Echo Mountain - Alec Stowell
If you had a ski area in your backyard, you’d probably get a lot more days in, right? Well, that’s the case for residents of Denver and the front range with Echo Mountain. Destinations are plentiful up I-70, but the closest and most affordable destination to Denver is Echo Mountain, which is just a short drive up Squaw Pass.
From the time you start up I-70 West towards Grand Junction, you only have approximately 30 minutes to go before you can be skiing and riding. You just exit at the Evergreen Parkway, then from there take a right onto Squaw Pass until you arrive. The parking lot takes you right up to the base so getting on the mountain is hassle-free. It’s the easiest drive to a mountain that I’ve ever experienced. This is especially convenient for residents or guests of Denver who have busy schedules and don’t have the time to spend hours driving to and from ski areas.
Echo Mountain - Echo Mountain
The views are gorgeous, too. It’s right in the gateway of the Rockies adjacent to Mt. Evans, so how could they not be? On a clear day, which is what I was fortunate enough to have, you can get a great view of the Continental Divide.
The affordability is really what draws its crowds though. In my one day there over the last week, I spoke to two out-of-state tourists who chose the mountain for its pricing. This mountain is included in the list of eligible mountains if you have one of Colorado Ski Country’s ‘GEMS Cards’. If you buy online at least 24 hours in advance, weekday tickets for adults (ages 16-64) are only $58 and weekday tickets for children (ages 6-15) are only $32, with any guests younger than that getting in for free. If you buy online 24 hours in advance for weekend tickets, it’s only a few bucks more than that, for both adults and children. That’s pretty tough to beat.
They also offer affordable ski and snowboard rental packages for both adults and children so if you’re coming in without gear, that’s no problem. Full ski or snowboard packages are only $40 for adults and $30 for children, which includes everything you’ll need for the day, except goggles and warm clothing.
Another thing that Echo Mountain really prides itself on and entices visitors from all around is their affordable night skiing. For the people that get caught up in their 9-5 work life and never feel like they have the time to get out there and ski or ride, this could be the best option for you. Wednesday through Saturday, they offer night skiing from 4:30-9 PM for only $30 for adults and $19 for children. They do want to stress, however, that only intermediate terrain is available during night skiing, so this may not be the best for beginners just starting out.
Speaking of beginners, that brings me to this point – this mountain is AWESOME if you’re trying to learn how to ski and ride. They love being a beginner’s mountain and have great terrain and great staff for doing so. They have a designated beginner’s area where you can spend your day just getting your legs comfortable on skis or a board. It’s easy to walk right up to, it’s groomed really well and has a conveyor lift to bring you right back to the top. Also, on hand, are staff members ready to help out with any questions or concerns you have. Besides, if you’re a beginner, it makes sense that you would go to the most affordable destination.
Echo Mountain - Alec Stowell
All that being said, that doesn’t mean experienced skiers and riders can’t have a great time at this mountain. The mountain offers a range of blues and blacks to try to accommodate skiers and riders of all levels. They also offer a terrain park which I found to be awesome for my own level. I am admittedly very inexperienced on the parks, but I took the opportunity at Echo to try to improve. They have two boxes, two rails, and five jumps to choose from to fit a variety of needs.
If you have a family member who’s not quite ready to make the jump to learn to ski or ride, that’s okay; They also offer tubing for affordable rates as well. It’s right on-site and they make it as easy as possible. The most you’ll pay per person is $30 including tube rental, but they also request that everyone make reservations well in advance to avoid any surcharges and to arrive 30 minutes prior to their designated time slot.
Tubing at Echo Mountain - Alec Stowell
The overarching theme of this mountain is, no matter who you are or what your skill level is, you can find a way to have fun. If you’re someone like me who likes their fair share of double black’s, this may not be the best spot for you. But even so, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to push yourself and make the best out of it. In my single visit there, I feel like I really improved on hitting boxes and other simple terrain park skills.
So, if you’re a Denver resident or somewhere else close by in the front range and you’ve been itchin’ to get some turns in, consider Echo Mountain as your mountain of choice. You’ll find it extremely convenient to get to, super affordable, and a place to have fun for all. If you’re a beginner, this is an outstanding place to learn and get comfortable. If you’re an experienced skier or rider but are looking for an affordable way to get some snow, this is an awesome choice.
As always, get out there, have fun, and be safe!
Alec Stowell is a senior at the University of Colorado Boulder. He is majoring in Journalism and minoring in Business with a focus in entrepreneurship. He was born in Glenwood Springs and grew up skiing in the roaring fork valley. Being active and exploring the outdoors has always been a huge priority to him - everything from skiing, basketball, mountain biking, hiking, and more have all been hobbies of his for as long as he can remember. Early in his education, he discovered a passion for writing and so when the opportunity came along to both ski and write, he was ecstatic. After graduation, he hopes to still be able to pursue a career in which he can combine his passion for writing and the outdoors, but is still figuring out what the future holds. For now, he is looking forward to making the most out of his ski season with Colorado Ski Country.