Where the locals ski |
This ski season, when I finally got around to buckling on my downhill boots for the first time (the day after Christmas), I headed with my kids to Eldora, our local ski area. We’ve experienced other, bigger resorts over the years, but we like Eldora better. No contest. A lot of Boulderites do, and here’s why:
At Eldora, we ski with friends. Typically we convoy up with another family from our neighborhood; if they get an earlier start (also typical) it’s super easy to catch up with them because of the mountain’s manageable size. My children are sure to bump into friends from school and, no matter what age you are, it’s easy to make new friends – on the lift, in a lesson, in the lodge.
Community is what drew Rob Linde (Marketing/Sales/SnowSports) to Eldora, where he’s worked for 15 years. He loves the fact that he knows pretty much everyone on the mountain and then sees them “down the hill” in town, too. Eldora is Boulder’s “backyard ski area,” and it’s happy with that designation. If you have young children, Eldora is the ideal place for them to learn to ski. Rob says it’s common for kids in the Eldorables and Kid’s Trek programs to stay together for a couple of years, kind of like a soccer team.
It starts with the fact that you’ve breezed up Canyon (Highway 119) just 21 miles west of Boulder, and eased into a free parking spot – expertly guided by Eldora staff like Josh from Hangtown, California (he put our Mazda in its place). Or maybe you took the RTD Ski-n-Ride from 14th and Walnut and so you’re even more mellow. Skiing is fun by definition, but at Eldora you get to the fun faster and with no hassle or stress. One of the first runs of the day, I rode up the Challenge Lift with Doug Lundberg, an Eldora instructor since 1981 who’s skied the mountain since its earliest days. (Anyone else remember the Old Ironsides T-bar?) Doug loves teaching skiers of all ages and abilities, but especially enjoys the camaraderie that develops in group lessons. “Fun is why Eldora exists,” says Doug.
I’ve already touched on how close Eldora is to Boulder. This makes it easy to decide last minute to head up for a day or half day of skiing. Older kids can get there on their own by bus from downtown Boulder. At Eldora, you won’t worry about your kids peeling off to ski on their own because they really can’t get lost. If you do get turned around, lift operators and fellow skiers are sure to be helpful, and getting back to the Base Area doesn’t take long. When it’s time to break for lunch or hot chocolate (buy or bring your own), there are numerous easy options.
Just because it’s close doesn’t mean Eldora doesn’t also rock when it comes to great runs and conditions. The snow at Eldora is better than ever – the Resort has invested big in snow making equipment and about doubled the output this year. “We’re proud of the snow that we make,” says Rob Linde, and I can testify that my group was loving it. The future is even snowier. Eldora’s Master Plan for expansion awaits a final nod from the U.S. Forest Service. There will be new lifts, longer runs and 500 more vertical feet.
Eldora’s awesomeness isn’t limited to alpine skiing. There are freestyle parks on the mountain, and a separate Nordic Center with 40 beautiful kilometers of groomed trails for classic x-country skiing, skate skiing, and snow shoeing (bear left as you enter the main parking lot).
In an ordinary day at Eldora, my family and I will see classmates and colleagues. We might spot a Boulder High teacher in the lift line, or our dentist grabbing a hot waffle at the Lookout above Corona Bowl. For sure we always bump into neighbors. There’s still a lot of winter break left! See you up there.