Colorado ski resorts prepare mountain upgrades for 2016-17 winter |

Colorado ski resorts prepare mountain upgrades for 2016-17 winter

Two resorts in Colorado Ski Country USA are boasting new chairlifts for this winter, but the capital improvement plan at most of them consists of remodeled restaurants and guest-services enhancements.

Steamboat replaced its Elkhead fixed-grip quad chairlift with a Dopplemayr high-speed detachable quad. The new chairlift will cut the ride time by about half.

“The increased speed and capacity of the new Elkhead lift is expected to substantially improve the guest experience in the popular Sunshine and Priest Creek areas of the mountain, especially at lunchtime and end-of-day egress,” said a statement issued by Colorado Ski County USA, a trade association for the state ski industry. Vail Resorts and its four ski areas aren’t part of the trade association, so it’s improvements weren’t outlined.

Wolf Creek Ski Area will unveil its new Lynx Lift, which will link the base to a new teaching area.

Purgatory modernized a rope tow. The new T-3 surface lift will transport skiers on the backside of the mountain to the Legends Lift 8 high-speed detachable quad, which was added last year. The T-3 also will connect a new trail to the Legends Lift 8.

Silverton is upgrading its people-moving system as well. It added a custom ski basket for helicopter skiing. Its helicopter will be able to fly higher and faster, which will allow skiers to get in more runs.

Winter Park isn’t adding chairlifts, but the ski train will return, delivering passengers from Denver’s Union Station and back at the end of the day. The weekend and Monday holiday service will start Jan. 7 and continue through March 26.

Telluride will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Telluride Mountain Village Gondola system in December. It also will add a restaurant, Altezza at the Peaks.

Snowmass has undertaken massive renovations of Gwyn’s High Alpine Restaurant. The capacity will be expanded from 350 to 800. The remodel created a significantly larger bar with a wood-burning fireplace and big-screen televisions.

Monarch Mountain will designate three uphill travel routes. Uphillers can climb from the base to the top of the Continental Divide. They just need to register at the information desk for a complimentary uphill-travel ticket.

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