Aspen Skiing Co.’s Lost Forest project at Snowmass Ski Area on-track

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times
Part of the track for the new alpine coaster going in the Lost Forest at Snowmass. 5,700 feet of track are being installed between the trees on Gunners View and Sandy Park.
Anna Stonehouse/Snowmass Sun |

Skico’s Lost Forest amenities:

• Breathtaker Coaster features a 5,700-foot track that will travel 410 vertical feet. The riders will control the speed in the bobsled-like cars. The ride will last seven to nine minutes. The coaster will wind through the trees between the Gunner’s View and Sandy Park trails. It will be operated summer and winter and have lights for night operations.

• Canopy Run Ziptour will be a guided experience that will take up to three hours. There will be eight zip lines and two sky bridges spanned tree-based and pole-based platforms.

• Treeline Trail Challenge Course will feature five separate paths in a high ropes course located in the trees above the Meadows Carpet lift. Each user will be on a constant belay system and anchored into a cable system for safety.

• Rugged Ascent Climbing Wall will be about 40 feet tall and 60 feet wide. There will be up to 15 lanes equipped with auto-belay devices and RealRock construction to make the rock wall look authentic.

• Hiking and biking trails will feature the new, 1.4-mile Spruce Spar hiking trail along with 1 mile of reroute on Sierra Loop and Rabbit Run. There will be 15.1 miles of new bike trails ranging from beginner to expert. They will be designed by Gravity Logic, a leading trail design and construction firm. The bike trails will be added over two to three years.

More information can be found at

Love it or hate it, construction of the Lost Forest at Snowmass Ski Area is on track.

Aspen Skiing Co.’s $10 million on-mountain adventure center will feature a 5,700-foot alpine coaster — the only year-round element to the plan — as well as a zip line, high-ropes course, climbing wall and several miles of added and rerouted hiking and biking trails.

Skico director of business development Peter Santini said Thursday that about 500 feet of the coaster track had been installed. He said the construction team is on schedule to complete the final “couple hundred feet” by Oct. 1.

The hope is for the alpine coaster to be up and running in time for the ski resort’s 50th anniversary weekend Dec. 15.

“It’s a goal but not a hard date,” Santini said, adding, “A lot of things could happen between now and then.”

The alpine coaster’s next major phase will be to undergo control, electronic and haul system inspections by mid-November, Santini said.

Outside of the coaster, the on-mountain amenities will be open with the gondola’s standard summer operations, which as of now runs daily late June to Labor Day and on weekends through September.

Santini said “only time will tell” if Skico will seek to adjust its gondola operations to accommodate demand of the upcoming attractions.

Altogether, the Lost Forest is expected to generate 50 to 60 additional jobs on the hill during the summer season, Santini said.

Another piece of the plan is to create two “gathering sites” — one at Rayburn’s pond and another at the top of Elk Camp Maroon vista.

What this means, Santini said, is landscaping and improving these areas to offer spots for people to gather, picnic, engage in “naturalist talks,” etc.

Skico started construction at Snowmass Ski Area one day after it secured final project approval from the U.S. Forest Service on June 20 and will keep at it “until the snow flies.”

“We have more than enough going on up here this summer,” Santini said with a laugh. “It’s a five-ring circus going on up here right now.”