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November 12, 1992

Lost Areas #6 - Published 12 November 1992

Greetings from THE COLORADO SKIER      

LOST COLORADO SKI AREAS - EDITION 6

The subject is closed Colorado ski areas. Researching lost Colorado ski areas is the hobby of THE COLORADO SKIER. We are prepared to clarify the history and status of every dead or lost ski area in Colorado. There are at least 75 of them. But that's too many for one posting. So we pick 5 lost ski areas for each edition and provide location, statistics, and a little history on each area.

ATTENTION Flatlanders: If you could care less about old Colorado ski areas, check out our separately posted companion articles entitled: "THE COLORADO SKIER - TRIVIA n" (with ski area trivia questions)

LOST COLORADO SKI AREAS - EDITION #6 (12 Nov 1992)

EDITOR'S REMARKS:

A. Travel. This is our first "Lost" post since 17 Sep. Sorry for the delay. We have been traveling a lot. See Section 4 for the travel details, some of which relate to skiing.

B. "Another Expert". TOM, from Brookline, MA, sent us an E-Mail after "Lost - #5" which PERFECTLY DESCRIBED 3 of the 5 ski areas listed under "Who Remembers These Areas?". We were surprised. We were amazed. We were astounded. We were bamboozled! At the end of his E-Mail, Tom admitted that he had "sort of cheated". Seems that he had acquired a copy of one of our most valuable reference books (the title shall remain our little secret) on old Colorado ski areas. So, he just copied out the descriptions. Very clever, Tom! He was probably just trying to pay us back for our attack on Massachusetts skiers from the "Key-Kill" series.

We caught him on the other two areas because of a trick we use. Whenever we ask you to remember an old ski area which has two names, we use the more obscure name, e.g., Calico Hill vs Durango. The ones Tom missed are "Mt. Bross" which is also known as "Hot Sulphur Springs" and "Winter Wonderland" which was a sometime name for "Lake City". Now you can look them up, Tom!

1. FIVE MORE LOST COLORADO SKI AREAS

{Copyright 1992, The Colorado Skier. May not be reproduced in whole or in part without expressed "written" consent.}

MT. BROSS (Hot Sulphur Springs), [closed], A veteran Colorado ski area. Mentioned in 1940 literature (as Mt. Bross) and appears on sixties maps - as Hot Sulphur Springs. In 1940, it had 600 ft of vertical and a rope tow. Refurbished in 1947. The town had a major winter ski carnival before even Steamboat Springs. The first ski jumping contest in the West (organized by Carl Howelsen, later of Steamboat) was held in 1912. Data is from a 1950 reference.

Vertical drop: 600 ft Top: Base: 8000
Lifts: 1 rope tow

SILVER HILLS (Silver Cliff), [obscure], There are old surface tows visible in a farmer's yard about 7 miles east of Silver Cliff on Hiway 96. Operated during the seventies. Even had a ski school. Frequently misspelled SILLER on many Colorado highway maps.

Vertical drop: Top: Base: 9100 (est.)
Lifts: 1 Poma, 2 rope tows

STEAMBOAT LAKE (Hahns Peak, north of Steamboat Springs), [obscure], A RARE category, actually built but never operated. It was built as part of the Steamboat Lake recreational housing development, in the mid-seventies. Visible to the right on the Pearl Lake road opposite a large building which looks like a potential golf course clubhouse. Data taken from the sales brochure. [Note: Some readers said that the area was open to the public for at least a few days.]

Vertical drop: 500 ft Top: 8600 Base: 8100
Lifts: 2 double chairs

TENDERFOOT (Cripple Creek), [closed], Located about 2 miles north of Cripple Creek on your left after you make the hard right and hard left turns headed south on Hiway 67. Appears to have one big slope plus beginner runs. Towers and machinery buildings are still visible. Shown on 1970, 1976, and 1985 Pikes Peak NFS maps. Is mentioned in one reference as being open in the late 50's and is listed in a 1952 Guide as TENDERFOOT HILL (T-bar, 2 rope tows). Note: In 1996 the base area and lifts were easily visible from the highway but there were "no trespassing signs".

Vertical drop: Top: Base: 10,100 (est)
Lifts: T-bar, 2 rope tows

WINTER WONDERLAND (Lake City), [closed], Located 2 miles south of Lake City on the west side of Hiway 149. Appears on late sixties and early seventies maps. Also appears as LAKE CITY on some later maps. Data source - 1969 AAA Guide. 1992 update: According to a local gift shop proprietor, the area has been operated for the last two years by a Lake City group for the benefit of local youth. It now has a T-bar. A visit to the site confirmed recent activities and we have pix.

Vertical drop: 440 ft Top: 9140 Base: 8700
Lifts: 1 rope tow (upgraded to T-bar)


2. WHO REMEMBERS THESE LOST COLORADO SKI AREAS?

APEX
FOREST LAKES
HOLIDAY HILL
IRONTON PARK
SAGEBRUSH HILL

[You will find only 3 of these 5 in the magic book, Tom. We have other references and sources!]

And the list goes on and on and on ...


3. FOLLOW - UP

a. REDSTONE - In the last issue we stated that our "field agent" had been up to Redstone lately, could find no lift remnants, and could only barely spot an overgrown ski run. Well, now we must admit that this was a novice field agent on her first assignment. We have not yet calibrated her ability to spot an old ski area. (Actually she is our haircutter - does this help you decide whether The Colorado Skier is male or female?)

We do, however, have a separate report from a faithful reader which we will misquote as follows: Several years ago he was slogging thru the snow in the national forest near Redstone and came upon: "an archaic looking lift on private property which fits your description". The lift was still standing. It looked like a private back yard lift. Thanks to WAYNE who reaches us via CSU. Spose we will have to journey up there ourselves and check it out - with pix. That is part of our long range plan anyway - to photograph all of the lost areas.

b. HIDDEN VALLEY - When HIDDEN VALLEY (near Estes Park) closed, their lift complement consisted of a lower area with 3 surface lifts, and an upper area, accessible by shuttle bus only, with one T-bar. However, in the 1971 to 1976 Colorado Ski Country guides, a chairlift was shown which connected the lower and upper areas. Now why would they build a chairlift and then remove it six years later, particularly when it was the only connection between two sections of the ski area? Anyone know the answer? [We still don't know but have heard the lift was faulty.]

c. THE CANNIBAL QUEEN

Reader JER, a private pilot from Fort Collins, volunteered to fly over some lost ski areas, check 'em out, and report what he found. We asked if he had read "The Cannibal Queen". He had not, and for him and others: The Cannibal Queen was written by Stephen Coonts, former naval aviator and current author of several action-adventure novels such as "Flight of the Intruder" (also a movie).

"Cannibal Queen" is the name of his 1941 Stearman [open cockpit biplane, two-seater, radial engine]. In 1991 he flew the "Queen" around the country, landing in all 48 states. The book recounts his adventures with weather (with no instruments) and small landing fields, and with the people he met along the way. It is similar to "Travels With Charley" written by John Steinbeck (but more exciting). It is a very good book; we highly recommend it.

Note: COONTS lives in Boulder. TOM CLANCY lives in Denver. CLIVE CUSSLER lives in Evergreen. Greater Denver is the action/adventure novel capitol of the U.S. Do they ski?


4. TRAVELS WITH THE COLORADO SKIER

We spent the last week of September aspen peeping and searching out 8 lost ski areas in southwest Colo. We "struck gold" on 5 of them and "struck out" on 3. We won't bore you with the details here, but will include them in the regular descriptions (including LAKE CITY in this issue).

In early Oct we spent a week at a business convention (can you say boondoggle?) in Baltimore right on the very delightful Inner Harbor. A big thrill for us was running into Gary Jobson and chatting with him for 10 minutes. Now most of you have never heard of Gary Jobson, but a "hearty handclasp" goes to the one rare person out there who can identify him. Hint: he is not famous for skiing but he does work for ESPN. A very nice guy, BTW.

Then, in late Oct we were off to San Diego to catch Air Force Academy and Denver Bronco football games. On the return trip we stopped by the BRIAN HEAD ski area near Cedar City, UT. The GOOD news is that it was snowing heavily as we drove thru. The BAD news is that it was snowing heavily as we drove thru and we were there for sightseeing, not skiing! Bad choice of routes for 29 Oct.

Upon our return we also spent a few days packing and loading up our offspring (PC Jr) who is moving to San Antonio. Actually this is a very bright and attractive 22 year old young lady who needs a job and a social life. So if you live in San Antonio and have a retail, office, or even waitressing job or you are a rich young bachelor, let us know. [Is this known as "networking"?]

There's more. Back in September we told you about The Colorado Skier being on vacation and how we were concerned about missing posts and E-Mails. Actually that time it was Mark who was gone. Someone asked if he went anywhere interesting. He did. He and his charming wife, field agent Natasha, went to Alaska! They went to Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Seward, took a ferry to Valdez, saw several glaciers, and even camped out in Denali Nat'l Park within view (sometimes) of Mt. McKinley. The most important part of the trip, of course, was visiting two ski areas. ALYESKA is huge with several lifts, including a quad, with another one being built and a well developed base condo area. ALPENGLOW is smaller but is convenient to Anchorage and has a nice view of the city.


5. SKI AREA NEWS

a. As we write this there are six ski areas open in Colorado (ASPEN - weekends only, BRECK, KEYSTONE, LOVELAND, VAIL, and WOLF CREEK. Base depths range from 25 to 30 inches and it is still snowing. BUTTERMILK, COPPER, and MONARCH will open Friday (13 Nov).

b. Mark and Natasha skied VAIL on Sunday (8 Nov) and found it very good to excellent. Despite their advertising 2 lifts and 250 acres, they actually had 3 lifts and 400 acres. Solid base and 6 inches of new. No lines (LOVELAND had 10-15 min. lines) and the parking garage was free.

c. Elsewhere, OKEMO, SUGARBUSH, and MT. SNOW opened in Vermont, and BOREAL, MAMMOTH, BRIGHTON, SOLITUDE, POWDER MTN., and PARK CITY are open in the west. MT. BACHELOR is barely open with minimal base and rain.

Cheers from THE COLORADO SKIER

"It is dangerous for a national candidate to say things that people might remember." Eugene McCarthy.


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