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Feb 18th
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Home Things to Do Winter Fun Colorado’s Winter Resorts Getting Ready for 2010-11 Season: Part Three

Colorado’s Winter Resorts Getting Ready for 2010-11 Season: Part Three

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Many of Colorado Ski Country USA's (CSCUSA) member resorts are conducting major investments to improve the guest skiing and snowboarding experience for the 2010-11 winter season.

In this final installment of our three-park report detailing many of the Colorado ski resorts and their upgrades, we look at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, Silverton Mountain, Steamboat, Telluride and Wolf Creek.

Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort

Following up on last season's Legends terrain expansion, which added 30 percent more expert terrain, Durango Mountain Resort is adding even more new terrain for 2010-11, this time on the front side of the mountain.

The new, gladed section of the mountain will be known as "The Ambassadors Glade," named after resort owners Chuck and Sue Cobb, who served as U.S. ambassadors to Iceland and Jamaica, respectively.

Also new this winter, Durango Mountain Resort is ramping up its terrain park offerings by constructing the park features out of dirt. By building hits and carving pipes from earth instead of snow, less snow will be needed to open the parks, which then can be opened earlier in the season and maintained consistently throughout the season.

New Learning Center and Rental Fleet

For the kids, Durango Mountain Resort is now a Burton Learn-to-Ride Kids Center, with new instructional programs and an upgraded rental fleet of 215 new kids' snowboards in sizes ranging from 80 cm to 140 cm.

New adult alpine skis have also been added to the rental fleet, and the Expert Edge retail store will have the latest skis and boots from manufacturers including Blizzard, Dynastar, Nordica, Rossignol, K2, and Volkl, available for demo and purchase.

Durango Mountain Resort also is expanding its snowmaking capabilities on Pandemonium, an extremely popular signature run. Improved snowmaking will ensure a quality skiing experience from early to late season, regardless of cooperation from Mother Nature.

This terrain enhancement comes after years of steady growth at the resort. In the last five years, Durango added a new $50 million base area anchored by Purgatory Lodge and improved its snowmaking capabilities, effectively doubling the resort's ability to make snow on the mountain.

The resort is making steady progress in implementing its master plan, which includes replacing several chair lifts, adding new lifts, and building a new ski and ride school on the mountain.

Silverton Mountain

Silverton Mountain remains true to a pure Colorado mountain experience. In line with that philosophy, the ski area is increasing its lift capacity by 50 percent for the 2010-11 ski season.

The ski area is adding an additional 30 chairs to the line on its one lift, bringing the total number of chairs on the line from 59 to 89. There are only lift lines a few times each year at Silverton, but that is too much in the eyes of that ski area.


Over the past five years, Steamboat has poured nearly $30 million into on-mountain improvements. The momentum continues as Steamboat prepares for the 2010-11 season.

For the 2010-11 season, the beach comes to Steamboat. Visitors can catch some rays at the new Burgess Creek Terrace and Umbrella Bar on the Bear River Bar & Grill Deck located slopeside in the base area adjacent to the Gondola entrance.

On a Champagne PowderR snow day, skiers and snowboarders can slide right up to the deck, which offers outside seating and the Umbrella Bar with floor to ceiling windows and fresh air during the Springalicious weather.

The Burgess Creek Terrace serves a full menu from the Bear River Bar & Grill and has a full bar featuring local microbrews and making it the perfect location to watch friends and family descend the mountain.

The outdoor patio is fully heated, with a centrally located fire pit to gather around and stay toasty. The newly designed deck features terraced steps for guests to lounge on in addition to appointed tables. The steps will also be the best place to watch Steamboat's Rock the Boat free concerts in the spring.

Snowmaking Improvements

Snowmaking pump changes will result in a 27 percent increase in water flow as three 52-horsepower pumps are upgraded to two, 200-horsepower ones, moving the gallons per minute from 3,300 to 4,200.

Couple the increased flow with the purchase of 40 high-efficiency, low-energy tower guns, and early season snow production will augment the number of trails available at the beginning of the season.

The HKD tower guns, which use 30 percent less energy than conventional guns while producing the same amount of snow, are now strategically located across the mountain on Heavenly Daze, Rudi's Run, Lightning, Upper Vagabond, Ego, Sitz as well as Stampede, Lil' Rodeo, Preview, Right-O-Way, See Ya, See Me, Voo Doo, Vogue, Lower Vagabond, Tornado Lane and Buddy's Run.

New pumping capacity will greatly speed up snowmaking production in Mavericks Superpipe. The resort's system covers nearly 360 acres of top-to-bottom terrain (3,668 vertical feet) and includes a network of more than 600 available hydrants, four pump houses across the mountain, 150 high-efficiency guns and a state-of-the-art digital operating system.

Pine Beetle Mitigation

A dramatic change has taken place across the lower mountain as a result of extensive pine beetle mitigation.

For the better part of a decade, the resort has been dealing with this epidemic moving from individual tree treatment to mass removal of dead trees. The ski area enjoys a diverse forest in that Steamboat is fortunate that the forest cover on the mountain is comprised primarily of Engelmann Spruce, Subalpine Fir, Lodgepole and Aspen as well as a few Douglas fir.

Fifty acres of trees have been removed below Rough Rider Basin and another 30 acres on the Thunderhead Express and Burgess Creek lift lines are currently being removed.

New Rails/Features in Terrain Parks

Ranging from small to large, 30 new and refurbished rails/features will pop up this season across the resort's four progressive terrain parks. Designed with input from pro riders, a variety of small, 8-foot to 12-foot, low-to-the-ground and shaped boxes will provide the opportunity for learning the basics in transitions and kinked sensations.

In the medium park, a new 16-foot picnic table and several 24-foot shaped boxes will be unveiled for a variety of down/up and double kinked riding opportunities. A new wall ride, several additional large features, as well as a new entrance in the advance park complete the full spectrum of progression from beginner to advanced.

Last winter, the newly renovated Kids' Vacation Center opened to rave reviews. The relocation and realignment of the Buckaroo magic carpet lift ensures a better learning environment in the new One Steamboat Place snow area.

A magic carpet is a state-of-the-art conveyor lift that has revolutionized kids' programs by quadrupling the number of runs kids take per hour.


The Telluride Ski Resort announced the inception of Telluride Eco Adventures last season, to enhance the guest service experience.

Offering tours and activities for the entire family, Eco Adventures features a winter and summer Nature Center especially for kids. Aimed at connecting guests to all the region has to offer both in winter and in summer, Eco Adventures aims to meet the diverse needs of a family on vacation.

Activities offered include: snowmobiling through the forest to hot springs; beginner to expert ice climbing excursions; fly fishing on serene mountain streams; river rafting; gliding through bluebird skies; and heli skiing with the first helicopter ski operation in Colorado.

The Telluride Ski Resort announced the development and implementation of a guided backcountry skiing program late last season. Incredible terrain in both nearby Bear Creek and Alta Lakes are now accessible for guided backcountry skiing with Telluride Backcountry guides.

Guests participating in the guided backcountry program can set up an itinerary and book a trip through Telluride Eco Adventures. Participants must be expert skiers and boarders. All backcountry equipment, including shovel, beacon and probe, is available at Eco Adventures.

Easier Access to Hike-To Terrain

Reflecting a European skiing experience, the Telluride Ski Resort airlifted a new bridge and staircase to the left shoulder of Telluride's spectacular Palmyra Peak in the spring of 2010.

Heliqwest, a helicopter company based out of Canada, airlifted two steel staircases and bridge over the ski resort to its final resting place - the span between Gold Hill Chutes 8 and 9. The two sets of stairs measure 48 and 54 feet, and weigh 3,304 and 3,324 pounds, respectively.

The bridge measures 24 feet in length and weighs 2,750 pounds. All three components measure 30 inches wide, feature hand railings on both sides and a serrated grated steel walking surface. Together, the stairway and bridge combine make up 126 linear feet ascending Telluride's magnificent Gold Hill.

Wolf Creek

The Wolf Creek Lodge, Wolf Creek's main day lodge, is serving it up this season with a new kitchen and new carpeting. Homemade menu items will be prepared each day in a remodeled kitchen featuring new flooring, siding, counter tops and appliances as well as new carpeting throughout.

Known for it's incredible dining experience, the Upper Lodge will be ready to serve a full menu from delicious Santa Fe style green chili to delectable desserts. The restrooms on the lower level have been improved replacing older water saving facilities with newer ones as well as new partitions.

Additionally, the water-free, composting restrooms on the top of Treasure are scheduled for completion this season.

New Web Site

A new look will also greet skiers on the Wolf Creek Web site launching in early September. The site continues to be user friendly and visually exciting.

Popular features of the old site are available including the live webcam, daily snow report and calendar of special events, but the new site will enable season pass holders to purchase their season passes online as well as by phone and at the mountain. This will be the first time season passes are sold on-line.

In continuing with the Wolf Creek tradition, every attempt is made to keep skiing affordable to the general public. Lift tickets and season pass prices will remain the same as last season. Fifteen Local Appreciation Days, specially priced days open to all guests ($31 adult all-lift ticket, $18 for seniors and children) - are scheduled throughout the busy season.

Other improvements Wolf Creek is focusing on include widening Bonanza trail for beginner skiers and snowboarders, and enhancing the surface on Tranquility by adding topsoil for smoother early season conditions.

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