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January 14, 1993

Lost Areas #8 - Published 14 Jan 1993





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 name, location, statistics, and a little history on each area. Then we challenge you to remember five new ones.

ATTENTION Turkeys: If you could care less about OLD Colorado ski areas, check out our separately posted companion articles entitled: "THE COLORADO SKIER - TRIVIA" (with skiing trivia questions) and "THE COLORADO SKIER - SKI NEWS" (snow depths and more)



A. Someone (probably a flatland turkey from a vertically disadvantaged state) objected to our use of the term "flatlander" so we won't use it any more.

B. Happy New Year!



{Copyright 1993, The Colorado Skier. May not be reproduced in whole or in part without expressed "written" consent.}

CARTER PARK (Breckenridge), [small], Located in a town park east of Main St. in downtown Breck, with one rope tow, about 80- 100 feet of vertical. We saw it in 1986, but haven't checked on it lately. Possibly just for tubing. A Dec 1992 newspaper picture shows the ski run and the top lift shack. No rope is visible. (Update - all lift equipment has been removed and a horizontal fence has been added to discourage sledding.)

FRASER VALLEY (Fraser), [obscure], Appears on 1977-85 state of Colorado maps and the 1988 Gousha highway map. In Dec 91 there was a newspaper reference to a "tubing hill" with rope tow in Fraser. We have a "Visitors Guide to Winter Park and Fraser", circa 1988, which lists the "Fraser Tubing Hill", with a rope tow. FRASER VALLEY may be something separate. (Update - The tubing hill is located to the west of US 40, behind the Safeway. Lights, rope tow)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS (Glenwood Springs), [closed], Located on Red Mountain just south and west of downtown Glenwood Springs. Opened with a rope tow in 1940. Added a chairlift in 1946. Operated until 1966. We rode horseback under the chairlift in the summer of 1966. This is a confusing area in terms of names, dates, and lifts. Has been called GLENWOOD MOUNTAIN PARK, GLENWOOD SPRINGS SKI COURSE, and RED MOUNTAIN at various times. One reference says that the chairlift went in just as WWII started - bad timing. We noticed in 1992 that the upper ski runs, which were cut thru evergreens, have now filled in with aspen. That is what you would expect would happen, but we haven't seen it much elsewhere.

Vertical drop: 1600 ft Top: 7600 Base: 6000
Lifts: 1 double chair, 1 rope tow

GOLD RUSH (Cripple Creek), [planned], In 1979 a ski area was planned for private land on the back side of Pikes Peak southeast of the Crags Campground, along Putney Gulch. In 1980 the Forest Service refused permission citing inadequate snowfall and potential disturbance to bighorn sheep herds. Plans were not pursued.

TRAIL MOUNTAIN (Grand Lake), [closed], Located on "Trail Mtn" about 4 miles west of Lake Granby. Operated around 1966-72. Usually called SKI TRAIL MOUNTAIN. Advertising pictures from the era show an open meadow type terrain.

Vertical drop: 450 ft Top: 9150 Base: 8700
Lifts: 2 rope tows




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



a. LAKE CITY - On our Fall, 1992 combination aspen peeping and lost ski area hunting trip, we dropped by Lake City to check out the remains of the LAKE CITY/WINTER WONDERLAND ski area which had been closed for several years. We were chatting with the proprietor of a gift shop and she informed us that the ski area opened again for the 91/92 season and would be open for 92/93.  Surprise! Seems that some local parents wanted to have something for the teens to do. The area is located about two miles south of town on the west side of Hiway 149. Appears to have a T-Bar and about 200 feet of vertical. One fairly wide slope.

b. NOTE TO FIELD AGENTS: It is easy to tell the difference between a rope tow and a "bar" (T, J, Poma) by the height of the rope or cable above the ground (ropes are low) and by the big metal loop at the top and bottom terminals of the lift which catches and turns the bar. However it is not easy to tell what type of "bar" when the bars have been removed and put away for the summer.



a. SHREDIQUETTE RULES AT COPPER MOUNTAIN - In response to the perceived problem of snowboarder courtesy or lack thereof, COPPER MTN has begun distributing "shrediquette" pamphlets. Management claims: "snowboarders are attempting dangerous jumps, clogging lift lines, behaving rudely to skiers, and 'pack riding'". Two other Summit County ski areas contacted by a reporter said that they have no problems with boarders that they don't also have with skiers.

Guest (our staff shredhead) Editor's note: A lot has been written on this subject and the general consensus seems to be that there is a small percentage of rude boarders and a few vocal skiers who voice opposition to snowboarders. Everyone else gets along fine.

b. COLORADO SNOW CONDITIONS - Colorado is finally getting some snow after a poor December. We have always used VAIL as our comparison point and as of mid-December, VAIL had their lowest base depth in 10 years (see below). Several folks who skied over the holidays (2 Jan was very popular) reported widespread hardpack and insufficient snow cover with lots of rocks showing. We had first-hand reports from Breck, Copper, and Keystone. Note that the poorest snow conditions were in the "Front Range accessible" areas such as Loveland, Summit County, and Vail. Other ski areas such as Steamboat and the southwest fared better.

Thankfully the snow returned in January and thinks are looking pretty good. As we speak, VAIL has a base depth of 40 inches which is just above normal for them.

OFFICIAL COMPARISON DATA (thanks to the Colorado Skier archives)

Base depths at VAIL (unpacked snow depth at midway - in inches)

15 Dec 14 Jan
------ ------

92/93 17 40

10 year Mean 30 37
10 year Median 27 37

c. THE REST OF THE WEST - Meanwhile, unless you have been on the Space Shuttle, you know that the far west is having their best snow season in years. About 90% of the ski areas we track have base depths over 100 inches - which is fantastic for January! This includes almost all of Utah and California, plus Mt. Bachelor, and Timberline. Taos and Sun Valley are respectable at about 80 inches. By comparison, the only ski area in Colorado to reach 100 inches, is - who else - Wolf Creek.



Dateline: Colorado Skier Headquarters. THE COLORADO SKIER announced today a new addition to the Colorado Skier Network. "SKI NEWS" will cover ski area snow conditions and other ski area news in Colorado and the west. The new publication, in the form of a newsletter, will complement the highly popular and successful "SKI TRIVIA" and "LOST COLORADO SKI AREAS" throwaway rags. Staff, material, and coffee cups are being gathered now and spokesperson "I.M. Shirley Wright" predicted that the first edition of "SKI NEWS" would hit the modems about 25 January.

We wish Good Luck to this new endeavor.



"Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do."

J.D. Salinger

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