Recession or not, Colorado's ski resorts were plenty busy this off-season. The cranes that went idle in Dubai and Vegas were still running in high gear at many of the base villages, and the list of on-mountain improvements is long. In my estimation, the top five improvements at Colorado resorts being unveiled for the 2009-10 season:
1. Winter Park's new and improved base village: A $30 million facelift at the base village means more lodging, stores, and facilities.
2. Keystone's new skier bridge: Connecting the mountain to the gondola in Rive Run Village, the new bridge means no more trudging down to the base area, skis on shoulders.
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3. Telluride opens Gold Hill Chutes 2 to 5: After opening number 6 to 10 in 2007-08 and number 1 last season, Telluride continues to expand its expert terrain with four more this season:
4. Aspen goes wireless: All four mountains' lift tickets are impregnated with RFID chips that's automatically detected as skiers and riders make their way onto the lifts.
5. Woodward at Copper (above): The new year-round, 20,000-square-foot facility allows skiers and riders to work on their moves in a controlled indoor environment featuring foam pits and trampolines.