Bright future at Denver's fave. (Echo Mountain/Facebook)
The third incarnation of Echo Mountain -- the closest slopes to downtown Denver – has emerged.
Minnesota-based Burwell Enterprises bought the mountain out of bankruptcy last fall, and has undertaken a major overhaul to the mountain. A new bar and kitchen went in, along with a new rental facility with a new fleet of skis. The main lodge got gutted, and now houses the first restaurant at Echo Mountain.
The lifts began turning in mid-January, much to the delight of Denver-area skiers and snowboarders. Night skiing has been a staple of Echo Mountain for years, as the lift runs 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the week, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. An adult day pass costs $49. The ski area has two lifts and four runs and a bunch of glades, plus unusual mid-mountain parking and lodge.
Known originally as Squaw Pass Ski Area, the 86 acres of skiable terrain has been for five decades the go-to place for Denverites who need to quell their jones for a few turns in the mountains – before Eisenhower Tunnel opened up easier access to the mountains in the early 1970s. The ski and snowboard mountain sits on private acres about 40 minutes drive from the Denver area.
The Burwell family once owned the Silvertree Hotel and Wildwood Lodge in Snowmass.
After three decades out of operation, Echo Mountain came back to life in 2006. In 2012, Nora Pykkonen, a ski racer mom, bought it and took it private – giving aspiring Front Range racers a place to run gates near Denver. It hosted early season training for national and college teams, plus staging several regional slalom and giant slalom competitions. In 2015, Pykkonen decided to drop the ropes and welcome the skiing and riding public.