Last winter, after years of ignoring Buttermilk, home to the X-Games, I skied there with a friend on a powder day. “You’ll love it,” she promised. “No one will be there we’ll have fresh tracks all day.” She didn’t lie. We had a great day. The only bummer was the excruciatingly slow Tiehack lift.

As of September 2nd the old Tiehack lift is no more, having been replaced by a new Leitner-Poma high-speed quad. My husband happened to be on-site when the new quad was installed. Here’s a photo of the installation.


Tiehack lift at Buttermilk

Installation of the new Tiehack lift at Buttermilk

With 34 resorts scattered through the Rockies, Colorado offers travelers a wide choice of ski resorts from multi-peak terrain and slope-side luxury to laid back local favorites and with so much to chose from resort’s frequently make improvements to stay at the top of their game. Now that we already have snow in the mountains, here’s a rundown of what’s new in the region.

Other Colorado On Mountain Improvements for 2011-2012

Catch a Ride

Buttermilk isn’t the only mountain adding a new lift.

  • Beaver Creek, known for pampering guests with warm chocolate chip cookies when coming off the hill, installed a high-speed quad in Rose Bowl.
  • Loveland Basin’s chair 4, a double, has been replaced with a triple.
  • Copper Mountain, only 75 miles from Denver, realigned the Union Creek chair and replaced it with a high-speed quad.
  • At nearby Ski Cooper, located close to Camp Hale of 10th Mountain Division fame, a new magic carpet will make life a lot easier for beginners.
  • Monarch Mountain, in South Central Colorado, has a new magic carpet on Snowflake. Covered in clear plexiglass panels, beginners don’t have to brave the elements — until they ski down! Monarch has also added a new 14 seat touring snowcat to whisk skiers beyond their boundaries to powder playgrounds in No-Name Basin and Waterdog Ridge.

Catch Some Air

Three of Colorado’s smaller resorts have made big changes to their terrain parks.

  • SolVista Basin at Granby Ranch, located just south of Rocky Mountain National Park, added a large gas tank, a six-foot satellite dish and new log features in Ted’s Secret Stash.
  • Echo Mountain, the closest resort to Denver, spent the summer improving their park
  • Monarch Mountain has moved all of its park features into a new top-to-bottom park experience called Never Summer.
  • Winter Park, the oldest continually operated resort in Colorado, hopes to have their superpipe open by Christmas this year. It is now “dug-in,” resulting in less need for manmade snow.
  • Powderhorn Resort, located on Western Colorado’s Grand Mesa, debuts its first-ever half-pipe, courtesy of its new owners.

New Glades, Better Grooming and More

  • In addition to the new quad, Buttermilk is opening more gladed skiing at Tiehack.
  • SolVista is also opening additional advanced terrain on their West Mountain between Bounty Hunter and Jackpot.
  • Crested Butte, Vail and Beaver Creek have focused on improving their kids’ terrain: those whoop-de-doop, adventure trails that makes lessons so much fun!

Over $50 Million in Improvements

This is just a tiny taste of all the good stuff going on in Colorado. According to Colorado Ski Country USA, Colorado resorts have spent over $50 million on improvements this year alone. With new restaurants, new ziplines, an ice rink, and even new outhouses in remote areas, nearly every one of Colorado’s resorts has something new to show off.


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Sub-Categories liftopia / The Industry / Travel

One response to “What’s New In Colorado For Ski Season 2011-2012”

  1. Char Truman says:

    We love Solvista! we are at the ski hill now – finally getting some snow – check the cam:

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