Ski Squaw Pass
Dates of Operation: 1960 - 1975
Area Stats: (1974)
*Elevations: Vertical Drop: 700 ft; Summit 10,000; Base 9,300
*Average Snowfall: 200-225" per year (most in late spring)
*Ticket Prices: $3 per day (adult)
*Trails: 5 beg, 5 Int, 1 adv, and 1 learning area
Lifts: 3
*1 T-bar (Roebling Lift), 1 Poma, 1 Surface (near summit)
*Before 2004: The T-bar's cable was removed to prevent its operation
and the surface lift and poma were removed.
Facilities: Their facilities consisted of a main lodge with a capacity of
about 50 people, which had a fireplace and snack bar.  The area also
had a rental building, ski patrol hut, and a maintenance storage hut.  Most
of the buildings were in very poor condition before they were torn down
in 2005 to make way for Echo Mountain Ski Area.

History:

The history of the Squaw Pass Ski property goes back many years.  
Skiing first began on Squaw Pass back in 1960 when Tom Crighton
installed two rope tows.  The following summer, Roebling was contracted
to install a T-bar.  Construction at the area consisted of a lodge area,
which had a nice fireplace and snacks, five runs and a well-known ski
school.  The T-bar continued to run for over a decade as primarily local
residents of Evergreen and Clear Creek County used the ski area.  

Other than Arapahoe East, Squaw Pass did not have much in the way of
competition as the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel was not built and other
areas like Berthoud Pass and Loveland were farther away.   Typical
operations consisted of a weekend schedule, which meant that powder
could build up all week for skiers.  In 1975, the ski area was shut down.  
Looking back on it today, many people speculate it was due to snow.  
Former employees at the area assure us that on a typical operating year,
Squaw Pass was never short of snow.  It was, however, often cold and
windy.  It all reality, by the 1970’s, many smaller ski areas were closing
throughout the state.  This was mostly due to rising operation costs,
which stem from insurance and maintenance expenses.

After Squaw Pass’ closure, many residents continued to ski here.  Some
would practice their back country skiing here since avalanches were not a
danger.  The former owner also had to remove the bottom terminal of the
T-bar because crafty skiers figured out how to start the diesel drive
engine and have essentially a private ski area.

Once the ski area closed, it was later sold to a church organization that
had grandiose plans for the property.  They wanted to construct a ski
area with a 200-room hotel.  Since water is difficult to obtain on Squaw
Pass, the hotel would have required daily deliveries from water trucks.  
This plan does not seem too practical in hindsight.  Unfortunately, plans
fell through for the church organization and the area continued to remain
dormant.

While the property changed hands multiple times after the church group,
nothing ever amounted at the Squaw Pass site.  Finally, in 2002, the area
was put on the auctioning block.  The Petitt family of Colorado
purchased the land for about three quarters of a million dollars.  Upon the
purchase of the land, they did not have a firm idea of exactly what to do
with it, although reopening it was not out of the question.  By 2003, it
became more apparent that they were seriously thinking about
reconstructing the area.  Permits by the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado
Department of Transportation and Clear Creek County were issued
during the winter of 2004-2005.  Construction onsite began during June
of that season.

For additional information on Echo, click
here.

Directions: From Denver take I-70 west to exit 252, Evergreen
Parkway (CO 74).  Take CO 74 for 2 miles through Bergen Park.  Turn
at the Squaw Pass (CO 103) traffic light right.  Travel on CO 103 for 11
miles, the area is located under Chief Mountain near the summit of the
pass.
Links:
Trail Maps! Click for
larger image.
1973
1965
A lift ticket from the area.
(From A History of Colorado
Skiing by Abbott Fay)
Squaw Pass recently
reopened as Echo
Mountain Park:
To see pictures of Echo Mountain
now that it is open, click
here!
Area Pictures:
* Pictures taken during the late-1970's:
Here are pictures of the T-bar's drive terminal as well as shots of the lodge area.
* The following are pictures taken during spring and summer of 2002:
This is Squaw Pass' primary lift, a 1961 Roebling T-bar with a
bottom drive and summit tensioning unit.  The lift, as seen, is in
very poor condition and probably cannot be reused.
Here are various pictures of Squaw Pass' trail
system.  As you can see, the area is becoming
very overgrown.
The old lodge and outbuildings at the area are in need of some major renovations.  
One structure collapsed as seen in the upper left picture.
Here is a topographic map of the
Squaw Pass Ski Area property:
(Click for larger views!)
Have you ever skied Squaw Pass?
If so,
contact us with your memories!
Memories:

"My family and I used to ski Squaw Pass for many years from '71 until it closed in '74.  Since we lived in
Evergreen it was real close.  Dad bought a season pass for which was good for all our family members (5).
 It was a great little area we had."
-Eric
----
"I was an instructor there from 1969-1972.  The ski school was headed by Jim Riley and Theo
Mosseberger.  Jim was an Assistant Attorney General in the Colorado Attorney General's office during the
week, but his real passion was skiing.  Jim was one of the great driving forces in the PSIA and RMPSIA
during that period.  I am sure that Horst Abrahms remembers Jim as well.

Jim went on to form The North American Ski Instructors Congress.  This "congress" was one of the first
skiing organizations to really address "biomechanics" in skiing.  I am not certain of Jim's whereabouts
presently, or if he is still alive.

Many people referred to Squaw Pass as "Ski School Ski Area," because on most days the instructors out
numbered the public!  Squaw Pass Ski School was made up of many instructors who had migrated over
from A-Basin in the late 60's.

The mountain was run by Tom Creighton during this period and the ski patrol was headed by Fred Feller.

Squaw Pass closed as a result of finances.  Notwithstanding, it was lack of snow that caused the financial
problems.  With no snow-making equipment, we were totally dependent on Mother Nature."
- Tom P.

"Actually Squaw Pass did not close because of bad snow years.  Fact is the last two seasons 74-75 and
75-76 had excellent snow where as the rest of the Summit County and Vail areas were bypassed.  The
Christmas week of 75-76 saw a dump of 4-5 feet!  It stranded the area snowcat.  What killed off Squaw
was the owner/manager was offered the manager job at Araphoe East, the rising cost of insurance and
operating costs for a weekend only area with only 700 vertical feet. The owner sold Squaw in 1976 for
aboot $200,000.  Interesting was the fact that the T-bar was run by a 2-cycle diesel motor. I was there. I
ran the ski shop and managed the ski school.  A small group of Squaw Pass instructors still get together
each year."
-Vince K.

"As the Creighton's, who ran the hill, were our neighbors we used to jaunt up to Squaw Pass occasionally.  
It was almost never crowded, the snow was always good and it always seemed very cold and windy
(but then again I was only 8 years old)."
-Paul K.

"We made it up to Squaw Pass almost every weekend from the late 1960's until it closed. Our family pass
for 7 to ski the entire season was only $100! Does anyone miss the great fireplace and the tree stump
chairs and spool tables? Every SP memory is a happy one. The Creightons were the best!"
-Suzanne S.

"My brothers and i skied at Squaw pass in the 1960's 70's .  I remember the t bar lift.  How it would
brake down all the time.  And the fireplace in the middle of the warming house.  It was a close ski area for
us. We lived in evergreen from 1958 to 1975.  It was a nice little ski area.  I wish i could go back to that
time and do it again."
-Mike T.

"I skied at Squaw Pass in the late 60's early 70's. Cut my teeth as they say. I was pretty young but I can
still smell the diesel fumes on my ski clothes from that t-bar. And what was up with the transmission that
they had on that thing? I can remember when there were a lot of people there, they would shift gears on it.
I just assumed that's how all lifts worked until I spread my wings and graduated to the BIG hills. (Geneva
Basin, Loveland. )  I grew up in Evergreen and it was a great intro to skiing. Mom and Dad would drive
me and my brother up there, drop us off in the morning, pick us up in the afternoon. I now make my home
in Breckenridge CO and have skied around the world. I can never forget what a great place Squaw Pass
was to begin my journey. Thanks!"
-Kerry S

"I remember the thrill of parking at the TOP of the area and skiing DOWN the mountain to the lift. I
learned to ski at Squaw Pass with my Dad on old cable binding skis and lace up boots. We used to joke
that we had "quick release knees" instead of bindings. I also remember being lifted off my feet by the t-bar
trying to get onto it. This was both scary and thrilling at the same time. I skied at Silverton Mountain last
winter which really reminded me of Squaw Pass. Smaller really can be better!"
-Rick D.
Copyright © coloradoskihistory.com
All Rights Reserved.

* Pictures thanks to Scott B., Brad C., and Tom C.
* Pictures taken during operation: