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Kids Ski Free + What’s New at Colorado’s Ski Resorts for the 2019/20 Winter Season

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 Colorado’s ski areas were busy last spring, summer and early fall working across the state on significant capital infrastructure improvements, new lodging options, dining experiences and more. In addition to improvements that seasoned skiers and riders will enjoy, they are offering a wide variety of guest enhancements and learning options that brand-new skiers and riders or those returning the sport after some time away will be excited about this winter.

Don’t miss our guide to what’s new this season + find out at what ages kids ski free at most of Colorado’s ski resorts. Also, compare prices of childcare, ski and ride school and where to find the best deals at our Colorado Family Ski Guide 2019/20. 

Passport Programs

(Photo: Vail Resorts)

Epic SchoolKids

For the best deal in town, sign up for Vail Resorts’ EpicSchoolkids (deadline was Oct. 13). The Epic SchoolKids Colorado Pack is a free program for Kindergarten through 5th graders that provides four days of skiing and riding at each of the state’s top-ranked resorts: Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, and Keystone. New for the 2019/2020 season, now includes 4 days at Crested Butte! Visit www.epicpass.com

5th and 6th Grade Passport Program

Colorado Ski Country USA offers any fifth grader the chance to ski or ride three days at 22 participating member resorts across the state for free. That’s up to 66 free days on the slopes. Fifth graders who have never skied or snowboarded are eligible for the First-Class program which provides “never-ever” skiers and riders one free full-day beginner lesson and equipment rental at the resort of their choice. All Passport holders also receive one complimentary junior rental from Christy Sports. The corresponding Sixth Grade Passport Program offers four days of skiing at the same 22 resorts for only $110, with prices subject to change. To register for the Passport Program, visit www.coloradoski.com/passport.

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

After completing a 468-acre terrain expansion into the Beavers and the Steep Gullies last season, including the new four-person Beavers chairlift, A-Basin is continuing to upgrade its facilities. 2019-20 will be the first full season of Il Rifugo, the highest lift-served restaurant in North America at just over 12,500 feet serving charcuterie boards, wine, espresso and stunning views of the Continental Divide. A-Basin will also have newly remodeled bathrooms in the basement of the main lodge.

 For the 2019-20 season, A-Basin has changed its pass partnerships for the upcoming season in an effort to reduce ski and snowboard visits on weekends and holidays and to improve the quality of the guest experience. A-Basin can now be accessed on a limited basis on the Ikon Pass, Ikon Base Pass and Mountain Collective Pass. The only way to ski A-Basin more than 7 days without blackout dates is to purchase an A-Basin season pass for the 2019-20 season. For more information, visit www.arapahoebasin.com.

Ski Free

Arapahoe Basin introduces children to skiing and snowboarding with the Kids Free 2 Ski Pass. Absolutely free for kids between the ages of six and 14, the Kids Free 2 Ski Pass offers two free days of skiing or riding at Arapahoe Basin during the 2019-20 season. Guests can register online or at the mountain by December 17, 2019. All first-time skiers and snowboarders between the ages of six and 14 registered for Kids Free 2 Ski can also receive 50 percent off one full-day, first-timer lesson to help get them started. Children under the age of five ski free every day at Arapahoe Basin. Guests can obtain a “5 and under” lift ticket by bringing the child to the ticket window. 

Aspen Snowmass

Guests at Snowmass can enjoy a new Italian restaurant located at 10,620 ft. at the top of Sam’s Knob. The new Sam’s, a $2.5 million remodel, will feature a modern Italian concept that will offer diners sweeping views of the Elk Mountains and a sophisticated and lively food experience. All Aspen Snowmass food and beverage outlets will be straw-free in 2019-20.

 Visitors to Aspen Mountain will find a new 730-square foot Four Mountain Sports rental shop located in the new W Hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain. The Aspen Snowmass App will also feature increased rewards including a $15 food & beverage credit valid at on-mountain restaurants, $10 credit at Four Mountain Sports, $25 off Ski and Snowboard School lessons as well as exclusive access to all things Aspen Snowmass. Guests may also encounter employees on electric snowmobiles as Aspen Snowmass will introduce Taiga Motor electric snowmobiles into its fleet as part of ongoing sustainability efforts. For more information, visit www.aspensnowmass.com.

Ski Free

To encourage a new generation of winter enthusiasts, Aspen Snowmass offers free lift tickets with an equipment rental from Four Mountain Sports for children between the ages of seven and 12. The package must be booked with lodging through Stay Aspen Snowmass and is valid January 1 – April 21, 2020. Kids aged six and under always ski free at Aspen Snowmass.

(Beaver Creek)

Beaver Creek

With the expansion of Beaver Creek’s snowmaking system at Red Buffalo Park, a newly renovated Children’s Ski School, and a remodeled Village, family experiences will start on Opening Day at Beaver Creek Resort. Beaver Creek Resort is enhancing its early-season terrain offerings through the snowmaking expansion in Red Buffalo Park. The additional snowmaking capabilities at Red Buffalo Park will ensure more reliable early-season terrain in a key dedicated learning area of the upper mountain, with the goal of providing more than 3,300 vertical feet of top-to-bottom skiing and riding on opening day each year. An interior renovation of Beaver Creek’s Children Ski School facilities will improve the guest experience for the entire family, from sales and registration to rental equipment fitting. Additionally, a newly remodeled Village will welcome families for one-of-a-kind events and experiences throughout the season. From the top of the mountain to the heart of the Village, seamless family experiences start on Opening Day at Beaver Creek. www.beavercreek.com/

Ski Free

Children 4 and under ski for free. Please visit any ticket window to collect a $0 lift ticket to access the mountains or visit the Season Pass Office to obtain a pass valid all season.

Breckenridge Ski Resort

The heart of Breckenridge Ski Resort gets a new beat this season with the transformation of the Peak 8 Base Area, elevating the overall guest experience at the primary portal to the mountain. This winter guests will be greeted with a whole new look and feel as they arrive at Peak 8, welcomed by new escalators to help guests move between street-level and plaza-level; brand new skier services headquarters including new locations for resort ticket and season pass sales, the Breck Ski & Snowboard School, and Breck Sports retail and rental store; as well as other guest amenities including an outdoor ice skating rink, coffee shop, new public restroom facilities and new town transit stop for easy and convenient access into town. Over the past several years the Peak 8 Base Area has seen major improvements, with One Ski Hill Place paving the way in 2011 as a new ski-in, ski-out luxury lodging experience. In Dec. 2016, Breck Grand Vacations opened the first phase of the Grand Colorado on Peak 8, with an expansion underway and set to open this winter. Additionally, more exciting developments are on the horizon with the recent approval of a proposed four-star hotel.

Gravity Haus Breckenridge is the adventure destination and social haus for the modern adventurer. Replacing the former Village Hotel at the base of Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 9, the renovated and tech-forward ski-in/ ski-out boutique property will debut in December 2019, featuring 60 distinctly-curated rooms. Featuring a modern alpine design, accommodations include private queen and king suites and ‘all-in-one’ combination suites featuring both bunks and private sleeping areas for families and groups. Designed to activate a community of like-minded outdoor enthusiasts year-round, Gravity Haus offers ongoing insider experiences ranging from athlete-led mountain expeditions to backcountry hut trips. Onsite amenities at Gravity Haus include Dryland fitness and sports recovery center; Backcountry discovery center; a super trampoline; StarterHaus, a new co-working space by Jim Deters; farm-to-cup Unravel coffee; locally-inspired food and drink at Cabin Juice; Japanese-inspired onsen and more.  www.breckenridge.com/

Ski Free

Children 4 and under ski for free. Please visit any ticket window to collect a $0 lift ticket to access the mountains or visit the Season Pass Office to obtain a pass valid all season.

Cooper

Cooper will welcome a lift and terrain expansion for the 2019-20 season featuring a new surface lift and 70 acres of new intermediate and advanced skiing terrain. This will be the first truly expert terrain in Cooper’s history. Cooper will also welcome RFID technology this winter helping guests enjoy a seamless experience. Cooper will have a variety of products for guests of all backgrounds including its First-Timer program, $30 Thursdays and a number of other discounted products. For more information, visit www.skicooper.com.

Ski Free

At Cooper, children five and under ski free every day or can receive a season pass for $10 which covers the processing fee. Children between the ages of six and 14 receive discounted lift tickets and season passes, plus deals on children’s group lessons as low as $69.

Copper Mountain

Opening for the 2019-20 season, Copper Mountain visitors can explore 273 acres of expert terrain on Tucker Mountain with the new Three Bears chairlift. This three-person fixed grip lift, topping out at 12,421 ft, will access terrain that was previously accessible via snowcat or hiking only and provide stunning views of the surrounding area. Guests can enjoy a warming hut at the top of the lift and bathrooms at the bottom.

 Copper Mountain has also begun construction on a new 127-room, four-story hotel with anticipated completion as early as 2020. Located in a portion of the Chapel parking lot, the Creekside Hotel will feature an outdoor patio nestled along West Ten Mile Creek complete with fire pits and hot tubs, giving guests a chance to unwind and soak in the views after a day on the slopes. For more information, visit www.coppercolorado.com.

Ski Free

Copper Mountain offers the One, Two, Free! package for children ages 12 and younger, which provides free skiing with the purchase of a two-day adult lift ticket. Children ages four and under always ski and ride free at Copper. Copper also offers free lift tickets to try the Easy Rider magic carpet in Center Village. Lift tickets are complimentary and must be picked up at the ticket window

(Crested Butte)

Crested Butte

After a brief hiatus, the new Teocalli Lift, a fixed-grip quad, replaces a fixed-grip double chair. The new Teocalli Lift was installed in the summer of 2019 and will increase uphill capacity by more than 50 percent, providing an enhanced level of convenience for guests looking to access the front side of the mountain or lap some of Crested Butte’s sweetest trees. A slight realignment of the lift line moves the top terminal closer to the top of the existing Red Lady Express Lift, improving egress to the can’t-miss, Uley’s Cabin as well as the base area. Increasing convenience and likes on your Instagram account, the new alignment happens to provide a perfect window into the grandeur of the lift’s namesake peak just across the valley.  www.skicb.com/

 Echo Mountain Resort

After opening its tubing hill in the 2018-19 season, Echo is adding a new food truck, Two Mile Pie, near the tubing hill serving pizza, drinks and snacks throughout the winter. Access to the tubing hill will also be more convenient with a new staircase and a new deck outside the rental shop.  In addition to enjoying Echo’s emphasis on a non-judgmental atmosphere, guests can also purchase new pass products like the Night Season Pass or Midweek Season Pass for under $100. For more information, visit www.echomountainresort.com.

Ski Free

At Echo Mountain, kids under the age of six can receive a season pass for free with the purchase of an adult season pass. Echo also offers discounts on season passes for those aged 6-12.

 Eldora

Eldora will roll out new buses in its parking lots this upcoming season to create an improved experience for guests moving between their cars and the slopes. Eldora is also finalizing a rideshare app that will help connect guests in order to facilitate carpooling and reduce traffic ahead of the season.

 Terrain park enthusiasts will be excited about Eldora’s new Zaugg terrain-shaping machine, which will allow the park crew to create consistent and innovative park features all winter long. The rental shop will also feature a new tuning machine helping guests to quickly receive ski and snowboard care and get back on the slopes. For more information, visit www.eldora.com.

Ski Deal

At Eldora, kids ages five and under can purchase an alpine season pass for only $29.

Granby Ranch

Granby Ranch is replacing 5,000 feet of snowmaking pipe for the upcoming season. This will allow Granby Ranch to open all blue runs on opening day of the season, currently scheduled for December 13, 2019. Granby Ranch’s new food and beverage team will be offering specific themed dinner options for guests on Wednesday nights throughout the season. For the second season running, Granby Ranch will also offer groups the opportunity to rent the East Mountain for the evening including night skiing. For more information, visit www.granbyranch.com.

Ski Free

Granby Ranch offers free skiing and riding every day for children ages five and under. Granby Ranch also partners with Grand County Schools to offer free skiing on Fridays with a student ID.

Hesperus

Hesperus will offer College Friday’s this season, giving college students in Colorado and New Mexico schools discounted tickets on Friday evenings to enjoy 100 percent of the mountain. Hesperus also offers first-timers over the age of seven up to three free lessons with the purchase of one full-day, full-price lift ticket. For more information, visitwww.ski-hesperus.com.

Ski Free

Hesperus participates in the Power Kids program, which grants a free season pass valid at Hesperus and Purgatory Resort, to children ages 10 and younger.

Howelsen Hill Ski Area

Ski Free

At Howelsen Hill, children ages five and under pay only $10 for a daily lift ticket, while children between the ages of six and 18 pay only $20 for a full day of skiing or riding. Howelsen will also partner with the Steamboat Springs School District to offer free lift tickets to second graders in the community. Throughout the season Howelsen Hill will also offer Ski Free Sundays. For more information, visit www.steamboatsprings.net/131/Howelsen-Hill-Ski-Area.

Kendall Mountain Ski Area

Ski Free

Children ages five and under ski and ride free every day at Kendall Mountain. Kendall Mountain also offers special lift ticket and season pass pricing for children ages 6-18. For more information, visit www.kendallmountain.com.

Keystone Resort

New for the 2019-20 season are the Keystone Plus Pass and the new Keystone Crested Butte 4-Pack. For $369, the Keystone Plus Pass, with certain holiday restrictions, provides unlimited access to Keystone, unlimited late spring skiing at Breckenridge starting April 1, 2020, and five days at Crested Butte. The Keystone Crested Butte 4-Pack offers any four total days between Keystone and Crested Butte, with holiday restrictions, for only $249.

(Keystone’s Daily Cookie Time)

For the first time ever, this year guests can enjoy one of the longest ski seasons in the country at Keystone and Breck, with skiing and riding operations planned to kick off at Keystone in October and run through Memorial Day at Breck, as weather and conditions permit. This summer Keystone Resort has been hard at work upgrading snowmaking on its opening terrain to a state-of-the-art, automated, energy-efficient system that will assist the resort to operate more productively in narrow early-season snowmaking windows. This investment in snowmaking will also help to position Keystone to be one of the first resorts to open in Colorado and the U.S. each season. With Keystone getting the season started, Breck will close it out with late spring skiing and riding. Following Breck’s announcement last season to run winter operations through Memorial Day moving forward, skiers and riders can celebrate the end of the winter season at Breck’s Spring Finale with access to signature High Alpine terrain offerings throughout May. Thanks to Breck’s elevation, High Alpine terrain and propensity for snow, the resort typically offers exceptional spring conditions for skiing and riding. www.keystoneresort.com

Ski Free

Kids 12 and under ski free every day, all season long with two or more nights of lodging booked direct with Keystone Resort. No blackout dates, no restrictions. Children 4 and under ski for free. Please visit any ticket window to collect a $0 lift ticket to access the mountains or visit the Season Pass Office to obtain a pass valid all season.

Loveland Ski Area

A year after debuting the new Chet’s Dream chairlift, Loveland is partnering with the Colorado Department of Transportation’s Snowstang for the upcoming season. A roundtrip ticket on the new direct bus service will cost $25 with discounts for seniors, children and disabled passengers. Guests can be picked up at Union Station in Denver and the Denver Federal Center. Snowstang will run on weekends starting December 12 and will run through mid-April, 2020 with some holidays.

 Families visiting Loveland for the first time can take advantage of the Family Private Lesson to learn together in a relaxed, non-competitive environment as a family. For more information, visit www.skiloveland.com.

Ski Free

At Loveland, children ages five and under can ski and snowboard for free. For children between the ages of six and 14, Loveland offers a free season pass with the completion of the 3-Class Pass. Children’s full day lesson packages include a lesson, lift access, ski and snowboard equipment rentals, helmet and lunch.

Monarch Mountain

Monarch will celebrate its 80th Anniversary with a new retail location next to the rental shop that will specialize in rental clothes and cold weather essentials for guests that need them. Ongoing tree thinning will allow Monarch to open a new gladed tree run as well as a children’s interpretive run. For more information, visit www.skimonarch.com.

Ski Free

Children under six always ski and ride free at Monarch Mountain. For families who don’t want to visit the lift ticket window for a complimentary child’s pass each day, Monarch also offers children’s season passes for those ages six and under with a processing fee of $20. Monarch also offers discounted lift ticket or season passes for those aged 7 to 17.

Powderhorn Resort

Powderhorn will welcome a new food and beverage location in its base area, an Umbrella Bar for visitors to sit back and enjoy. Guests will also have the option of staying slope-side in the new tiny home village year-round. Powderhorn will also be launching a new app and website in the fall of 2019 to improve the guest experience. For more information, visit www.powderhorn.com.

Ski Deal

At Powderhorn, children ages five and under can purchase a daily lift ticket for $19 or a season pass for $29. Through the Learn to Ski Free program, participants can enjoy free ski or snowboard lessons, with free rentals and a free Easy Rider lift ticket during the time of the lesson.

(Pur

Purgatory Resort

Purgatory will offer free ski and snowboard lessons to all first-time skiers and riders of all ages. Children 10 and younger are eligible for a free season pass through the Power Kids program. Young adults up to 36 will also receive discounted season passes. For more information, visit www.skipurg.com.  

Ski Deal

Purgatory Resort participates in the Power Kids program, which grants a free season pass valid at Purgatory Resort and Hesperus Ski Area, to children ages 10 and younger. Purgatory also offers free lessons to those who have never skied or snowboarded before.

Silverton Mountain

Silverton Mountain will expand its unguided season for the upcoming winter, now beginning March 18, 2020 and running five days a weekWednesday-Sunday through April 19, 2020. This is over a 50 percent increase in available ski days during the unguided season. For more information, visit www.silvertonmountain.com.

Steamboat

Guests visiting Steamboat this winter will enjoy the new gondola, which will expand uphill capacity from the base area by nearly 40 percent. The new gondola will also provide a more seamless experience with gondola cabins flush to the ground allowing riders to walk straight on as opposed to stepping up to get into the cabin. Ride time will be reduced from 12 minutes to under 10 minutes. Also new this upcoming season, Ikon pass holders will have access to night skiing Thursday- Monday from December through March.

 Guests in need of rental equipment can experience the newly refurbished and expanded Steamboat Sports in the base area with an improved rental process and more retail offerings. Visitors can also look forward to a full season of the Taco Beast, Steamboat’s roaming snowcat turned food truck. For more information, visit www.steamboat.com.

Ski Free

Steamboat’s Kids Ski Free and Grandkids Ski Free programs give children 12 years old or younger free lift tickets and free rentals for the same number of days as their parent, grandparent or legal guardian when the parent, grandparent, or legal guardian has purchased a 5-or-more day adult lift ticket and a 5-or-more day rental package.

Sunlight Mountain Resort

A three-phase, $4 million expansion has begun at Sunlight with phase one underway this summer. This will expand gladed tree skiing, add five new hike back runs and an additional 500 vertical feet of skiing in the expert only area of the mountain for winter 2019-20. When completed, the entire project will feature a new lift and 100 acres of new terrain. For more information, visit www.sunlightmtn.com.

Ski Free

Children ages five and younger can receive a free Carefree Skier season pass to Sunlight Mountain Resort. Children five and younger can also ski free every day by visiting the ticket window for a complimentary daily lift ticket. With the award-winning Ski, Swim and Stay Package, kids 12 and younger can ski and ride free.

Telluride Ski Resort

Guests to Telluride can experience 40 new acres of north-facing gladed terrain around Lift 9 this upcoming winter. This new tree skiing will be for advanced and expert skiers and will also include new natural features like steep chutes and rock drops.

 Guests can also download Telluride’s new app that includes up-to-the-minute lift status information, snow reporting, trail status, an interactive trail map, push notifications and more. For more information, visit www.tellurideskiresort.com.

Ski Free

Telluride offers free daily lift tickets at the lift ticket window for children ages five and younger. Telluride also offers season passes to those 5 and under for $25. Discounts are available for those aged 6-24 on daily lift tickets and season passes

Vail Mountain

Vail has just kicked off the first phase of an ambitious snowmaking expansion project– the largest in Vail Mountain’s history– that will enhance the skiing experience beginning with the 2019-2020 winter season by allowing for more diverse terrain to be open earlier, creating more reliable early and late-season conditions with high-quality snow, and improving existing snowmaking technology to be more energy and water-efficient. Vail’s extensive snowmaking upgrades and expansion taking place this summer will help to ensure a pre-Thanksgiving opening day each year. Nearly 200 acres of new and enhanced snowmaking terrain this season (in addition to our current 431 acres of snowmaking terrain) will provide guests with earlier access to higher elevation terrain, a broader variety of trails, access from two base areas, and improved early season ski school terrain.  www.vail.com

Ski Free

Children 4 and under ski for free. Please visit any ticket window to collect a $0 lift ticket to access the mountains or visit the Season Pass Office to obtain a pass valid all season.

Winter Park Resort

A new 6-person Sunnyside chair will be installed for the 2019-20 season, replacing the old 3-person fixed-grip chair in one of the most popular areas of the resort. The $6 million upgrade will reduce ride time from eight minutes to under four minutes and reduce lift lines at the bottom of Parsenn Bowl. For the first time, Winter Park will also offer guests guided off-mountain adventures like nighttime experiences or backcountry skiing or riding. For more information, visit www.winterparkresort.com.

Ski Free

Winter Park’s Kids Ski Free program offers free skiing and riding for children ages 12 and younger with the purchase of Winter Park lodging and a 3-day adult lift ticket. Blackout dates apply.

Wolf Creek Ski Area

Wolf Creek will celebrate its 80th birthday this winter. A new run, Orion’s Beltway, will offer beginners and intermediates a new option when exploring the mountain. The new Powderroom will offer seasonal pass holders the option of renting a locker for the season. The Raven’s Nest, a modern two-story restaurant located at the top of the Raven Lift, will be upgraded with a new sunroom in the lower level. The remodel will open space and create a more vibrant area for the new Raven’s Grill Café including a new menu. For more information, visit www.wolfcreekski.com.

Ski Free

Each season, Wolf Creek hosts a “Know the Code” safety poster contest. The annual safety poster contest invites elementary, junior and high school students to illustrate one or more aspects of the Responsibility Code. Wolf Creek staff and guests vote on the posters, and first through third place winners in each division are awarded a free ski day with immediate family members

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