Operation Dates: 1978-1988, 1992
Area Stats (1984):
*Elevations: Summit 10,100 ft, Base 8,900 ft, Vertical Drop 1,200 ft
*Terrain: 15 Trails, Longest Run 2 miles
*Lifts: 1 platter lift (Borvig), 1 triple (Doppelmayr), 1 double (Doppelmayr),
capacity 3,500 p/h
*Season: December - April, hours 9-4pm
*Ticket Prices: $12 adults, $8 children
Facilities: 6,000 square foot base lodge, 90% snowmaking, ski patrol
History: Conquistador officially opened back in 1978 with two surface lifts and
limited terrain.  Many residents of West Cliffe, which is the closest town to the
resort, opposed the development of the ski area.  They cited the lack of need for
such a winter sports area and the snow was marginal.  The area made a large
investment for the 1982 ski season when they purchased two new lifts from
Doppelmayr.  The investment never really paid off for the resort.  Later that year
the owners foreclosed the property to the Small Business Administration and the
government ran the ski resort until it closed in 1988.  

Finally, the resort reopened under the name Mountain Cliffe for the 1992-1993
season.  The resort was bought by Mund Shaikly of Los Angeles and Ray
McEnhill of Salisbury, England.  Snow was lacking early in the 1992 season.  
When the resort finally opened, a large windstorm stripped the exposed slopes
free of snow.  This was devastating for the area because it was also forced to
close early, citing poor skiing conditions.  This was the final season the resort
operated.

Mountain Cliffe Resort was sold again, this time to Paul Zeller of Westcliffe and
Mark Musser of Madison, WI.  They planned to reopen the area for the
1996-97 season but the plans never materialized.  The Doppelmayr lifts were  
removed in 1996 and sold to resorts in Wyoming and Montana.  The new owner
wants to make the area into a mountain resort without the skiing aspect.  The
slopes are currently being reseeded with trees.  All that is left is the base lodge
and the resort area.

The base lodge and hotel currently operate as a The Hermit Basin Conference
Center.  They cater mostly to religious retreats as well as local conventions.  As
shown below during the 2004 trip to Conquistador, the area now installed a new
surface tow for tubing.  There are no plans as of now to allow skiing, as the
Forest Service now considers this resort as closed for the foreseeable future.
Looking down the
double line #
Here are a few
advertisements from
Ski
Magazine
: ^^
Late 1970's
Mid 1980's
1982
Trail Map (click for larger view)
CSCUSA 1979
1992
1980's
1983
Area Photos Taken during the 1980's:
Skiers
On-site 38 room hotel
The Base Area
Area Photos Taken in 1995:
The area's lodge facility
The Triple Chair, #3
The Double Chair, #2
Area Photos Taken in 2004: **
The lodge area, now part of the conference center.
Chair #3's Line
Chair #2's Line
A new surface lift installed in 2003 for tubing, a new activity
offered at the area for retreats.
Various runs at the ski area.
The old snowmaking pond
Area Overview ^
Click for a larger view.
Have you ever skied Conquistador?
If so,
contact us with your memories!
Memories:

"I learned to ski at Conquistador, a great little mountain.  They had a race team, 4-H program,
decent food and great people.  I remember the steps inside of the lodge were very steep, and up
stairs you would find all of your friends and famliy eating their pack lunch.  Wish it was still here."
- Shawn M.

"A big step up in the world - chairlifts!  
After growing up with Silver Hills and San Isabel, Conquistador was huge.  The ski school took a
real interest in training and encouraging the instructors, and in turn, I think the instructors helped the
skiers to have a good time.  Unfortunately, there's just not enough snow down there.  I still cherish
the friendships and the experiences that I had at Conquistador."
- John N.

"I remember that it was April of 1989 that I skied Conquistador when they had a 100 inch base.  I
taught alot of people how to ski there, and we always said they put part of the run on the wrong
side of the mountain ( facing the south) and despite that we believed the snow was about the same
as Keystone's, before they added the North Face. They just did not have a Mall in the area!"
- Mike S

"I have great memories of Conquistador! That was where I also learned to ski. They had great
understanding ski teachers. I went on a trip advertised by a radio station. I remember bus trip from
Dallas,Texas,lodging,meals,and skiing all inclusive was just $200.00 for three days. I couldn't pass
on that great deal."
- Scott M

"Our family skied Conquistador during the early 1980's. We lived in Dodge City, Kansas at the
time and the place was very easy to get to and economical to ski. All of our kids learned to ski at
Conquistador - we had plenty of good times there!"
- Jacob S

"I only skied Conquisitor once when it was called Mountain Cliffe in February 1993, they had $9
lift tickets that day so  we took a day trip from Colorado Springs. A couple of things I remember
was that was great snow year for Colorado except for Mountain Cliffe and Cuchara. The snow
was barely adequate, but you couldn't argue for the price! It was a fun little place, too bad it didn't
last."
Sean R.

"I learned how to ski at Conquistador Ski Area in 1979. Back then they had two pony lifts (with
the paddles).Later I had the chance to work in the ski school. Mostly teaching "little cridders", but
sometimes I taught older kids how to ski. I have so many great memories of that place. I sure do
miss it."
-Brenda K.
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All Rights Reserved.

* Picture thanks to Scott B.
# Picture thanks to the Colorado Ski Museum
^ Picture thanks to Dan G.
** Pictures thanks to Brad C.
^^ Picture thanks to Cameron H.
Area Overview