Vail seeks expansion of summer activities
Broomfield-based Vail Resorts Inc. (NYSE: MTN) has submitted a comprehensive summer activities plan to the Forest Service requesting approval for new activities. Other planned activities include more hiking and mountain biking trails on existing ski area land and new Segway trails and tours.
The proposal is the first of its kind to be submitted to the Forest Service after Congress passed the Ski Area Recreational Opportunities Enhancement Act, which was authored by U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.
Vail Mountain could more than double the number of summer employees it hires to staff the "Epic Discovery, a Summer Mountain Adventure" program, according to Liz Biebl, a Vail Resorts spokeswoman. The ski area now hires about 250 employees every summer to staff on-mountain activities.
"Our proposal could not be possible without the recent passage of new legislation, but with Epic Discovery, our company has raised the bar even further as we teach our kids about the spectacular natural environment that serves as backdrops to our resorts," Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, said in a press statement.
Biebl said the company would not disclose how much it plans to spend on new infrastructure on existing ski area land leased from the Forest Service.
Vail Resorts plans to partner with The Nature Conservancy to bring scientific content to the new experiences, according to the press statement. Vail Resorts also plans to contribute 1 percent of all summer lift-ticket and activity revenue toward forest restoration projects, according to the press statement.
Depending on approval from the Forest Service, construction on the new activities at Vail Mountain could start next summer. Plans for Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone ski areas in Colorado and at Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood ski areas in California will be announced and submitted at later dates, the company said.
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