Abandoned Ski Resorts
Colorado has a ton of these abandoned, no longer functioning ski resorts. I guess considering how mountainous the state is it’s no surprise that many of these ‘mom and pop’ ski resorts have come and gone over the years.
This part of Colorado history has always fascinated me and there is quite a bit of information out there on the Internet including pictures and old trail maps. I always wondered about skinning up some of the old ski areas and getting some untracked turns there while everyone is crowding the I-70 resorts.
Anyway, I found a book at the local bookstore, Powder Ghost Towns, last year. It’s a great book and that has historical info on a lot of these defunct ski areas from all around Colorado as well as information on getting to the trailhead, the approach up the mountain, and a general description of the descent routes.
I put together a list of a few that I’m hoping to be able to visit if the snowpack cooperates this year and I was wondering if anyone has ever been, is familiar with the area, or has any beta whatsoever on any of the following locations.
Hidden Valley: It’s in RMNP. Operated from the 1940’s until 1991. 2200’ vertical. 1.8 mile ascent. It seems like one of the easier ones described in the book however, it also seems like it gets a lot of traffic. I’m not sure what’s going on with the road closure situation since Trail Ridge road is closed winters and I’m not sure how close you can get to it in the winter by car.
Jones Pass: Proposed ski area in the 30’s and then again in the 50’s. Located 2.2 miles after the Henderson Mine turnoff from Berthoud Pass Road. 2.8 mile approach and about 2000’ of vertical. The book describes it as great skiing/ moderate difficulty. I know a guy that went there early winter last year and the pictures looked pretty good but according to the book best time to visit is mid-winter to ride the trees or spring for the above the tree line stuff.
Geneva Basin: Located near Georgetown past the summit of Guanella pass. It operated until 1986 while supposedly haunted by Eddie Guanella who got decapitated in an accident while stringing a chairlift cable around the bull wheel. 1600’ of vertical and the trails are still visible and look to be in good shape. However, since CDOT no longer keeps Guanella Pass open in winter and the approach is now 7 miles and described as strenuous. The distance makes me question whether it’s worth it but the book does mention an old ski patrol hut that can be used for overnight stays by backcountry users.
Porcupine Gulch: Halfway between Abasin and Keystone on the North side of the road. 2.5 mile approach, 1850’ vertical. It was used by the Ski Club Zipfelberger in the ‘30’s and ‘40’s; consisted of a portable rope tow rope. It says to park next to the natural spring pull off by Keystone and backtrack to the runaway truck ramp where the trail starts. It can also be reached from the Loveland pass summit. From the author’s description it sounds a lot like they are describing a run off Loveland pass called “The Professor” ??? which I’m pretty sure is a major avalanche slide path so I think I may save this one for the spring after the snow has a chance to consolidate after a few melt-freeze cycles.
Any info or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Last edited by AcroPhile; 10-05-2013 at 01:11 PM.