Loveland's Plans To Expand Beginner Runs Get Preliminary OK
For almost 60 years, beginners from Colorado's Front Range have cut their skiing and riding teeth at Loveland Ski Area as one of the closest mountains to the Denver area. And, the Loveland Valley section of the resort -- separated from the main base area with its own parking and lodge -- has been the go-to spot from newbies to take their first turns and get the feel from sliding on skis or snowboards.
With that in mind, the management at Loveland has gotten an initial OK from the U.S. Forest Service to expand beginner and novice trails in the Loveland Valley area. In addition, the resort that sits hard by I-70 and the Eisenhower Tunnel plans to add another 500 parking spaces in the Valley area to handle the ever-growing demand from day and weekend skiers and 'boarders.
Loveland advocates a progressive learning curve for those starting out. Rank beginners typically start out of the short Lift 7 chair and its two magic carpets. Once comfortable, the Loveland's ski school instructors move them to Chair 3 where they unload at mid-station for green-rated Boomerang and or go to the top where green Zig Zag awaits. Both have easy average grades but each has section deemed too steep for novice level skiing and riding.
So, Loveland hopes to regrade for easier sloping, add a couple of runs parallel to Boomerang, and widen the upper portion of Zig Zag and add another switchback as a detour around a steeper section.
If approved, these projects will begin this summer. The proposal must go through a pubic comment period and final revisions, if necessary, before the resort can begin trail work. As of late, no resort with a preliminary OK has later been denied its project plans, although some changes do occur.
These latest proposals at Loveland are part of a 2017 Master Plan approved by the Forest Service. Part of that plan calls for a new chairlift at Loveland Valley that will run west of Chair 3 and have its own moderate slopes.