The U.S. Forest Service has posted a final record of decision regarding Vail Mountain’s proposal to expand race and training terrain at Golden Peak, which will double the training space utilized by Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) and provide access to additional terrain at higher elevations. The proposal, which was originally submitted to the U.S. Forest Service in 2014 and has undergone a comprehensive environmental review, will increase the size of Vail’s operational boundary by 68 acres, allowing for approximately 42 acres of additional trails, one surface lift and new snowmaking infrastructure. With these improvements, 760 vertical feet will be added to the venue, providing more than 1,500 vertical feet of racing and training terrain in total.
“Ski and Snowboard Club Vail has continued to grow its reputation as a developer of high-caliber talent, and this expansion to the training capabilities at Golden Peak will solidify that, as well as further establish it as a premier, global competition venue, especially for early- and late-season events,” said Doug Lovell, chief operating officer at Vail Mountain. “This project is an example of the value of community partnerships and of the dedication of the U.S. Forest Service to help a project of this scope come to life.”
Construction on the project is set to begin during the summer of 2019. The expansion will double the training space on Golden Peak and create three new trails — two that will primarily host alpine ski racing activities and one that will serve as a dedicated mogul venue. A third alpine trail on the north side of Golden Peak that was also approved has been postponed for a future phase of construction.
“By moving forward with the Golden Peak Improvement Project, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail will fulfill its top strategic priority and create the single-best training environment in the United States,” said SSCV Executive Director Kirk Dwyer. “The expanded terrain will provide a higher-quality, safer and more productive training arena for our athletes, allowing families to save on travel expenses while providing an economic benefit to the Vail community. We couldn’t be more thrilled about this development and thank Vail Resorts and the U.S. Forest Service for their dedication to the project over many years.”
The two new alpine trails will extend the current training and competition arena to the top of Golden Peak, adding 760 vertical feet to the venue for a total of more than 1,500 vertical feet, top to bottom. This extended race hill can be FIS-homologated up to women’s World Cup downhill and men’s NorAm downhill. Additionally, these upper two trails will be serviced by a new surface lift from the Riva Bahn Express (#6) mid-station — enabling racers to access higher elevations earlier and later in the season with maximum productivity.
Dedicated mogul venue
The project also includes the creation of a dedicated mogul venue not far from the base of Golden Peak. The addition of the mogul venue will provide easier access for the club’s athletes and provide a more prominent mogul course near Vail’s base, making it an attractive site for high-level competitions.
“There are huge advantages to having a site over on Golden Peak,” said SSCV Mogul Program Director and 2018 Domestic Coach of the Year John Dowling. “It’s really going to save us a lot of time. It’s going to allow coaches to get to the site early, start prep and get our athletes right to work. Plus, by allowing us to get a full course open so much earlier in the season, for our development-level athletes and our top-level athletes, that’s the most important part of the training season.”
For local athletes, benefits of the project include higher-quality training, increased training volume, less crowded training space for improved safety, and a longer training season that will allow athletes to remain at home with less travel cost and more time in the classroom.
Golden Peak already plays host to some of the world’s best early season training and attracts elite racers who take up residency in Vail every fall. Now, with access to higher elevations and expanded snowmaking capabilities, SSCV expects Golden Peak to be further strengthened as an early and late-season training destination.
For the community, economic benefits of the project include the potential to attract visiting teams during typically low-business months in the fall and spring, the potential to attract elite-level events, such as World Cup and NorAm, and the potential to attract new families with a passion for snowsports to Vail. (More than 160 such families have moved to the Vail Valley in the past five years to take advantage of SSCV training and competition services.)
With news of the approval, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail will now be publicly launching a significant capital campaign to pay for these improvements, including the new surface lift and enhanced snowmaking infrastructure.
To make the dream a reality, the club must raise a total of $5 million to pay for the project. Donations of any amount are needed and appreciated, but the campaign will memorialize gifts starting at the $2,500 level directly on the new alpine starthouse. At the $5,000 level, a one-year locker at the new Golden Peak clubhouse and campaign-specific apparel are offered.
The Golden Peak Improvement Project is occurring alongside development of SSCV’s new clubhouse at the base of Golden Peak, making for a busy period at the club’s training facility in Vail.
“The expansion represents another element of the incredible progress that is happening at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail,” said SSCV Chief Operating Officer John Hale. “Both the expansion and the new clubhouse have been projects that have long been dreamed about at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail. Happily, within the next year, they will both become reality.”
More information about ways to give can be found at skiclubvail.org.
Release courtesy of SSCV.