C-Chair at Breckenridge Ski Resort serves an important service to skiers as it provides expeditious access to one intermediate and three expert runs without being funneled into the “slow zone” and beginner runs at the base of Peak 9. We all know the risks and dangers of these high-volume areas, which is why many skiers choose to avoid the bottom of the mountain until day’s end. So why is it closed during weekdays?
Contrary to the belief that the closures are because of a manpower shortage or cost savings, that is not the reason. According to senior director of mountain operations Jeff Zimmerman, it’s a capacity decision. Due to lower skier volume during weekdays, the Beaver Run and Mercury Superchair lifts are sufficient to handle skier volume.
What is missing in this decision is the consideration of the customer experience. It’s a lot like if Colorado Highway 9 traffic volume could be handled by one lane, then it makes sense to close the second lane, right? Skiers who wish to focus their skiing on Volunteer, Peerless, American and Gold King — the terrain of their choosing — are being denied the ability to efficiency exercise their choice and obtain maximum safety for themselves and others around them. Instead, after each running of these slopes, an increased risk of injury is being introduced to skiers by forcing them to intermingle with less advanced skiers, ski school and the adaptive ski program.
Zimmerman is a great guy and respected my points of view. He explained that I am the first person after all these years who has questioned this decision. I left our meeting with a feeling of optimism and the door open to compromise. So speak up, or forever ski to the bottom!