With the ski season rapidly approaching, you’re probably wondering which destinations you should visit this winter. Since the end of last year’s season, a number of mountain resorts have completed significant additions and upgrades to keep you coming back. Due to a large number of new features across Colorado’s skiing destinations, it’ll be hard to keep track of the new additions and experiences. This guide showcases all 18 mountain resorts that will see upgrades this upcoming season.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
Where: 28194 US-6, Keystone
The Lowdown: The Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, more commonly known as A-Bay, has dedicated its renovation efforts toward the area’s expansion. For the new season, A-Bay will fully open a 468-acre terrain expansion into the Beavers and Steep Gullies. Last year, the mountain introduced skiers to 371 new acres of terrain to preview the full expansion. After adding 97 more acres of tree skiing, they’ve made a number of upgrades to the grading of the terrain.
Two new intermediate, scenic runs can be found in the Beavers on both north and west facing sides of the mountain. In the Steep Gullies, riders can test their skills across 91 acres of extreme and steep terrain consisting of multiple hike-back double-black diamonds. As part of the new addition, A-Bay will also introduce the Beavers chairlift. This 4-person lift will take skiers across some of the new terrain, showing off some of the most beautiful views of Keystone, Colorado.
Where: 120 Carriage Way, Snowmass Village
The Lowdown: Aspen Snowmass will see some of the largest and most expensive upgrades of any mountain this season. Introducing the $600 million Snowmass Base Village Development, visitors can find new lodging and residency options. One of these additions is the Limelight Hotel. The ski-in/ski-out resort will feature 99 hotel rooms, 11 for-sale condos, a brand new restaurant, a children’s game area and even a five-story climbing wall.
Snowmass has also developed the Central Events Plaza which will feature an ice rink, fire pits and more children-friendly areas. At Buttermilk, developments have included the construction of Fort Frog. This wooden fort complete with lookout towers, snowball launcher, swinging bridge and its own jail is the perfect family-friendly activity for your visit. Lastly, the addition of the Aspen Snowmass App will offer riders the ability to track their movement and stats on a year-over-year basis. The app will also offer riders rewards as they make their way across the mountain.
Where: 232 CR 29, Leadville
The Lowdown: The newest addition to the Cooper ski area will be the Moonlight Mountaintop Yurt dinner series. Courtesy of the Ridgeview Café, visitors can take an after-hours trip to the mountaintop inside a warm snowcat. The dinners will take place four times throughout the new season, with options such as grilled salmon, portabella mushrooms and New York strip steaks on the menu. The four dates will be released soon, as well as links to book your night available through Ski Cooper’s website.
Where: 209 Ten Mile Circle, Frisco
The Lowdown: This season Copper will introduce a new dog-friendly, base-area restaurant — Downhill Duke’s — along with several new chairlift additions. The “American Flyer” and “American Eagle” chairlifts will offer riders better direct routes from Center Village. The American Flyer will be a high-speed lift for up to six people. This lift will also feature bubble enclosures, protecting riders from wind and snow, making it the only active bubble-chair lift in Colorado. The American Eagle will feature several new high-speed gondolas capable of fitting groups of six or eight. The goal for both lifts is to decrease the wait time at the base.
Echo Mountain Resort
Where: 19285 CO-103, Idaho Springs
The Lowdown: Echo Mountain Resort will introduce a series of new expansions this season. The first of those is the development of a new tubing hill that riders will be able to access through a covered conveyor lift. They will also expand their beginner learning area, their first of several improvements available to those looking to improve themselves. Echo Mountain will also expand their Ambassador Coaching Program. This service, included in day lift tickets, provides available employees across the mountain offering suggestions and tips for riders to improve their skills. The resort has also made tremendous efforts in increasing their snowmaking abilities, as well as offering RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) express access gates for direct lift access on certain pass options.
Where: 2861 Eldora Ski Road, Nederland
The Lowdown: The little resort above Boulder, Eldora Mountain will also introduce RFID technology for season passes. New glading projects and improvements to mountain communication systems are part of other improvements Eldora will make before this season. These upgrades come just a year after Eldora introduced the Aspenglow high-speed chairlift, their first high-speed chairlift, for up to six people.
Where: 1000 Village Road, Granby
The Lowdown: Throughout the 2018-2019 season, Granby Ranch will offer groups one of the most unique skiing opportunities in all of Colorado. This season guests will be able to rent Granby Ranch’s East Mountain for an evening. Having access to the entire East Mountain night skiing terrain from 5 to 9 p.m., large groups will have the perfect location for special occasions or private events filled with avid skiers and riders.
Where: 1 Kendall Place, Silverton
The Lowdown: Located just six miles south of Silverton Mountain sits Kendall Mountain. The mountain is typically another popular skiing destination in Silverton that offers prime views of the San Juan Mountains. This season, Kendall Mountain will be the perfect destination for outdoor winter skiing. Kendall’s outdoor skating pond, located just south of the mountain’s ski lodge, will be the spot to be for an authentic skating experience. This season visitors can also take part in nighttime skating events which will feature hot chocolate, bonfires, and even a live DJ.
Loveland Ski Area
The Lowdown: This season Loveland Ski Area will introduce their newest lift, “Chet’s Dream.” The project will be the ski area’s largest capital improvement in its 82-year history. The new chairlift will be the area’s first high-speed lift fitting up to four riders. The lift is named after the ski area’s longtime owner Chet Upham Jr.
Where: 23715 US-50, Salida
The Lowdown: Along with a slew of technological advancements, Monarch Mountain’s primary improvement for this coming ski season will be a brand new tubing park. For skiers and non-skiers alike, this new park will be a perfect family-friendly break from the tough terrain. Some of the technological improvements Monarch will introduce include upgraded WiFi, chip card readers, self-order kiosks at the Gunbarrel Cafeteria and other handheld ordering technology. Whether you’re on the mountain or staying warm inside, Monarch Mountain’s upgrades will surely catch your attention.
Where: 48338 Powderhorn Road, Mesa
The Lowdown: Powderhorn Resort’s only addition this upcoming season will be the introduction of the “Mission” season pass program. This pass, available for all riders varying from experienced skier to first-timer, will offer affordably priced passes featuring discounts and special programs. There are a number of passes to choose from, for skiers of all age.
Passes start at the adult pass for ages 30 to 74 ($399), to young adult for ages 13 to 29 ($339), to junior for ages 6 to 12 ($199), with even a child ($49) and senior ($139) pass. Powderhorn will also offer several discounted passes for college students including the holiday ($169) and spring ($269) passes. Powderhorn’s Mission affordable plan was created in response to the increased prices from many other skiing destinations.
Where: 1 Skier Place, Durango
The Lowdown: Among all the new upgrades and improvement, Pugatory Resort’s new features are possibly the most family-friendly in all of Colorado. The first new feature includes year-round access to the Inferno Mountain Coaster. This mile-long gravity ride sends those taking a break from the slopes flying through Aspen trees at speeds as high as 25 miles per hour. Among the twists and turns of the ride, riders can catch beautiful views of the San Juan Mountains. Don’t let yourself get too caught up in the mountainous views or you may miss the 300-foot vertical drop on the ride.
Purgatory will also offer a completely free season pass for all children in the fourth grade or younger. The free pass, which requires no parent purchase, will also feature zero blackout dates for the entire 2018-2019 season.
Where: 6226 State Highway 110, Silverton
The Lowdown: Silverton may be one of the most loaded ski towns in all of Colorado. With Kendall Mountain, Purgatory Resort, Telluride and Wolf Creek all nearby, Silverton Mountains seem like just another of many great options. This season, however, the mountain will offer some of the most exciting and unique opportunities for skiers. To go along with its $39 heli-drop offer, Silverton Mountain will also introduce “Zone 8.” This brand new heli-skiing terrain will test experienced skiers and riders on high-alpine trails.
They will also expand their unguided season pass, offering a 150 percent increase in available ski dates during the season. This means those experienced skiers with no need for a guide will see a massive increase in accessible days. Silverton Mountain will also offer 42 free days at any of its 14 partner ski resorts including Monarch Mountain, Sunlight Mountain Resort and Powderhorn.
Where: 2305 Mt. Werner Circle, Steamboat Springs
The Lowdown: This year, at the widely popular ski and vacation destination Steamboat Resort, new additions will come in the form of dining experiences. Both new eateries, Timber and Torch and Taco Beast, will offer skiers unique on-mountain eating opportunities. Timber and Torch — a base area restaurant and bar — will be open during breakfast, lunch and dinner for riders who stay from first-run to last-call. The restaurant will feature both indoor and outdoor bar areas, a heated patio and outdoor fireplace and BBQ.
While Timber and Torch is very similar to outdoor mountainside restaurants, the resort’s other new mobile eatery will be something new for most riders. Taco Beast takes the flavors of carne asada and al pastor across the mountain via a wandering snowcat. Yes, that’s right, you can have tacos on the slopes. These on-trail tacos will be available across the resort in both the winter and summer seasons. Steamboat’s new and improved dining experiences will certainly have you returning back for more.
Sunlight Mountain Resort
Where: 10901 County Road 117, Glenwood Springs
The Lowdown: This season Sunlight Mountain Resort looks to give back to those who serve the community every day. Falling in line with their newly announced “Firefighter fun days,” Sunlight will offer all active firefighters and first responders free skiing and riding each Wednesday of the 2018-2019 season. Sunlight will also open their new on-mountain food stand, the Compass Mountain Grill. This walk-up eatery will offer riders a mountain-top option to grab something to eat before they head back down the slopes. Although Sunlight’s additions and improvements are small and simple, their efforts to give back to the community could not possibly go unnoticed.
Telluride Ski Resort
Where: 565 Mountain Village Blvd, Telluride
The Lowdown: There are a number of new additions, upgrades and developments in place at Telluride Ski Resort this season. Beginning with The Meadows, Telluride’s beginner’s area, the resort will introduce significant upgrades. This area will feature a brand new 320 foot covered lift along with a new terrain-based learning program. Telluride has also worked towards expanding their grooming team to create more groomed terrain across the resort.
A multi-year, multimillion dollar project set to upgrade snowmaking technology that will improve efficiency and reduce the resort’s carbon footprint will continue this season. Lastly, Telluride plans to unveil their new consumer app. The app, available for download this November, will feature up-to-date lift and trail statuses, snow reports, an interactive trail map and push notifications. Telluride’s offseason upgrades work toward improving the visitor experience in several ways, as well as offering new riders a unique chance to improve their skills.
Winter Park Resort
Where: 85 Parsenn Road, Winter Park
The Lowdown: Much like Snowmass, Winter Park will be one of the more heavily upgraded resorts this season. Beginning with their new 10-person gondola, Winter Park’s first new lift installation since 2007, the resort will reduce wait times by 15 minutes this season. The gondola will be open daily, serving sunset trips at the lodge at Sunspot daily from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, Winter Park’s new installment will also feature live music. Skiers and riders on foot can even access the gondola for free without a lift ticket each day starting at 2:30 p.m.
Along with many other resorts, Winter Park has made significant efforts in snowmaking improvements including new energy efficient compressors, pipe replacements and high-tech snow guns. The new Zephyr Plaza upgrades will offer a central area in Winter Park Village complete with a stage area, fire pits and a sundeck. Back for its third season, the Winter Park Express Train offers visitors a direct route from Denver to Winter Park. This year, however, the train will include access on Fridays along with food and beverages in the lounge car. The express train is one of many ways for you to make your trip to Winter Park and enjoy the resort’s brand new attractions.
Wolf Creek Ski Area
Where: US-160, Pagosa Springs
The Lowdown: Wolf Creek Ski Area will follow in the trend of new lift installments with the Charity Lift. Named after a previous owner, Charity Jane Pitcher, this four-person high-speed lift will become the third available lift in the Alberta area of the mountain. The lift, the tenth in Wolf Creek’s current lift system, will take beginner and experienced riders to 55 acres of terrain previously underutilized. They will also introduce their new on-mountain grill, the Alberta Grill. This Mexican-themed restaurant will offer skiers and riders traditional south-of-the-border cuisine along with several traditional grilled menu options. At the Alberta Grill — along with all rental sites, retail shops and mountain restaurants — Wolf Creek will implement a new point-of-sale system. Wolf Creek’s upgrades and additions for the 2018-2019 season fall in line with the trends of improved lift options, eateries and technological advancements.
As the year’s ski season slowly approaches, these new upgrades will only make the decision of where to go that much more difficult. Each resort has dedicated the offseason to improving their current terrain and mountain features including a number of additions and upgrades. As you dust off your skis and snowboards, prepare for the numerous new features at any of these fantastic resorts by familiarizing yourself with this guide.