expected not to be lacking at local resorts this season
may be barely visible from some of the area’s higher peaks,
but it is already weighing heavily on the minds of local skiers
and boarders. That’s because ski season is not something
to be entered into lightly. In addition to worrying about what
Old Man Winter has in store for them, those in the ski bum classification
also must contemplate how to make their precious few dollars
stretch as far as possible. Should they plunk down a big chunk
of change for a full-blown pass at one area or try to work intermittent
deals at a variety of places?
To help in the decision-making
process, we have compiled what the region’s ski areas
are offering this season in the line of ticket deals, amenities
and general hoopla. This way, you can spend less time researching
and more dreaming about a white winter. Happy schralping.
What’s new: Perhaps
it’s better to highlight what’s not new at Purg
this year, as in no new (read higher) pass rates. If you buy
before Oct. 19, the adult value and full season passes are the
same as last year, $499 and $699, respectively. The difference
between the two is that the Value Pass has black-out dates,
usually around high-season times of Christmas break, Martin
Luther King Day, President’s Weekend and spring break.
Holders of both passes also get free skiing/riding at Kirkwood,
DMR’s extreme sister resort in California; three days
at Taos; a daily “Friends and Family” ticket for
$35; and 10 percent off on-mountain food and rentals. Full-season
pass holders also get discounts at base-area businesses Bubba’s
Boards, Mountain Market and Deli, Performance Peak, and Purg
Sports as well as deals on group and private lessons.
No news yet on whether DMR
will be offering their weekday “Six Pack” special
– five week-day tickets for about $150.
on season pass and Flex Pass sales right now and haven’t
decided yet on Six Packs.” said Matt Skinner, DMR spokesman.
“We’ll see what we can do over here in the deal
As far as infrastructure goes,
skiers heading to the lower parking lots at the end of the day
will no longer have to fret crossing Sheol Street to the Columbine
area – the resort has built a ski tunnel under the road
so those unable to navigate the stop sign need not worry.
Also plans for a new Chair
4 are currently being considered by the Forest Service. Although
it likely won’t be installed until next summer, the new
lift will be a high-speed quad or possibly a chondola (combo
chair and gondola) that will allow mid-station access to beginner
terrain as well as a direct flight to the backside (big cheer).
Buddy Pass: $249 for college
students and people 62-69; $199 for students (13-18) when bought
in groups of four.
Flex Pass: $59 adults, $29 kids (6-12); entitles holder to $35
(adults) and $17 (kids) tickets.
Value Pass: $499 with black-out dates (typically times most
local skiers try to stay far away from the mountain anyway unless
it happens to be a powder day, in which case a ticket would
Full Season Pass: $699, no black-outs.
Peak-season lift ticket: $52-$55
Early season lift ticket: To be determined, check resort closer
to opening day
Benefit Day: Nov 27, $10 tickets with proceeds going to Durango
More info: 247-9000 or
What’s new: Telluride will still
be basking in the alpenglow of last season’s premiere
of the 700-acre Prospect Bowl, which, because of poor snowfall,
was never opened to its full, glorious potential (at least never
when I was there.)
“Prospect Bowl is still the big thing,”
said Annie Kuhles, Telluride spokeswoman.
However, for those looking for thrills
on a smaller scale, the ski area will be expanding its terrain
park from 3 to 10 acres and moving it to lower See Forever.
“It will be great for upper-level and intermediate riders,”
she said. For those not quite ready for the prime time, there
will be smaller, satellite parks strategically located across
the mountain, possibly in Ute Park and the Meadows area. The
resort also is adding a snow deck (think skateboard sans wheels
not a place to sun oneself) park near the tubing hill off Lift
2 near the Nastar course.
Kuhles said the rest of the resort’s
changes will focus on the “experiential side” of
things. “We want to create entertainment and animation
all over the mountain,” she said.
This includes new menu items at the on-mountain
eateries, more seating a Goronno, and in typical Telluride festival
fashion, more special events, including a weeklong celebration
in March marking the resort’s 30-year birthday and outdoor
concerts like last year’s String Cheese Incident show.
“We’re not sure what bands would play, but it may
become a 2-day thing because it went over so well,” Kuhles
The resort also will be putting an emphasis
on the kids this year, with a screaming deal on season passes:
$59 (6 –12 years) and $90 (13-18 years).
For beginning kids, lift tickets will be $18 with a $10 lesson
(cheaper than a day of babysitting).
“We just want to get young kids to
ski and make Telluride affordable for the whole family,”
said Jane Shelton, regional sales and marketing manager.
Another bonus to the Telluride products this year: no black-out
Kids Season Pass: $59 (6-12
years); $90 (13-18 years).
College Season Pass: $175 through Nov. 15. for students with
valid ID and registration showing at least nine credits.
Five-Day Pass: $175 (averaging out to $35 a day; does not turn
into a T-card like last year.)
10-Day Pass: $300
T-Card: $20 adult, $10 kids (6-12) gets tickets ranging from
$30 in early season, $58 peak season and $45 in mid-, late-season
($15, $34 and $18, respectively, for kids).
Peak-season lift ticket: $65-68
Early season lift ticket: $51
Donation Day: Nov. 26, $24 tickets with proceeds going to Telluride
Ski and Snowboard Club.
More info: (970) 728-7517 or www.tellurideskiresort.com.
T-cards will be on sale Sat., Oct. 5, at Ski Barn and Sat.,
Nov. 2, at the Hesperus Ski Patrol Ski Swap, county fairgrounds.
Although Wolf Creek’s $600,000 in
improvements this year will likely go largely unnoticed by most
skiers, they should make a difference in the overall experience
For starters, springtime skiers will no
longer have to slop through mud to get to their cars; the area
has paved all of its parking lots. It also has installed a European
“Gaz-Ex” avalanche-control system in the newly opened
Horseshoe Bowl. Although it won’t be able to relieve heartburn,
the radio-controlled set-up will relieve delays in opening terrain
after a big dump by allowing ski patrol to blast the area remotely.
“During storm cycles we can activate
bombs in the area,” said Roseanne Pitcher, Wolf Creek’s
spokeswoman. “Conventionally, we would have to wait until
after the storm and then sometimes it’s too late.”
Although the area typically has the biggest
snowpack in the region, not to mention the state, Pitcher said
at the moment there is no snow on the mountain. But the mountain
did receive a few accumulations that have since melted.
If history repeats itself, expect the area
to open sometime in mid-November. “We’ll just have
to wait until it snows,” she said. “When you don’t
have snowmaking, you don’t have too much of a choice.”
Local appreciation days: Keep your eyes
peeled for these special rates, typically mid-week but lift
tickets can be had for around $20.
Season pass: $560 if bought on sale, Oct. 5-13.
Full ticket price: $43 adults, $25 kids
Opening Day: Weather permitting
More info.: 264-5639 or
What’s new: It’s been a long
couple of years for the ambitious extreme ski area north of
Silverton. While the area awaits a Bureau of Land Management
decision on its operating plan (the environmental studies are
being conducted as we speak), the area at least expects to open
on a guided-tour-only basis again this season.
In the meantime, Silverton Mountain owner
Aaron Brill put in a permit to lead 99 skiers a day on guided
tours but has yet to hear back on that permit.
“We’re assuming it will be
somewhere between 20 and 40 people a day,” said Jen Ader,
With those numbers, Ader said she expected
the daily price, $99, to stay the same, although if the BLM
was to grant a permit for 99 skiers, the price would be lower.
Nevertheless, the ski area will be offering
discounts this year as well as something that is far more welcome
after a hard day of skiing or riding: beer. That’s right,
after a day in the steeps, skiers can come down to enjoy an
esteemed local brew in the comfort of Silverton Mountain’s
heated lift shack or base tent – which sure beats putting
frozen lips to cold glass on the tailgate.
10-day punch card: $800 (transferable)
or $700 (nontransferable), with three, free days if bought by
the end of September. According to our calculations, if you
can get your act together early enough, that’s 13 days
for $61 and change (if you share with buddies) or $54-something
if you keep it to yourself. Not a bad deal if the skiing’s
as good as we remember.
Full-day pass: $99
Opening date: Oct. 16-ish, weather permitting.
More info.: 387-5706 or www.silvertonmountain.com
OK, we know that in recent years
Chapman has been open about as frequently as liquor stores on
Sunday, but when and if Mother Nature decides to cooperate,
the little-hill-that-could will be ready.
“There’s exciting stuff
happening,” said Kathy Metz, director of Parks and Recreation.
New this year is the 5,000-square-foot,
$900,000 pavilion (also known as the “warming hut”).
In addition to providing changing
rooms and restrooms, the warming hut also will provide a place
for skiers and skaters to come in from the cold and roast their
tootsies while sipping a hot chocolate and watching the action
on the rink or hill. This makes it almost worth visiting, skiing
or no skiing.
Metz said she expects the project,
which includes a freshly paved parking lot, to be done early
Also this season, the ever-popular
tubing hill will take up permanent residence on the north end
of the rink.
Despite all the enhancements, attempts
by a citizens group to bring new-and-improved snowmaking to
the hill have not quite gotten off the ground, Metz said, leaving
the area once again at the mercy of the jet stream.
“We’re ready to go, (snow’s)
really the limiting factor,” she said. “But, we’re
keeping our fingers crossed. It’s been years since we’ve
had a really good winter, and it’s time to turn that around.”
Although shrouded is mystery as of late
- the phone number given on its Web site is disconnected and
there are "For Sale" signs in front - word from members
of the Hesperus Ski Patrol is the season is a go, given that
weather cooperates. The Hesperus Ski Patrol Swap takes place
Saturday, Nov. 2, at the La Plata County Fairgrounds, at which
time it is expected that the infamous night ski passes will
once again be on sale.