Guys, I did it! Earliest I have ever skied, November 14th, and coincidentally, the earliest Eldora has ever opened in two decades! Snow Happy friends, it did NOT disappoint. Sunny skies, soft snow and NO wind. Eldora Mountain is a ski resort near Denver and Boulder, outside the small mountain town of Nederland. It’s a quick and beautiful drive from Snow Happy Headquarters in Southwest Denver.
The drive up here was gorgeous (and since it’s a Thursday, there was NO traffic). I sometimes think that the anticipation of the first day – unearthing your gear from last season, packing up the car, pouring that steaming brew in the to-go cup. Then you hit the road, winding through a beautiful canyon through some small mountain communities. With each turn, you get a little peak-a-boo of the high country. I’m getting goosebumps writing this even though I just did it this morning! It’s like the whole process prepares you to enjoy the day.
Okay, so back to Eldora and why you should check it out. First, the business-side of things…what are my pass options? The Ikon passes offer access to Eldora and they also have their own season-pass, multi-day and daily ticket options. Now, on to the juicy details…
Eldora is smaller by Colorado resort standards and I love that. While it’s not unknown and certainly gets it fair share of crowds on the weekends, it retains its small town, local vibe. There are a lot of people up here (like me) getting turns in the morning before heading to the office. Some college students. Some kids on the racing team. And, I know from experience this definitely changes on the weekends, and there are more visitors, but it has managed to maintain it’s charm.
Despite it’s size, there is a ton of varied terrain from beginner to expert and for those who love the park. Eldora offers 680 acres, 63 runs, 10 lifts and 1240 vertical feet for your enjoyment. A lot of Boulder and other area locals send their kids up here for weekly lessons and also their ski team program and have nothing but amazing things to say about these opportunities. Another high point is the public transportation available from Boulder. See the RTD schedule here if you are planning a visit from the Boulder area (heck, you could do public transit all the way from Denver’s Union Station if you want).
As far as amenities, there are enough for me! Options for food and bevvies includes: the Timber Lodge, Indian Peaks Bar, Indian Peaks Lodge, Timbers Tap Room, The Lookout and the Smoke Shack. There is also great outdoor seating and plenty of room for us brown-baggers.
If alpine skiing isn’t your thing, they offer beautiful and extensive Nordic Trails for cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing and a Nordic center complete with rentals and lessons. Currently, those trails aren’t open, but Eldora expects them to be ready around Thanksgiving, weather and condition permitting.
The downside for those visiting from out of town is that are somewhat limited lodging options. If you are enjoying some time in Boulder as a part of your trip, and it’s in your budget I would highly recommend the St. Julien Hotel (especially if you’re sans your perfect and lovely off-spring). It is one of our most favorite places to stay. The rooms are luxurious and it has a great lobby and lobby-bar. (I love a good lobby bar, don’t you?) And, if you have the time, their spa is the bees-knees.
As of today, Eldora has 12 runs open! And, the skiing is great! It’s really impressive for early season. One thing I really love about skiing the mountain this time of year is really appreciating how much snow and work it really takes to be able to ski. So, thank you ski resort employees everywhere and Mother Nature! Those of us who love this sport are indebted to you!
I really hope you all can get out there and enjoy some early season skiing. While these aren’t the days of the deep, it’s a super fun time to be out there getting your groomer game on and soaking up the buzz of the snow days to come. Thank you Eldora for a great start to Snow Happy’s season!