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Publish Date: 4/20/2005

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Natalie Antoine, 14, scans tickets at the lift Sunday at Eldora Ski Resort. Antoine said she was wearing her bathing suit because Sunday was the last day of the season for Eldora to be open.Times-Call/Lewis Geyer

Snow business
Plethora of powder brings season of success to Eldora


Local atmosphere, proximity and lots of much-needed snow allowed Eldora Ski Resort, just outside Nederland, to coast through the most successful season it has seen in years.

“It was probably one of the best seasons in our history,” said Rob Linde, director of marketing for the resort. “The stars just lined up for us this year.”

Sunday was Eldora’s last operating day of the season.

Most notably, Eldora received fortunate snowstorms that attracted large crowds during peak times of year. Linde said fresh snow before Thanksgiving, more right before Christmas and the large storm that hit the ski area over spring break in late March gave the resort the white stuff it needed to accommodate large numbers of skiers.

“We’re obviously a very weather-based business and this last snowstorm was just the icing on the cake for us,” he said.

Linde said that in his 11 years at the resort he has seen an upward trend in skier turnout each season. This year, he said, rivals the best seasons he’s seen.

Linde speculated that many people are simply sick of braving the traffic, crowds and “Disneyland” feel associated with many of the larger Summit County resorts. He thinks an increasing number of skiers are choosing to visit small cozy resorts like Eldora.

“People are just throwing up their hands and saying, ‘I’m just not going to do this anymore,’” he said about commuting on Interstate 70 for two hours, skiing at a large resort for three and then arriving home late and exhausted.

“You don’t have to park in Lot M and take the shuttle bus, and then drive home with cranky kids,” he said. “Especially for families, because of our proximity, we’re a very viable option.”

Molly Cuffe, director of communications for Colorado Ski Country USA, agreed that small resorts have a specific and intriguing draw.

“We refer to the smaller resorts as gems because that’s exactly what they are,” she said. “They’re hidden gems that aren’t quite as well-known as the larger, more high-profile resorts. They offer guests an opportunity to step back in time, so to speak.”

But while Eldora has certainly made an effort to maintain the same local atmosphere of ski resorts past, it has also modernized its facilities to offer up-to-date services.

A new lodge at the base, The Indian Peaks Lodge, was built three years ago and has helped the resort attract patrons.

Though he couldn’t offer specific numbers, Linde said the number of ski school participants, the number of total skiers and, in turn, the resort’s revenue, were up from last year.

“We’re a little more core, more authentic. We offer something with a little more soul,” he said. “Our foundation is in the sport of skiing, and people really appreciate that.”

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