A Day at the Local Mountain
We are fortunate enough to live an hour away from Eldora Ski Resort in Nederland, CO. It’s known to be windy often up there. It touts the slogan, “Closer to You”!” A previous marketing slogan for the mountain was, “Friends don’t let friends drive I-70”. It is, in fact, part of an RTD route for those traveling from Denver or Boulder. But, we call it our local mountain.
There are some things I think are great about Eldora. It’s small, and that makes it convenient for easy day trips and for families. They have just enough amenities- lessons, rentals, a small store for things like hand warmers and goggles, a selection of restaurants, and free Wi-fi. The weekday Eldorables ski program has been awesome for Emma. She’s learned so much, and her instructors have been fantastic. They do a great job of mixing in fun with learning how to ski safely.
With our current schedule, we are also lucky enough to be able to get up there mid-week. The weekends, I hear, can be tough with not enough parking and long lift lines. But, that is somewhat typical of all resorts in Colorado when visiting on a holiday, weekend or even powder day (not many of those this year). I guess the convenience factor might make it worth it considering you can skip the whole mess of the I-70 corridor.
While I think Eldorables is an excellent program in support of getting young kids into skiing, the fact that they make adults pay for a lift ticket (currently $79 alone for a half day) to ride the magic carpet with their child (ren) doesn’t support growing the sport. Children under five must also have a valid lift ticket (currently $19). I know a few families that were so put off by this policy, they choose to go to other resorts. In fact, resorts like Keystone and Winter Park allow children and parents to ride the magic carpet for free. A recent policy change, however, allows parents to run alongside their little shredders in boots now on the magic carpet versus having to wear skis. But, parents still need a valid lift ticket. We can hope that they will begin to see the importance of embracing the younger generation by making the magic carpet free in the future.
Knowing this policy, and that we were going to put Emma into Eldorables, AJ and I grabbed a 4-pack to Eldora last fall to use mostly on days that Emma has Eldorables. This allows us to ski while Emma is in ski school, and we can enjoy some runs together after she is done. We weren’t sure how quickly she would progress from going straight down the mountain/ holding on to AJ’s ski pole to being able to turn and stop. I’m happy to report that the magic carpet is now a thing of the past for us, with her taking to the green runs and stopping and turning after her third week of ski school.
This week, we brought our lunch from home, but there are a few restaurants on the mountain and in the lodges with dining choices from breakfast burritos and soup to tacos and burgers. Hours and days open vary from restaurant to restaurant. Emma gives the hot chocolate a thumbs up from the Indian Peaks Bar area in the Indian Peaks Lodge. That is our headquarters with her ski school meeting right outside and the proximity to the green runs.
After lunch, we did five plus rides on the EZ-Lift up while riding Upper Bunny Fair to Bunny Fair and Fun Gully. We skied through a teepee and enjoyed our family time on a gorgeous sunny and wind free day!
Check out the video below of Emma skiing down Bunny Fair with ease!
For a small local mountain, Eldora really checks a lot of boxes. I have a feeling that Eldora will become our go-to mountain for an easy day on the slopes!