There’s still plenty left to what has become a spectacular ski season in Colorado, but we’ve reached the time of year when resorts begin announcing their improvement plans for next season. You know, just in case you might be tempted to buy one of their 2019-20 season passes that just went on sale.
So far the news for next season is highlighted by a new lift at Copper Mountain, the replacement of an old lift at Winter Park and the replacement of the gondola at Steamboat.
Copper Mountain will install a fixed-grip triple chair on Tucker Mountain in the back bowl across from the backside of Union Peak, providing access to above-timberline expert terrain. That area has been accessible only by snowcat, and even then only on weekends when weather permitted. It will have a vertical rise of 1,100 feet, topping out at an elevation of 12,200 feet.
Winter Park is replacing the 30-year-old Sunnyside triple at Mary Jane with a high-speed six-person chair that will reduce the ride time from eight minutes to less than four. The new gondola at Steamboat, following the same alignment as the old one from the base area to Thunderhead Lodge, will reduce ride times by about two minutes and increase uphill capacity by nearly 38 percent. Eldora will get a new machine to improve its terrain park offerings.
Vail Resorts plans to improve snowmaking at Vail, Beaver Creek and Keystone. The enhancements at Keystone are being planned with the intent to open its season earlier and compete with Loveland and Arapahoe Basin to become Colorado’s first area to open in the fall. And at Crested Butte, which was acquired last year by Vail Resorts, the 40-year-old Teocalli double chair will be upgraded to a quad, pending approval by the U.S. Forest Service.
Vail Resorts (Epic) and rival Alterra Mountain Co. (Ikon) have announced their pass prices for next season and put them on sale. In addition, Copper Mountain, Winter Park and Arapahoe Basin have announced prices for season passes specific to their mountains and they, too, are currently on sale.
Check back for more announcements as they are made.