For the past couple of years, local stakeholders have been trying to reopen Cuchara Mountain in Colorado for skiing operations. The Cuchara Mountain Park has become a four-season community hub for outdoor activities. One thing has eluded them though: lift-serviced skiing.
They’ve made a heavy push this offseason to get Lift 4 up to code, which included various fundraising efforts. A couple of weeks ago, they announced they didn’t get approval from the Colorado Tramboard due to the need to replace their electrical control and drive system. The Pandero Ski Corporation, a nonprofit which took over operations at the property this year, said this is the last hurdle to getting the lift up and running. You can read their official statement here.
The good news about this situation is that they did have a backup plan. They’ll be using a snowcat to transport skiers from the base area to the top of Lift 4. Uphill skinning, backcountry skiing, and other winter activities will also be allowed.
The history of Cuchara Mountain as a ski resort has been short yet complex. It opened in 1981 with two chairlifts and a rope tow and operated under a U.S. National Forest Special Use Permit. The operation eventually grew to four chairlifts and multiple surface lifts. The weather was inconsistent, leading to some short winters, and others where they didn’t operate at all. Due to continued upheaval in ownership groups and a lack of snowfall, the ski resort closed for good in 2000.
The Cuchara Foundation and the Pandero Ski Corporation have responded to these previous mistakes by setting up the mountain as a year-round destination, along with making sure that Lift 4 has the proper snowmaking resources. They raised over $100,000 over the past year, leading to significant upgrades for the chairlift.
If you want to help them reach their goal of getting lift-serviced skiing operational, click here to learn more about donating to the cause.
Image Credits: Cuchara Mountain Park/Pandero Ski Corp.