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SAM Magazine—Keystone, Colo., Aug. 5, 2022—Work on Keystone Resort’s Bergman Bowl Express will move forward after the U.S. Forest Service approved the resort’s plan to restore environmental damage to a high alpine area incurred during construction.keystone 440x340 However, the lift will not be completed as scheduled in time for the 2022-23 winter season due to construction delays.

“I know this is disappointing news for many looking forward to this new lift-serviced terrain at the resort, including myself and the Keystone team, but right now our primary focus is to make this right by working to fully restore the environment we work passionately to protect,” said general manager Chris Sorensen. 

USFS ordered the resort to cease work on the lift last month after learning that construction on a temporary work road for the lift had extended outside the authorized area and resulted in environmental impacts. Damage to the vegetation in a high alpine area, compaction from heavy equipment on wet soils, damage to a wetland creek, and unauthorized route grading were among the key concerns.

Yesterday, White River National Forest supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams approved the resort’s plan to fully restore the affected high alpine area and rescinded his cease-and-desist order. 

According to the Colorado Sun, Vail Resorts hired an outside firm to develop the remediation plan. 

“Quite honestly, it’s the best restoration plan I’ve ever seen in my life. Even our staff are like ‘Oh my god,’” Fitzwilliams told the Sun. “The restoration plan submitted by Keystone is extremely detailed, thorough and includes all the necessary actions to insure the damage is restored as best as possible.”

Sorensen, who said he was “grateful for the U.S. Forest Service’s partnership through this process,” was optimistic that the new lift would be operational for winter 2023-24. For this season, Bergman Bowl will open for hike-to skiing and riding.

The expansion includes 555 acres with 16 mostly intermediate trails. The six-passenger Bergman Bowl Express was part of Vail Resort’s Epic Lift initiative, which aimed to upgrade 21 lifts across 14 VR properties for the 2022-23 season.