DENVER (KDVR) — The more things change, the more they stay the same – and that’s the case with ski resorts, many of which are working on ways to give guests a more enjoyable experience.
Several fresh features are showing up in Colorado’s ski country with new terrain, lifts, lodges and other sights new to visitors this year.
Below you’ll find details on the many changes you can expect to see at various ski areas if you’re going to the mountains this winter.
Loveland Ski Area
Skiers and boarders at Loveland can look forward to a new lift this season.
“The towers for the new Lift 6 were flown up the mountain today,” Dustin Schaefer, marketing manager with Loveland Ski Area, told FOX31 on Tuesday. “Lift 6, originally built in 1977, is being replaced with a new Poma fixed-grip triple lift. Loveland Ski Area is only 10 days out from making snow. Loveland usually opens mid-late October.”
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
Those looking to visit A-Basin can expect a new six-pack lift this November that will replace the legendary second lift known as the Lenawee lift.
The second chair, as some call it, is a lift known for its sweeping trail run views as it travels up to the dropoff point for some steep blue and black graded ski runs, including the Montezuma Bowl.
On Sept. 24, the resort will host the Hazel Miller Band for a free show during which deals will be offered up in the resort’s retail shop. Check out Al’s Blog for continued updates.
Cuchara Mountain Park
Cuchara is not yet open but appears to be getting close. Hidden on the eastern slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the only prospective ski resort in southern Colorado looks to reopen in Huerfano County. However, as a 5013c status nonprofit, it has at least another $20,000 to raise in addition to insurance costs. Officials are asking for donations on its web page to get the lift certified and the park open for winter this season.
The resort hopes to price lift tickets at $20 to $40 ranges. The resort is also looking for volunteers to fill various roles. Current backcountry terrain above the resort will remain free and open to the public. Resort officials with Panadero Ski Corporation are working on getting the lift going for serving both beginners and families, according to the website.
“The chair will provide about 300 feet of elevation gain and access to seven runs on roughly 50 acres,” a statement on the website said. “Additionally, we have been able to purchase a used snowcat for grooming and a small snowmaking gun (we are taking in-kind donations – please see our list here) to make sure snow conditions are as prime as possible.
“The lift-served ski area is focused on providing beginners and families a truly affordable experience to learn the joys of skiing and riding and build an appreciation for nature and healthy lifestyles through outdoor recreation.”
Winter Park Ski Resort
New terrain, grooming enhancements for faster trail openings and additional evening adventures after the lifts close are new at Winter Park, officials said.
Expert-only terrain is doubling in size according to Winter Park employees.
“We’re planning to open a previously closed section of ‘The Cirque Territory’ known as ‘Jelly Roll’ for its rolling steep pitch and its ability to hold light, fluffy snow for days after a storm,” the Winter Park Ski Resort blog said. “We’re also planning to open more terrain in the Chutes area on Mary Jane. These anticipated trails are controlled avalanche chutes and offer pillow lines, cliffs and adventurous access to the popular ‘Powder Field’ area between Trestle and the Chutes.”
Management at the resort plans to increase the amount of early trail grooming while making improvements to the parking accommodations.
For after-hours, they’ve added several options.
“We’re excited to introduce our brand new Cosmic Tubing nights,” the blog states. “We’re also bringing back Cosmic Ice Skating, Guided Sunset Skiing, and adding new enhancements to our evening Snowcat & S’mores evening tour. We’re also extending our mountaintop après festivities at Sunspot to Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings, beginning Dec. 15. The gondola is free after 4 p.m., so anyone can join in the fun (and the views) at 10,700 feet.”
Steamboat Ski Resort
At Steamboat, the result of a $200 million multi-year transformation of the base and mountain will be seen in the new ice-skating rink, a second gondola servicing a new beginner learning area and a few added food and drink hall options when the area opens in mid-winter. According to officials, the initiative has been called Full Steam Ahead.
“Resort sustainability initiatives continue with a focus on a 10% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and resort-wide plastic waste reduction,” Steamboat Ski Resort Communications Coordinator Hanna Albertson said in a statement. “Steamboat’s flight program grows with the addition of Southwest’s nonstop flight from Nashville, Tennessee to Ski Town, U.S.A® for the 2022/23 winter season. This year marks Steamboat’s 60th anniversary and the resort pays homage to its history with celebrations throughout the 2022/23 season.”
Steamboat is also investing more than $2 million in on-mountain improvements including snowmaking, lift maintenance, ski patrol equipment and mountain machinery, including two new tier-5 snowcats: one free cat and one winch cat. During the summer, more than $450,000 went into general maintenance and lift upgrades at the resort and nearly half a million dollars is slated to be put into new ski and snowboard rental fleets including equipment from Rossignol and Burton, Albertson said.
Sunlight Mountain Resort
This resort nestled between Aspen and Glenwood Springs has a few new features.
“We will have a new ski school rental yurt at the lodge, and a new trail map has been made reflecting the five new runs we added in the 2018/19 season,” said Troy Hawks, marketing director with Sunlight Mountain Resort. “There is a newly acquired lift in our parking lot that will replace our Segundo lift next summer. We’re calling this season a sayonara to Segundo, which is the oldest operating chair lift in the state of Colorado.
The resort elects a new “mini-mayor” on Nov. 8 and all kids 12 and under can launch their campaigns beginning Oct. 1 at www.mini-mayor.com. Voting begins Oct. 10.
Mini-Mayor is entitled to a complimentary season pass, a new pair of skis or snowboard (think Air Force One) and a seat at Sunlight’s executive table.
This story will continue to be updated as we hear back from more resorts and ski areas.