Geneva Basin's original
name #
Operation Dates: 1963 - 1984
Area Stats: (1980-81)
* Elevations: Summit 11,750; Base 10,500; Vertical Drop 1,250ft
* Season: December - Easter; Hours 9-4pm
* Tickets (1983): $10-13 Adults
* Services: Rentals, childcare, 40% snowmaking, restaurant, bar, ski shop
Lifts:
  • Initially, Geneva Basin operated a Heron double chair called Duck Creek and a T-
    bar called Sundance.  Two poma lifts were installed during the 1960's to serve
    beginner and bowl terrain.
  • The area later added a new Heron double chair replacing the Sundance T-bar.
  • After the area closed during the mid 1980's, the area was purchased by new owners
    and they were in the process of installing a new Borvig triple chair replacing the Duck
    Creek lift.  Due to financial problems, this lift was never completed.
Average Snowfall: 300"
History:
This area dates back to 1963 when it opened under the name Indianhead.  It was originally
developed by the English family of Illinois who also developed the Indianhead Ski Area,
Michigan.  The ski area initially had financial difficulty as the pass was unimproved.  The ski
area went into foreclosure in 1965 and the Burke family and former Colorado governor
Roy Romer purchased the area at an auction.  

They later sold the ski area to an investment group based in Kansas in 1972.  By 1974, this
group installed a Heron-Poma double chair that replaced the Sundance T-bar.  The group
ran into financial trouble early on and the ski area changed hands numerous times.  During
the process of many sales, the ski area's maintenance fell behind.  During 1984, an empty
chair on the Duck Creek lift fell from the cable.  The Colorado Tramway Board shut the ski
area down until the maintenance issues were worked out.  Unfortunately, the group was
unable to accomplish this.  Skier numbers totalled 24,490 in Geneva Basin's last season.

Geneva Basin was sold again to another investment group in 1985.  This group had grand
plans of reviving the ski area.  During that summer, they removed the old Duck Creek lift
and began installing a new Borvig triple chair, which was to be called the Phoenix lift.  This
lift ran parallel to the former Duck Creek lift but farther right, making the high-speed poma
serving the bowls unnecessary.  The group ran in to financial trouble and was not able to
pay Borvig for the completion the of chairlift.  Borvig never installed the lift's drive unit or
chairs.  Geneva Basin's owners went into bankruptcy and creditors stripped the ski area of
everything from snowcats, lift parts, snowmaking components, to dining room chairs.  The
area sat idle again.

Another revival was brought about in 1991.  A local contractor from Aurora, Michael
Marsh made a proposal to the Forest Service to operate the ski area.  His plan was to
reopen the existing facilities and complete the snowmaking system.  According to his
proposal, the ski area would require about 2-3 million dollars in improvements and create
20-30 jobs in Park County.  He would also rename the ski area to Alpine Valley.  
According to newspaper articles, the Forest Service was not opposed to the proposal,
however, nothing ever went forward.  Two more proposals were entertained by the Forest
Service in 1992, but nothing amounted from them either.

By November of 1993, voters were asked to approve a recreation tax designed to finance
the ski area's reopening.  The results of that election were widely against the tax based
reopening the ski area by a margin of over 2:1.  "The voters figured out that the tax wasn't
the proper action for the county and it wasn't properly planned," said County Commissioner
Jim Coggin, an opponent.

The Forest Service did not wait long to take action at Geneva Basin.  Two days after the
failed Park County ballot to save Geneva, F. S. officials decided to burn down the ski
area's lodge to avoid any associated liability.  Park County commissioner, Rickard Trast
said, "It wasn't so much what was done as how it was done.  Now, I'd rather have us look
at what is the future of Geneva Basin and where do we go from here."  Former owner, Roy
Romer said, "I helped build it, so it made me kind of sad...There goes my walk-in
refrigerator."  Forest supervisor Jack Weissling later sent Park County officials a letter of
apology for not properly informing them of the demolition.

Some Random Facts on Geneva Basin:
  1. 1. A ghost story of "Eddie the Head" thanks to Lee: "Ed Guanella was the son of
    Paul Guanella (the pass fame).  He was instrumental in the construction of the ski
    area.  One day a construction crew was stringing the cable onto the bull wheel at the
    top of the lift and an accident happened leaving Ed Guanella decapitated.  There was
    a bronze plaque near the base lodge dedicated to him.  Ski area employees reported
    seeing Ed walking at night around the top of the Duck Creek Lift (the site of the
    accident). For more information on this story, click here.
  2. Geneva Basin's mascot was a St. Bernard named Heidi, which appeared on their
    logo during the 1960's.
Location: Off Guanella Pass south of the summit.  This area is totally on Forest Service
property and hiking is allowed.
Update: The construction currently at the area is related to Guanella Pass Road, the
ski area is not reopening.
Heidi the St. Bernard.
(Picture thanks to "A
History of Colorado
Skiing" by Abbott Fay)
1980-81
Click for larger view!
1970-71
Here is a newsletter from the
Geneva Basin Volunteer Ski
Patrol citing that the area will
reopen under new owners
during the mid-1980's.  Sadly,
it never did.
Pictures From the 1970's: #
The lodge and
Duck Creek Lift
Skiers resting outside
of the base lodge.
The Duck Creek Lift
Pictures From the 1980's: *
(After the Duck Creek Lift was replaced by a triple chair.)
GB's outside trail map
The lodge area
The Duck Creek
Lift Line
The new Borvig
triple chair
Pictures from 2002& 2007: ^
(All lifts and the base lodge are gone)
The new triple lift line / Knicker Knocker
The beginner Poma area.
Tomahawk
The base area where the lodge and parking lots were located.
The trail passage, which still has snowmaking equipment on it.
The trail Sundance.
Looking up and down the Sundance lift line
Cristy Canyon
The top of
Tomahawk
The top of
Geneva Basin
A sign near the summit of the
Duck Creek Lift
The only remaining building at GB
The upper bullwheel of the triple
chair
Tower footings for
the triple chair.
Looking down the triple chair line.
The high-speed poma lift line.
The trail: Jolly Time
The trail: Silver
Stream
An view of GB from
Duck Lake
Here is a view of GB from
14,000 feet!  Notice how the
area spells 'ski!'
"As a kid, I grew up skiing at Geneva Basin.  What a great area!  I remember watching in awe as the ski school director, Dan
Thurston, would jump over the entire ski school staff and a couple of Thiokol's.

I was actually a ski school supervisor there in 1977, just prior to the area closing, teaching under the direction of Tom Grossi."
-Tom P.
----------
"My brother and I learned how to ski at Geneva Basin - our dad was on the patrol there for a few years in the mid-70's.  All I
remember is the St. Bernard logo...We have a home movie of my brother skiing the bunny-hill poma lift there - hilarious!"
-Charlie
----------
"My brother Andy and I learned to ski at Geneva Basin in the late '60s.  Our schools (Platte Canyon Jr. High and Deer Creek
Elementary) would take students skiing at GB one day each week.  Chris Thurston (ski school director's son) and I would spend
every minute of those trips on the mountain, though it was hard for me to keep up with him.  That place was a paradise for any kid."
-Russ T.
-----------
"I remember racing at Geneva Basin the winter of 74/75 or
75/76.  We lived in Denver at the time and skied at Breckenridge, which in
my 12 year old mind meant we lived in Breck.  The race at Geveva was a riot, my 4 year old twins love to hear the story.  My Dad
hid in the woods when I came down the course because I would always fall when I saw
him.  I really fell because he yelled so darn loud, and not because I saw him.  Well, that day at Geneva was nothing different, he yelled
from the trees and I fell right at the finish.  I didn't believe it at the time that he was my biggest fan, I now know better."
-Bob P
-------------
"My family lived on the Front Range from 1973 on, and we skied at Geneva a fair amount when I thought I was a pretty hot skier,
especially when we had out-of-town visitors. I particularly remember making sure everybody was watching while I went to ski “the
powder”, which in fact turned out to be the heavily congealed, unskied snow at the edge of the slope. I didn’t fall, but neither did I
“ski” it…and nobody was impressed by my flailing!"
-Cliff C.
--------------
I remember skiing at Geneva Basin in the late 70's or early 80's and the ski lifts were powered by gas engines...and some of the
engines would sputter and die while on the lift or waiting to get on.
-Stanley J.
--------------
My dad is Walter Burke, one of the original owners. Thank you for this great web site, it brings back wonderful memories. I was the
biggest ski bum in history as a kid at Geneva Basin. My dad still lives
in Colorado. (Montrose) Reading the comments is great I also skied with the Thurston boys and was on the race and jump team.
What a great thing you have done the pictures and web site brought back my childhood for a moment and made my day. Thanks
Pete B.
----------------
Our family, The Walter J. Burke's owned Geneva Basin for many years, nearly 17, I believe. We had eight kids, who all learned to ski
at Geneva Basin nearly as soon as they could walk.  Heidi was our dog, and she loved to greet visitors and was a loyal friend to our
family. Between Roy and Bea Romer and us, it seemed there were kids everywhere. They had 7.  Lots of interesting things happened
in those 17 years. (I could write a book!)

My husband, Walt,was the manager for many years and then his brother, Bob Burke took over the last few years before we sold it.

My "grown-up" kids go back every summer to stay in the lift shack and spend a few nostalgic moments.

We were so sad when the Forest Service burned the lodge down. It was so beautiful and had so many memories for us. It seemed to
us that they could have utilized it for some purpose instead of 'burning it down".

Lots of memories!
- Marril B.
-------------
"What a great website!  Thank you so much.  My dad, Walter Burke went into business with Roy Romer back in 1965 (I think it
was). It was Indian Head then and had only one rope tow.  I was 5 years old.  Our family ran Geneva until I was 12.  I stood on a
milk crate and flipped burgers in the cafeteria and slept on the floor of the lodge in front of the fire on many cold nights after cleaning
the lodge. We sledded down Knicker Knocker on cafeteria trays by the light of the moon.  I got drunk on Boons Farm and Annie
Greensprings!  I ran the top of the high speed poma and was in the Main Chair lift line when my dad and his brother Bob staged
altercation with an axe to get people from cutting in line.  I knew about the ghost of Eddie and learned how to run a
snowmobile.  I complained a lot because the work was hard, but in retrospect, those were the best years of my life.  There are many
other memories I could share and at some point maybe I will.  For now, I'd just like to say thanks to everyone who took the time to
put this site up. It means a lot to me."
- Tim B.
---------------
"I learned to ski at Geneva Basin in the 70's.  I was young, but it made quite an influence on me.  I broke my leg once on the steep run
on the front face, with the lift over it.  Was it called Knicker Knocker?  Not sure.  A ski patrolman by the name of Rich took me off of
the hill.  It was such a great experience hanging out with the patrol, that the next year I pretended every week to get hurt just to get a
ride on the toboggan.  As it happened, I ended up working as a ski patrolman for 18 years, even working alongside Rich, and his wife
Carol, at Arapahoe Basin.  Wish I could remember their last names.  I learned to ski with the Eager Beaver Ski School, with Abe and
Carol Polanski.  Up on the bus every weekend, selling candy.  What a time!  I still talk to my wife and kids about my first days of
skiing at Geneva Basin, what a great time that was!  Thanks for bringing me back there for a little bit."
- Steve S.
--------------
"I worked at Geneva Basin during the winter of 73-74.  My Grandfather, Henry Freeman also worked there for several years. A ski
run was named after him,"Henry's Holler".  Wonderful memories and great
people. I've  thought of that time often and wondered about everyone there.  So sorry to see that it is no longer."
-Tom J.
------------
My family lived in Bailey, CO from 1979 to 1988.  As kids, we skied Geneva Basin all the time.  I think my first season pass there
cost $25!  I did my first race there in 5th grade, when I went to Deer Creek Elementary.  Our new ski team was going to get free
season passes that year if we came up to boot pack underneath the chairlifts.  I was so psyched!  Then Geneva didn't open that
season.  We were all so
bummed.  I have a lot of great memories skiing there, and thought if I ever struck it rich by winning the lottery I'd work to get Geneva
reopened!  Knicker Knocker was my favorite run.  

Resurrect Geneva!!!  Bring it back!!!
-Tiff M.
------------
"I worked at Geneva Basin during the winter of 73-74.  My Grandfather, Henry Freeman also worked there for several years. A ski
run was named after him, "Henry's Holler".  Wonderful memories and great people. I've  thought of that time often and wondered
about everyone there.  So sorry to see that it is no longer."
-Tom J
------------
"Geneva Basin was a great area.  It was high altitude and sheltered which made for some great powder.  Early 80's, $8 ticket with my
Gold C coupon book.  No bulbous lodge, no bozos, the ultimate ski experience for me.  Sadly, gone."
-Ted C.
-------------
"I used to ski Geneva Basin all the time in the '70s.  I always drove in (from Boulder) over Guanella pass, which was plowed twice a
day -- once in the morning, before the lifts opened, and once after they closed.  I remember sitting in a line of cars after skiing, waiting
for the plow to arrive, as the road often drifted closed during the day.  One day I got tired of waiting and, since I had a Jeep, I took
off.  A bunch of cars followed me, thinking I knew what I was doing!  Well, I lost the road on top of the pass (due to wind-blown
snow covering it) and re-encountered it at the top of a steep road cut on the other side!  The Jeep made it down the road cut, but I
was too chicken to wait and see what the cars did!"
-Bob C.
--------------
"Wow! I never knew that this website existed and yet two of my family members have postings. I am the youngest child of Walter
Burke. I was born in 1971 and have very few memories of the Geneva Basin. I think most of my memories are from stories told by
parents and siblings. I do remember the cafeteria trays though! I learned how to ski shortly after I learned to walk. After my dad and
Roy Romer sold the ski resort, we eventually moved to Montrose where they opened Storm King Ski & Sports, a ski rental shop,
with our family friends, the Citos. After a few years in Montrose, Dad and Roy went on to purchase five John Deere stores across
Kansas. My brothers and I thought we would DIE. Come on! Ski bums in Kansas. However, many of my siblings went on to marry
Kansas natives. My oldest sister Chris married her high school sweetheart, Wayne Adams. Wayne's dad Ray, worked at GB and his
mom, Ernestine ran the cafeteria. They are both living in Grand Junction, Colorado!Even though I was very small when we owned GB,
I grew up with skiing in my blood. I spent most of my leisure time skiing Telluride and later went to college in Durango where I
worked as a lift operator while going to school. They didn't pay very well but it was all about the free ski pass. I now live in Park City,
Utah with my husband Scott and our three children. Our middle child, Forrest is 14 and will be joining the Park City Freestyle team
this fall. I was delighted to see that the Olympic Park in Park City has a great ski museum. Thank you so much for keeping the ski
history alive. When my Dad tells stories of scouting for new ski resort locations on his back country skis or shooting off avalanches we
travel back in time. Don't ever lose this history!  Also, I would love to get ahold of these old pictures from GB. I think
that my parents were so busy raising kids and running the business that they forgot to take many pictures or they have been lost over
time."
-Colleen B.

"My family had season passes in the early to mid 70’s.  My younger brother Joe found this web site because we might need a map to
fulfill our parents last wishes.  My older brother Mike and I got our first “big air”  at GB and we were permitted to use the big air
jumps that Dan would build for practice and fun at the bottom of Knicker Knocker, when he was still competing.  I too remember him
jumping over the patrol, and doing his signature spread eagle.  My brother Joe was a little to young, but Mike and I joined the ski
team when it formed, and if I remember right, they hired coach Kennan ( forgive the spelling), a former US Ski Team Member to run
the program. We met in the summer for soccer.  One weekend that summer we slept up in the lodge and during the day groomed
parts of the expert runs. My family would  frequently pack a lunch and eat up on the mountain at our favorite rock formation on the
edge of  Sundance.  When my father got ill in 1985, one of his last wishes was to have his ashes spread over those rocks.  My mother
convinced us to wait until she died so we could spread her ashes with his too.  Sadly she passed away Dec. 06, and now we three
sons will climb to the rocks and fulfill their wishes.  For me, it is fitting that the area has been returned to nature.
I am so grateful my dad had the wisdom to choose GB for us..."
-Kelly M.

I learned to ski at Geneva Basin, I went to Deer Creek Elementary School in Platte Canyon. Those are some of my best memories.
We used to get out of school(well the school buses would take us to Geneva Basin on Fridays to ski, therefore I used to ski 3 days a
week. I was sad when I heard it closed because it was a wonderful place to ski.
-Melissa Y.

"I learned to ski at Geneva Basin starting in 1969.  My parents owned a cabin in the Happy Top summer cabin area in Bailey, and
trips to Geneva Basin were frequent until about 1977. Just too good a deal. Wooden skis and cable bindings were what I started out
with. I remember using the lodge as a break from the wind, and the diesel powered engines running the lift were pretty novel.  One of
my most memorable moments was a trip up the hill on the T-Bar.  I was about 11 and going up the hill with a much taller man.  The
spring was very strong, so he was basically keeping things steady and I was riding along.  Anyone who has ridden a T-bar knows
exactly what I mean. At the top the man let go and the tee slipped up the back of my jacket and lifted me up!  The lift continued to run
and pretty soon I was about 10 feet off of the ground and just about to go around the wheel.  The lift operator finally brought it to a
jerking halt and I was suspended well above the snow, bouncing up and down for about 20 seconds.  Suddenly, the zipper on my
jacket began to fail and it very, very slowly ripped out with each bounce. When I finally fell to the ground, with the now gathered
crowd cheering, I was fine and quickly skied away. My parents loved the story and my mom re-sewed the jacket, but I never wore it
skiing again. My kids love the story, but they don't  know what a T-bar is!  I am very disappointed to hear the ski area closed."
-Bob G.

"What a great site to find! I am excited to share my memories of Geneva with all who might read this. As a family we all basically grew
up there. My father, Jim Gielissen came to Geneva in 1964 or 65’ and instructed there for the next 20 or so years, my mother started
instructing a short time after him and stayed on with the ski school along with my father until shortly before the area closed. My
siblings, Jeff and Dana all learned how to ski there at the age of three and with the exception of me, all were at one time or another
members of the ski school. I starting skiing there in 1965 at the age of 3. Honestly I know of no other family that skied there longer
than ours. My fondest memories of my childhood revolve around Geneva Basin. The one thing that sticks out most prominent is the
family atmosphere that existed while the Burkes owned the area. In today’s ski world there is no comparison to the warmth and skiing
experience that was there back then. I too remember the win! After dark and the midnight tray rides down the lower part of Knicker
Knocker, the wind howling through the lodge at night when we stayed up there and the stories of Eddie helping out the lost skiers
when lost in out of bounds areas after dark. Dan when he jumped and then would punish every mogul on his non-stop runs to the
bottom and his son Tim who never saw a jump that he would not try (twice). Thanks to all who put up with me while I terrorized the
unexpected (and the expecting I guess), my ski time there declined during my high school years and I joined the Marines in 1980 and
so I never got to see the close of the area or say good bye so I will take the opportunity to do so now. I hope you all are finding the
grace of deep powder elsewhere. Also I should thank Bob Burke for returning my season pass so many times. I was truly blessed to
have the folks at Geneva as a second family."
-Brad G.

"I think I'm going to cry.  I just realized today while surfing the web that Geneva Basin is no more...

My wife and I moved to Colorado back in 1974.  For a short while I worked at the Climax Molybdenum mine in Leadville but we
eventually landed in the Denver metro area.  Our first time on cross country skis was at Guanella Pass but we learned downhill at A-
Basin with the intent to come back to Geneva Basin.  Now we call Oregon home but my heart is still in north-central mountains of
Colorado!  Go Leadville!"
-Owen Y.

"I skied GB with the West Jefferson JH kids on activity days in the late 70's & early 80"s. We skied both downhill and nordic in the
area & valley. After its' closing we (Evergreeners) continued to ski the area by hiking and skinning. We thought it a travesty when they
burned the old lodge as a fire dept. practice fire. Gov. Roy should have spoken up! Still have many fine memories of the open burns
up high."
-Bill K.

"We skied Geneva in the mid 60's, 12 years old. We were racing down to take a break and I fell, slicing the top of head open with my
ski. Well there was NO doctor on duty, so they rushed me to the nearest vet and he stitched me up. I'm glad I have hair to hide the
scar."
- Zack P.

"Indianhead Mt. was my Dad's ski area opened in 1959. He also owned English Construction in Barrington Illinois and was a
decorated WWII flyer in the Aleutians.  In the early 60s he got some investors and began to develop Indianhead of Colorado which
ended up to be Geneva Basin.  It was a disaster financially (my father claimed because the local politicians would not put in the needed
road.)  They cleared trails and the one blog from a previous owner's family on that page said there was a rope tow but I am not sure if
that was the sum of the lifts, etc. or if/when they opened."
-Jack E.

"West Jefferson Junior High School would take us in a bus every week for "activity day" to ski at Geneva Basin.I would chase the
Harms brothers down Duck Creek lift line trying to keep up.  My first air was off "Jerry's Rock" and the first girl I kissed was at
Geneva Basin."
-Rusty W.

"Wow, checking out your site really brought back some great memories.  My father was a patrolman at Geneva Basin from probably
'69 or '70 until the year it closed.  So my mom, my sister and I all had season passes - not too shabby.  The first time my dad took me
down knicker knocker I was so amped to finally be on the big boys slope.  We used to tube and sled at the bottom of knicker
knocker while the patrolment did sweep, which occasionally resulted in our entire family staying in the lodge until seven or eight at night
while the patrolmen followed some fresh track out of bounds.  Tomahawk and Henry's Hollar, along with the aforementioned Knicker
Knocker>Silver Streak were responsible for our family becoming pretty decent bump skiers.  It was a great little area, you felt like
you knew everybody there.  What a huge bummer that the forest service burned the lodge down.  They had other options."
-Matt N.

"Awesome site, My parents raised us on the mountain. The friendships we made are ever lasting. My parents and sister were ski
instructors and my three brothers and I decided to follow Dan Thurstons lead. After training with Dan we traveled to Alta Utah for
National  Gelande Championships in 1972. We were hooked! We were known as the Geneva Basin Jump team. We have competed
on the Pro Gelande Tour for almost thirty years.  Between us we captured six Alta cup victories and held the Gelande World Record
from 1992 thru 1998. Geneva Basin created our lives."
-Jeff W.
Copyright © coloradoskihistory.com
All Rights Reserved.

^ Pictures thanks to Brad C.
*Picture thanks to Scott B.
# Picture thanks to The Colorado Ski Museum
** Picture thanks to Cameron H.
Here is a ad from Ski Magazine
on Geneva Basin: **
Have you ever skied Geneva Basin?
If so,
contact us with your memories!

Memories:
Looking south from Guanella Pass
towards Geneva Basin.
Trails to the skiers right of Sundance.
Pictures taken from the North Bowl