Ski Cooper and Telluride: The Latest Debates in Colorado Ski Country

December 9 2010, 1:00 PM

Ski Cooper is one of Colorado's smaller ski areas, and that's the way some people like it. The 26-run mountain near Leadville is debt free and overseen by an all-volunteer management board, which paid for the most recent upgrades with $5.5 million in cash reserves. But the resort's 20-year contract with Lake County is up for renewal in 2012, reports The Denver Post, and not everyone has the same vision for its future. Some want to keep the area small and quaint, while others would like to see a different style of management and increased efforts to attract more visitors—and money. Ideas include opening more terrain to hiking skiers and adding lifts to more challenging terrain.

Expansions are almost always controversial when it comes to ski mountains, which is also the case right now in Telluride, where the U.S. Forest Service has closed access to Upper Bear Creek, a popular area that's been accessed by backcountry skiers for years, reports the Telluride Daily Planet. The closure comes after local developer Thomas Chapman asked the Forest Service to prevent people from skiing across his land. The Telluride Ski Resort CEO says attempts to resolve the situation with Chapman have been unsuccessful, but the resort will fight the closure.

Meanwhile, most Colorado ski mountains are basking in the early-season snow falls, reporting increased revenues and visitors over the season's first month (via 7News).