Eldora Mountain Resort’s Epic Dump (of snow, that is)

With last weekend’s snow storm, Eldora Mountain Resort was THE place to ski.

Unfortunately we weren’t the only ones who figured that out.

I couldn’t fault the hoards of people because in terms of proximity (just 21 miles from Boulder, 45 miles from Denver) and new snow (31 inches in 48 hours) this small, unassuming resort delivered in a big way.

We were relative newbies to Eldora–my husband frequently went night skiing as a youth and I skied there for just a couple of hours a few years ago. But with 680 acres of skiable terrain, it didn’t take us too long to find our bearings.

And they were deeply embedded in a soft blanket of incredible powder.

The Mountain

I was surprised there was a relatively small number of beginner slopes (20%), with the majority of the mountain dedicated to intermediate (50%) and advanced runs (30%). Corona Bowl offers some killer expert terrain and if you’re looking for a gentler, more forgiving mountain, don’t stray too far from the Sundance lift. There are 11 lifts: two quads, two triple, four doubles, one poma, and two conveyor lifts. An adult full-day ticket (ages 16-64) is $72; and junior full day (ages 6-15) $44; child full day (5 & under) $10.

Tip: Discounted lift vouchers ($64 adults, $36 kids) are available at King Soopers, Safeway, Christy Sports and Boulder Ski Deals. Simply redeem at the resort. Or to save on time at the ticket window, stop at Eldora Mountain Sports in Boulder (at the intersection of 28th and Canyon) and they will issue you a discounted lift ticket (as opposed to a voucher you need to redeem at the resort). If you plan to ski a few days at Eldora, Costco is currently offering a 3-pack of tickets for $99 (this deal needs to be purchased by next week and can be used through the end of the ski season).

The Beginner Areas

I have a few qualifications for a great ski/ride school. Of course, an enthusiastic, capable instructor is number one and a close second is good beginner terrain. Third on my list is that this terrain should be in close proximity to the ski school offices.

It is on the third point that Eldora falls short. Prior to my kids’ lesson, we decided to take a few turns with them so headed over to the Little Hawk lift. The problem is the bunny slope is a relatively good haul from the base area that resulted in a lot of walking and whining.

The kids weren’t too well-behaved, either. :)

Once we arrived at Little Hawk lift and Tenderfoot magic carpet, the learning conditions were ideal. One side of Little Hawk was flat enough for newbies while the other side of the slopes was a bit more challenging so both kids could enjoy it.

Tip: We later learned there is a free shuttle that connects the two base areas. Though be warned: on a busy day, you’ll be battling all the ski school kids and doing a nice detour to the North parking lot before you reach your destination. We called our 15-minute ride back, “the scenic route.”

Addressing The Unenthusiastic Skier

I don’t know if my kid is the only one who has actually regressed with skiing but that’s exactly what has happened to 5-year-old Bode. When he was 3, he was fearless and indomitable on the slopes. Last year, he was much more cautious. But this year, he has turned downright fearful. I resolved to do something about it.

Or rather, I decided to hire someone more skilled and knowledgeable than me to do something about it (a 1-hour private lesson at Eldora is $139).

PSIA Level III Ski Instructor Nate Emerson was, hands down, the best thing that has happened to Bode since he discovered Super Mario Bros. (this is the highest compliment possible). At the end of their lesson, grumpy, fearful Bode was chasing Nate down the mountain, playing imaginary games like catch-the-dinosaur, dodge ball and basketball, all the while unknowingly learning new skills that made him more confident and capable. As it turns out, just telling a kid to point their skis and go down the mountain is not an effective teaching method.

And that, my friends, is why I am not a professional but Nate is.

Group prices: Ski lessons are available for ages 4-12, snowboard lessons are available for ages 7-12. A full day that includes a group lesson, rental equipment, lift ticket, supervised lunch and snacks: $119.

Other Family Tips

  • Be sure to use the 10-minute parking area located right at the base to unload your family and gear before finding a parking spot.



  • If you want even less hassle and don’t want to drive up Boulder Canyon, an RTD bus has a route that drops off directly in front of the resort. Go here for the weekly schedule from Boulder. Cost is $5 one way.
  • If you’re looking for extra seating or simply a place to stash that diaper bag or backpack, families tend to congregate in the west wing of the Timbers Lodge where you’ll also find storage lockers.Cool Extras

    When I was researching Eldora Mountain Resort, I was intrigued to learn about their little-known Nordic Center, which boasts 40 kilometers of cross-country skiing, skate skiing and snowshoeing through serene forests, expansive meadows and past staggering mountain backdrops. Though I consider myself a skilled alpine skier, my cross-country skiing pedigree leaves much to be desired so I was particularly excited to learn about their various packages. A first-timer package (with rentals and two hours of instruction) is $54 and there are various other offerings for beginner and intermediate cross-country skiers, as well as snowshoers.

    But it was the Women’s Tuesdays & Wednesdays that had me sold. This popular tradition (one staffer told me close to 200 women attend) includes a continental breakfast, a gourmet lunch and four hours of instruction for women of all ability levels. Prices are $459 for 6 weeks, $359 for 4 weeks.

    I’m coming for you, Ladies!


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