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Feds To Consider Summer Sports Smorgasbord At Breckenridge


Vail Resorts has submitted a second proposal to the U.S. Forest Service for Epic Discovery, a comprehensive summer activities plan, this time at Breckenridge Ski Resort


Epic Discovery is Vail Resorts' summer activity effort, the first proposed initiative of its kind following last year's passage of the Ski Area Recreational Opportunities Enhancement Act. The company launched the first round of Epic Discovery plans in July 2012 for Vail Mountain. 


The plans for Breckenridge will encourage "learn through play" by featuring extensive environmental educational elements interspersed between numerous new fun activities located in already developed areas of the mountain on Peaks 8 and 7. Vail Resorts will work with The Nature Conservancy to bring scientific content to the eco-discovery experiences and will be contributing 1 percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue toward forest restoration projects.


The proposal includes a number of new activities at Breckenridge, including an additional 14 miles of beginner, intermediate and family oriented mountain biking trails across Peaks 7 & 8, adventure hiking zones, plus additional activities including zip lines and ropes courses. 


"Epic Discovery offers guests the unique opportunity to try new outdoor activities, challenge themselves physically, discover an appreciation for nature and create lasting family memories," said Pat Campbell, senior vice president and COO at Breckenridge Ski Resort, said in a prepared statement. "The specific proposal for Breckenridge will also expand our mountain biking and hiking offerings to guests of all ages — enhancing Breck as a biking destination."


Breckenridge will contribute 1 percent of all summer lift ticket and activity revenue to The Nature Conservancy for forest health restoration projects on national forest lands in the West.


If the U.S. Forest Service approves the proposal, Vail Resorts would begin construction on Epic Discovery activities in the summer of 2015. If approved, the resulting on-mountain, eco-conscious experience would generate new jobs related to both the construction of the new facilities and the long-term operation, and would help support a much healthier year-round economy for the local resort community, officials say.  


"I authored the bipartisan Ski Area Recreational Opportunities Enhancement Act to drive job creation and tourism in Colorado's mountain communities. I am thrilled this new law continues to benefit Colorado small businesses, resorts and towns, such as Breckenridge, which are eager to introduce Colorado's forests to more individuals, groups and families," said U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.


"Colorado has the best public lands, open spaces and mountains in the world. I am glad my common-sense legislation will help our resorts continue to boost our mountain communities' economies throughout the year," Udall added.


Officials for Vail Resorts (NYSE: MTN) said plans for Beaver Creek, Keystone, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood will be announced and submitted at later dates.


Here is Vail Resorts' description of its plans for Breckenridge:


  • Mountain Biking: Approximately 14 miles of family, beginner and intermediate mountain biking trails will be added to Breck's existing trail system across Peaks 7 & 8 along with a new biking headquarters at the base of Peak 7.
  • Zip Line Thrill Ride : At 50 feet above ground, gliding at 45 mph, guest can ride on a zip line solo or race against family members and friends. Breck's thrill ride will feature four zip lines set up side by side.
  • Lookout Tower/Platform: Welcome to the Horseshoe Bowl lookout tower, a panoramic viewing balcony nestled within the most awe-inspiring natural scenery in the world. 
  • Climbing Wall: At this world class climbing wall and boulder area, climbers will pit themselves against nature with climbs for both beginners and experts, from single to multi pitch routes.
  • Challenge Course: You'll work with your family and friends to complete a multi-stage tour combining zip lines, ropes swings, bridge components and other features.
  • Discovery Tours: Ultimate outdoor experiences, these guided canopy zip line tours will immerse guests in the forest on an array of zip-lines and aerial bridges with breathtaking vistas of town and the Ten Mile Range as you work your way down Peak 7 of Breckenridge Ski Resort. Experienced guides will help guests navigate the course, and teach about the local flora and fauna.
  • Discovery Hiking Zones: Breck is working with The Nature Conservancy to integrate fun with learning through Interpretive Discovery Zones across the mountain and enrich every adventure experience for the entire family. Imagine learning about a moose's habitat, while walking the same trails the animals do.
  • Adventure Parks: A playground to introduce young children to the wonders of the forest, the Kids' Adventure Zone at Breck will feature bungee trampolines, alpine slide, gem panning, a human maze and mountain bike park!
  • Off Road Mountaintop Tours: A two-hour adventure to highlight Breck's legendary views in a vehicle just as iconic: an off-roading SUV. 


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