July 23, 2015

USFS Accepts CBMR’s Expansion Project Proposal

Model Released image of skiers and snowboarder in the first time for the public to ski the expansion of Crested Butte Mountain, Teo2. (Photo/Nathan Bilow)

Big news from Crested Butte Mountain Resort.  The Forest Service has accepted CBMR’s Expansion Project Proposal.  Below is the official press release.  Photo: Nathan Bilow 

US Forest Service Accepts Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s Expansion Project Proposal

Environmental analysis to begin to look at project feasibility

MT. CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – July 21 – Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) is looking towards the future. For the quintessential mountain resort in southwestern Colorado, the future means a major expansion of 500 acres for skiing, riding and biking. The proposal calls for two new chairlifts, a replacement of the North Face surface lift, more snowmaking on current ski terrain, and 15 miles of singletrack trail to add to the resort’s Evolution Bike Park. Recently, the resort received a letter from the US Forest Service’s Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forest District Office initiating an environmental review of the project, stating that they are “officially accepting project proposal components [in accordance with] the 2013 Master Development Plan”. The components to which the letter refers include:

  • Construction of three lifts, replacing one lift and adding two others
  • Construction of new intermediate and advanced ski trails and glades
  • New snowmaking infrastructure, covering 32 acres of existing terrain
  • Construction of approximately 15 miles of multi-use and mountain bike trails within the current ski area boundary
  • A Special Use Permit boundary adjustment

This letter formally announces the Forest Service’s intent to begin the environmental scoping process for the project that will take place over the course of the next couple of years. CBMR, Forest Service and an expert third party contractor, SE Group will work together in the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), required by the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) for the proposed improvements to be made on public lands.

“Crested Butte Mountain Resort and the entire valley are in the midst of some exciting times, where many new visitors are discovering what is so unbelievably special about the area,” explains Ethan Mueller, president of CBMR. “We feel these proposals will only strengthen those feelings, and we are looking forward to working with the USFS and our local communities on finalizing plans in a way that we can all move forward in a positive direction based on the strong relationships we have built over the years.  We are excited by the Forest Service’s recent acceptance of our proposal. While it will likely take a couple of years to gain approval for this plan and phase it into reality, we feel this will be a project to watch and enjoy for many years to come.”

What’s Next?

The NEPA process will take place over the next two years. This environmental review will start as the three entities identify any issues that may arise from the project. From there, environmental specialists will perform their reviews of the area, currently known as Teo Park and Teo Drainage. Once any and all impacts have been identified and addressed, the public comment period will begin and the EIS will be drafted. Throughout the NEPA process, the resort will continue to reach out and educate the local community and public officials on the project, as well as host open houses. The intention is to establish transparency so all stakeholders are kept informed.

“Over the course of the last three years, we have engaged community members and groups to educate the public on this proposal and feel that we have major support to move forward,” says John Sale, director of permitting and planning for CBMR. “The Teo Drainage proposal has been designed to develop new terrain that is adjacent to our existing infrastructure; improving and enhancing access for intermediate and advanced skiers into distinctive terrain that is unlike anything we currently offer.  Experts have long had the ability to drop into Teocalli Bowl and feel the sensation of an almost “backcountry” experience, now intermediate skiers and riders will be able to experience this remote area through a network of narrower trails and low angle glades in the Teo Drainage valley, all chairlift accessible.”

About the Author

1. Ed Dujardin
After moving out west for college, Ed took summer school so he could spend winters in Crested Butte. These days, he coaches the Western State Colorado University Freeride Team, and spends as much time as he can fishing the incredible rivers of the area.