It takes more than good terrain to be a truly great ski town. When you're walking in ski boots and lugging your equipment around, a town that sits at the base of the ski area or has a great bus system will make all the difference.
In Colorado, the most definitive way to know that summer is over and winter is not long off comes when the high-country aspen groves put on their brilliant yellow coats.
The month of August puts Colorado's mountains on display -- their high meadows flowing with chilly creek waters. What better to celebrate the high country with than a few mugs of craft beer.
When the snow melts and all that’s left of Colorado’s ski resorts are the seemingly endless trails, rushing mountain water, bright green aspen glades and wildflower-covered meadows, what is there to possibly do?
Chelsea Clapham and her family began snowboarding at Mammoth Mountain four years ago. They enjoyed it so much that they return to the resort year-round. “We like summer and fall up there almost as much as winter,” said Clapham, who lives in Santa Clarita with her husband, Shaun, and two kids. “We have family friends who let us use their condo, so we’re hooked.”
Thanks to a snowy March and persistent pent-up desire to hit the slopes, a slew of Colorado ski and snowboard resorts will keep their lifts spinning beyond original closing dates.
Gigi Girard, an OB-GYN in Louisville, Ky., says she has been to Vail approximately 50 times over the last 20 years. So, over dinner during our overlapping visit this month to Colorado's largest ski resort, I figured she'd be a perfect person to ask about how much her Vail experience during this Covid-19 winter differed from the norm.
Now more than ever, people will require a real sense of seclusion while on their ski vacations. Gone for the time being are the après ski parties, the socializing in the lodge during a quick break for lunch and eight-passenger gondola rides. These have been temporarily replaced with such wellness guidelines as chair lift rides consisting of family members only, food trucks as opposed to eating in the lodge and private ski instruction instead of group lessons.
Health officials in eight counties have not traced positive tests back to lift lines, chairlifts or ski slopes.
The holiday season is upon us and, despite the headwinds of Covid-19, thousands of skiers and snowboarders have been aiming toward the mountains for welcome relief.
Vail Resorts Inc., one of the largest financial contributors to Colorado’s cloud seeding program, has dropped out this year, leaving a major hole in the program’s budget.
Since the global coronavirus pandemic began, sports that lend themselves to outdoor social distancing (golf, cycling, hiking, fishing, etc.) have been red hot, and skiing and snowboarding hold the same appeal as cold weather sets in. Several new hotels are debuting at major ski resorts around the country, and while it is too early to say whether travel from outside the regions will be safe or advisable this ski season, it is worth begin informed if the travel landscape takes a turn for the better.
Vail Mountain will open on time, and with full terrain and lifts — conditions permitting, of course.
In a recent telephone interview, Vail Mountain Chief Operating Officer Beth Howard said operations this summer have given the company important insights in how to operate lifts, restaurants and other amenities safely as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Winter is the focus now, she said.
“Summer’s been great,” Howard said. “It’s terrific to be up and running … we’ve been pleased with how it’s going.”
Schools in Aspen, Vail, and Crested Butte are reporting record interest and enrollment as part-time residents relocate to their vacation homes and urban buyers flock to mountain retreats.
Halfway up Vail Mountain and a few steps from Gondola One’s constant whirl, the view is stunning. Pine trees dot vibrant green meadows, with the grey crags of the Gore Range off in the distance, all under a cloudless blue sky.
A few small groups of people could be seen along the slopes, too, most hiking in masks.
Vail Ski Resort is one of many Colorado ski areas that have begun to emerge from hibernation after Gov. Jared Polis closed down the industry in mid-March as coronavirus barreled into the state. Now, these resorts are navigating a summer season like none before.Read the full story at CPR.org
The science of keeping the flora in a sewage treatment system balanced was knocked out of kilter when coronavirus shut skiing down and water use dropped 50% in two of Colorado’s most popular ski communities.
Sean Glackin’s phone exploded within minutes of the news that Vail ski area was closing. The outdoor retailer’s entire rental fleet of alpine-touring skis was quickly rented by a flood of uphill skiers the following day.
The doors have been flung wide open in the quest for 2020-2021 multi-resort passes as Vail Resorts unveiled its pricing and benefits for the Epic Pass and its ancillaries.
The flush of double-digit preseason snowfall in the Colorado Rockies and cold temps have propelled early openings all around – in particular, some of the largest resorts in the state.
Because of a huge snowmaking project begun this summer, Vail Mountain managers are more confident than ever that the Nov. 15 opening day will have the best skiing and riding conditions ever on Colorado's largest mountain.