By Joel Warner
By Michael Roberts
By Alan Prendergast
By Michael Roberts
By Michael Roberts
By Amber Taufen
By Patricia Calhoun
By William Breathes
Ski bum tips: "Parking is free, and things are pretty inexpensive in Nederland compared to other resort areas," Gratz says. "A must is a stop at Buffalo Bill's Coffee, which is housed in three old train cars right in the center of Nederland, at the intersection of Route 119 and Lakeview Drive."
Drink locally: Stop at the Wild Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery in Nederland for an Otis Pale Ale or a Redemption Oatmeal Stout, or try Very Nice Brewing, which opened in October. And don't forget Boulder's many breweries. "One that goes perfectly with Eldora is Upslope," Gratz says. "Who wouldn't want a beer whose namesake is responsible for the powder you just enjoyed?"
Find more on winter recreation and special events in the Calendar section and Show and Tell blog at westword.com.
Of all the big ski-area anniversaries this year, the biggest will be at the smallest: tiny Howelsen Hill in Steamboat Springs was founded in 1913 by Norwegian immigrant Carl Howelsen, who began construction on a Nordic ski jump the following year. So there's an opportunity to "ski the oldest continually operated ski area in Colorado with past, current and future Olympians on any given day," says Craig Robinson, facilities supervisor for the City of Steamboat Springs, which owns and operates Howelsen Hill.
Ski-jumping has remained a focus at Howelsen for that entire stretch of time, and Robinson boasts that the mountain has been the training ground for more than 79 Olympians, fifteen members of the Colorado Ski Hall of Fame, and six members of the National Ski Hall of Fame. And, it turns out, old-school ski jumping never loses its appeal: One of our favorite viral YouTube videos of the year was posted from Howelsen Hill in March, featuring a fourth-grade girl talking herself into dropping in on the K40 jump. "Here...goes...something...I guess," she says, shortly before going for it, landing it, and letting out the most gleeful scream of all time.
The city council, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, and the Howelsen Hill Centennial Committee had young skiers like her in mind this summer when it built a new intermediate HS45 (Hill Size) jump that will be usable year-round, spending a total of $1.8 million on the jump and other improvements.
Splurge: Tubing Steamboat offers one-hour tubing sessions ($25/adult, $22/ages 13-17, $18/ages 6-12, 5 and under free). Robinson also recommends a trip to Strawberry Springs ($10), dinner at any of the downtown restaurants within blocks of Howelsen Hill, or a trip to the (much pricier) Steamboat Resort just outside of town.
Ski bum tips: With $20 lift tickets, $10 night-skiing tickets and $10 tickets to access the Nordic trails, Howelsen Hill offers the least expensive ski experience in Colorado. Robinson also recommends bringing an extra dollar, the price of one of Howelsen Hill's locally famous cookies.
Drink locally: Mahogany Ridge Brewery is a short walk across the river from the Howelsen base area. Try the Alpenglow amber ale or the Spring Creek Stout.
"I like the vibe at Keystone," says Adam Browning, owner of Evergreen-based Oz Snowboards. "I like the night riding, I like sitting out and having lunch at LaBonte's Cabin and sitting in the Adirondack chairs, and I love hiking in the North Bowl to chase powder. The best part about Keystone is that it's close, you can park right up on it, and it has a great variety of terrain to ride."
Keystone's also known for attracting snowboarders and freeskiers with both its early-season terrain-park offerings and its world-class, award-winning A51 terrain park. This season, it will be going after the next generation of young rippers with its new Burton Riglet Park, aimed at snowboarders ages three to six, with an "if they can walk, they can ride" mantra that is new to the area, which previously only offered snowboard lessons for kids ages six and up.
Splurge: Expert riders can book a day on the snowcat with Keystone Adventure Tours ($240/person includes lift ticket, powder ski rental and lunch) in Keystone's Independence Bowl. If you have some schedule flexibility throughout the season, pick up the $500 standby pass, good for five tours, and check in 24 hours in advance to see if any seats are available for the next day. For a fun dinner splurge, try Der Fondue Chessel on Keystone's North Peak Mountain: you'll take two gondola rides on your way to a traditional Swiss fondue restaurant complete with raclette grills and Bavarian bands making the table-to-table rounds. Base cost is $58/adult, $29 ages 6-12, 5 and under free, with specialty add-ons available.
Ski bum tips: Browning recommends the $5 Outback Shuttle, "a snowcat ride that will save you a hike in the Outback bowls. The shuttle runs from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., weather and snow conditions permitting, and accepts cash only. A $50 transferable pass good for fifteen rides is also available. "True ski bums know you can fill up on Saltine crackers and packets of honey and leftovers in the cafeteria if you're starving — I've been there — but if you're that desperate, then you probably don't need me to tell you."
Drink locally: "The Dillon Dam Brewery is the place to be after a day of riding at Keystone," says Browning. Trade your ski goggles for the seasonal 2020 Beer Goggles Double Dam IPA or any of the six award-winning beers on the menu.