News in Brief
EAGLE COUNTY ” A snowy spring thunderstorm forced Keystone, Vail and Beaver Creek mountains to stop running chairlifts for about an hour Wednesday afternoon.
All resorts stopped running chairlifts in mid-afternoon after spotting lightning in the area. Most of the lifts were back up and running by around 3 p.m. Vail Mountain opted to stay open until 4:30 p.m. ” an extra half-hour to make up for temporary closure.
Keystone re-opened for night skiing on Wednesday night.
Vail Mountain does not restart lifts for 20 minutes after lightning has been spotted, said Jen Brown, Vail Mountain spokeswoman.
The storm Wednesday brought wet snow in the higher elevations. The National Weather Service is predicting a 50 percent chance of snow today, with a chance of snow for the weekend.
BRECKENRIDGE (AP) ” A Forest Service administrator is defending studies of the environment and wetlands that were done before he approved a new ski lift at Breckenridge Ski Resort.
The Environmental Protection Agency expressed concern that the wetlands study was done in late September, typically the driest part of the year, and may have underestimated the extent of wetlands in the area.
Rick Newton, the White River National Forest district ranger in Dillon, said Monday there were few wetlands around the project, and they were not in the path of the new lift.
He said the wetlands are around an existing lift that will be realigned, and the resort will avoid them.
“The folks from Breckenridge and the lift company feel they can put the new towers on upland sites,” he said.
Breckenridge wants to build the $4 million Peak 8 Summit Lift this summer, if approved by the board of its parent, Vail Resorts.
Newton approved the quad lift Jan. 20. The Durango-based environmental group Colorado Wild and others have appealed, arguing the lift isn’t needed.
DENVER (AP) ” A proposal to ban smoking in public places across Colorado is facing opposition from members of both parties in the Senate.
Republicans and Democratic Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora, have lined up against the proposal from Sen. Dan Grossman, D-Denver, even though he hasn’t introduced a bill yet.
Hagedorn said Wednesday that such a law would affect so many people it’s only fair to let voters decide.
“If the proponents don’t think they have statewide support for this, then we shouldn’t be voting on it,” he said.
Grossman said he doesn’t think a referendum would be a good idea since lawmakers already plan to ask voters about a proposed fix for the state’s budget problems this fall. However he said he wouldn’t rule it out.
Grossman and state Rep. Mark Larson, R-Cortez, got the endorsement of health care professionals, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and the Colorado Restaurant Association when they announced the proposal last week.
Grossman said the proposal is still being drafted and he’s considering introducing it in the House first instead of the Senate.
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