Loveland announces winning name for new chairlift, but another enhancement encounters resistance

photo : Denverpost

 

Loveland Ski Area officials on Tuesday announced the winning entry in a contest to name the new high-speed quad chairlift that will mark a big improvement in mountain access this coming season.

The new quad replaces the old Lift 1, a sluggish 36-year-old fixed-grip triple that was Loveland’s workhorse chair from the base area. The quad will be called “Chet’s Dream” after longtime owner Chet Upham, who died in 2008.

That’s not the only enhancement in the works as part of $5 million in capital improvements this summer, but Loveland is getting some resistance to one of the other improvements it is proposing.

Loveland is seeking approval from the U.S. Forest Service to operate snowcat tours on 580 acres above Dry Gulch on the north side of the ski area. Of that, 210 acres (one-third of a square mile) is outside Loveland’s special use permit boundaries. To get approval for operating in that terrain, Loveland is seeking an Outfitter-Guide Special Use Permit.

The Colorado Mountain Club sent out an “action alert” on Monday, warning that the expansion could impact backcountry skiing on slopes adjacent to the ski area. It would “interfere with the quiet and remote winter backcountry experience sought by human-powered recreationists,” the CMC email said while encouraging its members to submit comments to the Forest Service by Aug. 10.

“The snowcat operation is designed to be more of a traditional snowcat experience, different than our current ‘Ridge Cat’ which operates inside our operating permit,” said Loveland spokesman John Sellers. “This will be in Dry Gulch adjacent to Loveland ski area, with a majority of the terrain falling inside our special use permit. It’s just terrain that we haven’t utilized as yet. There’s a small portion that goes outside (the permit area).”

The CMC counters that increased traffic from snowcat skiers will disturb powder slopes used by backcountry enthusiasts who hike up from a parking lot just off Interstate 70.

“Overall, the level of snow conditions and disturbance in the area would significantly change the quiet, scenic and remote qualities of this winter landscape,” the CMC argued, “and directly conflict with existing uses in the area.”

There’s nothing controversial about the new lift, which is likely to be hailed by fans of the modest area which will celebrate its 80th anniversary this year. Like its predecessor, it figures to be the first lift in operation when the season starts.

The new lift represents the single largest capital improvement project in Loveland’s history and is its first high-speed chair. It will trim uphill times from eight minutes to three from the base area to a ridge to the south. The name, submitted by former Loveland ski patroller Terry Henningson, was selected from a contest that attracted 3,000 submissions.

“I was on Loveland’s Ski Patrol for a few years in the late ’90s and had the pleasure of meeting Chet a few times,” Henningson said. “Because he was so passionate and played such a big role in developing Loveland into what it is today, I thought that this would be an appropriate way to honor his legacy.”

Upham was famous for saying, “If we’d get a dime, we’d spend it on improvements up there (Loveland).”

Source :

Denverpost

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