Breckenridge Ski Resort’s proposed expansion to Peak 6 poses a classic growth for business vs. resistance to change and exploitation. The plan was recently approved by the U.S. Forest Service following a study of the project and is now being considered by the town council.
Data included in a recent study of the proposal indicates a possible increase in the number of annual peak days for the town and the mountain, but also shows the expansion will likely pour millions into the local economy. The addition would accelerate the resort’s already steady growth in annual skier visits.
The Environmental Impact Statement found that Breckenridge Ski Resort would likely see a 2 percent yearly increase in skier visits over the next 10 years after building Peak 6, compared with only a .75 percent yearly increase without the expansion. The third alternative would foster a 1.25 percent yearly increase in skier visits.
Over 10 years, the Peak 6 expansion would grow Breckenridge’s number of annual visits to 1.95 million, 250,000 more than if the Forest Service went with the “no-action” alternative, according to analysis included in the draft EIS.
Currently the town and ski resort have enough parking to accommodate just over 21,000 skiers per day, sufficient for most days but not so on peak days. And the crowds of people create congestion both on Interstate 70 and on Highway 9 as well as lift lines, crowding and long waits at local restaurants. Local officials worry that more peak days will not only begin to impact quality of life for locals, but also hurt the experience of visitors to Breckenridge.