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Eldora Mountain Resort is among the windiest in the state, according to weather and ski resort officials, and it's in the peak of its gusty season with several lift closures in the past week.

Also vying for the "windiest resort" title is Loveland Ski Area, said Jennifer Rudolph, spokeswoman for Colorado Ski Country USA, a nonprofit trade association that represents 26 Colorado ski resorts.

"It's because they're right on the Continental Divide," Rudolph said.

Now is Eldora's windiest time of the ski season, resort spokesman Rob Linde said. Historically, he said, late December and January bring the biggest gusts to the Boulder County ski hill, situated 21 miles west of Boulder on Colo. 119.

Weather experts said Eldora and Loveland get more and stronger wind than other Rocky Mountain ski resorts because they're east of the Continental Divide, where gusts coming from the west dip over the summit and rush down the slope.

"Lately, there have been some pretty strong storms that move in and settle on the divide, and we will get down-sloping winds," Linde said

So far this season, Eldora has shut down lifts because of wind on at least five days, Linde said.

Of Eldora's 12 lifts, the ones most often halted because of high-wind concerns are Cannonball, Challenge, Indian Peaks and Corona, Linde said. Those lifts lead to the top of the ski area's peaks and to the more difficult runs.

Last season, on Dec.


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14, two empty three-person chairs on the Challenge lift were "de-roped" because of wind gusts reaching upward of 35 mph. No one was hurt, but several resort workers in chairs behind those that de-roped had to be evacuated using a rope-and-belay system.

Despite some skiers' harrowing reports of rocking chairlifts, Linde said, "We monitor it very closely."

"Safety is our No. 1 concern," he said. "But, with that said, we are aggressive in keeping lifts operating in windy conditions."

On days when lifts can't run, Linde said, officials sometimes compensate skiers with "snow checks," allowing them to return another day. But, Linde said, the vouchers only are distributed during extreme conditions.

"Most people understand that weather is out of our control," he said.

Klaus Wolter, a researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Diagnostics Center, said many resorts use forestry to abate wind gusts, but Eldora can't grow trees as tall as ski areas on the Western Slope because its soil is rockier and its climate is drier.

Wolter said this is a La Niña winter, and those tend to be windier. But, he said, heavy wind storms come with an upside: heavy precipitation.

"It's a great place for spill-over snow," Wolter said.

Will Collins, 22, of Boulder, said he's experienced great days at Eldora, especially in the spring when warmer weather and calmer winds create a welcoming environment for a full day of skiing or snowboarding -- one that doesn't involve a several-hour drive on Interstate 70.

But Ryan Waits, 25, of Boulder, said he's only visited Eldora once.

"I went six years ago, and I'll never go back because of the wind," Waits said. "It was freezing."

Archived comments

How is this "news"?

Anyone that has skiied Eldora knows that is howls like a Banshee up there...that's part of the thrill...

And you really have not had an Eldora experience until you are sitting on the Cannonball lift, at the crest of the hill, with a 40MPH wind in your face...

BHS80

1/15/2008 6:53:04 AM

I love it when the wind knocks your chair into the lift tower and you hear that "ping."

Good times...good times...

vincentvega

1/15/2008 7:20:30 AM

BITD, night skiing in the wind could be surreal...miss that. Just wait until all the lodgepole pine are dead, then it's really going to be nasty!

alpnclymber@earthlink.net

1/15/2008 7:27:27 AM

alpnclymber,

I too miss that night skiing experience...most times, the wind died down in the evening...and skiing in the shadows was quite fun...and peacefully quiet...

Oh the good old days...

Good marketing piece by the DC BTW...I am sure the Eldora folks are happy this story ran...

Today will be a howler up there...

Cheers!

BHS80

1/15/2008 7:32:31 AM

Ok, so let's see: Bush and Cheney are still ravaging the world, the impeachment movement is continuing to gather steam, Boulder is continuing to be Californicated, our government is basically stalemated and so what is the Camera reporting on the front page? Who out there didn't know that Eldora was windy? Geez, what passes for news these daze is comical.

dougtee@gmail.com

1/15/2008 7:34:44 AM

"Eldora - we blow the competition away!" Still, I'd rather be on a windy chairlift than on I70 stuck in traffic!

NedGeoff

1/15/2008 8:35:00 AM

Windora - gotta love it.

gilpin_observer

1/15/2008 8:59:06 AM

Don't feel bad Eldora, I'm windy most days too! Darn breakfast burritos with beans do a number on me. ;-)

Slapsticky

1/15/2008 9:43:20 AM

Don't feel bad Eldora, I'm windy most days too! Darn breakfast burritos with beans do a number on me. ;-)

Slapsticky

1/15/2008 9:43:20 AM

We call it BLOWdora. Seriously... this is "news"?

babalax50@yahoo.com

1/15/2008 9:49:04 AM

The story was news to me, probably because I don't ski and have never visited Eldora during the season. As such, I found it newsworthy, as in "sufficiently interesting to warrant reporting".

jrmanville

1/15/2008 10:56:14 AM

Indeed-Wind at Endura-who'd a thunk it!

Good to see some local "news" make it into the Daily. ("Extra-Sky Blue when not cloudy!")

Even better to see some wax nostalgic regarding similar observations.

Night skiing-Good....and Cold! (Good bar for every 5th run though-quiet, private and affordable!

And howzabout those times of a HUGE moon rising over the sea of lights you could exult in being departed from for a time! The stars so close you could touch them and the snow so crisp you can hear the crunch behind the shuuush!

Almost as 'good' as when they shut down the Lifts during Spring Skiing whenever a rumble of thunder threatens.

Even though as an ex-Electrician I've tried to tell them that the Lifts are sorta like a Faraday cage and only those who are getting off or on and are grounded at the instant of a lightning strike will die-what are the odds? ("feeling lucky....":-)

jeffm@peoplepc.com

1/15/2008 12:10:38 PM

It's really more news when it ISN't windy up there. I would rather drive 70 and make longer runs than ski somewhere where they measure the snow received someplace that gets no wind. Sure they get 6 inches of new snow... it's not on the trails, it's in the woods. Fine for some, not for me.

saraconrd@pcisys.net

1/15/2008 12:54:03 PM

"And you really have not had an Eldora experience until you are sitting on the Cannonball lift, at the crest of the hill, with a 40MPH wind in your face..."

... and the lift stops.

mondoboulder

1/15/2008 1:14:57 PM

"...it's in the woods. Fine for some, not for me."

Fine for me.

mondoboulder

1/15/2008 1:18:08 PM

BTW, Lake Pandora is reporting only 0-10 mph winds at present.

mondoboulder

1/15/2008 1:26:38 PM

Wind "season?" Too funny. Unless you like getting blasted in the face with ice pellets at 40+ stay away from Eldora. Worst mountain ever, no snow, totally icy, and a nightmare of wind and cold. Short runs, and terrible. Whatever you do stay off the backside too, it is steep and rocky and probably the worst skiing in the state. Especially Salto, Bryan, Chicken, and Moose Glades. If you value your equipment, and your limbs, stay out. Totally dangerous. They should close it down. Definitely no place for families or anyone looking to have fun. It is a wonder anyone goes up there at all! Oh and the drinks are watered down, and I think I heard there's a botulism outbreak at the cafeteria. Oh, and the rentals suck and ah, they use that poisonous stuff to wax your board too. And everyone up there is ill-tempered. Especially when it snows. Hey Mondo, how's the ripples and chicken out, I bet they're awful.

Anonymous_Coward

1/15/2008 3:35:15 PM

Let me guess. You've skied there twice and know all there is to know about it.

By all means listen to this goof and stay away. Especially stay away from my stashes. I was up there yesterday, cruised some groomers and went out the gate for some powder.

Oh, sorry. It was awful. Just awful.

mondoboulder

1/15/2008 4:17:37 PM

When it's 40MPH at Eldora & Loveland, it's 35MPH everywhere else. Go buy a windshirt and a neoprene face mask and quit whining. When I ski with that wind at my back, the relative wind is basically zero anyway. Big deal. Everyone who can't handle it, please stay home/in the bar so I can ski the windpack by myself. Loveland's a better mountain and the Plume Saloon Saturday night open mike/jam is nearby, but Eldora's closer and Ned speaks for itself. Take your pick.

fherman

1/15/2008 7:00:11 PM

Um. I think our legs have been pulled.

mondoboulder

1/15/2008 7:14:01 PM

"When it's 40MPH at Eldora & Loveland, it's 35MPH everywhere else."

Uh, no.

vincentvega

1/15/2008 7:27:09 PM

Come join us for the annual Eldora Wind Festival -- January 1 through December 31.

Big_Ben

1/15/2008 8:49:31 PM

Can't wait to get up there again soon! Rather ski in the wind for a day than sit in my car on 70. Only go over the divide for weekend trips. Very convenient from here in Estes Park. But as Anonymous_Coward says...definitely not good for everyone! (wink,wink)

jgmac4313

1/15/2008 10:03:36 PM

Bros! Keep it on the downlow, so we can keep Big Toe Joe in house brobros! Yeeze. It sucks, it SUCKS I tell you!!

Anonymous_Coward

1/16/2008 9:35:49 AM

Ah, there's no place like The Rock.

GilroyPuttny

1/16/2008 11:40:51 AM

My main issue with Eldora is the price. 59.00 a day for high wind and slow (often closed) lifts. I like that its local, the amenities are nice. But if you compare it to Alta in Utah (which is 59.00 a day), Alta wins hands down. Way more terrain, better snow, less wind, faster lifts (in some cases). I think Eldora should beef up the lift speed and lower the price a little.

- Jon

jonutah@comcast.net

1/16/2008 12:28:42 PM

The lift speeds regulate the skiier traffic on the runs. High speed lifts would simply crowd the mountain and make it a little more dangerous. I love Alta too, but they need to lift that snowboarding restriction . . .

Methmouth

1/16/2008 12:33:27 PM

Just got back from Lake Pandora.

Not nearly as good as Alta.

mondoboulder

1/16/2008 1:13:15 PM

Mondo, you are one lucky dude, how's Moose?

Methmouth

1/16/2008 1:38:36 PM

Terrible.

mondoboulder

1/16/2008 1:50:27 PM

Wind "season?" Too funny. Unless you like getting blasted in the face with ice pellets at 40+ stay away from Eldora. Worst mountain ever, no snow, totally icy, and a nightmare of wind and cold. Short runs, and terrible. Whatever you do stay off the backside too, it is steep and rocky and probably the worst skiing in the state. Especially Salto, Bryan, Chicken, and Moose Glades. If you value your equipment, and your limbs, stay out. Totally dangerous. They should close it down. Definitely no place for families or anyone looking to have fun. It is a wonder anyone goes up there at all! Oh and the drinks are watered down, and I think I heard there's a botulism outbreak at the cafeteria. Oh, and the rentals suck and ah, they use that poisonous stuff to wax your board too. And everyone up there is ill-tempered. Especially when it snows. Hey Mondo, how's the ripples and chicken out, I bet they're awful.

Anonymouse_Coward

1/16/2008 4:11:05 PM

Awful!

mondoboulder

1/16/2008 4:26:24 PM

"Whatever you do stay off the backside too, it is steep and rocky and probably the worst skiing in the state. Especially Salto, Bryan, Chicken, and Moose Glades. If you value your equipment, and your limbs, stay out. Totally dangerous. They should close it down."

You must be a horrible skier.

The "backside" at Eldora is amazing (when the snow is decent, which it was last weekend). I ski 60+ days per year, all over the western US and Eldora is one of my favorite places to ski. Parts of Salto glades remind me of Riva Ridge (Vail). Bryan Glades remind me of the frontside of Jackson Hole.

If you can ski the steep trees, Eldora's backside is a fine place to ski. You may hit a rock or two, but when it's that steep, it can't hold the snow anymore anyways.

$59.00 a day is HIGH. $49 would be a reasonable price.

gilpin_observer

1/16/2008 5:43:36 PM

Not the best mountain in the world,but good enough for a 20 minute drive.Try riding east coast.I'll take eldora anyday of the week.Good snow most of the time,in & out for morining/afternoon riding,& decent tree riding.Yes, it's cold & windy;but that keeps the cry babies away.(Surprised to see your a rider there Mondo!) Less wimps,means more open runs,more time on the slopes than the lift lines,& better turns in better snow.

Was there today,0 degress,no wind,fresh snow(wet,sticky,& heavy but good).You dress properly,you stay warm;Bottomline!

Eldora is no place for wimps

judah007 exit stage powder run

judah007@earthlink.net

1/16/2008 9:09:33 PM

How funny!

The Camera deleted posts that were critical of Lake Pandora. Way to go! Protect those advertisers!

mondoboulder

1/21/2008 1:17:45 PM

Vanessa Miller wrote it... what'd you expect?

Professional writing??????

poop@poop.com

1/25/2008 1:38:02 PM

I spent Thursday the 15th at Eldora, the day this article was published. There was little or no wind all day, and was pleasantly sunny while Boulder was in morning fog and clouds. The snow was packed but not icy; overall I'd say very nice ski day.

The trick with Eldora is to check conditions before you go up there, call the Resort, or check out their website--wind speeds are posted.

For me, driving the 22 miles from Boulder to Eldora really beats driving up 120+ miles rt on I70 on holiday weekends. At other times Eldora makes a great morning or afternoon ski break from work. I like it there.

fgd135

1/16/2009 7:49:16 PM