For every thing there is a season. And during Colorado winters, that thing is schussing down pristine slopes at one of the state’s 31 ski areas (or so say the close to 13 million visitors who flocked to them between November 2016 and April 2017). This year, the mountain resorts have made our favorite thing even more enticing with a host of impressive upgrades, ranging from expanded terrain in kid-friendly areas to romantic yurt dinners.
A Ton Of New Terrain
Arapahoe Basin has increased its skiable area, adding 371 acres that include intermediate and advanced terrain, plus challenging chutes accessible only by foot. Meanwhile, Telluride and Beaver Creek are focusing on small riders by adding 15-acre and 200-acre teaching areas; the latter features a high-speed lift, 11 trails, and two terrain parks.
A Different Kind Of Thrill
Nearly every resort and its parent company is getting in on the all-weather alpine coaster trend: Copper, Purgatory, Snowmass, and Steamboat are all debuting thrill rides this year. Steamboat wins for longest coaster, at 6,000-plus feet, while Copper’s has the most vertical drop (430 feet).
A Day In The Life
You can now while away a few hours ($75 for two or $95 for four) on the hill with a Powderhorn ski patroller, learning how they conduct avalanche mitigation and help skiers in crisis. Although the ski-along is geared toward all ages, you’ll need moves beyond the pizza slice to keep up with the patroller.
The highlight of the season for pint-size shredders will undoubtedly be the slopeside sweet shop coming to Breckenridge. (Beaver Creek installed a mountaintop confectionery three years ago.) Expect a wide variety of chocolates and candy to keep your budding Mikaela Shiffrins fueled for the Lower Lehman and Silverthorne runs.
At the end of the 2015-2016 ski season, the Vail Cascade hotel—at the base of the Cascade Village Lift—shut down for a total renovation, including a name change. Opening this month as the Hotel Talisa, the 285-room, ski-in/ski-out resort now features amenities perfect for a romantic weekend (think: gourmet s’mores, a menu of pillows and slippers, and Friday-afternoon champagne), with rates starting at $499 per night.
Beginning in January, Ski Cooper will offer gourmet dinners on the first Saturday of each month in its mountaintop yurt, which started serving snacks and drinks last season. The best part? Patrons commute to the feast in a snowcat.
Copper, Keystone, and Breckenridge are all renovating popular lifts. Copper’s Kokomo (renamed Kokomo Express) has expanded from a triple to a quad, while Montezuma Express at Keystone and the Falcon SuperChair at Breck will each seat six passengers. Eldora completely removed its Cannonball and Challenge lifts to construct the six-person Alpenglow, which will cut ride time from about 12 minutes to less than five.