News Roundup: Colorado

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Likely new lifts for 2017 are pacing 39 percent ahead of last year, when 28 new lifts had been announced on this date.  I’ve identified 39 lift projects for 2017 and if last year’s pattern holds, lift manufacturers will build approximately 57 new ropeways in N. America in 2017, the most since 2004.  We’ll know by about July 1.

New Owner Plans to Reopen Stagecoach, Colorado in 2017

If Don McClean gets his way, Steamboat Springs will have a third ski area again in a little over a year at the site of the largest ski resort failure in American history.  His company, Stagecoach Communities LLC, is under contract to buy the Stagecoach property by October and plans to rebuild the ski area that opened in 1972 and closed less than two years later. Mr. McClean has 38 years of ski industry experience working at Alyeska, Telluride, Beaver Creek and Vail.  “Our intention is to create a blueprint for responsible mountain development,” he told the Routt County Planning Commission. Investors include Bode Miller and others from the Vail Valley and Steamboat Springs.  Two new Doppelmayr quad chairs are planned for next summer.

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The old Stagecoach opened with three Heron-Poma double chairs in December 1972.  It closed in March 1974 when its creditor abruptly pulled financing.  The main lift named Big Hitch was relocated to Granby Ranch in 1988 before being moved again to Winter Park and eventually replaced by the Panoramic Express in 2007.  Two other chairlifts, Little Hitch and Yellow Jacket Express, remain standing on the site and will be removed.  A new high speed quad will replace Big Hitch in a similar alignment and a fixed-grip quad will reach the summit along the former Yellow Jacket Express route.

Mr. McClean surprised the County Planning Commission Thursday with plans to build temporary base facilities along with a high speed quad and fixed-grip quad on the 3,500-acre property that lies 18 miles south of Steamboat.  He addresses the Commission starting at 99:45 of the Sept. 1st meeting which can be heard here.  McClean noted, “[Stagecoach] will be a ski area built by skiers for skiers and riders.”  Doppelmayr has already visited the site and bid the two lifts that will serve 2,200 vertical feet.  The existing landowner, the Wittemyer Family, is working on the ski trails and mountain roads this fall.  “It’s ready to go.” McClean said.