Believe it or not, Colorado has been home to more than 145 ski areas since it became a state in 1876. That’s a far cry from how many exist today – around 30. That means more than 100 abandoned ski areas are hiding around the Centennial State – some of which still provide awesome options for backcountry skiers. Let’s take a look at a few of the noteworthy ghost resorts.
Pikes Peak Ski Area
Officially opening in 1939, Pikes Peak Ski Area hung on for nearly 50 years before shutting down in 1984. The closest major ski area for Colorado Springs residents, this place would likely be absolutely packed if it remained open now.
Today, this resort still lives on as a shell of what it once was thanks to the many backcountry skiers that hunt it down for fresh tracks and the ease of access via Pikes Peak Highway. Be warned, it is avalanche terrain and the terrain is extremely dangerous, having resulted in several deaths in recent history. If you’re an experienced skier that’s looking to hunt down the powder stash formerly known as Pikes Peak Ski Area, proceed with caution.
Hidden Valley Ski Area
Lasting for nearly four decades before being shut down in 1991, Hidden Valley Ski Area is noteworthy for being a ski area that operated within the confines of Rocky Mountain National Park. Boasting more than 1,000 acres of skiable terrain and a vertical drop of approximately 2,000 feet, Hidden Valley’s convenient access off of Trail Ridge Road would surely have it packed with tourists if it were still open today. While these slopes have officially closed, there is still backcountry access in the area. It’s also worth noting that Hidden Valley is now home to the only designated sledding hill in Rocky Mountain National Park. If you’re planning a visit to this spot, please follow the rules regarding where backcountry skiers can and can’t go.
Geneva Basin Ski Area
Sick of how crowded the Summit County resorts seem to be these days? Geneva Basin Ski Area could have been a solution to that problem. Found in the mountains above Georgetown, right off of I-70, Geneva Basin lasted for only 21 years before being shut down in 1984. As you might guess, the runs here are still super popular with backcountry skiers today – though it’s an 8-mile trek through deep snow to get there.
This ski area is particularly unique in that many artifacts left behind from its operating years are still present on site. If you’re skilled enough to make the long and dangerous trek to get there, Geneva Basin Ski Area is worth checking out.
Imagine being able to see a ski resort from downtown Colorado Springs. That would still be a reality had The Broadmoor ski area not shut down.
Operating from 1959 to 1991, Ski Broadmoor was once operated by the hotel, but they actually sold the land to the city in 1986. That only lasted two years though, as Vail bought the resort in 1988. Due to lack of profits and high snowmaking costs (due to the low elevation and lack of natural snowpack), the ski area was shut down in 1991.
Look closely at the mountains above The Broadmoor and you can still see where the runs would be. Don’t hit this spot with your backcountry set-up though, as skiing here is likely still trespassing.
Berthoud Pass Ski Area
After a rocky 60ish years of on-and-off operations, the Berthoud Pass Ski Area shut down in 2001, ending a run of lift accessible skiing in a part of Colorado known for getting an obscene amount of natural snow. Sure, there are other resorts nearby that are still in operation, but they don’t have the same base-lodge altitude of 11,314 feet that Berthoud Pass Ski Area had.
Because of its high-altitude placement, Berthoud Pass Ski Area was typically able to stay open until June each year, making it a great late-season option for skiers. The area is still a popular backcountry spot today, though skiers are encouraged to use extreme caution on this unmaintained terrain.
Ski Saint Mary’s Glacier
Even though this glacier…permanent snowfield…still attracts backcountry skiers year round, operations at Saint Mary’s Glacier used to be much more official.
Only a short drive from Denver, Ski Saint Mary’s Glacier was open from the 1930s until 1986 featuring three lifts – one T-bar and two rope tows.
With a vertical drop of more than 1,200 feet, there was actually a proposal to reopen this spot for snowboarders in 2002, though plans fell through. Maybe it will be back someday as a short-season, affordable option.
Stagecoach Ski Area
Stagecoach Ski Area is one of the most interesting inclusions on this list because it may not actually remain abandoned for long. While some reports show the current owners don’t have plans to reopen this destination near Steamboat Springs, other hints indicate otherwise.
For one, a confidentiality agreement exists between several involved parties that prevents them from discussing what’s going on with the land. If nothing was going on, why form a confidentiality agreement in the first place? Additionally, there seems to be a website for Stagecoach Mountain that exists, but is still in early stages of construction.
Anyways, in its heyday, Stagecoach was seeing 300 inches of annual snowfall. With a vertical drop of 2,200 feet and more than 1,600 acres of skiable terrain, this spot is nothing to scoff at.
Fingers crossed that this one reopens sometime soon. Based on historical accounts of the terrain, it seems pretty amazing.
Fun Valley Ski Area
Another Front Range option that is no more, Fun Valley was a tiny 600 vertical-foot ski area in the foothills of Jefferson County. While it only had one chair lift, one rope tow, and something called a platter lift, it’s convenient location close to Denver would likely make this ski area a spot worth reopening.
Don’t think about testing out the abandoned slopes here in your spare time. It’s on private property.
While I wish I could spend the entire day writing about all 100+ ghost resorts around the state, these were a few of the spots I found most interesting. Do you remember skiing at any Colorado resorts that have since been shut down? Let us know about your experience in the comments.
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