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Crested Butte Moves Forward on Resort Expansion Plans

Crested Butte Mountain Resort just received word from the US Forest Service stating that plans can move forward on a 500-acre expansion of the ski area. Although the project is still in its initial stages, the Forest Service has officially accepted the resort's project proposal in accordance with Crested Butte's 2013 Master Development Plan. The move paves the way for an environmental review of the project, and if that goes well, for construction to start in the next few years.

Crested Butte's Final Master Development Plan aims to do three things:

1. Diversify the terrain on the mountain, with an emphasis on intermediate skiers so that CBMR can remain competitive as a destination resort. According to the development plan, CBMR has only added 35 acres of developed terrain in the past 15 seasons, causing many intermediate destination skiers to vacation elsewhere.

2. Expand summer recreational opportunities. This follows an industry-wide trend wherein ski areas are looking to transform resorts into four-season destinations.

3. Increase the quality of ski resort facilities.

Last year, Crested Butte added 40 acres of advanced/expert terrain called Teo 2, located skiers' right beyond Teocalli Bowl at the top of the High Lift. This was the first step in the resort's plans to expand on the back side of the mountain. Currently, at the end of a run on Teo 2, there's a 20-30 minute hike back to the resort via Schofield Road and Paradise Bowl. But if plans are approved, that won't be the case.

Here's what the Master Development Plan includes:

· Two new lifts in the Teo Park and Drainage area
· A 440-acre Special Use Permit (SUP) increase in the Teo Drainage area
· Replacement of the existing North Face surface lift
· Approximately 118 acres of developed terrain, and 200 acres of undeveloped trials and gladed skiing terrain.
· New snowmaking infrastructure, covering 32 acres of existing terrain
· A warming house located at the top of the North Face lift
· A ski patrol outpost located at the top of the North Face lift
· Construction of approximately 15 miles of multi-use and mountain bike trails with the current ski area boundary.
· Other possible lift upgrades and realignments, including work on the Gold Link Lift, the Red Lady Express, the Painter Boy Lift, the High Lift, the Twister Lift

So what's next? Crested Butte Mountain Resort will work with the Forest Service and a third party contractor (SE Group) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement. This should take about two years. Once the environmental report is released, the public will be able to comment.

· Crested Butte Development Plans [Official Site]
· Crested Butte Adds 40 Acres of Steep-and-Deep Terrain [Curbed Ski]
· Crested Butte Is Building a New Umbrella Bar Mid Mountain [Curbed Ski]
· You Can Now Fly Direct From Los Angeles to Crested Butte [Curbed Ski]