The U.S. Forest Service has given its preliminary approval to an expansion of ski operations onto Peak 6 at Breckenridge Resort.

A map depicting Breckenridge Ski Resort's proposed expansion onto neighboring Peak 6.

A map depicting Breckenridge Ski Resort’s proposed expansion onto neighboring Peak 6.

In an Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) released last week Scott Fitzwilliams, forest supervisor of the White River National Forest, gave his nod to the resort’s proposed expansion onto Peak 6 that will involve a base-to-summit high-speed six pack chairlift to serve 280 acres of above-treeline terrain, 100 acres of hike-to terrain and 70 acres of cleared ski trails. A mid-mountain restaurant is proposed after resort officials backed off of earlier plans to build a base area at Peak 6, which would be the Colorado resort’s fifth lift-accessed mountain.

Fitzwilliams indicated that he approved the plan because it will accommodate increasing visitation to the Colorado resort and reduce congestion.

Ski resort officials assert that the expansion is needed to add high alpine bowl skiing for intermediates and to ensure the continued viability of the ski area. Opponents say that the expansion will disrupt wildlife and affect the area’s natural resources. The Forest Service is expected to render its decision sometime after the 45-day public comment period following last week’s release of the DEIS.

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