COLORADO RESORTS ELEVATE SKIING EXPERIENCE
For 2009-10, Resorts Focus on Mountain Amenities, Guest Service and Value
DENVER, CO – September 9, 2009 – During the 2009-10 ski season, Colorado Ski Country USA's (CSCUSA) 22 member resorts will focus on the core of what makes Colorado the most popular ski destination in the country—opportunities for guests to enjoy consistent powder snow and unparalleled services and facilities.
Resorts are treating this season as an opportunity to keep skiers coming to Colorado, amid an unstable economy, by honing in on the guest experience—a strategy that, over the years, has made Colorado synonymous with skiing.
To meet their goals, Colorado resorts are adding to their on-snow profiles this season, improving and enhancing lodging and base area service facilities, and investing in the human capital that forms the backbone of Colorado's ski industry. Guest-facing amenities remain top priority, as Colorado resorts hold their guests' satisfaction in the highest regard.
Over the last several years, A-Basin has gone through a transformation. The iconic resort went from installing its first snowmaking system in 2002 to carrying out the largest terrain expansion in the United States in 2008 by opening Montezuma Bowl. With these improvements, Arapahoe Basin has grown significantly in size and reputation, while maintaining the friendly attitude for which it is known.
Arapahoe Basin also opened a new mid-mountain facility, Black Mountain Lodge, in 2007. The Lodge improved the skier experience and has allowed A-Basin to hold nighttime events. Skiers and riders have embraced this new addition, which allows them to stay at mid-mountain for a meal or for a respite from the mountain's steeps, without having to ski to the bottom.
With these on-mountain improvements came more skiers and riders, which caused the mountain to expand parking and shuttle facilities in 2008. A-Basin increased parking capacity in 2008 by 300 spots at the High Noon and Last Chance parking lots, built a pedestrian tunnel under Highway 6, and added two shuttle busses to take guests from these upper lots to the base area.
For the 2009-10 ski season, the resort is focusing on keeping these improvements in top shape and on continuing momentum from the 2008-2009 season, which was the resort's second best season on record in terms of skier visits.
Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) has invested more than $130 million over the previous six seasons, giving guests some of the most seamless skiing/riding experiences in the industry. Improvements over that period include 11 new lifts with two new gondolas, the industry-leading Treehouse Kids' Adventure Center, three new restaurants, additional terrain plus the new Snowmass base village.
This year alone, ASC will invest nearly $8 million in on-mountain improvements. Included in these improvements will be a 100 percent hands-free radio frequency gate access program across the four mountains of Aspen/Snowmass. ASC will be the only resort in North America to have 100 percent hands-free access. Lift tickets will be a plastic card with a chip inside detecting guests as they move through lift lines. Now there's no need for guest to dig in their pocket to find their pass or ticket, allowing for smooth and quick access to the slopes. Besides the new and improved ticket system, a tunnel to ease skier traffic will be built on Buttermilk above the terrain park – specifically above Uncle Chucks Glades – to separate terrain park traffic and regular skier traffic.
In addition to the on-mountain improvements, the company will complete the first phase of an $18 million renovation at The Little Nell hotel this fall. The Little Nell, Aspen's only five-star, five-diamond hotel, just steps away from the Silver Queen Gondola, is setting a new standard in hotel room design with the commission of internationally known residential designer Holly Hunt.
Also coming in the 2009-10 season is the LEED Silver-certified Viceroy Snowmass, the anchor hotel for the new $1 billion base village at Snowmass. The Viceroy Snowmass will open with 152 guest rooms, a 7,000 square-foot spa, a fine dining restaurant and café.
Aspen/Snowmass will continue to be the host resort for world class events, including the Women’s FIS World Cup Alpine ski races in November and the CoverGirl Snow Angels Invitational in April. Also returning for the 2009-10 season is the ESPN Winter X Games 14 in January, which has recently extended their contract stating that Buttermilk will host the X Games through 2012.
Copper Mountain recently opened Woodward at Copper, which is the first indoor/outdoor ski and snowboard camp on the planet. The 20,000 sq ft Woodward at Copper Barn gives campers access to Snowflex® jumps, foam pits, a spring floor, trampolines and indoor skateboard features. Participants develop their tricks in The Barn and progress them in Copper’s nationally recognized terrain parks and Superpipe. In the winter, Woodward at Copper will offer Winter Camp Days, One Hit Wonder Sessions, Drop-In Sessions and Skate only sessions.
The Woodward at Copper Winter Camp Day utilizes the indoor features in The Barn as well as Copper's on-mountain park and pipe features and is the best value for a Woodward at Copper winter experience. A Winter Camp Day consists of setting up goals for the day, a lift ticket, lunch, a fully coached morning session in The Barn, a fully coached on-snow training session in one of Copper's nationally recognized terrain parks, and access to the evening's first Drop-In Session. Winter Camp Days are offered to anyone eight years old and up with intermediate or above skiing and/or riding skills.
Under the new ownership of CNL lifestyle properties, with the Muellers still at the operational helm, Crested Butte Mountain Resort remains dedicated to enhancing the overall guest experience, and improvements slated for the coming season reflect that commitment.
Notable changes include a remodel of the popular Ice Bar. The transformation will double the size of the existing restaurant, increasing capacity while maintaining the simple, intimate setting.
In addition, the resort has added a new base area Adventure Park for year-round play. The Adventure Park features an eco-friendly synthetic "ice" skating rink, bungee trampolines and a climbing wall, as well as a multi-lane, lift-served tubing hill for the winter. The ice skating rink, made from Super-Glide® synthetic ice, the first synthetic ice-skating facility in Colorado, was recycled from the American Museum of Natural History in New York where it was part of a display on climate change.
The Crested Butte Ski and Ride School boasts a new beginner learning area for the upcoming season. The current kids' area will be re-graded and expanded to include beginners of all ages. Both adult and children's ski school lessons will operate out of the same area, making morning drop-off seamless and stress-free.
Over $315 million has been invested in on- and off-mountain improvements and amenities at CBMR since Tim and Diane Mueller purchased the ski area in 2004. The resort recently unveiled Mountaineer Square, the new base area village at Crested Butte, featuring the Lodge at Mountaineer Square, new dining options, the Adventure Center, and distinctive shops. In addition, the new Elevation Hotel & Spa opened, providing a new luxury option at the base of the mountain.
Other improvements in recent years include the expanded DC Terrain Park; snow igloos, which are solid snow structures set up in the kids' play area outside of Camp CB; new snowmaking and grooming systems; expanded lift systems; a remodel of the Treasury Center; a new children's facility called Camp CB; the new Outpost Building Day Lodge and a central ski valet service.
In addition to the recent improvements, Crested Butte's master development plan includes an additional $2.2 billion investment. While the experience continues to evolve, CBMR remains committed to growing the resort in a responsible manner that answers the needs of a changing community and an increasing number of visitors, while respecting the surrounding native environment.
With an emphasis on learning, progressing and family togetherness, Echo Mountain Resort is launching new Ski & Ride school programs this season. Guests can choose from several new multi-week programs for kids ages 4-14 and their parents. Kids' morning and afternoon classes are offered in three-week sessions and a parent one-hour lesson and lift ticket can be added at a discounted rate.
One of the few resorts that offers night skiing, Echo Mountain is introducing night series programs this season geared toward specific skier types, for example, women specific skiing and riding.
In their continuing effort to progress their terrain offerings, the resort has implemented eight new terrain features throughout the mountain. In addition, four advanced features have been created including signature features from Neff and Never Summer.
Eldora Mountain Resort
Under the guidance of new general manager Jim Spenst, visitors to Eldora Mountain Resort will see enhanced guest services starting with a new website. New for 2009-10, Eldora.com features improved functionality including new features such as an interactive trail map and the ability for guests to post photos and videos. The Eldora online experience extends to the resort's ski school department with the launch of a new online reservation system for ski school lessons. Robust guest experiences for this season are evident in the upgrade to Eldora's rental feet. The resort invests tens of thousands of dollars each year to provide top of the line equipment including Volkl skis and Burton snowboards.
Additionally, the Boulder Ski Escape program is returning for another season as Eldora offers vacation packages for families of skiers and riders.
As Loveland enters its 73rd year of operation, the ski area has been busy making area-wide improvements. Last season, Loveland added a Magic Carpet surface lift to Loveland Valley for children's ski school programs. This new addition makes lessons easier and more enjoyable for children. Loveland has also spent more than $500,000 on base area enhancements at both Loveland Basin and Loveland Valley.
Love Park, Loveland's terrain park, acquired new features from Planet Snow last season and there are plans to add more features for the 2009-10 season.
Loveland's snowmaking system was also upgraded this summer with more than $500,000 in improvements to ensure Loveland is one of the first ski areas to open with plenty of snow for the 2009-10 season.
In preparation for its 70th year of operations, Monarch's rental department has invested over $55,000 in new equipment. The latest high-end skis from K2, Salomon and Volkl and snowboards from K2 and Burton have been added to the demo fleet. Monarch has also brought in some beginner-specific boots from Salomon that make walking around the base area easier. The resort also is adding a vestibule entrance to its Lesson/Rental Center building to keep the building warmer and guests dryer.
On the mountain, projects have been completed to improve the skiing/riding experience. Tree islands have been removed on Mirage, Turbo, Snowburn, and Short & Sweet runs. The trees will be used in the K2 Organic Terrain Park to build more natural features. The Tilt terrain park that was put in for kids and beginners looking for smaller terrain features was so popular that it has been more than doubled in size. Tilt will still have smaller, less intimidating jumps, berms and rails, but now there will be more of them.
In addition, Monarch Mountain has seen significant recent upgrades to its mountain amenities and guest services. Improvements include a revamped reservations system, expanded runs and terrain, and installation of new park features. Most recently, Monarch remodeled its entire Ski School/Rental Center, adding two additional electronic kiosks to the rental registration area. This addition brings the total number of kiosks to five and greatly improves the ski school and rental process for guests.
Monarch's total capital investment over the past four seasons comes to three million dollars. Monarch is also spending $100,000 on its Master Development Plan Project this summer for scoping and environmental analysis. Terrain expansion plans are still active as the mountain added 200 acres of new terrain to the Snowcat area last season and has been working with the United States Forest Service on proposed lift served skiing on the West side of the continental divide in the No-Name Bowl.
While capital improvements at Powderhorn are being finalized for the 2009-10 season, the resort has progressed steadily in recent years. In just the past five years, new terrain and infrastructure at the resort has been added, including five new black runs, two blue runs and a Magic Carpet surface lift to expand its ski and snowboard school area.
Prior to those improvements, the resort constructed its Wildewood subdivision and improved its guest services by expanding and remodeling rooms at the resort's Inn at Wildewood.
Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort
Answering the call from expert and advanced skiers for more challenging terrain, Purgatory is expanding its expert terrain this season by more than 30 percent, opening new, steep, tree-skiing terrain accessible from its Legends lift (Chair 8). This expansion to the west of the previous ski area boundary will increase Purgatory's skiable acreage by more than 10 percent.
Purgatory's terrain enhancement comes after years of steady growth at the resort. Most recently, the resort 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.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Silverton will continue to offer its specialty of extreme terrain and heli-skiing. The resort's recent acquisition of an Astar B3 helicopter for mountain operations allows Silverton to monitor and provide guests with access to large reaches of its terrain.
Ski Cooper is known as a family resort and this year they also want to be known as a military family resort. For 2009-10, the ski area is offering specific season passes for military personnel and their families.
Along with regular maintenance and upkeep to resort facilities, Ski Cooper has enhanced their rental fleet for this season. Now guests can choose from the latest in boots, skis and snowboards. New rental equipment combines well with the resort's new ski school and pass program. Beginners can pay as they go for three lessons and upon completion of the third lesson they receive a season pass.
Ski Cooper's Chicago Ridge snowcat operation has added another snowcat this year and will continue to provide backcountry skiing and riding on nearly 25,000 acres of terrain. Outings include gourmet lunches served in one of the new yurts. The additional snowcat allows the resort to now offer site seeing excursions for non skiers and riders who want to spend time with family at lunch and take in the majestic views.
Additionally for 2009-10, a new enhanced website will allow guests to book catskiing and ski school reservations online. Also noteworthy for this year, Ski Cooper is freezing prices on lift tickets, ski school and rentals, keeping them the same as last year.
Over the past four years, more than $30 million in on-mountain improvements have erupted at the Steamboat Ski Area. Look for enhanced terrain to challenge all levels of ability, faster and more comfortable chairlifts, expanded culinary options and remodeled restaurants, among other improvements.
Specifically for the 2009-10 winter season, Steamboat poured $2.5 million into expanding the Kids' Vacation Center, opening a new Ski & Snowboard School Ticket Office and Patrol First Aid Base Facility, and enhancing its already top-grade snowmaking system. In addition, Steamboat's on-mountain momentum augments numerous private and public multi-million dollar revitalization projects sweeping the mountain village including the new public promenade and day lighting of Burgess Creek. In fact, the only thing not being upgraded is something Mother Nature perfected years ago—Champagne Powder snow.
Sunlight Mountain Resort, home of The Heathen, one of the steepest runs in the state with a 52 degree pitch, is opening this season with subtle improvements to guests' skiing and riding experience. The guest experience starts online with the new Sunlightmtn.com website. Redesigned and launched this year, the site serves as a portal for the resort's plethora of new seasonal offers, passes and promotions.
Focusing on base area amenities, Sunlight has quietly augmented its facilities that include the restaurant, lounge, rental and retail shop, ski school and children's center. Attention and upkeep have been devoted to the mountain experience as well, ensuring that the 67 trails that cover 470 acres showcase Sunlight's unique and varied terrain.
This season, Telluride is expanding terrain to offer more challenging, expert skiing by adding Gold Hill Chutes 2-5. This long-anticipated terrain comes on the heels of Gold Hill Chutes 6-10 opening in 2007-08, and Chute 1 opening in 2008-09. Chutes 2-5 offer wide-open, above treeline couloirs and chutes dropping 1,600 vertical feet. The resort added two WWII-era howitzers last season to facilitate control of this terrain, which will open as conditions allow.
Terrain expansion is just part of ongoing improvements at Telluride. In the last five years the resort opened Revelation Bowl and the newly built Revelation Lift. Other developments include two new restaurants, restaurant upgrades, new snowmaking and snow cats, new hike to terrain, and the addition of new sun decks.
Celebrating 70 years of continuous operation this year, Winter Park is putting the finishing touches on the major expansion and redevelopment of The Village at Winter Park Resort. When the project is completed, it will total an estimated investment of $30 million dollars for on-mountain construction and feature 20,000 square feet of new retail, rental, restaurant and living space.
While the resort has been developing The Village at Winter Park over recent years, it has also been improving other mountain and guest service features, which includes adding four new lifts, creating nine new trails, adding terrain enhancements, opening two new base area lodging properties at Fraser Crossing and Founders Pointe, installing a new advanced sales fulfillment center, posting new on-mountain signage, remodeling restaurants, and constructing a covered parking garage and an ice skating pond.
Celebrating 70 years of epic powder skiing this year, new for this season, Wolf Creek will open the $1.5 million Raven's Nest day lodge, located mid-mountain on top of the Raven chairlift. This lodge and dining facility was freshly completed in the spring of 2009. The Raven's Nest will offer a food and beverage service as well as a warming area for Wolf Creek skiers and riders. Additionally, some ski school classes will meet at this mid-mountain location, providing a seamless start to lessons for guests.
Opening Raven's Nest is the culmination of five consecutive years of resort improvements. During this time, Wolf Creek replaced the Dickey double fixed-grip chairlift with a detachable quad lift, rebuilt the Summit Building on the top of Treasure Lift for ski patrol, and upgraded its ski and snowboard rental fleet. The resort added an additional 400 parking spaces to its Tranquility Parking lot, and carried out a major refurbishment program for its Waste Water Treatment Plant totaling $1,000,000. The resort estimates spending approximately $7,000,000 on these significant improvements.
The Village at Winter Park
Arapahoe Basin Montezuma Bowl/Casey Day
Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort new terrain/Sven Brunso