Growth, Gondola, and a view from the top
thanks for your post. I look forward to the time when more instructors are using MSP to blog and create momentos for their students.
I am not acquainted with the changes Loveland's summit chair made to the area. However, I can speak to the Imperial. The traffic flow of the upper mountain, with the obvious access to previously only hike-to terrain has been the biggest change. Peak 8 doesn't get tracked out as fast. The Northbowl's "secret spots" and powder stashes can remain good for a day or two, rather than just hours. The "Front Bowl" Horseshoe, on windy days has turned into somewhat of a local knowledge playground. New comers don't want the ride up the windy t-bar, but that is exactly the place to go. They ride the Imperial instead.
Of course the Lake Chutes and Snow White now have access. Prior to the Imperial Chair, the time and energy of preparing Snow White to be skied would have been too expensive for the reward. And there may not have been enough skier traffic to keep it safe. A 3-minute hike is now all that is required. Some purists, want the hike to keep people away. I don't subscribe to that belief. I think when the skier numbers for the year come out, and Breck is #1 in North America the people will have spoken.
Regarding the Gondola. I have always liked the idea of minimizing the traffic going up to P8. However, I was a very vocal opponent with how the employee parking situation was handled. And I was called into the CEO's office on an occasion to voice my criticisms, and potential solutions. Fortunately several of my recommendations were incorporated to some degree. During those meetings I was shown some of the plans for the Gondola area. There are some good plans. i.e. a better walking connection from the lots to town (good for town restaurants and retail); potential parking structures; new "day lodge" type facilities at the bottom of the gondola.
Obviously, the gondola access to the resort has increased the property values of the Shock Hill neighborhood. Also, condo/hotel units will be build at the midway station. And a major development at the base of P7 is being built, as it is nearly sold out. It is awesome to think that the time and energy of putting in a $10 million gondola will increase property values in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Pretty cool actually.
We will have to see how private interests buy and build up the land around the gondola area. I'm sure they will. However, the Breckenridge Town Council has an implied focus on keeping the integrity of Main St. It is after all a National historic district, as well as a main selling point of the Breckenridge Experience.
Regarding the blog, I have had many requests to keep it going during the summertime. The object being, to keep students/readers/friends from around the world in touch with what goes on around here during the spring/summer/fall. Those of us who live here, know the cliche' is true. "We came for the winters, and stay for the summers"
James, thanks again for reading the blog. Pass it on. I should have the next free monthly report out in mid-May.