Lost Resorts Poster
Over the years, Colorado has been home to more than 150 ski areas of all shapes and sizes. In 1999, Colorado Ski Country USA, with the help of some of the ski industry's devoted historians, undertook a herculean effort to catalog all the "lost resorts" in Colorado: all those ski hills where tow ropes or lifts once turned, but no longer. The original Lost Resorts poster was received by the public with great enthusiasm and all the copies were sold.
Today, we take a look back to our state's rich skiing history. In the past ten years former Squaw Pass was found as Echo Mountain, Silverton opened and Cuchara Mountain Resort and Berthoud Pass are now among the Lost Resorts. Our memories and those of our collaborators are shared in the 2nd edition of Colorado's Lost Resorts poster. If history is our guide, it may not be the last edition.
20 Most Memorable Lost Resorts:
- Arapahoe East: Founded by Larry Jump, who started Arapahoe Basin this ski area remained beside I-70 for two decades but only operated about half of that time before officially closing in 1984.
- Berthoud Pass: The start of skiing at Berthoud Pass is not known exactly but it claims to be the first ski area in Colorado to have the first chairlift and to be the first in the state to allow snowboarding. The ski area finally closed in 2002 due to financial troubles.
- Camp Hale: Tennessee Pass: Just like Aspen, Vail, and other modern resorts founded by the Tenth Mountain Division, this area had trails, tows, meals, and ample overnight lodging. Opened three months after Pearl Harbor, it shut down in 1965 except for the longest training slope, which became the heart of still-active Ski Cooper.
- Climax: Sometimes called the Continental Ski Course, opened in 1936 with great snow, a $10 season pass, and night skiing. The Climax Molybdenum Co. kept the vast open slopes going from 1936 to 1960, when employee housing nearby was discontinued.
- Conquistador: Development of this ski area began in 1974 but it didn't open until '77 when two pony lifts were all it had for five years. Chairlifts were added and expansion planned but continual financial troubles kept it closed after 1988.
- Cuchara Mountain Resort: Opening for the 1981-82 season as Panadero, Cuchara operated under various ownership and management until 2001. Rumor has circulated that there are hopes to re-open the ski area on private property but no definitive plans have been made public.
- Evergreen Basin: The ski area development, with plans to be larger than Winter Park, caught attention when it was announced in 1965 but development was never completed.
- Fun Valley: First operating as "Watson's Ski Hill" in 1938, this ski area soldiered on with sporadic operation until 1977.
- Genesee Mountain: Genesee was a highlight on the ski jump circuit hosting the 1921 and 1927 National Jumping Championships but snow was inconsistent and the area closed in the mid '30s with the exception of some collegiate practices briefly in the '50s.
- Geneva Basin: Originally opening as Indianhead Mountain in 1962, Geneva Basin had challenging terrain, cold weather, was once owned by former Governor Romer, and had a chair fall from the lift before finally closing in 1984.
- Hidden Valley: Operating for 57 years, Hidden Valley bridged the competitive jumping and recreational skiing eras before the forest service closed the area in 1991 because 70% of its terrain was rated "most difficult".
- Magic Mountain: Sitting just west of Denver at the Heritage Square amusement park, Magic Mountain introduced snowmaking to Colorado for just one season in 1958-59.
- Montezuma Basin: The ski area opened only in the late summer when the 4x4 road to the snowfield beneath Castle Peak, at 13,000 ft, was passable. The area ran for three years beginning in 1967 but never found its footing. The summer snowfield is popular among snow enthusiasts that want to make summer turns.
- Old Man Mountain: The host of jumping events beginning in 1931, this ski area brought in 55 tons of crushed ice to host events during August in 1951 and 1952.
- Pikes Peak: This ski area operated for 30 years until planned expansion faltered and the manufacturer repossessed a brand-new chairlift in 1984.
- Pioneer Ski Area: With the help of WPA workers and local volunteers, Pioneer opened in 1939 with the state's first chairlift. The chairs only three feet off the ground and the lift was built from a converted mine tram. The area lasted until 1953.
- Red Mountain: This ski area had one of the nation's longest chairlifts in 1940. Red Mountain was extremely successful in the '50s but quickly encountered financial trouble and closed in 1959.
- Ski Broadmoor: Beginning in 1959, Ski Broadmoor never quite had the reputation of its namesake hotel. Throughout the years it was operated by Colorado Ski Country USA founder Steve Knowlton, Colorado Springs and Vail, before finally closing in 1989.
- Ski Sugarite: Often called Raton Ski Basin, used the slogan "New Mexico's only Colorado Ski Area" and was located 12 miles west of Raton just feet inside the Colorado border. It operated from 1965-89.
- Stagecoach: This was the largest ski resort to close, leaving three lifts empty in 1974 after just two seasons of operation.