Colorado's Front Range Heavyweights Keep Pace With Upgrades

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Folks who head up I-70 from the Denver area this winter know that they are entering one of the most renowned and diverse skiing and riding regions in the nation.

Each year, five famous resorts compete not only to be the first to open but also to be first on the list of where Coloradans and visitors go. This season is no different, with new lifts, terrain and facilities going in this summer.

At Loveland, the boundaries of snowcat tours have been expanded into previously hike-to terrain. The pay-to-ride, guided full-day tours into 580-acre Dry Gulch, located in the upper northwest corner of the Colorado mountain boundaries and north of Eisenhower Tunnel on I-70, supplement Loveland's existing free snowcat service in the same area at the top of Lift 9.

Running from the top of Lift 8, 16-person snowcats with a backcountry guide will make up to two trips a day into the area. Skiers and riders can expect 5-7 runs off the ridgeline of Mt. Trelease into the gulch each trip. Backcountry hikers can still get in there on their own.

Arapahoe Basin has paused after a busy couple of offseasons putting in new lifts and high-alpine restaurant. What's new at A-Basin is in the future: Expanded parking, a lot-to-base gondola, and a remastered Wrangler beginner area on east edge of the mountain.

Over at Copper Mountain, crews cut new beginner and glade runs in the Western Territory as part of Copper's multi-year effort to open up easy terrain to skier's far left. They also opened up a couple of new traverses in that same sector, hoping to make it easier to get around the mountain. And the Aerie eatery opens at the top of the American Flyer.

Keystone finally got its Bergman Bowl project completed, after several fits and starts. A new high-speed six-pack rises 1,078 vertical feet out of the gully below North Peak to 12,282 feet elevation in the snowfields of Bergman Bowl. Unusual is that the new above-treeline terrain is mellow, all blue and greens. Steeps can be had off the lift in Erikson Bowl, or by hiking the ridge.

And at Breckenridge, fixed-grip double Lift 5 came down this summer, after more than 50 years of taking skiers and riders out of the Peak 8 base area. In its place with a new six-seat detachable chair called 5 Superchair -- another step in a Peak 8 makeover.

In the same area, a complete re-do of the Park Lane terrain park on lower Peak 8 is due to open. The park's features link into the banked slalom lower down, all off 5 Superchair.

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Up-And-Down Offseason For Vail Resorts' Lift Plans

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Unauthorized road construction by Vail Resorts' contractors has prompted the U.S. Forest Service to force a delay of opening the much-anticipated Bergman Bowl at Keystone until to the 2023-2024 season.

Work had already begun this spring to prepare 550 acres of intermediate alpine terrain for the coming 2022-2023 season. That work including installation of a new high-speed six-pack chairlift.

However, in July, the Forest Service discovered that crews had built a temporary construction road beyond permit boundaries, and issued a cease-and-desist order until damage to fragile treeline and above-treeline tundra was repaired.

In hopes of keeping the much-touted project on schedule, Keystone officials quickly worked up a restoration plan to remove damage done by the road and reclaim a stream crossing that had been filled in by crews.

Despite saying the restoration project was one of the best they had ever seen, officials of the White River National Forest said further environmental review was necessary before work on the lift could resume.

That led Vail Resorts to announce that Bergman Bowl, long a hike-to and snowcat favorite off the top of North Peak, will remain as such until next summer's construction season. Other parts of the project, including expansion of the Outpost restaurant atop North Peak, placing snowmaking equipment in the area and doing trail work will continue this summer.

The nation's largest ski and snowboard resort conglomerate and purveyor of the Epic Pass, Vail Resorts continues to work on several other lift installation projects. At Vail Mountain, a new high-speed four-pack is set to run from the base of High Noon Express to the ridge-top Wildwood Restaurant. On the front, Game Creek Bowl enthusiasts will get up quicker with a replacement detachable six-seater on the same line as the old lift.

In neighboring Summit County, Vail-owned Breckenridge will give beginners and ski school-ers more runs to lap out of Peak 8 base with a replacement of Rip's Ride fixed-grip with a high-speed four-pack.

At Vail-owned resorts around Lake Tahoe, skiers and riders who go to Northstar California should expect to see a six-pack replacement of the four-seater Comstock Lift at the busy mid-mountain. And, visitors to Heavenly Mountain should be able to get to the top of North Bowl in almost half the ride time with a new high-speed chair.

However, Park City Mountain visitors and loyalists will have to wait for two replacement chairlifts at a busy juncture near the crossover to the Canyons area, as local citizens convinced the planning board to reevaluate the project. Vail Resorts has said it will appeal.

 

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Summit County Resorts Open Up For Colorado Summer

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Summer has arrived in Colorado's high country, and a quartet of high-altitude resorts in Summit County are cranking up for a bustling summer at four of the Rocky Mountain's busiest mountains.

Typically opening mid-June, standard warm-weather attractions include scenic chairlift or gondola rides, coasters and slides, hiking and mountain biking, disc golf, climbing walls, and music, food and drink. Expect that some labor-intensive activities like ziplining may have hours curtailed or, in the case of Breckenridge and Vail, be shut down.

At Arapahoe Basin, Summit County's only via ferreta has half- and full-day guided tours on the "iron way" -- a series of iron rungs fixed in the rock face -- that begin at 12,000 feet of elevation, and top out at the 13,000-foot summit on West Ridge. Near the base, the Aerial Adventure Park runs ziplines, swings, and balancing acts through old-growth forest.

Down the road at Keystone, tubing lives on into the summer, as crews pile up leftover snow atop Dercum Mountain (11,640). Lanes typically stay open into July, 10 a.m to 2 p.m. You must buy a ride up the gondola to the summit, and pre-pay by the run for tubing. Plenty of other activities at mountain-top Adventure Point.

On the other side of Dillon Reservoir, the force of gravity prevails at Breckenridge in the summertime. The Gold Runner Alpine Coaster pitches down 2,500 feet on elevated tracks, with two 360-degree loops and a top speed of 27 mph. The resort also has three alpine slides that run 2,600 feet down concave tracks -- with manual braking.

And to the west, Copper Mountain's summer starts in the base area. Check out bumper boats on West Lake, and a challenging go-kart track. The Woodward Wrecktangle presents a dozen obstacles to overcome in the Woodward Copper extreme sport complex. All-day summer pass includes Wrecktangle, unlimited rides up the chairlift, and limited shots at other activities.

The cheapest activities at any of the resorts are hiking and mountain biking. Check Forest Service regulations for e-bikes. Most have designated trails.

 

 

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No Surprises Among Western Resorts Staying Open Late

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The usual suspects will extend the 2021-2022 ski and snowboard season through May and beyond, as a flurry of late-season storms has reinforced the snowpack throughout the West.

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A Flurry Of Lift Construction Set For Colorado This Summer

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Summer visitors to Colorado ski and snowboard mountains will see plenty of construction going on, as seven resorts across the state string new lifts for the upcoming season.

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Summit County Resorts Record A Combined 200 Inches Of March Snow

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March is typically the snowiest month in the state of Colorado, and this year, Summit County ski areas are recording over 200 inches combined.

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Snow May Not Be Piling Up At Colorado Resorts, But Anxiety Sure Is

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Coronavirus is still a worry, but now ski hill operators must wrestle with too few workers and not enough places to house the ones they’ve hired.

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Colorado Epic Resorts Geared Up For This Season

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A quartet of Colorado resorts in the Epic Pass system is set to show off improvements as the 2021-2022 ski and snowboard season gains momentum.

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Vail-Owned Resorts In West To Get Major Lift Upgrades

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Having paused lift construction in the 2020-2021 season, Vail Resorts unleashed its financial wherewithal to make it easier to move around a half-dozen of the 19 of its ski and snowboard mountains in the Rockies and the Sierra.

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Seven Best Colorado Ski Towns

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It takes more than good terrain to be a truly great ski town. When you're walking in ski boots and lugging your equipment around, a town that sits at the base of the ski area or has a great bus system will make all the difference.

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Summer Winds Down With Traditional Oktoberfest, Brew Fest Events

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At many ski and snowboard resorts, October comes in September -- in the form of the lederhosen, dirndl, clogs, knee socks, and, of course, beer.

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Ride A Lift Up, Mountain Bike Back Down At 7 Colorado Resorts

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When the snow melts and all that’s left of Colorado’s ski resorts are the seemingly endless trails, rushing mountain water, bright green aspen glades and wildflower-covered meadows, what is there to possibly do?

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Coming Up To The High Country: Summer In Summit County

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As the weather heats up, Front Range residents and visitors turn their eyes toward the mountains, where they will find cool temps, fresh air, and tons of summer activities awaiting them.

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Spring Skiing Rolls On At Three Colorado Resorts

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Several Colorado ski areas are taking advantage of recent snowstorms and extending their ski seasons through late spring.

Winter Park has extended their season through Sunday where they currently have 1,325 acres open. 

Breckenridge plans to stay open through Memorial Day weekend - May 31st.

Arapahoe Basin is aiming for a closing date of June 6th this year.

After a warm first week of April, the snowpack took a nosedive across the state. But a cooler and wetter pattern through mid-April halted the early snowmelt for several more weeks and even added to the snowpack slightly.

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Still Plenty Of Turns As Season Extends Into May ... And Beyond

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The vast majority of U.S. ski and snowboard resorts have shuttered operations for the season -- many of them extending past announced closing dates -- but a hearty dozen will spin their lifts deep into the spring.

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Which Colorado Ski Areas Are Still Open?

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With Copper Mountain and Snowmass shutting down ski operations for the season on Sunday, four Colorado ski areas remain open, and two of them will be closed in two weeks.

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Springtime In The Rockies: Colorado Season Gets Longer

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Thanks to a snowy March and persistent pent-up desire to hit the slopes, a slew of Colorado ski and snowboard resorts will keep their lifts spinning beyond original closing dates.

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Ski Resorts Invest In Upgrades Even While Facing A Season Of Losses In 2020-21

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After the majority of the 470 ski areas in the United States closed in mid-March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Ski Areas Association reported skier visitor numbers dropped 14% compared to the 2018-19 season. It was a blow to the resorts, the towns they call home and a multitude of businesses that serve the industry with everything from gear and accessories to hotels, shuttle companies and more.

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Climbing Coronavirus Cases In Colorado’s High Country Aren’t Tracking Back To Ski Resorts

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Health officials in eight counties have not traced positive tests back to lift lines, chairlifts or ski slopes.

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High Demand: Reservation Systems Come Into Play For The Holidays

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The holiday season is upon us and, despite the headwinds of Covid-19, thousands of skiers and snowboarders have been aiming toward the mountains for welcome relief.

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