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Vail Resorts, long known for its impressive stable of high-powered snowcats, has launched an ambitious grooming program at Beaver Creek known as “Diamonds in the Rough.” Beaver Creek will endeavor to groom at least one black diamond run each evening to add to their already quite-large grooming schedule.
Vail Resorts, long known for its impressive stable of high-powered snowcats, has launched an ambitious grooming program at Beaver Creek known as “Diamonds in the Rough.” Beaver Creek will endeavor to groom at least one black diamond run each evening to add to their already quite-large grooming schedule.
Photo by Dan Davis
Ski industry sees big-dollar improvements
Colorado’s capital improvements ready for 2007-08 ski season

September 28, 2007 — The Colorado ski industry has been at the cutting edge of most of skiing and snowboarding’s revolutions: The first major projects involving high-speed quads (Vail), terrain parks (Breckenridge), in-bounds big-mountain skiing (Aspen Highlands), and fine mountain dining (Beaver Creek) have all been borne of the highly charged, competitive atmosphere at Colorado’s resorts.

To stay on that cutting edge requires constant improvement, and this year is no different. The capital improvements and guest enhancements planned for the 2007-08 winter ski season are among the most monumental in the state’s long ski history.

“We’re coming off a second consecutive record year for skier visits,” said Rob Perlman, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA. “To be a leader, you’ve got to continually raise the bar, and that’s exactly what our member resorts are doing.”

The following is a brief listing of the new improvements at the state’s ski resorts:

Vail Mountain

Vail Mountain is replacing the Highline Lift (Chair 10) and Sourdough Lift (Chair 14) with new high speed POMA quad chairlifts, which will expedite the trip to Two Elk Restaurant, China Bowl and Blue Sky Basin. The new Highline Lift, with a new ride time of seven minutes, delivers skiers and riders to the top of signature bump run, Highline, and adjacent expert trails. The new Sourdough Lift will provide enhanced access to one of the resort’s popular beginner areas at the top of the mountain with three green runs. Both new lifts increase Vail’s uphill lift capacity to 56,138 while also cutting in half the ride times in those areas. The Little Eagle Lift (Chair 15), in the dedicated beginner area at Eagle’s Nest at the top of the gondola in LionsHead, will be replaced with a faster triple chairlift.

In the village, the bustling Golden Peak Children’s Center and Small World Play School Nursery, is being completely remodeled this summer to increase space for the ever-popular children’s program for three to six year-olds. With its comprehensive children’s learning area and the popularity of children’s private lessons, the upgraded space will also allow for easier and faster registration for parents. Décor will be kid-contemporary.

Beaver Creek

Families and individuals staying in the Town of Avon can begin their ski day with added comfort and convenience by riding the new Riverfront Express Gondola, anticipated to open during the 2007-08 winter season. The gondola provides the fastest and most convenient route from Avon to Beaver Creek Mountain. A three-minute gondola ride delivers guests to Beaver Creek Landing, where two existing high-speed quad chairlifts deliver skiers and snowboarders—of advanced beginner level and above—in 14 minutes to the main mountain. The eight-passenger gondola is 2,100 feet in length with nine towers, 18 cabins and can carry 1,200 people per hour. The gondola is a short 400-foot walk from the Town of Avon’s new transit center and is expected to decrease traffic volumes and improve the winter vacation experience. The gondola is part of the $500 million Riverfront Village mixed-use development, with the centerpiece, Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, anticipated to open Summer 2008. The 291-key, full-service Westin condo hotel is seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and would be one of the nation’s first hotels to achieve LEED-certification.

The world’s premier children’s ski and snowboard school experience gets better at Beaver Creek with the addition of the Buckaroo Express Gondola and The Ranch. The children’s gondola and ski and snowboard school will offer kids enhanced comfort and convenience, excellent beginner learning terrain and some of the industry’s best on-mountain cuisine. The eight-passenger Buckaroo Express Gondola replaces the Haymeadow Lift (#1) and delivers kids ages seven to 14 to The Ranch, the new 4,500-square foot on-mountain facility. The gondola has a ride time of 3.75 minutes and can carry 1,665 people per hour. The lift is 1,671 feet in length with ten towers and 26 cabins. Anticipated openings are early winter for the gondola and February 2008 for The Ranch.

Arapahoe Basin

Arapahoe Basin is moving forward with the construction of the Montezuma Bowl expansion project, its largest expansion since its inception in 1946. A-Basin recently received final approval from the White River National Forest to construct Zuma Lift, which will provide access to approximately 400 acres of intermediate and advanced skiing in Montezuma Bowl. The bowl is located within the southern portion of the ski area’s Special Use Permit, which is administered by the White River National Forest.

The expansion will increase the ski area’s terrain by 80 percent, bringing A-Basin’s total skiable acres to 900. Lift construction began this summer and the bowl is scheduled to open during the 2007-08 ski season.


The Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center in Snowmass is a $17 million project opening in November of 2007. The two-story, 25,000-square foot Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center will offer families one stop shopping when in Snowmass. Ski and Snowboard School check-in, rental and retail, après entertainment and activities will all be consolidated under one roof. The Treehouse will be easily accessible from anywhere in Snowmass, with underground parking and front door drop off, free shuttle bus access, ski-in/ski-out access from the slopes and lodges in the existing upper village, plus access from the Snowmass Village Mall area via the Sky Cab gondola.

The Elk Camp Meadows Beginner Area will be a dedicated learning area with a new quad chair, two new surface lifts and a new ski school meeting area for beginners. The area will be at the top of the Elk Camp gondola giving beginners better snow conditions and a complete alpine experience. New trail alignments will ensure that there is no cross traffic in this area, making for an ideal learning environment.

The Snowmass Terrain Park and Pipe is being relocated and improved this summer. The new Snow Park Technologies layout will allow for a longer, continuous line with no cross traffic. A new bridge will be built over Lunchline, allowing park users the unique experience of riding over the skiers and snowboarders below. New dirt work, snowmaking, snow cats and features will make for a truly world-class experience.

Breckenridge is well-known for its snowboarding and terrain park facilities, but many other Colorado resorts are just as rider-friendly.
Breckenridge is well-known for its snowboarding and terrain park facilities, but many other Colorado resorts are just as rider-friendly.


Breckenridge Ski Resort is continually looking at ways to make the vacation experience seamless for all of its guests, including how they get to and from the resort. The BreckConnect, which debuted Dec. 31, 2006, has transformed the way visitors access the town and mountain and starts the first of two new base villages at Peaks 7 and 8. Breckenridge’s new gondola sets a new standard in the role of mass transit in growth and development. The gondola represents a unification of the community as the public and private entities work together to build an environmentally progressive resort transit system that also creates a streamlined link to transport large numbers of visitors between the town and the ski resort’s Peaks 7 and 8.The gondola enables the town and resort to strike the ideal balance that maintains the character and vibrancy of Breckenridge’s Main Street and Downtown. Environmental vigilance was vital in this project with more than 20,375 gallons of fuel saved each season from a decrease in resort-run busses. In addition, as part of the agreement with the Town of Breckenridge that included $6.7 million contribution from the town to build the gondola, Breckenridge Ski Resort dedicated 64.7 acres of prime development land to the town for conservation and open space.

This May, Vail Resorts Development Company broke ground on the first building of the Breckenridge Peaks project. The Crystal Peak Lodge sold 45 of 46 units during the winter season, demonstrating the strength of the Breckenridge real estate market. The Breckenridge Peaks will consist of the new Peak 7 base area and the redeveloped Peak 8 base area. Featuring approximately 450 residential units and 75,000-square feet of commercial and guest services, both neighborhoods will have access to historic Main Street via the new BreckConnect Gondola.


Copper’s trail crew and slope maintenance teams are currently glading a portion of trail in between the Formidable trail and the Rosi’s Run and Treble Cliff trails on the eastern side of Copper Mountain. The new 4-7 Glades area, to be open for the 2007-08 winter season, will be expert skiing and riding terrain accessed from the Alpine or Super Bee lifts. This project was approved last March by the US Forest Service as part of Copper Mountain’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Copper continues to evaluate the projects approved within the EIS while growing the on-mountain experience for our guests.

Crested Butte Mountain Resort

Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) is "booming" as a convention and conference destination with the addition of a new conference center, the major renovation of a slopeside hotel, and the availability of existing meeting space at the Grand Lodge Hotel and Plaza condominiums. CBMR is going from 5,000-square feet of meeting space to over 25,000-square feet. All of these properties are within proximity to each other and are either owned or managed by CBMR. These additions and renovations are all a part of the $200 million in improvements that are underway at CBMR.

The Mountaineer Conference Center, the region’s newest meeting venue is located in the heart of the base area near shopping, restaurants and the new transit center, where guests can take the free shuttle bus three miles to the authentic western town of Crested Butte. The state-of-the-art Mountaineer Conference Center includes 9,000-square feet of unique and flexible event space, including the 5,000-square foot Grand Ball room and accommodates groups from 20 to 500 with full service catering and audio visual amenities.

The Lodge at Mountaineer Square is CBMR's newest luxury property featuring spacious hotel and condominium accommodations. The Lodge surrounds the Mountaineer Conference Center, and is located just steps from the ski lifts. Guests can choose from 95 units, appointed with the finest mountain touches and ranging from standard king bed hotel rooms to elegant three bedroom suits. All studio, one, two and three bedroom suites contain fully equipped, upscale kitchens, gas fireplaces, high speed wired and wireless internet, washer/dryer, private balconies, underground parking, ski valet, indoor/outdoor heated swimming pool, outdoor hot tub, sauna and fitness room.

In the midst of a $25 million renovation, the slopeside Club Med Crested Butte hotel was recently purchased by Sun Vest Communities, USA, and renamed the Elevation Hotel. The luxurious renovations will transform the facility into a four star ski-in, ski-out, year-around, luxury hotel. There will be 263 rooms and suites, 10,000-square feet of meeting and event space, an 11,000-square foot spa, fitness center and swimming pool. The lively slopeside Atmosphere Restaurant and Bar, Elevation Station retail ski & snowboard shop, an executive business center with shipping services, ski valet and storage, valet parking, video arcade room for kids, and guest laundry services all complement this pet friendly property.


Keystone’s new from the top, down. There’s a new king of the mountain (actually, a queen of the mountain), an expanded spa that’s set to open this fall and a new master plan in the works that includes a possible redevelopment of Keystone’s original base area and proposed hotels and on-mountain restaurants. Some call it an “extreme makeover.” Patricia Campbell, Keystone’s new chief operating officer, and her team refer to it as the Bigger, Bolder Keystone. With a focus on “wow-ing” the guest, Keystone posted a 13 percent increase in destination skier visits last season and impressed the industry with top rankings for its A51 terrain park, restaurants, golf courses and conference center. See for yourself – check out the new snowcat-accessed Independence Bowl, innovative terrain park rails, renovated ski/ride school facilities, new on-mountain kids’ areas and the Keystone classics – the top-rated mountaintop Alpenglow Stube, the famous holiday chocolate village, sunset skiing/riding and world-class groomed trails.

Monarch Mountain

As one of Colorado’s true GEMs, Monarch Mountain will continue to sparkle with an infusion of $600,000 of on-mountain capital improvements and enhancements. The largest of which is the addition of 200 acres of new cat skiing terrain into “No Name Bowl” in the Gunnison National Forest. The new terrain will offer more variety and the steep chutes for which Monarch’s cat skiing has become so famous.

Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort

Purgatory is deep into its 25-year Mountain Master Plan which includes the new Purgatory Lodge and the revitalization of Purgatory Village, upgrades to lifts and mountain restaurants, additional lodging and condo complexes, a resort amphitheater and more. The Purgatory Lodge is taking shape this year in the heart of Purgatory Village and is expected to be completed during the 2008-09 season. Upon EIS approval, the resort will also begin to replace Chairs 4 & 8 in the next couple of years.

Additionally, Dante’s Restaurant and Café de Los Pinos on the backside of the mountain will receive a complete facelift with upgraded facilities and the new state-of-the art snowmaking system will offer more energy-efficiency.

Ski Cooper

Another one of Colorado’s unique GEMs, Ski Cooper offers a rustic experience perfect for the family looking for an adventure off the beaten path. Proposed improvements for 2007-08 include enhancements to the ski school with installation of a new Magic Carpet and Printer Boy lift. The new lifts will offer easier access and a smoother transition from snow to lift for never-ever and beginning skiers and snowboarders.

Sol Vista Basin at Granby Ranch

SolVista Basin is undertaking a $6 million reconstruction of its base area. The base lodge is being remodeled from the ground up and will feature a new restaurant. Additionally, Base Camp One will be the resort’s new ski in/ski out condominium facility conveniently located at the ski resort’s “new” base area.

Steamboat Ski Resort

Steamboat is stampeding ahead with a record $16 million on-mountain investment program highlighted by the six-passenger Christie Peak Express chairlift, re-grade of the Headwall terrain, significant snowmaking improvements and expansion of the Meadows parking facility. In addition, newly redesigned on-mountain signs and upgraded kids ski/snowboard cafeteria round out the 2007-08 capital improvements.

In addition to on-mountain improvements, the mountain base area will be transformed and several new real estate developments will take place, all part of Steamboat Unbridled, a multi-faced enhancement project extending from the mountain through downtown Steamboat Springs. Nearly one billion dollars is anticipated to be spent on Steamboat Unbridled now and in the coming years, including major upgrades to Ski Time Square, the creation of a promenade and plaza at the base area, along with the day lighting of Burgess Creek, and numerous residential and commercial developments.

Getting to and from the powder ought to be a bit easier and more efficient all around Colorado after this year’s round of improvements.
Getting to and from the powder ought to be a bit easier and more efficient all around Colorado after this year’s round of improvements.


For those who aren’t afraid to work for their adventure, Telluride has just the ticket with the 2007-08 opening of its Black Iron Bowl. Previously off limits guided, this in-bounds, hike-to terrain off lift 12 has tempted locals for years and now offers locals and guests alike the same daring backcountry experience. The opening of the terrain will offer guests an additional 353 acres of ridgeline extreme skiing that’s worth more than a few beads of sweat.

Winter Park

Excitement is everywhere in Winter Park, on the slopes, on the trails, but the hub for all the happenings is the new village. After enjoying every second of snow and sun, guests will find themselves in a cozy coffee shop or restaurant telling the days' stories. The Village is the new heart of Winter Park; classic mountain architecture balanced with modern amenities and shops combined with enough family-friendly amenities to keep even the busiest of children entertained throughout the day.

Located above the restaurants and retail shops in the Village and just steps from The Zephyr Express Lift, The Lofts will offer easy access to everything at Winter Park Resort. Each upscale urban-style home will reflect a subtle mix of "Downtown meets Colorado Mountain" flair. Construction has already begun on the first two buildings of the “new” Village.

Designed to be a true pedestrian village, Winter Park has begun construction on the new three-tier parking structure located near the Zephyr Mountain Lodge at the base of the resort. The new parking structure will boast 290 parking spaces and allow guests to park their vehicle for the duration of their visit. The new structure is slated to open in December 2007.

Currently under construction and slated to open by December 2007 the new Panoramic Express Chairlift will be North America’s highest six-passenger chairlift. The new lift will replace the Timberline and provide faster access to over 1,123 acres including Vasquez Cirque, Parsenn Bowl and the Eagle Wind Trails and 100 acres of new intermediate and advanced terrain.

Wolf Creek

With $1 million in on-mountain investments, Wolf Creek Ski Area is a true skier’s paradise. This family-owned and operated mountain is steeped in the history of the ski industry and offers a laid-back experience for the entire family. New for this year, the resort will complete the installation of water-free restrooms at the top of Raven and Treasure lifts.



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