Anticipation. It’s making us wait. And so it goes with the upcoming 2013-2014 ski season as we wait for the first runs to open at Arapahoe Basin and Loveland in October (probably).
Anticipation runs high in September, with the pre-season ski sales, the unveiling of the various season pass deals, and the list of improvements skiers and riders can expect at each resort.
So, without further ado, here’s the list of upcoming additions, improvements and initiatives for this season at the Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) ski areas, which is every ski area except the Vail Resorts (Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Vail), which will be posted here very soon.
Once again, special thanks to CSCUSA for compiling the following list…
Arapahoe Basin: The 6th Alley Bar at the base will be completely remodeled and renamed the 6th Alley Bar & Grill. The $1 million renovation will further expand the bar and grill into the base lodge, known as the A-Frame, and will feature a horseshoe-shaped bar and expanded table seating.
A-Basin is investing in snowmaking upgrades and a new snow cat for the fleet, with the intention of expanding the resort’s ability to open terrain earlier in the season.
A-Basin will also take the next steps toward implementing the recently approved Master Development Plan, which means gathering data for the Environmental Impact Statement on terrain expansion and lift-served skiing into The Beavers.
Aspen/Snowmass: Last season’s terrain expansion on Burnt Mountain opened up new areas to explore on Aspen Mountain, and the recently completed Elk Camp Restaurant at Snowmass is ready to roll. This off-season, Aspen/Snowmass remodeled its luxury hotel, The Little Nell. Aspen’s only five-star, five-diamond and ski-in, ski-out property, will renovate two of its V.I.P. suites in the fall.
Copper Mountain: Copper Mountain announces Sherpa, its new “On-Mountain Audio Intelligence App,” which “gives you hands-free, real-time insider intelligence across the entire mountain,” according to Copper Mountain. Sherpa tells you what you're near, where to go and what to do when you get there. Sherpa taps into the knowledge of lifelong employees, ski patrol and local experts and makes that wisdom available to anyone with a mobile device. Sherpa will be launching this season: www.coppercolorado.com/winter/sherpa
Copper Mountain Resort has committed to an investment of close to $7 million in capital improvements for on- and off-mountain projects. The Storm King surface lift, which provides access to Spaulding Bowl, Upper Enchanted Forest and Copper Bowl, will be replaced with a new surface T-Bar lift, which Copper Mountain says provides a substantial upgrade to the original Storm King lift. Also, Copper Mountain will install the new West Ridge Platter, a surface lift at the top of the Sierra chairlift that provides easier access to Union Peak, Union Meadows, West Ridge and Copper Bowl.
Other projects include improved access to Lower Enchanted Forest, improved ski out in Spaulding Bowl and rock work within the Sierra pod will allow the high alpine terrain at Copper Mountain to open earlier and with the help from Mother Nature, stay open longer. Other improvements include the addition of four new snow cats to the fleet and continued snowmaking advancements.
Off-mountain, The Woodward at Copper Barn underwent a half-million renovation project, which opened the door beyond snowboards and skis to now include skateboards, BMX and slopestyle mountain bikes. All synthetic snow surfaces were replaced with a surface designed for wheels. Families and amateurs alike are invited to experience the renovations expanded offerings for never-ever’s with additions including a new beginner foam pit with 2-foot and 4-foot jumps, a pump track designed for the development of park skills, and new programming to bridge the gap and see results on snow.
Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR): Crested Butte Mountain Resort will remove trees in the East River lift area to widen the space on tree runs for those who enjoy tree skiing. The area of focus will be between the current trails of Double Top and Black Eagle. Crews will begin work in late summer to create an optimal intermediate tree skiing.
Crews will be cutting three new kid-specific trails in the Painter Boy area. These trails will be about the width of a grooming machine and wind through the trees to give kids a “forest-like” experience. In addition, the resort will be building facades to create an Elk Avenue (the resort town’s main street) along one of the trails for kids to ski through and play around. There will also be a ski-through bear cave, US Forest Service Lodge, and a gold mining building for interactive play and learning. Ski Schoolers will be able to take advantage of the new trails and play opportunities on the slopes through this interpretive area of Crested Butte’s heritage and mining history.
Durango Mountain Resort: By adding more snowmaking equipment to the frontside of the mountain, Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort will improve its ability to provide top-to-bottom skiing from the Purgatory Village Express, the resort’s six-person high-speed chairlift. The resort is adding 16 new energy-efficient snowmaking tower guns along with a state-of-the-art, high-output fan gun and two new snow cat grooming machines, which will make the mountain operations team more efficient during the early season and help establish a solid base that will last throughout the entire ski season.
The Durango Dog Ranch will provide dog sledding from Durango Mountain Resort’s base for the first time, and a new malt shop and candy store will debut in the Purgatory Village Plaza.
While the San Juan Ski Company is now under new ownership and a new name, San Juan Untracked, it will continue to provide a cat skiing and snowboarding operation with 35,000 acres of skiable terrain from the base of Durango Mountain Resort.
Eldora: The resort’s snowmaking system is undergoing major improvements: The pumping capacity for Eldora’s system will be doubled, allowing twice as many snow guns to operate at once. The improved pumping capacity will also be achieved with more energy efficient compressors.
Loveland: Loveland Ski Area will be installing restrooms and limited food service at the newly remodeled Ptarmigan Roost Cabin at the top of Chair 2. These will be the first on-mountain facilities at the ski area. The lodge at Loveland Basin will also be renovated and expanded to accommodate an additional 320 people.
Following a successful first season, the Ridge Cat will again offer free cat skiing access to some of Loveland’s most exciting terrain on the north side of The Ridge.
Monarch: After debuting its new multi-million dollar base lodge for the 2012-13 season, Monarch Mountain continues to polish its guest services and amenities for 2013-14. The resort is working this summer on a project to remove the rocks and stumps on High Anxiety and other advanced runs, allowing these runs to be opened and skied with less snow than previously needed.
The resort is also building facility improvements, including a new bar in the cafeteria level of the lodge, as well as remodeling the rental shop to speed transaction times. Off-mountain, a new online reservation system will make it easier to book your entire trip to the resort, from rentals to lodging to lift tickets.
Silverton: New for the 2013-14 season, and in addition to its regular helicopter operations, Silverton will now offer overnight heli-touring trips for $429 per person per day. These trips include a heli drop onto a peak with a guide and within the ski area’s permit boundary, followed by a full day of skiing or snowboarding. Silverton’s North Face Dome tent awaits overnight guests in the field. Sleeping bags, and all food and beverages are brought by guests and carried along with them in the heli to the zone, and the camp is supplied with cooking equipment and one of the only North Face 2 Meter Dome tents in the northern hemisphere. After another full day of skiing or snowboarding the next day, an additional heli drop places guests on a peak to which they can ski or snowboard down to the base.
Ski Cooper: The resort is working on facility improvements, including relocating its gift shop. In addition, the rental shop will be completely remodeled with the intent to speed transaction times and efficiency.
Ski Granby Ranch: This coming season, a new partnership with K2 has upgraded the entire Ski Granby Ranch rental fleet. To improve its snowmaking operation, the resort has also added eight new low-energy snowmaking guns that will reduce water and electricity usage.
Sunlight: Sunlight Mountain Resort has partnered with local ski/snowboard/longboard manufacturer Meier Skis. Meier skis uses beetle kill wood from Colorado to produce its products. Sunlight has also partnered with Glenwood Springs Subaru. Subaru has agreed to provide a company car for Sunlight that is Partial Zero Emission Vehicle to help reduce pollution.
Steamboat: The Four Points Lodge debuts this season. The approximately 13,000-square-foot, two-level building is located in the Storm Peak/Four Points area of the mountain. The restaurant will seat more than 200 in the main dining level and feature an outdoor BBQ, flat screen televisions, indoor bar, plus a retail area and over-sized restrooms.
In addition to Four Points Lodge, the resort is upgrading its snowmaking capabilities. It will add two new Bison groomers among other guest improvements to resort facilities. Also in 2013-14, Steamboat will explore the opportunity to offer night skiing.
Telluride: Telluride will be adding more snowmaking capabilities, including installing new machines to increase coverage for the 2013-14 season. In addition, the resort will add more snow cats to its fleet to improve grooming capability.
Also new to Telluride Ski Resort this year is the Inn at Lost Creek. Located slopeside in Telluride’s Mountain Village, the Inn “is a true Colorado boutique hotel reflecting the town’s Western hospitality.” With ski in ski out access, ski valet and a staff to handle every detail from other Telluride activities to special dinner reservations, the Inn at Lost Creek features 32 unique rooms, each with a kitchen as well as a washer and dryer.
Along with the addition of the Inn at Lost Creek is Telluride’s newest restaurant, Siam’s Talay Grille. Sister restaurant, Siam, down in the town of Telluride, Jeff Badger and his team bring Siam to the Mountain Village core. The dinner menu focuses on a seafood selection featuring at least three fresh fish flown in, and complemented by a selection of house-made sauces. On the bar menu is Siam’s hand-rolls and lettuce wraps as well as specialty cocktails. Located inside the Inn at Lost Creek, Siam’s Talay Grille will fill a much needed niche in the Mountain Village gastro scene, according to Telluride.
Winter Park: Winter Park will offer a new Cirque Sled, a snow cat ride that will provide skiers and riders easier access to the Cirque and its 1,332 acres of off-piste terrain. A pass for the 48-passenger Cirque Sled is $10 and is good for unlimited rides all season long. Winter Park is also updating its snow cat fleet by adding three new cats and replacing two others, which will increase groomed terrain to between 650-750 acres a night.
Winter Park’s main snowmaking pipe, originally installed in 1976, will be replaced, allowing Winter Park to be more efficient when making snow, and in turn enable terrain to open faster. The Coca-Cola Tubing Hill will be open for a full season after being added at the end of 2012.
Wolf Creek: Wolf Creek Ski Area is replacing the Treasure Lift with a new Doppelmayr detachable high-speed quad. The new Treasure Stoke Lift is expected to provide an easier and more pleasurable loading and unloading experience.
The Elma Lift, Sports Center Remodel, Race Hutch and Water Tank projects have recently been approved by the United States Forest Service and will have a two- to three-year completion time. Once completed, the Elma Lift will provide skiers a way to get back to the base area from the bottom of the Alberta lift and eliminate the long traverse across the mountain from Park Avenue to the base area.
The Sports Center upgrade and remodel includes an expansion of the existing facility into a two-story building. The existing Race Hutch will be completely rebuilt. The new building will be approximately 18 feet by 20 feet and located below the current Race Hutch location. To increase Wolf Creek’s current water storage, a new 500,000 gallon steel water tank will be built and support the base area infrastructure and snowmaking as well as fire fighting.