Gary Tennenbaum remembers the first time he first spoke with the new owners of a long-dormant coal mine up the Crystal River Valley, near Redstone. It was a few years ago and the owners, grandsons of Walmart founder Sam Walton, offered a plan unlike any other to the longtime director of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails had seen before.
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?
Chelsea Clapham and her family began snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain four years ago. They enjoyed it so much that they return to the resort year-round. “We like summer and fall up there almost as much as winter,” said Clapham, who lives in Santa Clarita with her husband, Shaun, and two kids. “We have family friends who let us use their condo, so we’re hooked.”
Last year, mountain resorts were overrun by travelers in search of space and fresh air. The visitors are expected back, but now the towns have expanded activities and plans in place to deal with the crowds.
Despite Covid restrictions, the ski and snowboard resorts of Colorado had a hot summer season last year with hiking, biking, scenic lift rides, and other social-distanced activities. But one key attraction was missing: Music.
It's been almost a decade since electric-assisted e-bikes hit the streets and bike paths of the urban West, and now they are gaining acceptance as a summer option at ski and snowboard mountain resorts.
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.
The snow is still falling and the slopes just closed at Winter Park Resort, but the resort is preparing for warmer weather and summertime mountain adventure. Winter Park Resort is anticipating opening its summer activities, including its famed Trestle Bike Park, on Saturday, June 19, 2021.
Aspen Snowmass will open for the summer season Memorial Day Weekend, May 29-31, at Buttermilk. This marks the first time Buttermilk will be open to the public in the summer. Guests can sightsee, hike, play disc golf and enjoy food and beverage options from the Cliffhouse restaurant, all accessed by the Summit Express chairlift. Summer operations at Buttermilk will continue weekends, Friday through Sunday, until June 20.
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.
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.
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.
A new "low intermediate" area on the backside of Purgatory Resort is in the works, including a high-speed chair and easier snowmobile access from the front.
In March 2020, Monarch Mountain near Salida was on the cusp of something big. It had just announced its ski season would extend deep into April and record visitation numbers were well within reach. Then, on March 14, Governor Jared Polis ordered all ski areas to close in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, effectively ending the season on the eve of spring break.
Arapahoe Basin has often taken the trail less traveled approach when faced with the challenges of making money while retaining its down-home"vibe" -- and next season's ticket program will keep that going.
A storm system will bring heavy snow to the western mountains, especially the Colorado Rockies this weekend as a cold and stormy pattern persists. On the flip side, the East enjoys mild and spring-like conditions. This week’s SnoCast has the details through St. Patrick’s Day week.