Skiers and snowboarders: you can’t go wrong in Colorado

Massive investments across two dozen resorts bring improved runs, accommodation and dining

By Michael Stahl 18/11/2018

Australian and New Zealand skifields have evolved in leaps and bounds, in everything from the quality of luxury accommodation and dining experiences, to innovative heli-skiing and back-country adventures. For many antipodean powderhounds, however, there’s nothing to beat an annual pilgrimage to the US and the vast range of options in the state of Colorado.

No fewer than two dozen ski and snowboard resorts are members of the industry body Colorado Ski Country USA, whose president and CEO Melanie Mills reports significant investment in lift infrastructure and dining experiences for the 2018-19 winter season.

“Guests to Colorado Ski Country member ski areas will experience new chairlifts, new terrain, new lodging, new dining options and multiple offerings that are directed at those newer or returning to the sport and those that may just be looking to enjoy the mountain environment,” said Ms Mills.

Copper Mountain Resort Photo: Courtesy of Tripp Fay, Copper Mountain Resort

Among the significant improvements are new American Eagle and American Flyer chairlifts at Copper Mountain, rising from the central village. The American Flyer, a high-speed, six-person bubble chairlift, will be the only active bubble lift in Colorado. The American Eagle, likewise high-speed, combines six-person chairs and eight-person gondolas.

Aspen Snowmass

Aspen Snowmass is undergoing a US$600m Base Village Development that will roll out new accommodations and amenities over a 10-year period. Ready in time for this winter will be the new Limelight Hotel Snowmass, a ski-in ski-out resort adjacent to the Elk Camp Gondola. Meanwhile, Snowmass’s family-friendly Buttermilk is introducing Fort Frog, a wooden fort attraction packed with activities.

Telluride’s likewise family-friendly Meadows beginner area will be upgraded to a world-class learning facility, with a new, 98-metre covered surface lift. And at Eldora, the latest RFID pass technology has been added to the resort’s year-old Alpenglow high-speed lift.

Telluride Ski Resort

At the more challenging end of the skiing spectrum, the Arapahoe Basin Ski Area is expanding its terrain with a 190-hectare swathe of Beavers Gully and Steep Gully, serviced by a new, four-person chairlift. Steep Gully includes 37 hectares of double black-diamond, hike-back runs, said to be among the most demanding ski terrain in the state.

Similarly for highly experienced skiers, Silverton Mountain will open its 2018-19 season on 24 November with a new heli-skiing terrain, Zone 8, resplendent with early-season snow.

Copper Mountain Resort Photo: Courtesy of Tripp Fay, Copper Mountain Resort

More sedate occasions are promised at Cooper, where a new Mountaintop Moonlight Yurt dinner series (spread over four dates) takes diners to the Ridgeview Café under a full moon in a comfort-equipped Snowcat. Steamboat Resort, meanwhile, is introducing new dining experiences in Timber & Torch – a new base area restaurant and bar – and the Taco Beast, a roaming Snowcat serving tacos on the ski slopes.

Wherever you’re heading in Colorado this winter, there’s probably something new to see – check out for updates and the latest snow reports.


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