Ever have one of those dreams where you're surrounded by munchkins wearing bright colored clothes and helmets? And they're all smiling so big you think they're a little too happy? You haven't!? Well I have, and it's a lot like my first few minutes at Eldora Mountain Resort.
I wade through a sea of four-foot-tall racer grommets on my way to the chairlift where I meet my crew. I'm headed out for morning light with the pride of the Eldora Snowsports School to shoot some footage and take photos. The corduroy is primo, the weather is superb, and the stoke level is high. I just hope I can keep up. These are future Olympians; kids seemingly born and bred to ski. There are literally hundreds of them. I ask Rob Linde, Eldora's Marketing Guru, why Eldora's such a popular place for kids to ski.
"Let me show you." he replies.
Eldora Mountain Resort is a stone's throw away from the city of Boulder, CO, and is known as a virtual skier and boarder factory. On a busy day, the resort places nearly 1,000 kids in structured ski and snowboard lessons of one kind or another, ranging from super-basic lessons to freeride skills clinics. The resort has numerous beginner areas, two magic carpets, and a sizable staff of ski and snowboard instructors. Its low-key attitude and unintimidating size make it a natural choice for families looking for a down-home, affordable and fun experience.
As Rob and I ski laps on Eldora's groomers (for the record, Rob definitely puts it down the mountain), I learn about Eldora's history, its philosophy, plans for the future, and various other statistics.All the while, a constant stream of happy little skiers zips along around us. But lots of ski areas have great kids programs, so what makes Eldora's so special? The answer lies within Rob's next statement.
"I love skiing powder, I love skiing steeps and all that. I've skied probably a hundred days a season for I don't know how long, but to me, there's just nothing better than being out here skiing with my kids." says Rob. Bingo.
If Rob's statement is any indication, Eldora gets it. The mountain breeds this innate sense that skiing and snowboarding isn't about anything other that just being out here having fun with your friends and family. What better way to create tomorrow's skiers and snowboarders than to simply be out here with them, loving the snow?
You can't come to Eldora and not find yourself smiling at all the little people on snow, laughing, falling, sliding, and generally having the time of their lives. They don't care about learning skills, they didn't set any goals for today, and they don't even know they're learning. They're just having fun.
Remember the dream I was talking about? The one with the munchkins? Well if these skiers and snowboarders are munchkins, then there must be a yellow-brick-road leading straight to Eldora Mountain Resort.
-John Trousdale, Mountain Correspondent, Colorado Ski Country USA