It’s been a busy summer on Colorado’s slopes as ski areas prepare for the upcoming season. Here’s a look at what’s new to the resorts with opening day expected this month.
Arapahoe Basin: The most notable difference might be the smaller crowds, as A-Basin seems to be hoping. By leaving the Epic Pass for the visit-limited Ikon Pass, and by counting on loyalists to stick with the in-house season pass, operators are looking to hit a sweet spot for business and guest experience. They aim for fewer parking hassles, shorter lift lines.
This will also be the first full season for Il Rifugio, which claims to be North America’s highest, lift-served eatery. It’s near 12,500 feet.
Cooper: The local hill in Leadville is growing. A fourth lift was approved for construction this summer, with 71 new acres of widely expert terrain to be realized.
Copper Mountain: Snow fields above 12,400 feet that were only accessible via snowcat or skinning will be reached from the new three-person Three Bears lift.
Crested Butte: “The last great ski town’s” first season under Vail Resorts comes with an upgraded lift. By replacing the former two-seater, the fixed-grip quad Teocalli is expected to double uphill capacity to some of the mountain’s go-to glades.
Powderhorn: How about this for a ski-in/ski-out concept? The ski area on the Grand Mesa is introducing four tiny homes to reserve close to the main lift.
Steamboat: Say goodbye to the gondola and hello to cozy, Wi-Fi-equipped cabins. They’ll carry you up Mount Werner in 10 minutes.
Telluride: The iconic resort is boosting its epic reputation with 40 new acres of north-facing tree-skiing. Reached from Lift 9, the slopes include more chutes and rock drops to brave.
Winter Park: The Sunnyside chair has been extended to six seats, promising to cut ride times from eight minutes to four.
Wolf Creek: While locals continue to protest a developer’s plan for an adjacent village of condos and whatnot, they can get excited about new ways to explore their powder-rich ski area.
In its 80th anniversary, Wolf Creek plans to get the high-speed D. Boyce lift spinning again. The lift, erected in 1968, has “been put on the back burner with the new lifts being installed the past six years,” the family-owned area writes on its blog. D. Boyce is expected to be a full-time option to the mountain’s front side.
Also, beetle kill tree clearing has opened new terrain, including a new run: the intermediate Orion’s Beltway.
The Snowstang: The Colorado Department of Transportation is trying to relieve your Interstate 70 stress. Pay $25 for a round trip from Denver’s Union Station to A-Basin and Loveland. The fare to Steamboat is $40.