Echo Mountain, the humble one-lift ski area that’s closest to Denver, receives 4 feet of snow in two weeks
But it’s not steep-and-deep that attracts visitors; it’s proximity to Denver, night skiing, affordability and beginner-friendly slopes
For Colorado’s major resorts, spring conjures up images of laid-back, shirt-sleeve skiing and high-altitude sun-bathing under bluebird skies. At humble Echo Mountain this spring, it’s been about mind-boggling amounts of snowfall.
Benefiting from upslope storms that are not uncommon for the Front Range in March and April — but which have been unusually bountiful this year — the small area located only 17 miles west of Genesee received 4 feet of snow in the past two weeks. On Thursday, the parking lots were nearly full, many of the cars carrying tourists on spring break. Enormous snowbanks lined the highway leading from Evergreen to Echo, which is situated 4 miles south and 3,100 feet above Idaho Springs with gorgeous views of Longs Peak and the Indian Peaks.
But despite all that snow, most of the visitors weren’t there in search of steep and deep powder. For the most part, they come to the one-lift ski area because they are beginners or intermediates.
“I heard a guy the other day — we reported like seven or eight inches (of new snow) — this guy skis up to his friend and he was like, ‘I hate powder,’ ” said Echo general manager Fred Klaas. “I was just cracking up, because when you think about the Colorado ski market, nobody says that.”
All that recent snow has benefited Echo in other ways, though. Echo was scheduled to close for the season this weekend, but Klaas has already extended the season two weeks and hints that the closing date could be extended further.
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