No matter where you go, what ski pass you have, or what level skier you are, there’s plenty to be excited about for the upcoming season. We’re talking about expanded backcountry glades (read: tree skiing), enhanced beginner areas, brand-new lifts and gondolas, and at least one Snowcat-turned-taco-truck that will feed skiers and riders right off the trail (yes, you read that correctly).
Of course, the best stuff is something no one can promise: good, steady snowfall. All of us coped with last year’s abysmal season in our own way, but for Colorado ski resorts, that meant doubling down on offering winter-enthusiasts the most bang for their buck. Here is how you can take advantage of all the new offerings.
New Lifts, Gondolas, and Helicopters
Beaver Creek: Two new beginner transports—the Haymeadow Express Gondola and the Highlands Lift—will usher in Beaver Creek’s brand new learning area: Haymeadow Park.
Copper Mountain: The resort has completed renovations to the American Eagle and American Flyer lifts. Eagle will now be a combination of six-person, high-speed chairs and gondolas. Flyer will now be a six-person chair with a bubble screen to protect riders from the wind.
Loveland: Chet’s Dream (named for former owner Chet Upham Jr.) will be a four-seater and the mountain’s first high-speed chair.
Silverton: Heli-skiing to a brand new “Zone Eight” adds to what Silverton claims is an outrageous 29,000 acres of helicopter-accessible skiing. Prepare to spend big, though: for more than $1,000, you get six drops into true backcountry powder.
Telluride: A new, 320-foot chairlift will run over Telluride’s beginner area, the Meadows.
Winter Park: A 10-person gondola that will run from the main resort base to the Lodge at Sunspot is replacing the age-old Zephyr Express lift.
Wolf Creek: The four-person Charity Chairlift will provide access to the mountain’s 900-acre Alberta area and will make 55 acres of terrain accessible to intermediate and beginner skiers.
EDITOR’S PICK: Arapahoe Basin’s Beavers Chair
More adventurous skiers and riders who hiked up to Beavers and the Steep Gullies last season already know the area boasts hundreds of acres of glades and powder. This season, A-Basin will debut the four-person Beavers Chair, which will provide access to Beavers’ nearly 370 acres of skiable terrain. Folks will still need to hike to the Steep Gullies, which is home to approximately 91 acres of double-black terrain.
For Those Who Don’t Shred
Aspen Buttermilk: Fort Frog, for the non-alpiners, gives kids and families a chance to hurl snowballs at each other with a bonafide snowball launcher. Keep your head on a swivel.
Echo Mountain and Monarch Mountain: Both are now offering a tubing hill for all ages.
Purgatory Resort: The Inferno Mountain Coaster carries riders down 300 vertical feet while winding through aspen groves in the San Juan Mountains. Top speed: 25 miles per hour.
EDITOR’S PICK: Kendall Mountain’s Nighttime Ice-Skating
Sure, other big resorts have ice rinks between some lodges, but with a natural pond and fewer crowds, Kendall Mountain’s authentic nighttime ice-skating is truly special. It features a bonfire and great views of the San Juan mountains, and instead of skating amidst the re-creation of a quaint ski town—you’ll actually be in one.
New Eats, On and Off the Mountain
Cooper: Cooper’s Moonlight Mountaintop Yurt dinner series sounds like a great date night. Hop on a warm Snowcat for a moonlit mountain ride up to Cooper’s Ridgeview Café, where attendees can enjoy strip steak, portabella mushrooms, and flame-grilled salmon.
Copper Mountain: Bring your dog to Downhill Duke’s, Copper Mountain’s new dog-friendly grill, for a nice après meal on the patio.
Wolf Creek: Wolf Creek debuts a new on-mountain grill, the Alberta Grill, which will offer Mexican- and Latin-inspired dishes, as well as regular grilled items.
EDITOR’S PICK: Steamboat’s Taco Beast
The Taco Beast is essentially a Snowcat that’s been turned into a taco food truck. The Beast, once snow conditions are good enough, will roam the mountain and settle down at a handful of spots throughout the year, for a few days at a time, selling tacos and esquites (delicious Mexican street corn). Steamboat will also be debuting a new heated patio for those who still want to enjoy the outdoors after they ride.