DENVER (KDVR) — This ski season, the World Cup returns to Aspen Mountain for the first time in years, Vail celebrates its 60th year with a new lift to the Back Bowls, and Copper sees its 50th birthday, among many changes visitors will notice.
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.
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.
After six years, Aspen Mountain sees the return of the World Cup event this winter season, in March of 2023.
The Audi FIS Ski World Cup Ski Racing is returning to aspen with international ski racing set for March 3 to 5.
“The top men in the world will compete on America’s Downhill course on Aspen Mountain, an iconic World Cup venue with decades of racing history, with two downhills and a super G scheduled March 3-5,” Dixon said. “Aspen hosted the first World Championships held outside of Europe in 1950 and the mountain has hosted innumerable ski racing legends since that time. Aspen has hosted more than 100 World Cup races for both men and women over the years and was home to the World Cup Finals in 2017.”
Aspen Mountain has also been working on its Pandora’s Terrain Expansion which started this past summer.
Their goal is to increase skiable acreage by more than 20% on the resort’s flagship mountain. “The area, called Pandora’s, is set to open for the 2023-24 winter season and will be Aspen Mountain’s first significant addition since the opening of the Silver Queen Gondola in December of 1985,” Dixon said.
Pandora’s will be accessed via a high-speed quad and will include 1,220 vertical feet of groomed trails and glades ranging from intermediate to advanced terrain, according to a statement from Aspen Snowmass. The addition is meant to diversify Aspen Mountain’s terrain mix and offer a pitch for skiing, while also acting as a hedge against future climate-challenged ski seasons with its north-facing, high elevation terrain.
Aspen Highlands’ restaurant Cloud Nine was one of four of Aspen Snowmass’ on-mountain fine dining restaurants to receive the 2022 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. It recognizes a restaurant’s extensive, high-quality and well-chosen wine lists.
Aspen Snowmass received the 2022 Wine Spectator Award of Excellence at four on-mountain fine dining restaurants: Lynn Britt Cabin, Sam’s and Alpin Room at Snowmass, among them.
“This prestigious award for a restaurant’s extensive, high-quality and well-chosen wine list is made all the more impressive by the fact that each of these four restaurants are located on-mountain in exclusively ski-in, ski-out locations,” Hannah Dixon, spokeswoman for Aspen Snowmass said in a statement.
In the 18th year of Aspen Snowmass’ Art in Unexpected Places program, Winter 2022-23 ArtUP Partnership is announcing Rashid Johnson’s artwork will be featured on the new lift tickets and passes this season. The artwork will also be featured on a limited collection of skis available at ASPENX in downtown Aspen.
At Snowmass, High Alpine is starting a Bavarian Saturdays series, featuring warm pretzels and beer served in steins. This series will be a key feature in the larger Aspen Snowmass après schedule, which includes live bands and DJs across all four mountains, as well as the Bud Light Music on the Mountain series, Dixon said.
Beaver Creek Ski Resort
Beaver Creek’s McCoy Park is in its sophomore season, offering beginner and intermediate natural, groomed and gladed runs for all adventurers. “The beloved Cookie Time is a decades-old tradition, with the aroma of delicious chocolate chip cookies sweeping through the village,” officials reminded. Also, Allie’s, Zach’s, and Beano’s fine dining cabins on the mountain offer culinary experiences, “with snowcat-drawn sleigh rides to elevated epicurean escapes” resort officials said. The alpine village shows recent and ongoing investments in infrastructure, and art at the base area.
Breckenridge Ski Resort
After installing the Freedom SuperChair on Peak 7 last year, this winter Breckenridge officials turn their lens on Peak 8 and the Rip’s Ride chairlift.
“Rip’s Ride is being upgraded to a new, high-speed quad to enhance the experience on one of the resort’s primary learning areas and allow for more time spent on the snow,” a Vail Resorts statement said. ”
The resort has plans including transforming the Peak 8 base area next summer and the following winter, with plans to do grading work and remove old building structures on the snow, and upgrade the 5-Chair to a high-speed quad lift.
Buttermilk’s base area is going through an entire transformation this year, the communications team there says.
Buttermilk unveils this season a transformed base area including a new more than 9,000-square-foot fully electric skier services building, a renovated and rebranded Buttermilk Mountain Lodge restaurant (formerly known as Bumps), and an expanded bar and outdoor patio, newly named The Backyard.
“This $23 million renovation will create a more seamless experience for guests as they make their way onto the mountain, with an intuitive skier services building with ski school, rentals and ticketing all in one location,” Hannah Dixon, communications manager for Aspen Snowmass said in a statement.
The resort known for X-games has been working on it to simplify the area and make the slopes for approachable and inclusive for all guests, resort officials said.
Buttermilk will see the return of Full Moon Uphill Dinners this season held at cliffhouse on evenings of the in-season full moons, this time set for Jan. 6, Feb. 5 and March 7 of 2023.
“Participants can uphill or hike up Buttermilk and enjoy sunset drinks by the fire pit, food from Cliffhouse restaurants like Mongolian Grill, and a ski down under the light of the full moon,” Dixon said.
Copper Mountain celebrates its 50th Anniversary with a party in early December to celebrate legendary figures and unforgettable moments at the resort, officials said. The resort releases its 50th Anniversary coffee table book also and other 50th anniversary items will be offered all season.
In honor of the milestone, the Athlete’s Mountain is celebrating its history of supporting athletic pursuits through resort activities and promotions.
The resort known for its advanced and expert terrain accounting for nearly two-thirds of the mountain’s overall acreage, last year made a move to add service to more of the beginner areas. “With the Peachtree lift now in its second season servicing beginner terrain, skiers and riders of all levels can feel inspired to choose their challenge and find their stepping stone to the steeps,” officials said in a statement.
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.”
Echo Mountain has expanded their green run terrain titled Travelers Traverse to create an easier green run that newer skiers can navigate from the top to the bottom of the lift, officials there said.
We also expanded our green run called Travelers Traverse so now there is an easier green run that newer skiers can use to navigate from the top all the way to the bottom of the lift!
Said to be North America’s oldest ski area, the resort this year adds snow tubing seven days a week with a new conveyer lift which is planned to start service in mid-December.
Howelsen last year added a new high-speed triple chairlift, new ticket office, expanded concession services and daily operations.
Keystone Ski Resort
Resort officials say Keystone is looking at an October opening date, with none yet set. “Keystone plans to kick off the winter season as early as possible in October,” a statement issued said.The resort looked to add convenient touches complimentary red wagons for carrying gear. EPIC passholders can access the slopes one hour before trails open officially to the public.
Loveland Ski Area
Skiers and boarders at Loveland can look forward to a new lift this season. Loveland Ski Area has replaced Lift 6 with a fixed-grip triple chair.
“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.”
The upgraded lift will serve the same terrain as the previous lift and should be done by November.
The ski area is also planning a January 2023 launch of a guided snowcat operation in Dry Gulch, just east of Lift 8. Guided backcountry trips for intermediate level and above skiers and snowboarders will be available when conditions permit. Visit skiloveland.com/snowcattours [skiloveland.com].
The resort has hugely expanded Valley Lodge with facilities to triple the amount of seating in the cafeteria and expanded Rental Shop space. The Ski & Ride School will have a new Children’s Center also.
The resort celebrates 60 years this year and officials emphasize it is looking forward to its next 60.
This season, Vail introduces the Sun Down Lift, a new high-speed four-person chair connecting the bottom of Sun Down Bowl to Wildwood and allowing smoother guest access between Lionshead Village and the seven backbowls. The lift in Game Creek Bowl is also getting upgraded to a new high-speed six-person lift, which will increase capacity by nearly 50%.
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.”
Ski Cooper has opened up terrain in Tennessee Creek Basin and Leprechaun Lane with selective tree clearing to complete the projects, says Dana Tyler Johnson, spokeswoman for Ski Cooper.
Food is also front and center to new upgrades, she said.
“We do have a new smoker at our newer Timberline Taproom so this has created an updated menu,” she said. “This includes Beef and Chili Brisket, Hickory Smoked Hummus, Pulled Pork Sliders, Smoked Brisket Dip and Chef Scott’s Homemade Spicy Pickles. This is in addition to all Colorado Brews at the Taproom. And we have the return of Mountaintop Yurt Dinners with snowcat transportation to the top of the mountain.”
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.
Wolf Creek Ski Area
Wolf Creek Ski Area in Southern Colorado is looking forward to the 2022-23 ski season after a busy off-season of upgrades, said Sarah Stephens-Sparrow, spokeswoman for Wolf Creek Ski Area.
The refined lift system which includes 10 lifts servicing more than 1,600 acres of terrain is evolving with the implementation of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) gates at six of the 10 lifts. The gates allow for contactless entry at bottom terminals of the lifts.
New ticket printers and RFID specific stock will be used for lift tickets and season passes that will read and validate skiers and snowboarders at the six gates. Lift tickets and season passes will no longer need to be displayed at these six lifts, and tickets and passes can be placed in a skier’s left pocket.
“The new gates at the six specific lifts will also be used as a safety benefit to help track skiers or snowboarders who may have been separated from their party,” Stephens-Sparrow said in a statement. “The new technology will also provide a more accurate count of skiers on the mountain as well as provide insight to what lifts are frequented the most at certain times.”
However, scanning will not be eliminated entirely, because the Lynx, Nova, and Magic Carpet beginner Lifts continue using scanners.
Online ticket sales will return for the 2022-2023 ski season, giving guests the option of pre-purchasing lift tickets prior to arrival. To compliment the return of online ticket sales, two prepaid ticket-printing boxes called Pick Up Boxes will be available to guests with one being located in the Base Camp Building and the other at the Alberta lift. Skiers and boarders who have pre-purchased lift tickets online will be able to skip the Ticket Office, go to a Pick Up Box location, scan the QR code from the ticket order and their tickets will be dispensed.
“Powder hounds who wish to skip the base area and go directly to the Alberta Area on one of Wolf Creek’s prolific powder days can now do so thanks to the Alberta Pick Up Box,” she said. Families and holiday skiers also have the option of skipping the Ticket Office and having their tickets printed in the second level of the Base Camp Building that offers easy access to the Raven Lift. Guests who have enrolled themselves or family members in the 1st Day Beginner Ski Package can also skip the Ticket Office and have not only the lesson ticket, but the order of lessons and lift tickets printed at the Lynx Learning Center. Wolf Pups and Wolf Riders can also have family members lift tickets on the same ski school order printed without stopping by the Ticket Office. The 750,000 gallon water tank is designed for supplement of natural snowfall. The system is not for top to bottom snowmaking of any given run, but to allow supplement of natural snow throughout the base area, officials said.
This story will continue to be updated as we hear back from more resorts and ski areas.