When it comes to improving the customer experience, Colorado resorts never rest. As a resident of Evergreen throughout the ‘90s I can personally attest to the incredible level of gamesmanship played on both side of the divide. I bet if someone did the research (sorry, not me) they would find not one year in the last few decades has gone by without a new lift, lodge, restaurant or some such significant capital improvement taking place at a Colorado resort. They are the Gold standard.
My thanks to Colorado Ski Country USA for making this information available. Below is a summary of the many upgrades guests will enjoy during the 2016/17 ski season.
To celebrate A-Basin’s 70th Anniversary, the resort has made significant investments into improving the base area including renovating buildings, improving walkways and ramps, upgrading skier services, expanding Arapahoe Sports and providing better outdoor seating and viewing areas for the main stage.
A-Basin has recently updated all of its webcams, installing new ones last season in the base area and facing the Pali terrain and invested in a partnership with Prism for the Divide Cam, situated at the summit. For more information, visit www.arapahoebasin.com.
Aspen Snowmass has undergone significant renovations in anticipation of the 2016/17 season including an extensive remodel at Gwyn’s High Alpine Restaurant that will expand the building’s capacity from 350 to 800, and add a bar complete with a large wood-burning fire and big-screen televisions. Additionally the cafeteria will have a “market” setup that will improve diners’ access to food.
Lynn Britt Cabin, debuted in the spring of 2016, introduced LBC Après, a lively après party at the quaint cabin featuring $6 Woody Creek Distillers Gin & Juice Cocktails alongside après food specials starting at $5.
Aspen will host the 2017 Audi FIS Ski World Cup Finals March 15-17, 2017, marking the first time the event has been held in the U.S. in 20 years. The races will feature the best men’s and women’s alpine skiing athletes in the world competing in downhill, super-G, giant slalom, slalom and nation’s team event. For more information, visit www.aspensnowmass.com.
This season Cooper will unveil a new mountaintop yurt lodge, a comfortable place to kick back for a break, complete with food and beverage and a large deck with stunning panoramic mountain views.
Other ski area improvements include a new Pistenbully 400 slope groomer to continue to provide the softest and smoothest snow around. There are also new administrative offices at the mountain and a new point-of- sale system in food and beverage and the retail shop. For more information, visit www.skicooper.com.
On the Rockies is Copper’s new bar and entertainment hotspot in the resort’s Center Village. Just steps from the American Eagle chairlift, On the Rockies specializes in craft whiskeys from Colorado and beyond as well as craft beer. It also features a full menu of sandwiches, salads and other American fare.
A second new eatery, Eagle BBQ, will offer a variety of barbeque options in a Colorado-themed atmosphere in Center Village’s Copper Junction building. The restaurant’s patio is as close to the snow as possible, making it a perfect après location. It is expected to open in November 2016.
Recently Copper’s Green Team secured a grant from the State of Colorado to install four Level 2 electric car charging spaces, allowing vehicles to charge in 4-8 hours. Located at the entrance of the Beeler parking lot in Copper’s Center Village, the Chargepoint interface allows users to schedule appointment times through a smartphone app, free of charge.
For 2016/17, Copper will offer a new option for those looking for luxury accommodations during their visit. White River Luxury Rentals will allow guests to book units through the White River Luxury Rentals website and coppercolorado.com. For more information, visit www.coppercolorado.com.
For 2016/17 Crested Butte Mountain Resort will feature a new coffee shop, Coal Breaker Coffee, named after the Ruby-Anthracite. Coal Breaker is located in the Treasury Center in the base area and offers made-to-order crepes, breakfast sandwiches, espresso and hand scooped ice cream.
Another feature for 2016/17 is a new, quarter million dollar, state-of-the-art Montana Crystal Glide Finish automated tuning machine to provide speedy and accurate tuning of skis and snowboards to the Gunnison Valley.
A new program at the resort will debut this season, Women’s Tips on Tuesday’s is a half-day women’s specific ski school led by Crested Butte’s top female pros that concludes with a glass of wine. For more information, visit www.skicb.com.
For 2016/17 Eldora added new runs on Indian Peaks as well as upgraded key facilities in both Timbers Lodge and Indian Peaks Lodge. Other improvements include upgrades to snowmaking equipment and guest Wi-Fi internet. For more information, visit www.eldora.com.
For 2016/17 Monarch is adding three designated uphill travel routes that will allow guests to trek from the base area to the top of the Continental Divide. Guests must register at the information desk to receive the complimentary uphill travel ticket.
Also new this season, Monarch will have one, all-mountain point-of-sale system, Siriusware, that allows guests to log in online and reload their ticket products, skipping the ticket windows and increasing convenience. For more information, visit www.skimonarch.com.
New this season guests will notice the Columbine beginner area has been expanded and re-graded to improve the area where beginners learn to ski and snowboard. Also, the Snow Coaster Tubing Hill has been relocated, redesigned, and enhanced for a better user experience and a hazard tree mitigation project will vastly improve the health of the forest and enhance tree skiing at the resort.
A modernized rope tow, the new T-3 surface lift, will transport skiers on the backside of the mountain heading west to the Legends Lift 8 high-speed detachable-quad chairlift, which debuted last winter. The T-3 lift will also connect a new trail to the Legends Lift 8. The Legends Bypass, which opened last winter as an alternative way down to Lift 8, will be widened and re-graded.
Additionally, the snowmaking system has been enhanced with additional snow guns and upgraded nozzles, making snowmaking efforts more productive and efficient allowing for snowmaking as early as October.
Purgatory installed a new point-of-sale software that will make it easier for consumers who are making purchases throughout the resort, providing them with faster transactions at the Ticket Office, Snow Sports School, rentals, retail, and restaurants.
This fall, Purgatory is opening a new convenient retail, rental and repair services shop in Durango at 2615 Main Ave. The remodel will provide a new storefront for outdoor recreation apparel, gear, rentals, repair services, ticket/pass purchases, as well as the resort’s reservation center. For more information, visit www.skipurg.com.
As Silverton celebrates its 15th anniversary season in 2016/17, the ski area will unveil a new custom ski basket for helicopter skiing which will allow the Silverton heli to fly higher and faster than ever before and allow guests to get in more runs during their stay. Also new this season, redesigned entrance steps to the tent will greet visitors. Other improvements include an all new demo fleet featuring state of the art Marker demo bindings.
Silverton’s largest hotel, The Grand Imperial Hotel, recently completed a multi-million dollar renovation this year to return this historic building to its former luster with huge upgrades to all aspects of the facility. For more information, visit www.silvertonmountain.com.
Ski Granby Ranch
Ski Granby has added one new groomer and five new snow guns, which will increase snow making capability by more than 100 acres. Additionally, there will be new TVs and a new menu at the Grill. From more information, visit www.granbyranch.com.
In preparation for the season, Sunlight has updated its fleet of rental equipment with the purchase of several hundred sets of new skis, snowboards, and boots plus new tuning equipment. Coupled with a fresh wax and high-precision tuning, visitors will be ready to shine during Sunlight’s 50th anniversary season. For more information, visit www.sunlightmtn.com.
For 2016/17 Steamboat will replace its Elkhead fixed-grip quad with a Dopplemayr high-speed detachable quad, cutting ride times by more than half. Safety bars will also be added to the new lift. The increased speed and capacity of the new Elkhead lift is expected to substantially improve the guest experience in the popular Sunshine and Priest Creek areas of the mountain, especially at lunchtime and end-of-day egress.
Steamboat’s new mountain coaster will operate year-round in the vicinity of Christie Peak Express lift. The mountain coaster will allow guests to ride a gravity driven sled up the mountain and then slide down the rails while controlling the sled.
A new flight will offer travelers a chance to experience Steamboat’s legendary Champagne Powder® with a direct flight from San Diego International Airport (SAN) to Steamboat/Hayden Airport (HDN). Alaska Airlines will fly routes twice a week from Dec. 17, 2016 to March 25, 2017.
The resort partnered with Marmot on a new concept store located on the corner of 7th Street and Lincoln Ave in historic downtown Steamboat. The new 1,800-square-foot branded retail space will focus extensively on outerwear, apparel and accessories from the award-winning, high-performance company.
Improvements to snowmaking equipment include a new Leitwolf snowcat and an upgrade to the pumphouse to increase water capacity for snowmaking. For more information, visit www.steamboat.com.
The beloved Telluride Mountain Village Gondola system will celebrate its 20th anniversary in December. A celebration with a series of events and a festive gala will take place during the anniversary month while a number of events will take place to celebrate the Gondola and its contribution to the region throughout the season.
Telluride’s newest restaurant, Altezza at the Peaks, offers incredible views. Altezza, which means “height” in Italian, offers an Italian-inspired menu, with a variety of main courses such as traditional pastas and Colorado- inspired dishes. To broaden the overall resort experience, Telluride is adding a number of ongoing, free, family-friendly events to take place when the lifts stop turning for the day including a kids’ zone, a holiday prelude and movie series, other movie nights and live music in the mountain village.
Skiers and riders will also have new transportation options with Allegiant Airlines adding a flight between Montrose/Telluride and Denver. The seasonal flights will operate twice weekly and fly nonstop between Montrose Regional Airport (MTJ) and DIA (DEN) with one-way fares as low as $44.
Telluride continues to invest in its infrastructure by enhancing the snowmaking capabilities in the Meadows area that caters to Ski School and beginner skiers and snowboarders. For more information, visit www.tellurideskiresort.com.
The Winter Park Express ski train returns, restoring passenger rail service from Denver’s Union Station to the slopes of Winter Park with service beginning Saturday, January 7 and continuing every weekend and holiday Monday through Sunday, March 26. This service is the only one of its kind in the United States.
There are four new state-of-the-art snowcats that can be used year-round to trim trees and bushes in the summer that have a tendency to peek through the snow in the winter. At peak output the resort will be able to groom almost 1,000 acres, which is a lot of corduroy. For more information, visit www.winterparkresort.com.
Wolf Creek Ski Area will debut a new lift for the 2016/17 ski season, the Lynx Lift, which will link the existing base area to a new teaching area. The top of the Lynx Lift terminal building will house a ski school greeting area facility designed for greater customer service for beginner skiers.
A portion of the Tranquility Parking Lot has been paved and other damaged areas have been repaired with 2,600 tons of asphalt. The ski and snowboard rentals have increased their fleet for next season with new demos, sport and standard models from some of the best manufactures in the industry. Guests will also see cosmetic improvements to the base area buildings as well as the Bonanza Lift.
This season marks the 40th year Wolf Creek Ski Area has been owned and operated by the Pitcher family, which is committed to operating a sustainable ski area with a low-density skiing experience that remains affordable to the public.
Other improvements include an upgrade in the food and beverage department from traditional cash registers to a point-of-sale system. Improvements to the online reservation system include allowing guests to book ski school lessons and access to the entire rental fleet. Radio telemetry for activating avalanche control exploders along the Knife Ridge out of the Horseshow Bowl were added this spring while maintenance on the the D. Boyce Poma Lift will keep piece of Wolf Creek history operating. For more information, visit www.wolfcreekski.com.