Ski season is officially here. Arapahoe Basin opened on Oct. 29. Keystone opens Nov. 1, and other resorts are hot on their ski-booted heels, opening throughout November and December. Every year the resorts add new amenities and infrastructure, such as new lifts, new lodges, new terrain and more. This year is no exception.
“Ski resorts are always investing in the guest experience,” said Melanie Mills, president and CEO of Colorado Ski Country USA. “From new terrain to new food and beverage options and new housing and childcare options for their employees, the members of Colorado Ski Country USA have worked diligently throughout the summer to get ready for another incredible ski season.”
Sometimes improvements at the Colorado ski resorts are subtle. Other times they are transformational. The 2023-2024 season features some of both. Most notable are terrain expansions at resorts including Aspen Snowmass, Steamboat Ski Resort and Keystone.
“Winter is here, and we couldn’t be more excited,” said Keystone Resort vice president and general manager Chris Sorensen upon the resort’s opening. “Our teams have worked so hard to make this day possible, and it is such a privilege to kick off what will be a really special year for us at Keystone. Later this season skiers will have lift access to Keystone’s high alpine terrain for the very first time, thanks to the debut of our high-speed, six-passenger Bergman Express chairlift. This new lift will be a game-changer for our resort and is just one of the many exciting things we have to look forward to this season.”
Below are highlights of major additions and expansions for the new season at Colorado ski resorts.
Want to know when all the Colorado resorts will open for the 2023-2024 ski and snowboard season? Find All the Opening Dates for the 2023–24 Ski Season here.
What’s New at Colorado Ski Resorts for the 2023-2024 Season
Spinning for its first full season is A Basin’s Lenawee high-speed 6-chairlift, which was an upgrade that opened in December 2022. It, along with all of A Basin’s other lifts, lifts, buildings, electric vehicle chargers and snowmaking, are now operated on 100% renewable electricity as of October 2023. It is a key milestone in reaching the resort’s pledge to be carbon neutral by 2025. “We are so excited to be sourcing all of our electricity from renewable sources. So many A-Basin projects benefit from utilizing renewable electricity to make them go,” said Mike Nathan, sustainability manager at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, on the resort’s blog. “I’m especially excited to continue growing our electric vehicle charging infrastructure, knowing that those guest trips to the ski area are now 100% fueled by carbon-free, clean electricity.”
Aspen Snowmass kicks off this season with its biggest terrain expansion in nearly 40 years. The new Hero’s terrain on Aspen Mountain features more than 150 acres and 1,220 vertical feet of new intermediate and advanced chutes, glades and trails. It will be accessible from a new high-speed quad lift. The expansion stays true to historical trail names like Powerline and Harris’s Wall and honors many of Aspen’s heroes with significant ties to the new terrain, especially the late Jim Crown, whose vision and leadership helped bring the ambitious expansion to reality. Crown’s family has chosen trail names that honor his life, loves and amusements. Others runs are dedicated to the first female ski instructor Elli Iselin, to 10th Mountain Division soldier Percy Rideout, to legendary supervisor of avalanche control Tim Howe and to pivotal ski patrol members like Eric Kinsman and Cory Brettmann.
Beaver Creek Resort
Beaver Creek Resort has added a third installment to its Signature Parks Collection. McCoy Park is the resort’s new learning area, adding 17 new trails, two new lifts and 250 acres of welcoming ski terrain for beginner and intermediate skiers. The separate, family-friendly zone will offer a relaxed experience with natural, groomable glades, plus snowshoe and cross-country areas.
Breck’s popular Peak 8 base area continues to evolve.This year Peak 8 adds a new, dedicated learning area plus an upgrade of 5-Chair to a new, high-speed quad: the Five SuperChair. The lift upgrade means all four chairlifts that service Peak 8 will now be high-speed to assist with improved flow and circulation out of the heart of the resort toward all five of Breckenridge’s skiable peaks. The new Five SuperChair will service beginner and intermediate terrain, and the Colorado and Rocky Mountain SuperChairs will serve intermediate and advanced terrain.
Copper Mountain’s big addition for the new season is a new, 25,000 square-foot mid-mountain lodge called the Aerie. The new lodge includes Forage and Feast, a full-service restaurant featuring Colorado cuisine. Guests will enjoy an elevated dining experience during both the summer and winter months at the on-mountain restaurant, with a bar and lounge, a private dining area for events, and a cafeteria featuring 270-degree views of the Gore and Ten Mile Ranges. Copper Mountain visitors can also expect to reap the benefits of ski trail upgrades, new snowcats and updated snowmaking, which should allow for an earlier opening of Copper’s western territory. While it’s not a new addition, the Winter Dew Tour will be held again at Copper March 8-10, 2024, bringing the world’s best male and female skiers and snowboarders to compete in Superpipe and Streetstyle events.
Granby Ranch is upgrading for the beginners. A new 400-foot, covered conveyor, called the SunKid Covered Carpet, will open new beginner terrain between the Milestone and Conquest lifts.
For the first time ever this winter, skiers and riders at Keystone will have lift-served access to more than 550 acres of high alpine terrain in Bergman and Erickson Bowls with the addition of a new high-speed six-passenger chairlift, the Bergman Express. Bergman and Erickson Bowls have previously been open for hike-to skiing and riding access, but the resort says much of the terrain in its high alpine bowls has largely been under-utilized. The new lift will allow skiers and snowboarders to lap the mellow and welcoming terrain above treeline in Bergman Bowl, as well as access more advanced terrain in Erickson Bowl. Watch for the new area to open in mid-December or early January, depending on snowfall.
In a unique, off-slope addition, Snowmass Village is highlighting its prehistoric past and Snowmass Ice Age Discovery story. In 2010, a construction crew unearthed a single tusk of a mammoth while digging at Ziegler Reservoir in Snowmass Village. The Denver Museum of Nature and Science took over the site and went on to unearth 35,000 bones of large mammals and small vertebrate species. The Snowmass paleontological site is the richest Ice Age ecosystem ever found at high altitude. New for the 2023-2024 winter, Snowmass is revealing three new unique murals on the Snowmass Mall and in Snowmass Base Village, created by regional, national, and international artists: Jeremy Collins, Bunnie Reiss and Kris Hewitt (aka Studio Kronk). Winter hikers and snowshoers on the Rim Trail will be taken back in time through a set of permanent viewfinders at Spiral Point, overlooking Ziegler Reservoir. And QR codes around the Village, inside the Sky Cab/Skittles Gondola and on Snowmass Village Transit will treat guests to digital Ice Age facts and fun.
Steamboat Ski Resort
Steamboat Ski Resort is wrapping up the most extensive expansion in the resort’s history. The final phase of the $220 million Full Steam Ahead redevelopment project includes the second segment of the Wild Blue Gondola to the summit of Sunshine Peak. The new segment will make Wild Blue the longest and fastest 10-person gondola in North America at 3.16 miles. The new gondola will get skiers and snowboarders to the top of the slopes in 13 minutes. It increases Steamboat’s capacity to move 10,000 people per hour out of the base area, up from 6,000 people per hour. The expansion also adds 655 new acres of expert terrain in Fish Creek Canyon and Mahogany Ridge served by the new Mahogany Ridge Express. This north-facing area will be double-black diamond extreme terrain with steep and treed slopes, rocks and cliffs. Last year’s second phase of Full Steam Ahead included a dedicated beginner learning area called Greenhorn Ranch, a new food and drink hall called The Range, a new ice rink and new gathering spaces at the base.
Winter Park will open the Wild Spur Express, a new six-passenger, high-speed lift to give skiers and riders a new way to experience Vasquez Ridge terrain when it opens in late November or early December. The Leitner Poma lift will be able to move 2,800 people per hour up the mountain. It lift will include a new midpoint loading zone, allowing guests to make quicker laps on upper intermediate and advanced trails. The Wild Spur Express will be the only lift that serves nearly 285 acres of mostly blue intermediate trails and steeper, advanced bump runs. Winter Park is also completing a new 330+bed workforce housing complex that addresses critical housing needs for both the resort and the community. And Winter Park has invested close to $30 million into on-mountain and base-area upgrades, including snowmaking, new retail and rental experiences and new food and beverage concepts, such as four new on-mountain pop-up dining spots.
What’s Next — Looking Ahead to 2024-2025
As one of the ski resorts closest to Colorado Springs, Monarch Mountain is a favorite of Springs-based shredders, and the independent resort has an exciting expansion in the works for next year. Monarch’s plan is to add 377 acres of north-facing terrain in No Name Basin, over the Continental Divide from runs such as Snowburn and the Outback and Shagnasty bowls. The addition would include about 139 acres of glades and developed ski runs, a warming hut and restrooms. It would be served by a new lift. The area is currently used by Monarch snow cat operations, but developing the terrain falls outside Monarch’s existing Special Use Permit. Monarch has filed its official request with the U.S. Forest Service, which is currently gathering public comment and input. Monarch hopes to be able to begin felling beetle kill trees and adding ski runs in summer 2024. The resort would then install a four-chair lift during summer 2025 in order to open for the 2025-2026 season.