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Colorado's Eldora Resort Gets Initial Approval to Expand

Eldora Mountain Resort, a ski area only 21-miles west of Boulder, Colorado, has been given "tentative approval" to expand its boundaries and make on-mountain upgrades. Much of Eldora is within the Roosevelt National Forest, so any expansion needs approval from the U.S. Forest Service. Now, an environmental impact statement gives the green light for Eldora to expand beyond its current 680 skiable acres, but some environmentalists have come out against the plan.

So what does Eldora's plan for expansion include?

· 119 acres of new and improved tree skiing
· 65 acres of added snowmaking coverage (Eldora already boasts an advanced snowmaking system that covers 100% of their groomed terrain.)
· An additional 185 acres of blue, black, and double black trails. The resort would grow by about 70 acres on its north side and 18 acres on its south.
· Replacing the Corona lift with a six-chair and replacing the Challenge and Cannonball lifts with one six-person chairlift.
· Adding two new six-person chairlifts called the Jolly Jug and Placer
· Building a new 850-seat restaurant called the Challenge Mountain lodge below the top of the Indian Peaks Lift
· An extensive remodel of its current slope-side restaurant, Lookout lodge, which will grow to between 7,700 and 9,700 square feet and add 300 more guest seats.
· Parking to increase by 560 spaces.

Much of the improvements aim to increase reliability and safety during Eldora's epic wind events.

So what's next? Although the ski area has approval from the U.S. Forest Service, now the proposal must make it through a 45-day public objection period. And not everyone is pleased with the plans. According to the Denver Post, environmentalists from the Middle Boulder Creek Coalition and the Sierra Club Indian Peaks Group are planning "vigorous opposition." The groups are worried about the potential impact to the wildlife corridor in Middle Boulder Creek and the effect the expansion will have on backcountry travelers.

· Eldora Mountain Resort [Official Site]
· Feds bless Eldora ski area expansion; environmental groups cry foul [Denver Post]
· Plan For Expansion Of Eldora Ski Area Gets Initial Approval [CBS]
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