By Chris Linsmayer – Courtesy Colorado Ski Country USA
Member ski areas have been busy this spring, summer and early fall working across the state on significant capital infrastructure improvements, new lodging options, dining experiences and more.
In addition to improvements that seasoned skiers and riders will enjoy, CSCUSA members are also offering a wide variety of guest enhancements and learning options that brand-new skiers and riders or those returning the sport after some time away will be excited about this winter. Many will debut enhanced or remodeled rental shops including clothing rental options.
Below is a summary of the many resort improvements at CSCUSA ski areas for the 2019-20 ski season.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
After completing a 468-acre terrain expansion into the Beavers and the Steep Gullies last season, including the new four-person Beavers chairlift, A-Basin is continuing to upgrade its facilities. 2019-20 will be the first full season of Il Rifugo, the highest lift-served restaurant in North America at just over 12,500 feet serving charcuterie boards, wine, espresso and stunning views of the Continental Divide. A-Basin will also have newly remodeled bathrooms in the basement of the main lodge.
For the 2019-20 season, A-Basin has changed its pass partnerships for the upcoming season in an effort to reduce ski and snowboard visits on weekends and holidays and to improve the quality of the guest experience. A-Basin can now be accessed on a limited basis on the Ikon Pass, Ikon Base Pass and Mountain Collective Pass. The only way to ski A-Basin more than 7 days without blackout dates is to purchase an A-Basin season pass for the 2019-20 season. For more information, visit www.arapahoebasin.com.
Guests at Snowmass can enjoy a new Italian restaurant located at 10,620 ft. at the top of Sam’s Knob. The new Sam’s, a $2.5 million remodel, will feature a modern Italian concept that will offer diners sweeping views of the Elk Mountains and a sophisticated and lively food experience. All Aspen Snowmass food and beverage outlets will be straw free in 2019-20.
Visitors to Aspen Mountain will find a new 730-square foot Four Mountain Sports rental shop located in the new W Hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain. The Aspen Snowmass App will also feature increased rewards including a $15 food & beverage credit valid at on-mountain restaurants, $10 credit at Four Mountain Sports, $25 off Ski and Snowboard School lessons as well as exclusive access to all things Aspen Snowmass. Guests may also encounter employees on electric snowmobiles as Aspen Snowmass will introduce Taiga Motor electric snowmobiles into its fleet as part of ongoing sustainability efforts.
The Little Nell, adjacent to Aspen Mountain, will celebrate its 30thAnniversary after undergoing a remodel in the spring of 2019 with events throughout the winter. The 10-year, $600 million Snowmass Base Village Development continues after the opening of the Limelight Hotel in 2018-19. A new community center, the Collective, will open in December 2019 featuring a new restaurant, Mix6, the Moxibar and a community lounge and game area. For more information, visit www.aspensnowmass.com.
Cooper will welcome a lift and terrain expansion for the 2019-20 season featuring a new surface lift and 70 acres of new intermediate and advanced skiing terrain. This will be the first truly expert terrain in Cooper’s history. Cooper will also welcome RFID technology this winter helping guests enjoy a seamless experience. Cooper will have a variety of products for guests of all backgrounds including its First-Timer program, $30 Thursdays and a number of other discounted products. For more information, visit www.skicooper.com.
Opening for the 2019-20 season, Copper Mountain visitors can explore 273 acres of expert terrain on Tucker Mountain with the new Three Bears chairlift. This three-person fixed grip lift, topping out at 12,421 ft, will access terrain that was previously accessible via snowcat or hiking only and provide stunning views of the surrounding area. Guests can enjoy a warming hut at the top of the lift and bathrooms at the bottom.
Copper Mountain has also begun construction on a new 127-room, four-story hotel with anticipated completion as early as 2020. Located in a portion of the Chapel parking lot, the Creekside Hotel will feature an outdoor patio nestled along West Ten Mile Creek complete with fire pits and hot tubs, giving guests a chance to unwind and soak in the views after a day on the slopes. For more information, visit www.coppercolorado.com.
Echo Mountain Resort
After opening its tubing hill in the 2018-19 season, Echo is adding a new food truck, Two Mile Pie, near the tubing hill serving pizza, drinks and snacks throughout the winter. Access to the tubing hill will also be more convenient with a new staircase and a new deck outside the rental shop.
In addition to enjoying Echo’s emphasis on a non-judgmental atmosphere, guests can also purchase new pass products like the Night Season Pass or Midweek Season Pass for under $100. For more information, visit www.echomountainresort.com.
Eldora will roll out new buses in its parking lots this upcoming season to create an improved experience for guests moving between their cars and the slopes. Eldora is also finalizing a rideshare app that will help connect guests in order to facilitate carpooling and reduce traffic ahead of the season.
Terrain park enthusiasts will be excited about Eldora’s new Zaugg terrain-shaping machine, which will allow the park crew to create consistent and innovative park features all winter long. The rental shop will also feature a new tuning machine helping guests to quickly receive ski and snowboard care and get back on the slopes. For more information, visit www.eldora.com.
Granby Ranch is replacing 5,000 feet of snowmaking pipe for the upcoming season. This will allow Granby Ranch to open all blue runs on opening day of the season, currently scheduled for December 13, 2019. Granby Ranch’s new food and beverage team will be offering specific themed dinner options for guests on Wednesday nights throughout the season. For the second season running, Granby Ranch will also offer groups the opportunity to rent the East Mountain for the evening including night skiing. For more information, visit www.granbyranch.com.
Hesperus will offer College Friday’s this season, giving college students in Colorado and New Mexico schools discounted tickets on Friday evenings to enjoy 100 percent of the mountain. Hesperus also offers first-timers over the age of seven up to three free lessons with the purchase of one full-day, full-price lift ticket. For more information, visit www.ski-hesperus.com.
Loveland Ski Area
A year after debuting the new Chet’s Dream chairlift, Loveland is partnering with the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Snowstang for the upcoming season. A roundtrip ticket on the new direct bus service will cost $25 with discounts for seniors, children and disabled passengers. Guests can be picked up at Union Station in Denver and the Denver Federal Center. Snowstang will run on weekends starting December 12 and will run through mid-April, 2020 with some holidays.
Families visiting Loveland for the first time can take advantage of the Family Private Lesson to learn together in a relaxed, noncompetitive environment as a family. For more information, visit www.skiloveland.com.
Monarch will celebrate its 80thAnniversary with a new retail location next to the rental shop that will specialize in rental clothes and cold weather essentials for guests that need them. Ongoing tree thinning will allow Monarch to open a new gladed tree run as well as a children’s interpretive run. For more information, visit www.skimonarch.com.
Powderhorn will welcome a new food and beverage location in its base area, an Umbrella Bar for visitors to sit back and enjoy. Guests will also have the option of staying slope-side in the new tiny home village year-round. Powderhorn will also be launching a new app and website in the fall of 2019 to improve the guest experience. For more information, visit www.powderhorn.com.
Purgatory will offer free ski and snowboard lessons to all first-time skiers and riders of all ages. Children 10 and younger are eligible for a free season pass through the Power Kids program. Young adults up to 36 will also receive discounted season passes. For more information, visit www.skipurg.com.
Silverton Mountain will expand its unguided season for the upcoming winter, now beginning March 18, 2020 and running five days a week, Wednesday-Sunday through April 19, 2020. This is over a 50 percent increase in available ski days during the unguided season. For more information, visit www.silvertonmountain.com.
Guests visiting Steamboat this winter will enjoy the new gondola, which will expand uphill capacity from the base area by nearly 40 percent. The new gondola will also provide a more seamless experience with gondola cabins flush to the ground allowing riders to walk straight on as opposed to stepping up to get into the cabin. Ride time will be reduced from 12 minutes to under 10 minutes. Also new this upcoming season, Ikon passholders will have access to night skiing Thursday- Monday from December through March.
Guests in need of rental equipment can experience the new refurbished and expanded Steamboat Sports in the base area with an improved rental process and more retail offerings. Visitors can also look forward to a full season of the Taco Beast, Steamboat’s roaming snowcat turned food truck. For more information, visit www.steamboat.com.
Sunlight Mountain Resort
A three phase, $4 million expansion has begun at Sunlight with phase one underway this summer. This will expand gladed tree skiing, add five new hike back runs and an additional 500 vertical feet of skiing in the expert only area of the mountain for winter 2019-20. When completed, the entire project will feature a new lift and 100 acres of new terrain. For more information, visit www.sunlightmtn.com.
Telluride Ski Resort
Guests to Telluride can experience 40 new acres of north-facing gladed terrain around Lift 9 this upcoming winter. This new tree skiing will be for advanced and expert skiers and will also include new natural features like steep chutes and rock drops.
Guests can also download Telluride’s new app that includes up-to-the-minute lift status information, snow reporting, trail status, an interactive trail map, push notifications and more. For more information, visit www.tellurideskiresort.com.
Winter Park Resort
A new 6-person Sunnyside chair will be installed for the 2019-20 season, replacing the old 3-person fixed grip chair in one of the most popular areas of the resort. The $6 million upgrade will reduce ride time from eight minutes to under four minutes and reduce lift lines at the bottom of Parsenn Bowl. For the first time, Winter Park will also offer guests guided off mountain adventures like nighttime experiences or backcountry skiing or riding. For more information, visit www.winterparkresort.com.
Wolf Creek Ski Area
Wolf Creek will celebrate its 80thbirthday this winter. A new run, Orion’s Beltway, will offer beginners and intermediates a new option when exploring the mountain. The new Powderroom will offer seasonal pass holders the option of renting a locker for the season. The Raven’s Nest, a modern two-story restaurant located at the top of the Raven Lift, will be upgraded with a new sunroom in the lower level. The remodel will open space and create a more vibrant area for the new Raven’s Grill Café including a new menu. For more information, visit www.wolfcreekski.com.