Frisco Adventure Park and Nordic Center Update
The Peninsula Recreation Area (PRA) is the largest municipally owned recreational feature in the greater Summit County area. With 807 total acres, jointly managed by the Town of Frisco, the USFS, and Denver Water, the PRA is an important recreational asset for the Town and the region. The Frisco Adventure Park is situated on approximately 220 acres of Town owned land at the PRA. It contains diverse, developed recreational amenities that make it an attractive and unique launching point for a variety of summer and winter recreational opportunities. The Frisco Adventure Park at the PRA is one of the features that establishes Frisco’s identity as a unique mountain town.
The winter amenities at the Frisco Adventure Park include snow tubing, Nordic skiing,snowshoeing, beginner skiing/snowboarding, sledding, and sleigh rides/dinners. Town of Frisco staff manage the tubing hill, ski and ride hill, the Nordic Center, and the free sledding hill. Staff are also responsible for special events, programs, and private rentals. Two operations are concessionaire operations run on Town property by a private third party: Two Below Zero Sleigh Rides and Snow Schoolers ski and snowboard lessons.
During the presentation on June 13, 2023, staff reviewed each of the Town run operations and provided participation and operational information.
Tubing and Ski/Ride Hills at the Frisco Adventure Park
The tubing hill and beginner ski/ride hill at the Frisco Adventure Park had a strong year with over 57,399 tubing sessions (32,397 in 21/22) and 1,085 lift tickets sold, and 863 total lessons taught by Snow Schoolers to 2,238 students. The Adventure Park also successfully hosted programs with Team Summit, including the Bubble Gum ski race series and Zeke’s Shredders after school program. The tubing and ski/ride hills were also very successfully staffed this year but did face some weather closures due to wind and below zero temperatures. From April 21-May 26, the Adventure Park also hosted their annual free spring terrain park on the snow leftover from tubing.
Town Council asked about the status of parking, and staff explained that parking availability is certainly challenging during peak times. Subsequently, Town Council discussed whether paid parking, especially on the weekend, would be a viable way to encourage parking turnover, and after some discussion, staff were asked to monitor parking availability during the 2023/24 season, but no decisions were made about pursuing paid parking in the future.
Nordic Center and Trails
Overall, the Nordic Center reported increasing winter users, new winter and summer trail additions, and success in yearly tree planting, which has been happening since 2011 due to the removal of standing dead or diseased trees all over the Frisco Peninsula (loss of 90% tree cover). There are still some ski trail improvements planned, and summer trails are also still being improved. Staffing was stable and included the addition of a Spanish speaking ski instructor.
The Nordic Center opened on December 1, 2022, and the last day of skiing was on April 9, 2023. The Center had 9,544 day use visits (6,935 last season), 4,367 season pass visits (4,443 last season), and 1,147 lesson participants (1,070 last season). One of the biggest challenges at the Nordic Center continues to be unpaid use of the trails (without a trail pass), which was estimated to result in a $20k-30k loss in revenue. Friends of the Dillon Ranger District helped with enforcement this year with limited success so during the 2023/24 winter season, the Dickey Day Use trailhead parking lot will be closed during the winter to provide a more concentrated spot for users to check in with a Nordic Center staff member.
Events, such as Gold Rush, Frisco Freeze winter bike race, and Eat, Ski, Be Merry, saw increased or stable attendance. Town Council asked about the possibility of bringing the Gold Rush back to a Main Street start, and staff said this was feasible if they are able to get permission to groom the County recreation path for the races. Council also asked about fat biking, and Nordic staff explained that a fat biking trail system would need to be separate from the Nordic ski system or could happen outside of regular ski hours; staff suggested that it might be good to consider this for trails south and west of Frisco in the future. Council also asked about biathlon facilities, and staff explained that the first step would need to be a survey to determine where this would be possible; this is not currently planned.
Snowmaking began on October 17 and went through December 3 at the tubing hill and Nordic Center. 10,855,485 gallons of water were used for snowmaking in order to extend the season at the tubing hill and Nordic Center.
Construction of major capital facilities at the Adventure Park is funded through the Capital Improvement Fund. Specifically for 2023 and 2024, construction of Slopeside Hall is being funded through the Capital Improvement Fund and will greatly benefit the operations at the Nordic Center (to meet the increased demand from Nordic teams) and the tubing and ski/ride hill, as well as youth programs.
Old Town Hall Project Update
Between 2022 and 2023, Town staff and Wember Owner’s Representatives, have been working with Stais Architecture and Interiors and MW Golden Constructors to solidify a remodel and expansion plans for Old Town Hall (the current Visitor Information Center) that will not only improve and preserve a Town asset but suit the needs of Frisco for the several decades to come. There are two options that have been proposed: 1- staying in the existing footprint, making building improvements, and increasing the size of the men’s bathroom by expanding into the existing building and 2- expanding the building to accommodate a larger men’s bathroom, to build a unisex bathroom, to create pass-through access to the bathrooms, and to generally expand and remodel the interior of the Information Center space. There is also a plan to improve the Old Town Hall Park behind the building.
Each of the two options includes a remodel of the facility that will improve the main entrance to allow for better circulation and access. In addition and in each plan, the footprint of the men’s restroom would be expanded to meet the use demand; almost 100,000 people use the Information Center restrooms per year currently. The presence and addition of any restroom space supports Main Street businesses, many of whom only have small or no public restrooms. The improved and additional restrooms would also better accommodate event attendees in the Town’s core area. Just the second option includes an expansion to accommodate a gender-neutral restroom, fulfilling the Town’s strategic objectives around inclusivity and fulfilling earlier direction from Frisco Town Council.
The remodel and expansion of Old Town Hall is budgeted at $1.6M in 2023. Staff has been working closely with MW Golden Constructors for months on pricing and the most cost-effective means of construction, and with the 100% construction drawings that are now completed for the Old Town Hall facility and restrooms, the cost estimate totals $2,325,739.00.
Town staff has also been working with Michael Baker, the Town’s grant consultant, to explore funding opportunities for the sustainability options that are currently incorporated into the building’s design. The conversations have been promising, and Town staff will continue to work towards pursuing the funding opportunities that exist for the removal of the gas service and the installation of heat pumps for the HVAC system.
Town Council gave direction to staff to not proceed with construction in 2023 and to instead take this building through the budgeting process again for the 2024 budget by presenting both options for the building, using the existing footprint or expanding the building.
Planning Commissioner Vacancy Applications
Former Planning Commissioner Robert Franken stepped down from the Town of Frisco Planning Commission in April, and subsequently in May, Town Council recognized Franken’s tenure and service to the Frisco community. There is a need to appoint a new Planning Commissioner to fill the vacancy. Four applicants were considered and interviewed out of the seven applications received, and Town Council moved to appoint April Connolly to the Frisco Planning Commission. Council noted their gratitude for the excellent candidates and robust interest in serving on the Frisco Planning Commission.
Authorization of the Community Relations Technician
During the 2023 budget process, the Community Service Officer position in the Police Department (PD) moved from PD to the Community Development Department (CDD), and the position title was changed to Community Relations Technician. Under our current Town Code, this position was not authorized to issue citations. Ordinance 23-11 amends Chapter 124 of the Code of Ordinances of the Town of Frisco by adding a new Article IV to authorize the enforcement of certain Town laws by a Community Relations Technician.
Recruitment is currently underway for one Community Relations Technician. Through this ordinance, Chapter 124 of the Code of Ordinances would be amended to reflect that the Community Relations Technician would not be required to be certified by the Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training Board. With this ordinance, the Community Relations Technician is also authorized to enforce all of the laws of the Town, except for those specifically called out in the ordinance, including criminal offenses and traffic violations.
Town Council approved Ordinance 23-11 on second reading.
Ordinance to Adopt the 2020 Model Traffic Code
The Model Traffic Code (MTC) is a document maintained and published by the Colorado Department of Transportation. The Town previously adopted the 2003 edition of the MTC into Chapter 167 of the Frisco Town Code. Since that time, as important new state traffic laws have been adopted, the Town has amended its 2003 MTC to adopt those new laws. The Town Attorney clarified that significant changes have been made to the code in the years since the 2003 edition of the MTC were adopted, and that this adoption is a 100+ pages of “housekeeping”.
Due to small changes in State traffic laws that the MTC accumulates over time, the best practice to achieve uniformity in traffic laws between state and local governments is to repeal and re-adopt the latest version of the MTC from time to time.
Ordinance 23-16 was passed upon second reading by Town Council to repeal and re-enact Chapter 167 of the Town of Frisco, as it relates to vehicles and traffic and adopt the 2020 edition of the Colorado MTC.
Frisco Town Council Meetings: Ways to ParticipateFrisco Town Council meetings are available to view via Zoom and YouTube, and are also held in person to make Town Council meetings easier to access for everyone.
The public can provide comment during meetings via Zoom or in person (not YouTube), and a public comment period will be available at 7:00pm; during the consideration of ordinances; and at the discretion of Town Council during work session items, which are discussions that don’t require a formal vote by Town Council and do not require public comment.Again, this hybrid approach is intended to make Town Council meetings more accessible, and meeting recordings will typically also be made available the day after a meeting in the meeting archive with agenda topics bookmarked to the discussions in the video.