Last winter, after years of ignoring Buttermilk Mountain, a friend convinced me to ski there; on a powder day, no less. “You’ll love it,” she promised. “No one will be there we’ll have fresh tracks all day.” She didn’t lie. We had a great day. The only bummer was the excruciatingly slow Tiehack lift.
Well, as of September 2nd the old Tiehack lift is no more, having been replaced by a new Leitner-Poma high-speed quad. While I fear this new lift may entice more people to Buttermilk on a powder day, I am also pretty darn sure it will make the Buttermilk experience more fun for everyone.
My husband happened to be on-site when the new quad was installed. Here are his photos and an awesome video from Aspen/Snowmass.
If you haven’t skied Buttermilk in the past, check it out this season. The mountain is gentle and mellow, with the most rippin’ terrain park you can imagine. While Buttermilk is geared to beginner and intermediate skiers, the Tiehack side has some advanced runs that are fun, especially when the snow is falling at a rate of inches per hour. And there’s no better way to watch the X Games than from on the mountain.
Other Colorado On Mountain Improvements for 2011-2012
Catch a Ride
Buttermilk isn’t the only mountain with a shiny, brand-new lift. Beaver Creek has a new high-speed quad in Rose Bowl. Loveland Basin’s old chair 4, a double, has been replaced with a new triple, while Copper Mountain realigned their old Union Creek chair, replacing it with a high-speed quad. This will make it easier to get skiers in and out of the West Village area and up to Catalyst Terrain Park.
At nearby Ski Cooper, a new magic carpet will make life a lot easier for beginners: No more platter disasters. Monarch Mountain also has a new magic carpet on Snowflake. Covered in clear plexiglass panels, beginners don’t have to brave the elements — until they ski down!
And for those of you into cat skiing, Monarch has added a new 14 seat touring snowcat to whisk you away to their powder playgrounds in No-Name Basin and Waterdog Ridge.
Catch Some Air
Three of Colorado’s smaller resorts are making big changes to their terrain parks. SolVista Basin at Granby Ranch is adding a large gas tank, a six-foot satellite dish and new log features in Ted’s Secret Stash, an all natural log park off of Jackalope. Echo Mountain, the closest resort to Denver, spent the summer improving their park and making it more challenging, while Monarch Mountain has moved all of its park features into a new top-to-bottom park experience called Never Summer.
Winter Park hopes to have their superpipe open by Christmas this year. It will now be “dug-in,” resulting in an earlier opening and less need for manmade snow. Powderhorn Resort debuts its first-ever half-pipe, courtesy of its new owners.
Glades, Grooming and More
With the addition of its new high-speed quad, Buttermilk is also opening more gladed skiing at Tiehack. SolVista is following suit, opening additional advanced terrain on their West Mountain between Bounty Hunter and Jackpot. Crested Butte, Vail and Beaver Creek have focused on improving their kids’ trails: you know, the whoop-dee-do, adventure stuff that makes lessons so much fun!
Other on-mountain changes include new access to Winter Park Village for beginners via the Sorensen Trail Bypass; additional snowmaking on the early and late season race trails at Loveland; and upgrades in snowmaking at Eldora, Steamboat and Powderhorn. New grooming equipment is on-line at Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort, Winter Park, Wolf Creek and Vail, making our perfect Colorado corduroy even that more perfect.
Over $50 Million Invested
This is just a tiny taste of all the good stuff going on in Colorado for the upcoming winter. According to Colorado Ski Country USA, Colorado resorts have spent over $50 million on improvements this year alone. With new restaurants, new ziplines, an ice rink (at Keystone), and even new outhouses in remote areas, virtually every one of Colorado’s resorts has invested in infrastructure over the summer. Click on any of the links for more information on what’s new in Colorado.
What’s new on the ski slopes of your state? Or at your favorite resort? While I focused on my home state of Colorado, I’m excited to hear what’s new everywhere. Please share in the comments below. Thanks!
Portions of this post originally posted on November 4, 2011 at the Liftopia.com blog.
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