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All Over Colorado: New Chairlifts, Better Early-Season Snow, On-Mountain Comfort

Winter-Park-Snowmaking Snowmaking upgrades all the rage in Colorado. (Winter Park/Facebook)

Upgrades abound for a quartet of Colorado ski and snowboard resorts that swing open their doors in mid-November, as the new season gets into full-bore boogie mode for the 2018-2019 season.

New lifts, more snowmaking and some family- and dog-friendly features mark the new season at Eldora, Copper Mountain, Purgatory, Vail and Winter Park. Here’s a synopsis of what skiers and riders will find when they pull up to any of these mountains this winter.

Quicker loading with high-tech tickets at Eldora. (Eldora/Facebook)

Eldora. Skiing and riding in the trees will be easier to navigate, as the Front Range day-mountain thinned out forested sections of the hill. Season ticket holders now have a chip on their pass to help speed up ticket-buzzing at entrance gates to lifts.

Copper. Lift installation crews were busy at the Summit County resort this summer. Two venerable main base chairs got next-generation updates. The long-run American Flyer is now a six-person detachable chair with bubbles – hopefully to retire the local moniker “American Freezer.” And the American Eagle, which delivers skiers and riders to mid-mountain, will be a combo of six-seat chairs and eight-person gondola cabins. Downhill Duke’s is now dog friendly.

Purgatory. After a couple years’ flurry of upgrades, the southwestern Rockies resort will pause to enjoy this season. To get more families, the Durango-area resort has a new season pass that is free for all children in fourth grade or younger, with no blackout dates and no parent purchase required.

New gondola goes up at Winter Park. (Winter Park/Facebook)

Winter Park. Big news at Denver’s “home mountain” is the first new lift since 2007 – the 10-seat gondola to replace Zephyr Express. Expected to cut lift line times, the new gondola will run from the base to the 10,700-foot Sunspot summit. More snowmaking capacity around the mountain, too.

Vail installed pipes, pumps, snow guns over summer. (Vail Resort/Facebook)

Vail Mountain. Crews installed 10 large-capacity, low-energy fan guns on Born Free trail and have upgraded mountain-wide snow-making system to increase productivity. Parking spots and rates have been shuffled.

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