Colorado lost ski resorts
Colorado has hosted over 175 ski areas since it became a state in 1876. Today, only about 30 ski areas operate on a regular basis, leaving over 145 sites dormant. Here is a brief list of a few of the closed resorts from the surrounding area.
Operation Dates: 1966 – 1969
Elevation: Summit 8,800 feet; Base 7,900 feet
Had Colorado’s only luge run
Lifts: 1 Poma; 1 Double Chair
History: Meadow Mountain was eventually bought by the Vail Ski Area and closed down. The resort’s base lodge is still standing and visible from I-70 and Minturn.
Operation Dates: Unknown
Facilities: Warming Hut, Night Skiing, Snowmaking
Lifts: 1 rope tow
History: The area was operated by the Cloud City Ski Club in Leadville, CO. The hill is located just south of US 24 from the entrance to the Colorado Mountain College Leadville Campus. The rope tow appears to have closed many years ago and snowmobiles were used to transport skiers and riders.
Operation Dates: 1936 – 1950’s
Area Stats: Night Skiing
Lifts: 1 t-bar
History: The Climax Ski Area was operated mainly for the employees of the Climax Molybdenum Mine and had the first night skiing operation in the state. The mine was one of the world’s largest suppliers of Molybdenum. The mine still operates on a limited basis, while the ski area has long since closed.
Directions: At the top of Fremont Pass between Copper and Leadville.
Operation Dates: 1976 – 1986
Average Snowfall: 300″
Lifts: 1 rope tow that was 760 feet long with a vertical drop of 202 feet
History: This ski hill was a local place to learn to ski. A rope tow was installed in 1976, but a decade later the rope was stolen. The area asked for a variance from rope spiraling regulations with no luck. It never opened for the 1986-1987 season.
Directions: The ski hill is visible while skiing at Breckenridge by looking directly east of the area to Carter Park.
Operation Dates: 1941 – 1952
Lifts: 1 mile long single chair
History: The area dates back to 1937 when J.E. Sayre donated a part of Red Mountain near Glenwood Springs for skiing. The area opened to the general public in 1942, but World War II greatly limited the area’s use. In 1943, Red Mountain went to a weekend only operating schedule with prices of $1 for adults and $0.60 for children. The area closed down a decade later as other ski resorts with better snowfall were developed.
Operation Dates: 1946 – 1949
Lifts: 1 tow
History: The area operated at the base of the current Sunlight Ski Area. It opened back in 1946 with the second longest ski tow in the state. It was powered by a Buick engine and had a line speed of eight miles per hour. The largest recorded attendance at the area was about 450 people. The resort included one of the state’s first single chairs. Holiday Hill later closed in 1949 and construction of Sunlight Ski Area did not begin until 1965, when a permit was issued for the construction of the resort.
Directions: Located at the base of the current Sunlight Ski Area.
Dates of Operation: 1965 – 1966
Lifts: 1 PHB/Hall double chair
Note: This area is not related to the Red Mountain ski area, which was located below this area.
History: Glenwood Mountain Park Ski Area was located on Red Mountain to the west of Glenwood Springs. The area opened with a 900 vertical foot double chair. The lift was built for a cost of $60,000 in 1965. The location of this ski area proved to be too hard to get to. After poor attendance, the area was closed and the lift was sold to Sunlight in 1967 for $21,000.
Operation Dates: 1967 – 1977 (operated on and off)
Area Stats: 1 summer “snowfield”; 1 Stadeli tow
History: Montezuma Basin was located on the north side of Castle Peak outside of Aspen. Max Marolt of Aspen and Dick Milstein of Glenwood Springs were the driving forces behind the area’s construction. The Forest Service granted the area an operating permit for a cost of $25 per year. Over the next couple seasons the area was in financial distress and closed in 1970. Richard Rosen from Taos, New Mexico, purchased the area in 1971. He was able to obtain an operating permit from the Forest Service, this time for $48 per year. Due to ownership conflicts with the area, it is not clear if it ever operated again. The Forest Service denied the area a permit for the 1977 and 1978 seasons.
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