Winter is coming! In this year’s installment of the Edge, Westword’s annual guide to winter activities, we’ve got the what’s what, the what’s new, and the what to do at ski areas and mountain towns across the state. From skiing and snowboarding to new mountain roller coasters, fat-bike tours, snowmobile adventures, hot-springs soaks and more, the Edge — inserted in the November 16 edition of Westword — will help you plan your vacation days, personal days, powder days and sick days from now until spring.
LOVELAND SKI AREA
Loveland was second out of the gate in the #racetoopen for the 2017-2018 season, with the chairlifts spinning since October 20, and has been firing the snow guns (and getting periodic dumps of the real stuff) ever since.
Here are five things you need to know about Loveland:
1. At the Loveland exit on I-70, beginners can turn left and head for Loveland Valley (tickets for the Lift 7 bunny-slope chairlift are just $27 for adults and $22 for kids 6-14), while more advanced skiers and riders will turn right for the main ski area, a longtime locals’ favorite. Loveland’s charms for folks from Denver are pretty straightforward, says spokesman John Sellers: “Closest resort on I-70 corridor. Skip the tunnel and all the traffic on the other side. Ski Loveland and make it home in time for dinner. Most affordable ski area in the Front Range.” Yep, that about covers it.
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2. Speaking of affordable, early season all-mountain adult lift tickets are $61 through December 15 — about half the window price of some nearby resorts — and then go up to $75 for the regular season. Season pass and multi-pack ticket deals are also competitive. “Loveland Ski Area season passes now include thirty bonus days at partner resorts for the 2017-18 season,” Sellers says. “Loveland season passes are $399 through December 1 and include unlimited skiing and riding at Denver’s closest and snowiest ski area, and also three free days at Monarch Mountain, Powderhorn, Powder Mountain, Purgatory, Snow King, Whitefish, Arizona Snowbowl, Pajarito, Ski Hesperus and Sipapu.” Loveland’s unrestricted $159 4-Pak, available through November 19 at skiloveland.com, is also popular. That’s four transferable lift tickets for about $40 apiece.
3. Check in at the lift-ticket office to sign a waiver for a free pass to the Loveland Ridge Cat, which shuttles skiers and riders along the ridge for an in-bounds taste of backcountry powder Wednesday through Sunday, weather and snow conditions permitting.
4. Pack a lunch — or even something to throw on the grill — and head for the Ginny Lee Cabin under Lift 8. The warming hut was built in 2014 and has a wood-burning stove, restrooms and a soda machine. There’s just something particularly badass about firing up the propane grill on a powder day like the place is all yours.
5. Having an on-mountain party? Sellers recommends renting the mid-mountain E-Tow cabin for the day for $200. Built in the 1940s and renovated in 2012, the warming hut has a wood-burning stove inside and a propane grill on the deck outside. Call 303-571-5580, ext. 159, for reservations.