Colorado’s Echo Mountain Sold At Auction; Will Become Alpine Training Center
Echo Mountain, off I-70 at Idaho Springs, Colo. has been sold at auction to Pykkonen Capital LLC. New owners plan to transform the ski area into the Front Range Ski Club and have plans to reopen for the new season.
The auction was conducted by Sheldon Good & Company and the final sale price was not revealed as bids were sealed. Nina Pykkonen co-founded Slalom Consulting, a national management company with 1,300 employees, as well as the new Front Range Ski Club. Echo Mt. is coming off a record season for revenue and snowfall.
Pykkonen said she plans to invest $5 million in upgrades to the ski area, including new terrain and runs, a super G course, organic restaurant, 17 additional snow guns, homework and tutoring stations, and a pick-up and drop-off shuttle system with stops in Denver.
“As a mother of children who have recently fallen in love with alpine racing, I was inspired to create a premiere training facility that provides innovative and progressive coaching in a nearby location that allows families to better balance their children’s schooling and time at home,” Pykkonen said.
She says there are currently some 20,000 racers in the U.S., many of whom travel long distances for training purposes and some move their families closer to those facilities. Racing clubs at ski areas compete for slope time with the general public at most resorts. Echo Mt., on private land, is permitted for night lighting and features north facing terrain from 9-11,000 feet, averaging 200 inches of snow.
The club has secured coaching services from World Cup alpine racers Sarah Schleper-Gaxiola, Peter Brenna, Patrik Järbyn, and Mike Farny. More will be added in the coming weeks, Pykkonen said.
Persons who had purchased 2012-13 Echo Mt. season passes in advance will be contacted in the next few weeks to arrange refunds. No general skiing and riding times will apparently be provided at the single-purpose training facility.
Jerry Pettit purchased the dormant Squaw Peak in 2002 for $700,000 and put more than $5 million into the ski hill. It re-opened as Echo Mt. for the 2005-06 season and attendance numbers slowly grew. A notice on the website said a sale of ski and snowboard inventory would be held this fall.