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Eldora: Why It’s Worth It

11:1:19 Eldora Opening DAy 0
Eldora Mountain Resort 

By Nancy Coulter-Parker

I know. If you’re rolling your eyes just seeing the headline Eldora, that’s okay. Don’t bother reading on, this mountain is not for you and that’s okay—that’s another free parking spot for me and my friends.

I admit, when I moved to Boulder, my first trip to Eldora was not love at first sight. I tried all of the other mountains and there are plenty to like. But early on, a few things caught my attention about Eldora—and then it just continued to grow on me. Now I liken it to a reliable best friend. I’ve snowboarded, telemarked and alpine skied this mountain, and I still love it.

Here’s why:

  1. Convenience: Even if parking is tricky at Eldora, it still beats driving I-70 in my mind. I would take a long walk across a muddy parking lot and a free parking spot over sitting in traffic any day. And there are three solutions to fix the parking.  
  • First, get to Eldora early. The sunrises are spectacular, in fact, the new-ish chairlift is called Alpenglow after the mountain’s morning light. And with Alpenglow on the front side of the mountain, you can log some serious laps before the crowds start to roll in.
  • The mountain also serves a pretty good breakfast burrito and coffee from Ozo.

    Okay, not a morning person? Wait until late morning or early afternoon to go up. The parking crunch really comes between about 8 to 10 am, especially on Saturdays when parents are dropping off kids for ski school or ski team practice. New parking spots start to open up later in the morning and by early afternoon you might just have front row access.

  • You don’t want to go up too early or too late? Take the bus. Seriously, catch the 8:10am or 10:10am departures from the Boulder Transit Center at 1400 Walnut Street and you’ll be given a pair of free bus tickets good for a round trip there and back. The bus basically delivers you to the chairlift. You’re practically on the chairlift where the bus drops you off and you can ski right back to where the bus picks you up. In fact, it’s hard to justify not taking the bus.
  1. Alpenglow chairlift: Entering its third season, the high-speed Alpenglow chairlift at the base of the mountain and the foot of the parking lot, carries 6 passengers at a time to the top of the mountain in less than 5 minutes. This means it’s really easy to run up to Eldora any time of day and knock out a good number of laps in just a few hours.

    11:1:19 Eldora's Opening Day

  2. Ample separate beginner terrain: When I was teaching my kids to ski, I appreciated that we could stay on Little Hawk and Bunnyfair and not have to navigate green runs with all levels of skiers on them. This part of the mountain offers a gentle reprieve for those starting out and beginner lessons. And if Sundance chair made your heart skip in the past, you will be happy to know it has new safety bars on it. While I agree it should have had safety bars on it long ago—like when my kids were learning—the fact is that was the previous owner’s decision to not do it. What I love about Powdr Corps, is that since purchasing Eldora in June of 2016, they have been listening to customers and proactively making these kinds of changes.
  3.  Advanced terrain: The runs may not be as long as on some mountains but they aren’t lacking in challenge. If you head over to Corona and West Ridge, you’ll find plenty to make your heart skip in Moose Glades or Salto Glades, and Corona has enough steepness for you to test your speed (in control, of course). And if you go back to #1, if you’re a morning person, you won’t be sad on a powder day on these runs.
  4. Uphill Access: Yes you have to pay, but for me, the $99 Ikon Pass Add-on is worth it. Eldora offers uphill access Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm. You can buy a day ticket to do so, but if you buy a season’s uphill pass or the Ikon Add-on you get early access from 6 am-9 am, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday as of January 7, 2020. What a great way to start your day!

And there’s more.

  • The Woodward Mountain Parks scattered around the front side of the mountain are fun for kids of all ages and offer a range of variety for all levels of park goers.
  • There are plenty of places to eat lunch and no one is going to hassle you if you choose to bring your own and sit with friends in the on-mountain dining areas.
  • If you’re waiting for someone or trying to connect with friends, there’s free wifi. Notable primarily because pre-Powdr Corps it wasn’t free.
  • From early on, I have been comfortable with my kids doing their own thing at Eldora. They were never going to get lost.
  • I love the views, especially from the top of Alpenglow and Muleshoe. 

Yup, it can still get a little windy, but at least you can check online or on the app and find out just how windy it is and if the mountain is closed or the parking lot is full. Powdr Corps is taking feedback seriously, and communicating to its mountain users while also understanding that locals like a lot about Eldora just the way it is. With that said, I have to ask—where did the lattes go?