Colorado Update: Better Parks and Pipes, New Terrain

Colorado Update: Better Parks and Pipes, New Terrain

Ski Colorado? If you live here or are going to visit, here’s an update on all that is shiny and new for 2009

Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin invested $1.2 million dollars over the summer, adding 300 additional parking spaces connected to the resort via a pedestrian tunnel under Highway 6. In addition, improved snowmaking capabilities feature an airless system which uses 20% less electricity.


Aspen/Snowmass, comprised of Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass will have invested $35 million dollars in capital improvements for the 2008-09 season. Improvements include new terrain at Aspen Highlands and Snowmass.

At Aspen Highlands the new Sheer Bliss chair has a capacity of 2,000 people per hour and takes riders 2,212 vertical feet, 155 feet more than the old Sheer Bliss chair, with a ride time just over nine minutes.

The base of Aspen Mountain features an improved gondola plaza for the 2008-2009 season. New steps, and less of them, will make it even easier to load the gondola.

Buttermilk Mountain, home to the ESPN Winter X Games, has a new Olympic-size superpipe. The new pipe will be more than 500 feet long with walls towering 18 ft. overhead and measuring 22 ft. from the center of the pipe. Upon completion of the superpipe it will stand as one of five 22 ft. superpipes in the US.

Copper Mountain

Copper Mountain has teamed up with Camp Woodward to bring the innovative instructional practices of Woodward to the sports of snowboarding and skiing. Progressive teaching tools inside the multi-million dollar training facility include trampolines, foam pits, resi-pits and bungee systems, all of which will allow athletes to push the limits of their own abilities and sports, in a safe, supported environment.

Woodward at Copper (www.WoodwardatCopper.com ) will offer access to year-round training programs including Winter Experiences beginning this season and Woodward at Copper Summer Camps in 2009.

Crested Butte

Base area and on-mountain enhancements headline Crested Butte’s improvements for the 2008 – 2009 season. On-mountain improvements include expanded terrain off the Headwall lift into the Teocalli bowl area, known as Teo-2 and Teo-2.5. More on-mountain changes include the new and expanded features in the DC Terrain Park and the addition of a completely new intermediate terrain park.

Snow Igloos, Crested Butte’s new addition to the mountain experience will sprout up around the resort for après ski cocktails and adventure play areas for kids. The solid snow structures will be at Kids Base Camp and mid mountain outside the Ice Bar Restaurant. Drink up!

Echo Mountain

Expanded terrain for the 2008 – 2009 season at Echo includes additional tree skiing and riding in Westside Glades. In addition, Echo Mountain will debut three signature features: a Wood Wave, the 686 Tree Bridge and a Burton/Echo staircase. The Wood Wave and 686 Tree Bridge are new additions in Westside Glades, and the Tree Bridge features three rideable surfaces, including a 12″ box and a 4″ steel rail. Echo’s Burton Staircase, an urban feature integrated into a natural, mountain environment, is a 24-stair set featuring a 12″ box, a 4″ steel rail and a center log with dual hubba ledges, bringing elements of street riding to Echo’s Junkyard.

Monarch Mountain

Highlights of on-mountain changes at Monarch include a kid’s terrain park, Tilt. Intermediate and advanced level riders will find terrain changes as well; the terrain park features from Ricochet as well as some new rails and boxes have been moved to the Aftershock terrain park. The K2 Organic terrain park will have more of the natural log features that give the run its character.

The logs being used for features on K2 will be cut down from the side of Sleepy Hollow, which is being widened for the 2008-09 season. Liberty will be another green run, located where the Ricochet terrain park was. Advanced skiers will appreciate the 200 acres of new terrain added to the Snowcat area. Additionally, Monarch has been working with the United States Forest Service on their proposed master plan that includes lift served skiing in the No-Name Bowl.


Powderhorn has expanded its terrain, adding two new ski trails for the 2008-09 ski season. Both are expert runs on the mountain’s West End.

Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort

Durango is in the final stages of approval of their environmental impact statement regarding on-mountain improvements. Once approved, the resort will begin installing a new high speed quad in the Legends area, and moving the current chair to replace Chair 4 on the front side. New tree trails are planned for the Legends Area, as well as additional beginner and intermediate access routes. The resort also plans to add “subways”, a European method of access for skiers and boarders on relatively flat terrain.

Upgrades to snowmaking include expanding their capability by at least 50 percent which will add 200 acres of snowmaking.


Steamboat’s snowmaking system has also undergone dramatic improvements as new pipe is replaced extensively on Right-O-Way, See Ya, Bashor, Lower Vagabond and Lil Rodeo. Maintaining its industry leading snowmaking position, the new pipe is ductile iron pipe from US Snow Pipe, utilizing the latest in snowmaking technology. An arsenal of low-energy, high-efficiency snowmaking guns will be implemented. These guns use 30 percent less energy than conventional guns while producing the same amount of snow.

The resort’s remote parking facility, the Meadows, will expand by more than 38,000 sq. ft. on the north end. The new expansion will be able to accommodate roughly 200 additional free parking spaces.

Sunlight Mountain

Sunlight Mountain Resort is in the midst of a proposed base area development project. When approved, a new base area village will become a year round destination.


Part of Telluride’s $4.4 million dollar capital improvement program for this season includes new terrain, Revelation Bowl, located on the back side of Gold Hill. There will be roughly six trails, one of which will be a groomed intermediate run while the others will be advanced to expert terrain. A new lift, aptly titled Revelation Lift has been constructed to access the new terrain. The Leitner-Poma quad-lift cost $2.2 million and can service 1200 people per hour.

Winter Park

Winter Park Resort is building a new $5.8 million dollar Village Cabriolet to transport people from their free parking lot near the Vintage Hotel to the heart of the Village. The Village Cabriolet is an open air gondola and has a capacity of 2,800 people per hour via 39 cabins. Skis, snowboards, wheelchairs, and mountain bikes can be transported on the cabriolet in a matter of minutes. There will be no charge to ride the Village Cabriolet.

As part of Winter Park Resort’s Connexion platform designed to inform, involve and educate resort employees, guests and the community about the environment, 200 additional mega watts of wind energy credits will be purchased to offset the added energy used to operate the new lift. In total, Winter Park Resort will purchase 600 mega watts to operate the new cabriolet, Super Gauge, Eagle Wind and Panoramic Express lifts.

Wolf Creek

Wolf Creek is investing $1.5 million dollars in on-mountain improvements for the 2008-09 ski season. Included in the season’s enhancements is the LEED guided expansion of the Raven Day Use Building, located at the top of Raven Quad.

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