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Off-Season Projects At Half-Dozen Colorado Resorts Ready For Season

ABasin-New-Lift A new Pallavicini chair at Arapahoe Basin is one of two new lifts that went up at Colorado resorts this summer. (A-Basin/Facebook)

Believe it or not, there are actually some "what's new" news emanating from Colorado ski and snowboard resorts that aren't related to precautions and adjustments for Covid.

Indeed, most resorts cut back on their off-season construction plans as revenues dipped due to early closing, and uncertainty about the 2020-2021 season tight>ened belts. Vail Resorts, owner of five Colorado resorts, shut down capital projects early on.

Despite all this, skiers and riders will notice a few new elements when they venture up into the Colorado Rockies. Many, like grab 'n' go food outlets and temporary warming huts, are Covid related. But a few are not, and here's a look:

Arapahoe Basin put up two replacement lifts over the summer. A new Pallavicini will follow the same path as its 41-year-old predecessor, and still, be of the two-seater fixed-grip variety. In the beginner area, the Molly Hogan chair becomes a four-pack to double capacity.

At Snowmass, crews have replaced the Big Burn lift -- one of the first high-speed chair lifts in the West -- with a six-seat detachable chair. The upgrade also moved the loading terminal up the hill and improved access to the massive intermediate terrain on the upper mountain. Plus, another 28 acres are added into snowmaking coverage, and the Limelight Hotel finally has been completed.

A new four-story hotel has gone up in Copper Mountain's central village. And, the Summit County resort has invested heavily in more snowmaking compressors to assure early-season coverage on the hill.

Snowmaking upgrades are a big priority at many Colorado mountains, as weather patterns change and early-season storms seem fewer and farther between in the Southern Rockies. Powderhorn installed a gravity-fed, efficient system that can -- for the first time in the resort's history -- put down snow from the top to the bottom of the Western Slope mountain.

For the first time its long history, Aspen Mountain now has top-to-bottom snowmaking capacity, thanks to the installation of more than two dozen new snow guns. In the southwest, Purgatory not only bulked up its snowmaking capabilities, it also purchased three new snowcats to spread the white stuff around.

For travelers, Telluride negotiated more airline flights into Montrose Airport -- an hour's drive away -- from Dallas, Denver, and Boston.

And so as to brighten up what has been a dreary offseason, Sunlight put a new coat of paint on its base lodge.


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