Unauthorized road construction by Vail Resorts' contractors has prompted the U.S. Forest Service to force a delay of opening the much-anticipated Bergman Bowl at Keystone until to the 2023-2024 season.
Work had already begun this spring to prepare 550 acres of intermediate alpine terrain for the coming 2022-2023 season. That work including installation of a new high-speed six-pack chairlift.
However, in July, the Forest Service discovered that crews had built a temporary construction road beyond permit boundaries, and issued a cease-and-desist order until damage to fragile treeline and above-treeline tundra was repaired.
In hopes of keeping the much-touted project on schedule, Keystone officials quickly worked up a restoration plan to remove damage done by the road and reclaim a stream crossing that had been filled in by crews.
Despite saying the restoration project was one of the best they had ever seen, officials of the White River National Forest said further environmental review was necessary before work on the lift could resume.
That led Vail Resorts to announce that Bergman Bowl, long a hike-to and snowcat favorite off the top of North Peak, will remain as such until next summer's construction season. Other parts of the project, including expansion of the Outpost restaurant atop North Peak, placing snowmaking equipment in the area and doing trail work will continue this summer.
The nation's largest ski and snowboard resort conglomerate and purveyor of the Epic Pass, Vail Resorts continues to work on several other lift installation projects. At Vail Mountain, a new high-speed four-pack is set to run from the base of High Noon Express to the ridge-top Wildwood Restaurant. On the front, Game Creek Bowl enthusiasts will get up quicker with a replacement detachable six-seater on the same line as the old lift.
In neighboring Summit County, Vail-owned Breckenridge will give beginners and ski school-ers more runs to lap out of Peak 8 base with a replacement of Rip's Ride fixed-grip with a high-speed four-pack.
At Vail-owned resorts around Lake Tahoe, skiers and riders who go to Northstar California should expect to see a six-pack replacement of the four-seater Comstock Lift at the busy mid-mountain. And, visitors to Heavenly Mountain should be able to get to the top of North Bowl in almost half the ride time with a new high-speed chair.
However, Park City Mountain visitors and loyalists will have to wait for two replacement chairlifts at a busy juncture near the crossover to the Canyons area, as local citizens convinced the planning board to reevaluate the project. Vail Resorts has said it will appeal.
Used to be that the first week of April was the traditional time to hang up the skis, store away the boots, and dust off the summer recreation equipment. Not so much nowadays.
After an unusually warm start to the ski season from coast to coast, the forecast features a blast of cold and snow that we snow-lovers have been waiting for. From California to Wisconsin, heavy snow is in this week's SnoCast forecast.
Having paused lift construction in the 2020-2021 season, Vail Resorts unleashed its financial wherewithal to make it easier to move around a half-dozen of the 19 of its ski and snowboard mountains in the Rockies and the Sierra.