If you're venturing up to resorts in the West this summer -- but don't want to fight the crowds -- you might want to check out some smaller resorts for some warm-weather fun.
After ski and snowboard season was cut short due to COVID-19, Powderhorn Mountain Resort became one of the first ski resorts in the state to reopen for summer activities on June 12, and now biking and hiking trails are busier than ever.
Many of the usual summer activities -- mountain biking, ziplines, hiking, scenic lift rides -- will be in place in the West during the warm months. But the Covid-19 pandemic has forced resorts to tone down or fully eliminate offerings for the time being.
The effect of the coronavirus has rippled across the U.S., and the domestic ski and snowboard industry is no exception.
Tucked in among the mega-resorts of the Colorado Rockies you can find a 10-pack of lesser-known mountains that bring skiing and riding to their local communities -- and a taste of the sport's history in the Centennial State.
Celebrating abundant snowfall this season, Colorado’s Powderhorn Mountain is hosting the So Much Pow Luau encore weekend of skiing and riding April 5-7.
Spring skiing: when we wear fewer layers, swap goggles for sunglasses and don’t put on enough sunscreen. Strong storms in February and early March this year buried central and southern Colorado in many feet of snow, leading some resorts to extend their seasons and setting spring up for epic conditions.
Willy Booker, head of Burke Mountain Academy which hones some of America’s finest ski racers, bemoans that kids are less active and athletic today and don’t get outdoors enough.
One way to remedy that is to have fun at a mountain resort this summer.
Easier to get around Purgatory this year. (Purgatory/Facebook)
Each ski and snowboard season brings upgrades, improvements and just plain new stuff at Colorado resorts, where the competition for visitors is fierce.
Selected days at Wolfie mean deep stuff on the cheap. (Wolf Creek Ski Area)
Going to college has many benefits for one’s future, but one perk for the present is a discount on season passes at Colorado ski resorts.
Gettin' to the ridge is top priority at Silverton. (Silverton/Facebook)
You’d expect the offseason around Silverton Mountain to be more about tourist trains, wilderness backpacking and RV touring than on-the-snow news. But the summer of 2017 has been busy time for the powder-only ski and snowboard area tucked into a crease of Colorado’s San Juan Mountains.
Avalanche dogs at Arapahoe Basin show how to load a lift. (NSAA/Facebook)
Nothing can upset a day on the slopes like an accident, so the National Ski Areas Association focuses the month of January on reminding skiers and riders about safety on the snow.
Cut into the powder at Sunlight with discounts from Gems Card (Sunlight/Facebook)
For many years, a regular in the wallet of Colorado skiers and snowboarders has been the Colorado Gems Card – providing discount lift tickets at the state’s less glamorous mountains.
Before Epic, before Mountain Collective, before the M.A.X. Pass, there was the $25 Gems Card that gave skiers and riders deals on day tickets at eight off-the-beaten-track resorts – what some may call “smaller” areas but many see as more nostalgic and authentic. Among Gems resorts, only Loveland Ski Area sits on busy I-70, and it’s always been known as a locals’ mountain.
In hopes of attracting more folks to these hidden “gems” this season, Colorado Ski Country USA has increased the discounts on the card.
To wit: Previously, the Gems Card got its holder two-for-one tickets at Arapahoe Basin, Ski Cooper, Eldora Mountain Resort, Loveland Ski Area, Monarch Mountain, Powderhorn Resort, Ski Granby Ranch and Sunlight Mountain Resort. In 2016-2017, the card holder can get the same deal twice at these resorts, plus 30 percent off day ticket twice during the season. Or, the holder can get one of each deal at all resorts.
The card costs $25 and can only be purchased online. There is a limit to the number sold, and photo ID is required when presented at a ticket window. Blackout dates are Dec. 18 to Jan. 3.
“The Gems card has been instrumental for savvy skiers looking for the best value, increased flexibility and access to more of our resorts all over Colorado,” said Colorado Ski Country USA President and CEO Melanie Mills.
April will be the cruelest month for skiers and snowboarders who want to stay on the slopes but must stand down as Colorado resorts begin to shutter for the season. But there's still plenty of sliding' and riding' left.
Winter’s cold is loosening its grip on the Rockies as the sun stays in the sky longer, and skiers and snowboarders begin to shed a few layers of clothing. The coming of March also means it’s time to party in the out-of-doors at Colorado resorts.
A $5 million investment in Powderhorn Resort outside Grand Junction, Colo. was announced this week by owners Gart Capital Partners and Andy Daly. Goal is to improve both winter and summer recreation.
More than a few people likely called in sick with the powder flu in and around Salt Lake City this week as a couple of feet of powder fell on the Wasatch – and quickly.
Many a Colorado skier or snowboarder first learned to carve it up at one of the smaller mountain resorts around the state. Carrying on this tradition, these “local hills” offer multi-day clinics for kids who are beyond the beginner stage and want to get better … fast.