Ski Cooper: Buttoned Up and Ready for Winter Fun
Last Saturday, Oct. 22, Ski Cooper/Chicago Ridge held their annual community meeting at the lodge of Leadville’s ski mountain.
General Manager Dan Torsell and Chairman of the Board John Clapper conducted the informational session which highlighted the previous ski/board season, presented the plans for 2016/17, and answered questions from the community. Also in attendance were Ski Cooper’s Board of Director members Greg Teter, Ron Yudnich, Howard Tritz and Jane Harelson. Along that line, it was announced that Ski Cooper has an opening on the Board of Directors. Those interested are encouraged to send a letter of interest to PO Box 896, Leadville, CO 80461. The sooner, the better as they will be filling the seat by the end of November.
When it comes right down to it, for most skiers and boarders, the two most important items that came out of the meeting are dates: Saturday, Dec. 10 will be opening day for the 2016/17 season and Sunday, April 9 the hill will shut down for the year. Now, as usual, if Mother Nature decides to bring enough snow before the 10th, then management may decide to open the Friday after Thanksgiving and provide skiing on weekends before the official December 10 opening. Stay tuned with an eye toward the sky!
The following are other highlights from the 2016 Ski Cooper Community Meeting.
The Nuts and Bolts:
- The 2015/16 was Cooper’s most successful financial season to date. Ski Cooper saw a 36% gross revenue increase, seeing a 1.15 million in the bank at the end of the season. Of course, off-season maintenance and repairs brings that balance down to 850,000 as they head into the start of the 2016/17 season.
- 2015/16 was Cooper’s 2nd highest skier-visit season in history, reported Chairman Clapper with 71,000 skier visits for last year, almost a 15% increase over the prior season.
- Capital expenditures are always at the forefront of any ski operations and this year Cooper bought on a new PistenBully 400 grooming cat, a large plow/sand truck to improve parking lot plowing and a mini excavator for trail and parking lot maintenance.
“We stay on top of the equipment,” reported Cooper’s Vice President of Mountain Operations Tim Kerrigan explaining Cooper’s extensive summer lift maintenance program, including a major project completed this summer: replacement of the bottom bull-wheel bearing on the Piney Basin Triple. While the original bearing was still functioning normally, Cooper’s pro-active approach replaced the parts as instructed per manufacturer’s recommendation. It was reported that all of Cooper’s lifts passed their state tramway inspections earlier this month with flying colors.
Repairs and Improvements
- Fresh paint in the lodge, some roof patching, and the standard maintenance to food service operations were tended to during the off season.
- Improvements for 2016/17 include: new mountaintop Yurt lodge with food service. By now the concrete should be poured for the yurt’s base and visitors will begin to notice the construction of this secondary food and beverage location.
- Longer-term improvements which include the capital expenditure wish-list for the next 3 years include: 600 sq ft addition to base lodge; front-end loader upgrade; new lift and expert terrain to skiers’ right of Motherlode (pending permitting).
- Locals and returning visitors will see many familiar faces as not much has changed with Cooper’s staff. What has changed is the size of the staff, adding two new employees as Michelle Glenny joins the front half of the food and beverage house, and Dana Johnson comes on board as Ski Cooper’s new marketing person, focusing on group sales as well as expanding events during the summer months for weddings, and other groups gatherings.
- The XP 4-Day Pass returns for the 2016/17 ski season at just $109! This pass, which looks just like a season pass (photo and all!), entitles the holder to any 4 days on the slopes during the 2016/17 season. Aside from being non-transferable (which just means that the pass can only be used by the person named/pictured on the pass), the XP Pass has no restrictions and no blackout dates. If you do the math, that means you can ski at Cooper for only $27.25/day! Availability is limited, so don’t wait!
- Michelle Muggler with the US Forest Service, presented the new “Ski With a Ranger” program for this season. Once a week (day TBD), guests will have the chance to take a few runs with a USFS Snow Ranger and learn about history, ecology, biology, geology, geography, and other natural characteristics at and around Cooper.
That’s the wrap up for Ski Cooper. Get those skis, boards and knees in shape, because it won’t be long before you’re hitting the slopes at Leadville’s ski mountain.
Leadville Food Drive Continues Thru Monday, Oct. 31
Meet The Artist and Enjoy the Views on Saturday
On Saturday, October 29 the Leadville Arts Coalition (LAC) and Harperrose Studios will feature Leadville photographer, Justin Talbot, for “Meet the Artist” from 4 – 6 p.m. Come and discover the wonders of Leadville and Lake County through the lens of an outdoor enthusiast.
Winter Highlighted in “Experience Colorado” – Leadville
Leadville will be represented on the little screen as part of Season 3 of Out West – Experience Colorado, which airs on XFINITY TV. It’s all about winter in this segment, featuring Leadville Ski Joring, Nordic skiing and dinner at Tennessee Pass Cookhouse and Nordic Center and lodging at Grand West Village Resorts. Then it’s off to the dogs at Alpine Adventures Dogsledding. Enjoy the video and thanks to hostess Maddie Baker for showing off our little mountain town!
Did you make the cut? There’s a lot of old ski joring footage in the video, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you can always tell the age of the video footage by what’s going on with the buildings on Harrison Avenue in the background – or how old your kid is in the video! Enjoy!