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.
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.