A Stamp on the Passport: Great Skiing Close to Home at Eldora

Submitted by Lori Mayfield on Wed, 03/20/2019 - 16:00
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Lori's son, Ames, posing at the base of Eldora on a bluebird day. 

There’s something special about all the ski areas on the 5th Grade Passport, and Eldora has its own charm too. Known as Boulder’s backyard, it’s just 21 miles from downtown, up Boulder Canyon Drive. And if you prefer to skip the drive, you can hop the RTD bus from one of three stops ((with free weekend parking) in Boulder and be dropped off just steps from the Alpenglow chairlift. Or consider carpooling with a friend or two and get prime parking (for vehicles of 3 or more) right up front.

Like any ski area, weekdays are less crowded and for that reason, we decided to save our three Eldora visits on the pass for my son’s school’s “teachers in service” weekdays scattered throughout the ski season. Traffic getting to the ski area was minimal, as were the lift lines. Due to weather patterns, mountain proximity and perhaps unfortunate karma, Eldora can be particularly subject to high winds at times. Catch Eldora on a primo, blue bird, still air day and you’ve got yourself a little slice of heaven— just a quick jaunt away.

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"We had the mountain pretty much to ourselves."

Proximity and I-70 gridlock avoidance aren’t the only things going for Eldora. The vibe here is as downhome local and neighborly as we’ve found in any Colorado ski area we’ve visited. Everyone we chatted with riding up the lifts were from Boulder and the surrounding area. Some were students getting in a few runs after classes, working folks playing hooky and one guy with dreadlocks who played in a Boulder band who had a gig later that night.

Eldora packs a lot in its 680 acres of skiable terrain. It’s 100% groomed but don’t think that suggests it’s all cruiser runs. You’ll find plenty of steep double black diamonds the further right (on the ski map) you go. And to the left of the ski map are three terrain parks with loads of rails and boxes. If ever Mother Nature falls short in delivering fresh powder, Eldora boasts Colorado’s best snowmaking system. 

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The Lookout is a great place to stop in for a cup of hot cocoa. 

Comfort extends from the local people to the food. At the base of the mountain are a couple of restaurant options, The Timbers Lodge, Indian Peaks and Smoke Shack. My son indulged in some epic mac n’ cheese at the Timber’s Lodge that gave new meaning to the term, “comfort food.” On another day we brought our lunch from home and paired it with a cup of hot cocoa from The Lookout, located at the top of Corona Chairlift. The menus reflect a local Colorado spirit with local craft brews.

For those of us who live in the Northern Burbs of Denver like Westminster (where we live), Eldora is our closest ski area. It’s nice to have at least one ski spot we can drive to just for the day and not feel wiped out the next day. For that reason, we’ve dubbed Eldora our favorite day trip ski area.

Our quest in this blog series was to ski all 22 ski areas affiliated with Colorado Ski Country’s 5th and 6th Grade Passport program over two years. Life however took an unexpected twist and we found ourselves relocating to Austin, Texas. So sadly, we have to pass the baton on our quest. But we'll keep reading along to hear the stories of other Passport families who attempt the feat. We can’t wait to ski vicariously through you!

Follow along with Lori's Passport journey here.

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