Over the years, 5280 has reported on the brand-new attractions Colorado’s ski areas debut each winter many times. But this season, we’re paying tribute to the time-honored but lesser-known features of our beloved Rocky Mountain resorts: in other words, all the things locals love too much to tell tourists about. From the most effective hangover cure to the baddest tree skiing, this could be Colorado’s most coveted classified information. Use it wisely.
Wait for a red gondola (one out of every five cars). These luxury vehicles (pictured above) are outfitted with Bluetooth speakers, so everyone inside can bump to your new “Winter Jams 2020” playlist.
Arapahoe Basin Ski Area
The $11 bacon Bloody Mary at the on-mountain 6th Alley Bar and Grill is made with bacon-infused vodka and topped with a mound of garnishes, including an olive, pickle, pepperoncini, and, of course, bacon.
Snowmass Ski Area
Generally, more vertical feet provide more opportunities for steep terrain or longer rides. The Long Shot at Snowmass (which has the most lift-served vertical feet of any Colorado resort), for example, dips 2,762 feet over 2.37 miles. Crazily enough, you’re not even at the base when you finish that run; the Long Shot connects to Eastbranch, adding another 745 vertical feet and 1.16 miles.
Future Lindsey Vonn Friendly
Beaver Creek Resort
Everyone takes their kids to Keystone Resort—and rightfully so. The easily accessible mountain has 150 little red wagons to schlep your load, plus a snow fort atop River Run Gondola. But if you want to give your little ones ample space to practice their turns, go to Beaver Creek, which has the most dedicated learning terrain (450 acres) in the state.
This advanced-skiers-only resort allows guests to purchase single helicopter drops instead of the pricey weeklong package deals that many other resorts require. Single heli drops are $179—bringing your total to $363 with guide costs and lift tickets—but if you schedule your descent after March 17, you’ll only have to fork over $258 for everything.
A snowcat dubbed the Taco Beast sells fare such as street tacos (think: elk chorizo goodness), Mexican corn, and Mexican-style soda and beer from the slopes. Follow @TacoBeastSBT on Twitter to track this amped-up food truck as it roams the mountain.
Powderhorn Mountain Resort
The aspens dotting Powderhorn’s Svens Bend and Yoo Hoo black diamond runs make for the best glade skiing in the state. Because the trees are so spread out, without low-hanging or bushy branches to whack you in the face, the lines you can take are countless.