Here are the highlights of what’s new this season at some of ski areas within two-hours’ driving distance from Denver International Airport.
About 70 miles from downtown Denver to Winter Park, an incredibly popular ski resort for folks who live in and near the Mile High City. Addition, new this season is a nifty Ski & Ride School program called the “Family Easy Start.” For one all-inclusive price ($679 for a half day/$859 for a full day), a family of four can get four lift tickets, four equipment rentals, a private instructor, and access to the Private Lesson Center, allowing those who want to enjoy the shared experience of learning to ski or snowboard to do so as a family. Plus, this winter is Winter Park’s “Cirque Sled,” a snowcat ride that will provide intermediate and expert skiers and riders easier access to the Cirque, where they can access 1,332 acres of spectacular off-piste terrain.
Copper Mountain mark an investment new lifts of nearly $7 million in capital improvements at the resort this season. The high-alpine Storm King surface lift, in operation since 1985, is being replaced by a brand new surface T-Bar lift. There’s also a new “West Ridge Platter” surface lift at the top of the Sierra chairlift, providing easier access to some of Copper’s premier black-diamond and bowl skiing. With Copper’s new Sherpa mobile app. It’s a hands-free, geo-aware mountain guide that will tell you where you are on the mountain, with trail-specific tips from locals, ski patrollers, and longtime Copper employees who truly know the slopes inside and out. Since the app is audio-driven, you get all the advice delivered through your headphones; the GPS coordinates know where you are and what directions or other tips to give you.
At family-friendly Keystone, where kids 12 and under ski for FREE all season long, children and adults can ski and board together on a brand new Family Ski Trail. Dubbed “The SchoolYard,” on Keystone’s signature long, green cruiser Schoolmarm, this engaging learning area is designed for fun: glide over Rockin’ Rollers, navigate bumps for the first time on Magic Moguls, or maneuver through changing terrain in Tornado Alley. Families won’t want to miss the annual Keystone Kidtopia snow fort on the top of Dercum Mountain!
As the expansive ski resort adds even more terrain to its mountains: 400 acres of lift-served terrain and 143 acres of hike-to terrain in the Peak 6 area. This represents an incredible 23 percent increase in the resort’s total skiable acres, and it does include some high-alpine bowl skiing for intermediates. All signs point toward the new terrain and lifts being open to guests by the end of the year when the rest of that upper mountain area gets enough snow.
With its heated sidewalks, complimentary warm chocolate chip cookies each afternoon, and its divine dining and lodging options – is known for its white-glove service as much as it is for its sublime skiing. This year brings a brand new place to eat: the European-inspired, on-mountain Talons Restaurant. Replacing the former Red Tail Camp, the new gourmet restaurant will be 17,000 square feet with seating for 500 indoors and 250 outside.
This year’s new lifts aren’t quite that tricked out, regular visitors to Vail will certainly appreciate the improvements. The Mountaintop Express lift is being upgraded to a new high speed six-passenger lift with a loading conveyor. The lift is one of the most utilized on the mountain and the new capacity will make for more efficient travel for skiers and snowboarders through the Mid-Vail area up to Patrol Headquarters and beyond to Vail’s Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin.
For ski-enthusiast visitors to Colorado, it’s time to start thinking about booking your ski vacation. You’ll find early booking deals aplenty at ski resorts across Colorado – from Aspen to Vail – before the snow really starts to fly in earnest.