In the wake of a memorable 2013-14 Colorado ski season that set a record for statewide skier visits, Colorado Ski Country USA (CSCUSA) member resorts are aiming to maintain that positive momentum by investing in guest-facing amenities and operations improvements that will further enhance every facet of the skier and snowboarder experience, on and off the slopes.
From major investments in hotels, on mountain dining and learning centers for young skiers and snowboarders, to new chairlifts, groomers, and snowmaking systems; CSCUSA resorts continue to hold guest satisfaction in the highest regard and make concrete improvements that will maintain and enhance the premier skiing and snowboarding experience at Colorado resorts.
Below is a summary of the many upgrades at CSCUSA resorts guests will enjoy during the 2014-15 ski season.
Learning, Lessons & Little Ones
Arapahoe Basin will unveil a newKids Center in the spring of 2015. The A-Basin Kids Center will be more than 7,000 square feet and will add to the convenience of the base area. In addition to the amenities the Kids Center will provide for children in the Snowsports lessons and programs, the construction and dcor of the building will be in line with the resorts award-winning emphasis on sustainability. The Kids Center will be partially powered by solar energy, and will be decorated in the spirit of A-Basins on-mountain ecology education displays such as Aces Wild Adventure, and trails like Moose Hollow and Lynx Lane, where signage informs guests young and old about the flora and fauna ecosystem on the Continental Divide. Guests can follow the progress of the construction on the A-Basin Facebook page by clicking here: http://bit.ly/abkcphotos.For more information visit http://bit.ly/A-Basin-WhatsNew2015.
For 2014/15, Aspen/Snowmass is excited to reveal The Hideout, a new multi-million dollar childrens center at the base of Buttermilk. The Hideout will give children and families a world-class facility with improved access for drop off, direct access to the mountain and an adventurous and interactive design. The 7,500-square-foot-facility will offer a fresh new approach to kids programming by seamlessly mixing indoor play with ski instruction. The Hideout is included in Phase 1 of the Buttermilk base area improvements along with parking lot and drop-off/pick-up improvements. Phase 2 will see a new Skier Services building for ticketing, rental retail and additional amenities. For more information, visit http://www.aspensnowmass.com.
Loveland Ski Area is adding a second Magic Carpet surface lift at Loveland Valley. Loveland Valley is a unique learning area with a base lodge, equipment rentals and other amenities, and is used by beginners and those looking for a slower pace while visiting Loveland Ski Area.The Valley is adjacent to Loveland Basin and is accessible by a short shuttle ride. This new magic carpet will be open to the public and will provide access to gentle terrain perfect for first timers.For more information, visit http://www.skiloveland.com.
The new Burton Riglet Park at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort will anchor the development of a multi-faceted ski and ride terrain-based learning facility in the base area.The Burton Riglet Park allows the youngest of riders, ages 3-6 years, to experience sliding on snow and get a jump start on learning while having fun on the slopes. For more information, visit http://durangomountainresort.com/.
Guest Service & Experience
In time for the 2014/15 ski season, the Limelight Hotel at Aspen/Snowmass is lightening up the room dcor to deliver even more comfort and ease to guests. All 126 guest rooms will be outfitted with new carpets, drapery, and furniture. Warm colors and textures combined with patterns inspired by nature that will sooth the spirit after an invigorating day of adventure. Lounge-style seating with sumptuous chairs and work-height coffee tables will offer a place to unwind, dine casually, or pull out the laptop and share the days photos with friends online. This project will deliver an even greater sense of freshness and warmth.
In addition, Aspen/Snowmasss Little Nell Hotel has renovated all six of its Executive Suites with the vision of the renowned interior designer Holly Hunt. The suites now offer elegant and sophisticated Aspen modern ambience in addition to their well-known breathtaking views of Aspen Mountain. Whites, grays, blues and natural colors are reflected in custom designed leathers, woods and fabrics. Guests will enjoy everything from Fila DOro linens to custom art hand selected by Aspen Skiing Company owner Paula Crown.
Copper Mountain reengineered the resort smartphone app game with the introduction of Sherpa last winter. Providing on-mountain audio intelligence, Sherpa makes the mountain experience better for all guests. New for the 2014/2015 winter season, Copper hands over the controls of Sherpa to everyone, allowing for an open-sourced mountain. Not only will guests be able to create and share their own mountain tips and favorite trails, but Copper will reward the best contributors with swag, tickets, passes and even a prized treasured spot on 2015/2016 winter trail map. Sherpa 2.0 will change how guests interact with the mountain and create a community rewarding those who help to improve the mountain experience.Learn more about Sherpa at www.CopperColorado.com/Sherpa.
Monarch Mountains 2014-15 capital improvements include replacing the lower Breezeway lift terminal, the Phase 2 expansion of its parking lot, asphalting of the parking lot access road, and new rental equipment. Monarch offers a wide variety of ski & snowboard equipment for all performance levels. Brands include Head, Salomon, K2, Volkl, and Burton. For more information, visit www.skimonarch.com.
Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resorts equipment rental operation is getting a facelift to give guests a seamless rental experience from start to finish, complete with a new boot fitting station, snowboard demos and an upgraded rental fleet. The redesigned shop offers guests less time to be spent in lines and more time to get out on the slopes.Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort is an official Rossignol Experience Center and Burton Learn to Ride Center, combining the latest in ski and snowboard technology with state-of-the-art teaching methodologies.For more information, visit http://durangomountainresort.com/.
Silverton Mountain has purchased a new helicopter ski cargo basket. A special ski cargo basket was made for Silverton Mountain to accommodate the deep snow landings. The old basket would get buried in legendary Silverton powder snow upon landing, forcing the guides to shovel snow just to get access to their skis. For more information, visit http://www.silvertonmountain.com.
Sunlight Mountain is investing in base lodge improvements that support the ski areas commitment to sustainable business and underscore their pledge to guest service. The charming lodge that anchors the base area and boasts expansive views of the majestic mountains will have upgraded windows. The resort is replacing the old windows with more modern and energy efficient ones while maintaining the nostalgic design integrity of the structure. Also, new this season, guests will be able to take advantage of the newly remodeled restrooms in the base lodge, a project that will greatly enhance the guest experience and convenience at this independent ski area. For more information, visit http://www.sunlightmtn.com.
Coming off its inaugural season of night skiing and snowboarding, Steamboat will add two additional nights for skiers and riders to enjoy the slopes under the lights. Night Operations will now be available Thursday through Monday evenings from 5:30-8:30pm and from 6-9pm during spring. In addition, a new Patrol/Maintenance Station at the top of Christie Peak Express will be constructed, creating a home base for nighttime patrollers and their equipment. The two-story facility will also serve lift maintenance, providing repair and work space.
Steamboat Ski & Sport Sheraton is one of the resorts most popular retail/rental locations. To accommodate growing guest needs, the shop will expand its square footage by more than 35 percent to nearly 6,300 sq. ft. The newly remodeled and designed space will provide expanded rental service, providing greater space for skiers and riders to gather their equipment and prepare for the day. Additionally, increased merchandise, equipment and a variety of other products makes Ski & Sport Sheraton the premier location at the base of the ski area for all snow sport requirements. The resorts rental fleet will continue its annual upgrade of equipment, adding the latest ski and snowboard technology available for guests, spread across the resorts convenient Ski & Sport locations.
Also new for 2014/15 at Steamboat, all ticket office services will move into the One Steamboat Place location to better serve guests, including all options for lift tickets, frequency passes and season passes as well as all SnowSports School tickets. A new SnowSports Privates Lounge, in the former main ticket office space in the Gondola Building, will provide convenient sales and a comfortable meeting area for guests and instructors participating in private lessons.
The improvements continue across Mt. Werner Circle at the Steamboat Grand with major projects including installation of new window coverings and sofa sleepers in units, extensive renovation and upgrades to the whirlpool hot tubs and pool, new quiet refrigerators in studios, refinished woodwork in penthouse units and new elevator lobby carpet on all floors. For more information about the enhanced guest experience at Steamboat in 2014-15, visit http://www.steamboat.com.
Further advances in efficiency and guest services in Ski Coopers rental shop will be completed for the 2014/15 ski season, improving on its complete remodel last season. Ski Cooper will enhance the flow of guests renting skis and snowboards by re-positioning electronic sign in stations, while adding more printer stations and re-configuring the area for guests to fit boots. For more information, visit http://www.skicooper.com.
At Crested Butte, the tubing hill is always a hit with the kids – even after a long day of skiing. This winter, the resort plans to install a Magic Carpet lift just for the tubing hill, bringing back the excitement of tubing to the base areas Adventure Park. The installation of the new lift will provide kids and the kid at heart easy, safe access to the hill.
Free ski storage has been a great perk for Crested Butte Mountain Resort lodging guests, but this year it will be even better. New slopeside rack systems are being installed to streamline the service. Guests who arent lodging at one of the resorts properties or renting equipment from the Crested Butte Rental and Demo Center can take advantage of the service for a nominal fee.
Snow bikes have made a huge splash at Crested Buttes annual Slush Huck Pond Skim event, where participants try to skim across a pond on skis and snowboards. This year, guests can try out snow bikes themselves (minus the pond) by renting one of ten new bikes in the resorts rental fleet. For those new to the sport at CBMR, a two hour instruction and guided tour around the mountain is required to ensure safe use of the equipment and knowledge of where snow biking approved routes are located. This is an easy to learn, smile-producing sport and more information on snow biking at Crested Butte can be found at www.skicb.com/snowbike.
At Loveland Ski Area, the new Ginny Lee Cabin, a day use on mountain structure, will provide skiers and riders on the north side of Loveland Ski Area a convenient place to meet friends and warm up without a trip to the base area. The new warming hut is located off Chair 8 and offers amazing views, restrooms and vending machines. For more information, visit http://www.skiloveland.com.
Food & Beverage
At Loveland Ski Areas Loveland Basin, a newly remodeled cafeteria will be unveiled this season. The remodel will improve the guest dining experience including making it easier and more convenient. The cafeteria will be able to provide more food and beverage options, comfortable seating and a cozy place for guests to take a break and take in the views. For more information, visit http://www.skiloveland.com.
For 2014/15 Ski Cooper will offer an on mountain mobile food service with the new Cat Trax snow-cat. In similar vein to a food truck, the Ski Cooper Cat Trax will serve hot food at different locations on the mountain this season offering the ski areas first on mountain dining service.
In the base lodge at Ski Cooper, guests will experience the newly enhanced Pub. With an even more laid back vibe and atmosphere in tune with the guest experience at the mountain, the Pub will feature an Irish theme, together with Irish music and quality Irish beer. For more information, visit http://www.skicooper.com.
Steamboats Thunderhead Lodge at the top of the gondola received a dramatic makeover this summer. A new color scheme with rock treatments highlights the exterior enhancements. Inside the building, guests will notice new carpeting, custom wood accents and a redesigned Thunderhead Reds Bar. Similar to the layout of the popular Four Points bar, Thunderhead Reds will double in size and expand to include the eastern side of the building taking advantage of the dramatic east facing window views of Mt. Werner and Storm Peak. In addition, equipment upgrades throughout a number of kitchens will improve the facilitys culinary offerings.
The Bear River Terrace has long been the prime gathering spot in Steamboats Gondola Square. For the 2014/15 winter season, the Terrace will make enjoying a drink and bite to eat even easier.For daytime operations, the Bear River BBQ will become a permanent fixture on the Terrace, offering burgers, hot dogs and other grilled specialties to guests wishing to dine outside. The Umbrella Bar, located on the first tier of the Terrace, will add lights and a heating system to accommodate guests during special evening hours, making it the main location for friends and family to watch the night skiing and riding action on the slopes
Date night, birthday dinner, business lunch, brunch with friends or that special family gathering is as simple as a touch of the screen when Steamboat launches OpenTable, a real-time online reservation service throughout its family of restaurants this winter. With OpenTable, resort restaurants will be able to manage reservations more efficiently, streamline operations and enhance service levels. For guests, it means finding the restaurants that best fit their dining occasions, available tables, real-time reservations, restaurant reviews, menus and other helpful information to enjoy the best overall mountain culinary experience. For more information about Steamboats upgraded food and beverage options, visit http://www.steamboat.com.
Winter Park Resorts largest on-mountain building construction in over 25 years, Lunch Rock Restaurant will be a state-of-the-art facility utilized year-round, with 150-seat heated deck, 250-seat indoor restaurant, bar, and hydration station all focusing on Colorado themes.At 16,000 square-feet, the new restaurant will be over five times larger than the previous structure at Lunch Rock, which was built in 1985.While adding another exciting experience for visitors to the Mary Jane Territory, Lunch Rock Restaurant will also service guests skiing and riding Winter Park Territory, Parsenn Bowl Territory, Eagle Wind Territory, and the Cirque Territory, making the restaurant a convenient hub for the many people who pass through the area each day.
In addition to convenience and comfort, at 11,200 feet in elevation Lunch Rock Restaurant will boast amazing views of Parry Peak, James Peak, Parsenn Bowl, the Fraser Valley, and the Continental Divide, which Winter Park Resort lovers have enjoyed from Lunch Rock for generations. Most importantly, the new facility will stay true to the tradition of Mary Jane, one of Colorados most iconic destinations. For more information, visit http://lunchrock.co/.
Terrain & Snow Conditions
New at Aspen/Snowmass beginning Dec. 19, 2014, Snowmass will feature four lanes of lift-served snow tubing perfect for an afternoon of sliding down snow with the family. Built for ages 4-14, the new tubing facilities at Elk Camp will provide non-stop laughter and fun. For more information, visit www.aspensnowmass.com.
Last summer, Crested Butte thinned 10 acres of trees, dramatically improving access to forested skiing. This summer, the improvements continue as resort crews partner with the local US Forest Service District to identify new areas for glading. Intermediate skiers looking for more gentle gladed terrain should get ready to weave through the trees in the East River area and off the Teocalli Lift. For more information, visit http://www.skicb.com.
For 2014-2015, Eldora Mountain Resort has added two new Kassbohrer grooming machines to the existing fleet of five groomers. Combined with 100 percent snowmaking coverage on all groomed territory, the new grooming machines improvement will ensure a consistently high-quality snow surface for all ability levels. For more information, visit www.eldora.com.
Loveland Ski Area has invested in snowmaking upgrades at Loveland Basin and Loveland Valley to improve efficiencies and productivity. Lovelands location on the Continental Divide provides cooler temperatures that allow the ski area to make snow early in the season and help it keep snow in good condition all season long and well into spring. For more information, visit http://www.skiloveland.com.
Powderhorns mountain operations crew is widening the Equalizer trail for the 2014-15 season. The crew is also tackling the meticulous job of brush cutting Cannonball, Bear Claw, Wonderbump, Racers Edge, Lower Showdown, Powderkeg, Kiddy Keg, Misery and Whistle Pig trails and more to come. For more information, visit www.powderhorn.com.
Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort is adding more snowmaking equipment to the front and backside of the mountain. The resort is adding 11 new energy-efficient snowmaking tower guns, and a state-of-the-art, high-output fan gun, making the mountain operations team more efficient during the early season to establish a solid base that lasts throughout the entire ski season. For more information, visit www.durangomountainresort.com.
Ski Granby Ranch visitors will experience terrain improvements and expansions in 2014/15. The ski area is adding two new runs on West Mountain, improving access to Deans Glade on West Mountain, reopening the Poma Lift which gives access to Lone Pine Bowl, and adding a new gladed area off Bronc Rider on East Mountain. For more information, visit http://www.granbyranch.com.
Joining Steamboats grooming machine fleet this season is a new Bison Sherpa winch is the first of its kind in Colorado, and is the new generation of winches from Prinoth with 5.3 tons of pulling force and an automatic pulling force control system. The cutting-edge Bison Sherpa augments the Beast which started grooming the slopes mid-winter last season and will be used to tackle some of Steamboats steepest terrain and portions of its terrain parks. The resorts fleet, operated in two shifts, re-surfaces approximately 600 acres nightly to a premium corduroy finish and encompasses 21 machines, including nearly half of the fleet utilizing Bison or Beast groomers.
In addition, Steamboats state-of-the-art snowmaking system is being upgraded this winter with more than two miles of pipe, more than 11,000 feet, across See Me, Upper See Ya, Sitz, top of Vogue to Jess Cut-Off and Sitz to Boulevard. In addition, two new 12 ft. by 16 ft. blockhouses at Jess Cut-Off and the Christie Peak Mid-Station will provide new valve stations for intersecting pipe lines in those critical areas. The new lines will significantly accelerate the resorts ability to produce snow as tower guns can be spaced 75 feet apart to more efficiently cover the trails. Over the past six seasons, the resort has installed nearly 18 miles/46.5km of water and air pipe for snowmaking. These improvements are all designed to further efforts to use less electrical energy and water in production while being more efficient when producing the early season snow base.For more information, visit www.steamboat.com.
Telluride has invested in new snowmaking equipment for 2014/15, which will allow for greater snowmaking capacity in high traffic areas off of Lifts 4 and 5, accessing the beginner and intermediate areas in the heart of Tellurides trail system. Tellurides new snowmaking system includes 38 new high efficiency Snowlogic snow guns. These snowmaking snow guns require 90 percent less energy to operate than other models. For more information, visit http://www.tellurideskiresort.com.
Wolf Creek Ski Area is adding a new refurbished Elma Lift, a fixed-grip triple chairlift, for the 2014-15 season. 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. It will also incorporate great beginner terrain along with some excellent intermediate terrain in an area that is currently underutilized. During times of avalanche hazard reduction when the Alberta Lift opens later than the other lifts, the Elma Lift will allow the public to return to the Treasure Stoke Quad and the lower Waterfall Area while waiting for the Alberta Lift to open.
Wolf Creek Ski Area hosts a number of “Fun Races” throughout the ski season. These races are free and open to skiers and boarders of all ages and abilities with a dual race format. The course is set up in a modified giant slalom, which begins at the top of the Charisma trail and ends at the Race Hutch. The existing Race Hutch, located near the bottom of the Charisma trail, will be replaced. The new building will be approximately 18 feet by 20 feet and located below the current Race Hutch location. It will store all the timing equipment, fencing, poles and all associated racing tools. For more information, visit http://www.wolfcreekski.com.
Anniversaries & Milestones
Several resorts in Colorado are recognizing significant anniversaries and milestones during the 2014/15 season. Winter Park will celebrate its 75th anniversary on January 28, 2015 with a weeklong series of events that kicks off with a celebration at Winter Park resort and finishes with Mary Janes 40th birthday party.
Monarch and Wolf Creek ski areas are also celebrating 75 years this season. Both ski areas are releasing special 75th anniversary logos, Monarch will host anniversary fireworks on New Years Eve, and Wolf Creek will host a Retro Day to commemorate the occasion.
Additionally this winter, Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs will recognize the 100th anniversary of ski jumping at the nostalgic ski area.