When you pull into the parking lot of the Eldora Mountain Resort just over twenty miles from downtown Boulder, you can have your ski boots on and be in line for a chair lift within minutes. While there is certainly something to be said for the overall experience and charm of a large ski resort village, there is also something to be said for a convenient, local, “get down to business” mountain where you can get in ten runs before 10 A.M. and feel completely relaxed along the way. Eldora Mountain Resort is one such ski destination. With plenty of runs varying in levels of difficulty and multiple options for other winter sport activities as well, Eldora is an easy drive West on Canyon Road from Downtown Boulder and has a local, friendly, neighborhood feel.
Eldora’s parking is free and easy, the lift lines are typically short, and the mountain as a whole is easy to navigate and very manageable for families and groups. While Canyon Road is perhaps more winding than the road more traveled, I-70, it also typically yields far less traffic, and there are easy and convenient bus options for visitors, University of Colorado Boulder students, and residents who are looking for low stress transportation to the mountain.
Once you arrive, Eldora Mountain Resort has ski and snowboard runs perfectly suited for skiers and boarders of all levels of ability. The Little Hawk Family Zone in and of itself boasts multiple ski lifts that lead to both short, simple, “Green Circle” trails for beginners and children, along with more challenging trails with options to foray onto the more difficult “Blue Square” runs for those who are just about ready to make the transition to the larger lifts. Even once you do move over to the more advanced runs in the Challenge Mountain and Indian Peaks areas, there are still intermediate trail options interwoven amongst the very difficult runs for those who want to ease into the more challenging slopes. The Corona Bowl area boasts the most difficult trails on the mountain and, while you can still cut over to more intermediate trails within Indian Peaks from the Corona chair lift, this area consists completely of “Black Diamond” and “Double Black Diamond” runs. There are likewise multiple freestyle terrain parks for skiers and boarders of any skill level. This large scope of runs makes Eldora a wonderful group ski mountain, as families and friends of any ski and board ability can find trails that suit them from almost any of the lifts.
For those looking for a slightly lower impact, leisurely, relaxing winter sport experience, the Eldora Nordic Center likewise includes a 40-kilometer network of trails for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and skate skiing. There are multiple packages for lessons, rentals, and excursions, and winter sport enthusiasts of all skill levels in any of these Nordic activities have options to learn more about and enjoy them. Just as Eldora’s Alpine area hosts programs for children (such as the Kid’s Trek and Eldorables programs,) lessons for all ages, mountain events (such as Women’s Days,) and high school, college, and club team training and races, the Eldora Nordic Center offers the same breadth of services and events.
Whether you prefer a craft beer, a coffee, or a margarita at 9,200 feet after your day of skiing or boarding, the Indian Peaks Lodge and Timbers Lodge offer indoor seating for chillier days and patio seating if you’d rather continue enjoying the sun. Whether your itinerary includes a half-day of solo power skiing or a full day of lessons, lunch, and runs with the family, Eldora is a convenient local mountain where Boulderites can feel comfortable, challenge themselves, improve their Alpine or Nordic abilities, and enjoy an overall stress-free and fun day of winter sport practically in their city’s backyard.
Photo Credit: loppear via Flickr – Creative Common licensed