Three Colorado Resorts Celebrate 70th Anniversaries

ski_country_usa_logoIn the year F.D. Roosevelt guided the country through WWII and Lou Gehrig’s career ended after 2,130 consecutive games, three Colorado resorts transported skiers up the slopes with a J-bar, a handle tow, and a rope toe powered by a car engine.

Wolf Creek Ski Area, Winter Park Resort, and Monarch Mountain celebrate 70 years of operation today!

Read on for resort deals, discounts and history:

Denver, Colo. – February 10, 2010 – The 2009-10 ski and snowboard season marks the 70th anniversaries of Winter Park Resort, Monarch Mountain and Wolf Creek Ski Area, and the 10th anniversary of Silverton Mountain. Reflecting on the evolution of these four resorts gives skiers and riders a sense of how far the ski industry in Colorado has progressed over time. It also lends significance to the measures that each resort is taking this season to commemorate these milestones.

Winter Park Ski Resort has grown up a lot in its 70 years of operation. When it was dedicated as the newest addition to the Denver Mountain Park system in 1940, Winter Park consisted of a single J-Bar lift and just three formal runs. Today, it spans three interconnected mountain peaks – Winter Park, Mary Jane, and Vasquez Ridge – and features 25 chairlifts, 143 designated trails, and more than 1,200 acres of off-piste terrain.

Winter Park is commemorating its 70th Anniversary with special deals and events throughout the 2009-10 season. With the "70-Hour Sale," guests get 70 percent off the second night of lodging for any reservations booked through April 17th. Official anniversary festivities coincided with Winter Park's annual Winter Carnival and the Mary Jane 34th Birthday Bash in January. Plenty of additional exciting events are on tap through the end of the season with the Mardis Gras Festival and the 35th Annual Wells Fargo Cup in February, and the Coca-Cola Spring Splash in April.

Monarch Mountain also comes from humble beginnings. A product of the New Deal Era Work Projects Administration, Monarch began operating in 1939 with a 500-foot rope-tow powered by a car engine that was rigged to a gear box taken from an old oil derrick. Like Winter Park, Monarch Mountain has grown significantly over the past 70 years. It now features 63 trails and 5 chairlifts, providing skiers and riders with access to 800 acres of terrain. Over the years, Monarch has foregone real estate development and continues to focus on preserving affordable lift tickets and providing superior customer service. In addition to lift-served skiing, Monarch Snowcat Tours offer access to backcountry terrain and deep natural snow.

To commemorate its 70th year in operation, Monarch Mountain has made big investments in the future. Prior to the start of the 2009-10 season, Monarch's rental department received $55,000 worth of anniversary upgrades, and the Main Lodge underwent a $6,000 renovation. Monarch has also invested in a number of on-mountain improvements, most notably, expanding its terrain parks. The K2 Organic Terrain Park now has significantly more features and the beginners' terrain park has doubled in size.

The Wolf Creek Ski Area traces its origins to the efforts of a group of ski enthusiasts in Alamosa – dubbed The San Luis Valley Ski Association – who discovered bountiful snow and abundant terrain on Wolf Creek Pass. The group built a small tow rope and warming cabin on the pass in 1939. Wolf Creek has since expanded to include seven chairlifts, which service 1,600 acres of terrain. The warming hut has given way to the Wolf Creek Lodge located at the base of the mountain and last season the resort opened the Raven Building with a LEED guided expansion, located at the top of Raven Quad.

Over the past 70 years, Wolf Creek has built its reputation as an affordable, locals-oriented ski area. To commemorate its 70th Anniversary, Wolf Creek is staying true to tradition. Prices for 2009-10 season passes and lift tickets have not increased from those of the previous season. Additionally, Wolf Creek has reintroduced "Local Appreciation Days". On 14 designated days, in honor of its devoted local customers, Wolf Creek guests can purchase single-day lift tickets at the discounted rate of $31 for adults and $18 for seniors and children.

When Winter Park, Monarch and Wolf Creek were embarking on their seventh decade of operation, Silverton Mountain was just getting started. Unlike other resorts, Silverton's plan was to give skiers the most unfiltered Colorado experience possible. Today, the ten-year-old ski area offers more hike-to terrain than anywhere in Colorado, all served from one lift. The ski area is also one of two Colorado resorts with a heli skiing operation. With an emphasis on adventure, Silverton boasts unparalleled big-mountain powder and chairlift-served guided skiing. Silverton has the highest peak in Ski Country and offers the most expert terrain.