Hyland ski projects moving forward

RTT.minn_.Hyland.jpgFollowing an extensive functional and budget review that culminated in late May, your Three Rivers Board of Commissioners gave a green light to move ahead on two major improvements at our very popular Hyland Ski & Snowboard Area - one for downhill skiers and boarders, and one for Nordic skiers.

As both a downhill and cross country skier myself for more than four decades now, I am very excited that these long-needed projects will soon be a reality, and in a financially responsible way. With my own kids growing up at Hyland, I tripped over more ski boot bags in that antiquated building than I care to remember, and look forward to the greatly improved spaces in the new digs!

Although it's been in the planning stages for many years, it was important that all of us newly elected Three Rivers Commissioners have an opportunity to get up to speed on the plans for a new Hyland Chalet and parking expansion. That took place over the past six months, and resulted in a "right-sized" facility that maintains critical public use areas within a reasonable budget.

These long-needed improvements to our fee-supported facility, which trains 37,000 skiers annually, will not require any new tax dollars for the $14.15 million project budget we established. The plans include far better internal circulation for the equipment rental, food service and group meeting choreographies that characterize our weekly activities at Hyland. I am particularly pleased with the much expanded general seating area and design improvements we will be making for the many adaptive skiers we serve.

I would encourage you to review the approved schematic design, follow our progress over the next two years, and offer your ongoing feedback at our new project blog that was set up specifically to engage those we serve:  http://hssaredevelopment.com/about-hssa/

 

In late June, the Three Rivers Board and Bloomington City Council also approved a new 5K Hyland cross-country ski trail with snowmaking and lighting, similar to our highly popular, and often overcrowded, Nordic trail at Elm Creek. As we all worked through the inevitable issues associated with public improvements, I am happy to report that both our elected boards unanimously approved this important project.

crosscountry.jpgThese improvements will allow Three Rivers to offer a longer, more stable Nordic ski season at Hyland. The trail will utilize existing trails and service roads within the park to minimize impacts on our park’s valuable natural resources, and is designed to provide rolling terrain with varying levels of difficulty for a wide range of skiers. The lighting system will consist of low wattage, light-emitting diode (LED) light fixtures that have significantly lower lumen levels than typical “shoebox” type fixtures. These fixtures allow light to be aimed more precisely and efficiently, while consuming far less energy than typical light fixtures.

The Hyland Visitor Center will continue to provide trailhead facilities, including restrooms, concessions and ski equipment rentals. See a map of the planned 5K trail. With all of the approvals now in place, our aggressive goal is to open the new trail by December 2013 in time for the next winter season!

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John Gunyou
Three Rivers Parks Board Chair