Location: Eldora Mountain Resort
Address: Nederland, Colorado
Eldora Mountain Resort is the closest ski area to the Denver metro area. By a large margin, it is the closest to Boulder, and is one of the few Colorado ski resorts on the east side of the continental divide. It is about 20 miles (32 km) west of Boulder and about 45 miles (72 km) from downtown Denver. The Ski-n-Ride bus (Route N), operated by RTD, runs between Boulder and the ski area seven times daily during ski season and serves as easy transportation from town to mountain. The ski area was founded in 1962 and has proven popular partly due to skiers not having to use the extremely busy I-70 to reach the resort.
The summit of the area is at 10,600 feet (3,200 m) above sea level on Bryan Mountain, with a 1600-foot lift served vertical drop. The slopes face primarily north and east, and the main base area is at 9,200 feet (2,800 m).
The resort caters mostly to day skiers and snowboarders, although some overnight accommodations are available in Nederland, and many hotel rooms are available in Boulder. In addition to alpine skiing, the Eldora Nordic Center also includes 40 km of cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails, as well as rentals, lessons and packages.
Although Eldora is small compared to some of the bigger resorts in Colorado, the terrain variety is well known and challenging. There are beginner friendly trails located on Little Hawk Mountain, intermediate and advanced trails on Challenge Mountain through Indian Peaks, and expert terrain is found in Corona Bowl and the West Ridge trail which varies from 45 to 70% slope.
After a brief campaign to solicit patron feedback in 2010, an updated master plan was published for 2011. Among the main objectives listed are lift replacements and additions, as well as terrain improvements.
Eldora was first conceived in 1961 when four men purchased a 400 acre parcel of land from the Forest Service near Nederland. This land consists of the base area lodge and the parking lot. A road from Nederland was constructed the following year along with two T-Bars. To stay competitive with many of the other front range ski areas (all of which are now defunct, with the exception of Squaw Pass, since renamed Echo Mountain Park), a lodge was erected and the road was regraded. The resort installed their first chairlift, Little Hawk, in 1967. The lift, which was constructed by Miner-Denver, still runs today and is the oldest operating chairlift in Colorado.
In 1973, two more double chairlifts were installed: Cannonball, which paralleled the T-Bar on the main mountain, and Corona, which opened a new area to the north. An additional two double chairlifts, Caribou and Sundance, were constructed by Lift Engineering in the late 1970s, on the beginner hill.
Beginning in 1979, the resort started losing money, in part because the construction of the Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70 made it more convenient to reach the larger ski areas west of the Continental Divide. The resort stayed open until 1986 when it closed from the 1986–1987 season because of ownership issues. When the resort reopened the following season, the new management included the former president of Copper Mountain.
In 1989, the Corona Bowl, which had been left abandoned for years, reopened. The bowl was named after an alternative name for Rollins Pass, the mountain pass used by the Denver and Salt Lake Railway to traverse the Continental Divide from 1904 to 1928 prior to the opening of the Moffat Tunnel. The right-of-way for the Rollins Pass route can be seen from the top of Corona.
In 1992, Challenge, a triple chairlift purchased from Sun Valley in Idaho, was installed parallel to Cannonball. Two fixed grip quad chairs were installed in 1998: one which replaced the original Corona lift, and another one just east of it, Indian Peaks, which opened 150 new acres of terrain.
In 2013, it was announced that Eldora Mountain Resort would be added to Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass for the 2013-2014 year.
In 2014, it was announced that Eldora Mountain Resort would leave the Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass and join Winter Park & Copper Mountain’s Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus for the 2014-2015 year.