Riding the snow-mentum from a new statewide skier visit record of 14.8 million during the 2022-23 ski season, the member resorts of Colorado Ski Country USA are gearing up for another fantastic season, complete with brand-new terrain, new lifts, new restaurants, and new investments in housing and childcare for ski industry workers.
“Resorts throughout Colorado Ski Country USA are making significant investments in new terrain, new lifts that move people around the mountains faster, and new restaurants and other amenities that make for an enjoyable family day on the slopes,” said CSCUSA President and CEO Melanie Mills. “It’s time for skiers and snowboarders old and new to plan ahead and prepare to make the most of the 2023-24 season.”
Steamboat Ski Resort
Steamboat Ski Resort will celebrate the completion of the most extensive project in the resort’s history. The final phase of the $220 million Full Steam Ahead redevelopment project includes the second segment of the Wild Blue Gondola to the summit of Sunshine Peak. The new segment will make Wild Blue the longest and fastest 10-person gondola in North America at 3.16 miles. The new gondola will increase the out-of-base capacity from 6,000 people per hour to 10,000 people per hour, getting skiers from bottom to top in 13 minutes. Full Steam Ahead also includes 655 new acres of expert-level terrain throughout Mahogany Ridge and Fish Creek Canyon. This north-facing area will be double-black diamond extreme terrain with steep and treed slopes, rocks, and cliffs.
Steamboat wrapped the second phase of Full Steam Ahead last season, including a dedicated Terrain Based Learning beginner area called Greenhorn Ranch, a new food and drink hall called The Range, a new ice rink, and new gathering spaces at the base.
Aspen Snowmass is kicking off the season with its biggest terrain expansion in almost 40 years. The new Hero’s terrain on Aspen Mountain features 1,220 vertical feet and more than 150 acres of new chutes, glades, and trails catering to intermediate and advanced skiers. Hero’s honors all of the people who brought the project to life, most impactfully the late Jim Crown, whose vision and leadership helped bring the ambitious expansion to reality. The expansion stays true to historical trail names like Powerline and Harris’s Wall and honors many of Aspen’s heroes with significant ties to the new terrain. There are runs dedicated to the first female ski instructor Elli Iselin, to 10th Mountain Division soldier Percy Rideout, and to pivotal ski patrol members like Eric Kinsman and Cory Brettmann. Tim Howe, who originally coined the name Pandora’s Box, will be recognized with an eponymous glade. In addition, Jim Crown’s family has chosen other trail names that honor his life, loves, and amusements.
Copper Mountain will celebrate the season with a brand-new, 25,000 sq. ft. mid-mountain lodge called the Aerie. The new lodge includes Forage and Feast, a full-service restaurant featuring Colorado cuisine at its finest. Guests will enjoy an elevated dining experience during both the summer and winter months at the on-mountain restaurant, with a bar and lounge, a private dining area for events, and a cafeteria featuring 270-degree views of the Gore and Ten Mile Ranges. Copper Mountain visitors can also expect to reap the benefits of ski trail upgrades, updated snowmaking, and the introduction of new snowcats.
A total of 5 new lifts will open this season at Colorado Ski County USA resorts:
Granby Ranch’s new 400-ft covered conveyor, a SunKid Covered Carpet, will open new beginner terrain between the Milestone and Conquest lifts.
Winter Park’s Wild Spur Express, a new 6-passenger, high-speed detachable Leitner-Poma lift that can move 2,800 people up the mountain per hour, will give guests a new way to experience Vasquez Ridge terrain when it opens in late November or early December. The lift will include a new mid-point loading zone, allowing guests to make quicker laps on upper intermediate and advanced trails. The Wild Spur Express is the only lift that serves nearly 285 acres of mostly blue intermediate trails and steeper, more advanced bump runs.
Spinning for their first full seasons are Arapahoe Basin’s Lenawee high-speed 6-chairlift, a fixed-grip triple at Loveland that replaced Lift 6 last season, and Telluride’s Lift 9, a detachable quad that opened in February.
Community and Workforce Investment
Winter Park Resort is investing $60 million in a brand-new, 330+ bed employee housing complex named Conifer Commons that will open mid-fall. The project is one of the largest workforce housing projects to be completed in Colorado this year. The complex is so close to the resort that residents will be able to walk to work and other amenities, including public transportation.
Copper Mountain’s work with community partners pays off with a new childcare facility for employees and community members opening this season. The center will serve a critical need in the community, providing more than 45 childcare spots for those who live and work within Copper Mountain Resort with designated areas for infants, toddlers, and pre-school aged children.
Steamboat Ski Resort is also celebrating the first full season of The Steamboat Child Care Center that prioritizes resort team members but also offers spots to community members if space is available.
Eldora is working on a new, 12,000 sq. ft. ski and ride school building at the base of the mountain which will also house a state-of-the-art adaptive sports center. The new building will have more space, an accessible roof deck, and its location closer to the slope will make it easier for more people in adaptive sports to get on the snow.
This Season’s Can’t-Miss Extras
And as if that’s not enough… 2024 is a leap year, so February 29 offers all skiers and riders an extra day to hit the slopes this winter!
Photo courtesy of Steamboat Ski Resort