractor in the first place. However, as of what we know now, it is hard to put too much blame on Vail because contractors can make mistakes and there have been many prior mishaps with contractors at non-Vail mountains.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Donald Reif July 27, 2022 / 10:28 pm

        Vail Resorts mostly ends up being the scapegoat here.


        • Sam D. July 28, 2022 / 7:42 am

          Why does the lift even need to be there in the first place? Because vail has funneled every Denver skier into keystone making the ski experience terrible unless they add a new lift to serve all the new people. Don’t care if it was a contractor or not, vail is the root of these issues and they should be held accountable.


        • Donald Reif July 28, 2022 / 7:48 am

          “Because vail has funneled every Denver skier into keystone making the ski experience terrible unless they add a new lift to serve all the new people.”

          The lift needs to exist to spread out the crowds. That’s the reason Breck expanded nine years ago onto Peak 6. And that increased demand has nothing to do with Vail Resorts, because Alterra and Powdr owned hills in Colorado also saw increased visitor numbers this past year.


        • Keystone has also needed more ‘easy blues’ for quite some time. The original front side has some nice runs, but they can be crowded and get skied down to hardpack fairly fast.
          This should be a great addition to the intermediate experience, and get people interested in bowl skiing. It has seemed like the second gondola has been underutilized most seasons, and this pod of runs will give a reason to head back while, perhaps, skipping Mozart which can be a bit tough at the steep section for just-progressing green/low-blues.
          I’m very disappointed in the environmental error. But the USFS update makes it sound like the repair to the disturbance may be more doable than it first appeared.


  2. Jesus Reimenschnieder July 27, 2022 / 4:46 pm

    It’s easier to ask forgiveness, and pay a token penalty, than to do it correctly…


    • Muni July 27, 2022 / 7:46 pm

      That’s a huge bummer. But it’s also necessary. There should be real financial consequences for a company that fails to prioritize sustainable development. There are a lot of resorts where this mistake simply would not have happened (A Basin, SkiCo, Taos).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Anthony July 27, 2022 / 8:26 pm

        Exactly. Whether Vail is directly or indirectly responsible, corporate culture absolutely matters.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wiggles July 27, 2022 / 7:22 pm

    Maybe they should give the minions paper construction maps

    Liked by 3 people

  4. kiroro July 27, 2022 / 8:40 pm

    thats a fail resorts moment, just like park city projects blocked

    Liked by 1 person

    • Donald Reif July 27, 2022 / 10:26 pm

      The PCMR issue has to do with NIMBYs.


      • Sam D July 28, 2022 / 7:46 am

        Forgive the people in Park City for prioritizing themselves rather than taking on VR on a global scale. You might call locals NIMBYs but I call you a Vail dick rider. Hope your lift lines are EPIC this year man!


        • SCSkier July 28, 2022 / 7:50 am

          Oh yes. How dare we not forgive the rich white people for wanting to restrict access to US forest service lands we are all entitled to. How dare we ask for a better mountain experience when they don’t want to pay for slopeside parking for the 5 minute drive from their mcmansion.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Donald Reif July 28, 2022 / 7:54 am

          The PCMR issue, to quote @skitheeast, “came down to an old clause that four residents in a town of more than 8,000 people utilized to their advantage. These sorts of loopholes exist in towns and cities across the nation and are constantly utilized to stop or reduce new development. The Park City Planning Commission is elected by Park City residents, who are incentivized to stop or reduce all new development to the greatest extent possible. However, as the town stops or reduces development, demand for the town and its services continues to rise, creating supply and demand imbalances that anger the same locals who created the situation in the first place. This is basic NIMBYism.”


    • Utah Powder Skier July 28, 2022 / 9:40 am

      It doesn’t make much sense to categorize both of these as “Fail Resorts moments.” Sure, both Park City and Keystone are owned by Vail, but the issues are completely different. Unlike Park City, the Forest Service would have made the exact same move if it were any other company, regardless of their opinions on Vail.

      Let’s not forget that Vail owns many resorts that are on Forest Service land and have gone years without any issues. If this were to happen two years ago, it wouldn’t have been a “Fail Resorts moment” but only because of it being a few months from the Park City incident, you guys see it as a recurring “Fail Resorts Moment”

      Liked by 2 people

      • Donald Reif July 28, 2022 / 12:12 pm

        “Sure, both Park City and Keystone are owned by Vail, but the issues are completely different.” Yeah, Park City’s is the town playing hardball and holding Eagle 6 and Silverlode 8 for ransom because of the parking issue. And the timing for the Keystone incident doesn’t help. (On top of Vail Resorts kinda being a scapegoat of sorts, IMO)


  5. afski722 July 28, 2022 / 7:48 am

    Don quit being a Vail apologist. This isn’t a “things happen”. While it may have been a contractor is a pretty big fail to build an authorized road in sensitive environmental areas. The whole premise of this entire expansion project involved added terrain in environmentally sensitive areas. The whole permit and approval spelled out those areas, and which construction methods were approved.
    Its a pretty big oversight whether that be Vail Resorts or the contractors not being aware of the plans and not having the awareness about road building in alpine terrain.


    • Kirk July 28, 2022 / 9:52 am

      Unfortunately many Vail managers and supervisors, that have what most of us would call an outside position, (pre-corporate skiing) are stuck in the office all day answering emails etc. and never get a chance to go out on the mountain and see what’s going on.


    • Donald Reif July 28, 2022 / 12:14 pm

      This could happen at any ski area. It just so happens this incident involved a Vail Resorts owned ski area. As Utah Powder Skier noted, the USFS would’ve done the same thing if Keystone was owned by Powdr or Alterra.


      • Nahms July 28, 2022 / 12:58 pm

        …but it doesn’t though…


        • SCSkier July 30, 2022 / 11:16 am

          Lake Louise was fined 2 million dollars back in 2018 for cutting down protected trees during glading. It absolutely happens elsewhere.


      • Kirk July 28, 2022 / 9:45 pm

        So, what’s that got to do with this situation??? If I go over the speed limit, I get a ticket and so do you??? Vail went over the seed limit so to speak, not some other hypothetical company.


  6. SKIID July 28, 2022 / 10:06 am

    This is all on Vail. This is not some mom and pop ski area trying to expand for the first time and not knowing the rules. Vail should be the experts by now and know what they are doing and have the entire expansion process down to a science. They should have all the people in place so this kind of crap doesn’t happen. The fact that this did happen proves that Vail really doesn’t care.


  7. tylerthetechguy July 29, 2022 / 5:18 pm

    Boy, there sure are some people on here who have it out for Vail, and seem to be ready to call names and personally insult those who don’t share their opinions. I don’t agree with everything Vail does, but in general they seem to be fairly professionally run, and they wouldn’t have been cavalier about flaunting the rules when the costs to them are going to be this significant. This will impact them financially, both fixing the mistake made and the consequences of not having this lift ready for next season. And if you don’t believe it’s important to Vail to have a great relationship with the US Forest Service, on which lands many of their resorts operate, you’ve got no clue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ShangRei Garrett July 29, 2022 / 5:39 pm

      I think at the end of the day, without really knowing what went on behind the scenes, everyone just automatically wants to point their finger at Vail, solely because Vail has had so much negative PR over the past year that people don’t feel guilty piling on

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Peter August 1, 2022 / 1:06 pm

    I know that the Forrest Service has their rules and a standard to abide by. But it seems like they generally are a little over the top when it comes to ski resorts on national forrest land. The skiing community is generally speaking one of the most pro-environment communities in the US, so it seems like picking battles with the ski business has little logic. Also in the grand scheme of things, is one road in the alpine tundra really that big of a deal compared to the millions of acres of national forrest that burns every year due to forrest fires? Seems like the Forrest Service should have more important priorities than a singular road at Keystone

    Also, to everyone saying this stuff only happens to Vail, it literally happened to Snowbird this summer too with the tram, and that could have easily killed someone, so the “it only happens to Vail” argument is kinda pointless.


    • Kirk August 6, 2022 / 8:38 am

      After finding out what really happened. It sounds like the damage to the “tundra and wet lands” was a pretty obvious in your face disregard for the work/ access agreement. One can argue if Vail is good or bad. But ultimately it’s the permit holders responsibility to make sure all the permit conditions agreed on with the USFS are compiled with.

      But I do agree in the general sense that the USFS, at least in the west does everything in it’s power to make it as hard as possible on ski areas to do any dirt work, even on already disturbed terrain.
      Obviously the phrase “common sense” has been taken out of the English language a long time ago.

      I wouldn’t be surprised in the whole project is re evaluated and no access is allowed to the top and all lift components have to be flown up by helicopter.

      An other construction option. Here in the Sierra we have had to build several top terminals and line tower foundations over the snow. Building snow access roads for equipment, not disturbing any terrain but the immediate terminal or tower sites.

      Liked by 1 person

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