The biggest news this year for Front Range skiers came when there was nary a snowflake in sight, with the announcement in June that Boulder County's own backyard winter playground had been sold.
Eldora Mountain Resort, located just 21 miles west of Boulder and the University of Colorado was snapped up in June by Powdr, the Utah-based chain that also owns Copper Mountain and seven other resorts from Vermont to California, including Killington in central Vermont and Mount Bachelor near Bend, Ore.
The most dramatic changes to Eldora, which still harbors numerous plans for expansion and improvement, will not be seen overnight or be in evidence when skiers show up for its scheduled Nov. 18 season opening.
But resort brass assure those ready to get down to doing some serious shredding that any coming changes at Eldora will all be to the good — and will only enhance the unique character of the resort beloved by those who don't want to start their powder day on Interstate 70.
"When you compare the cost of skiing in Colorado to other places in the country, east to west, you can't find better value for the quality of mountain experience — snow and price," said JP Chevalier, marketing and skier services director at Eldora.
Chevalier is bullish on where Powdr — the new company, not the white stuff — can lead Eldora.
"When you look at Powdr resorts, they are an adventure lifestyle company that is all about action sports, and so there will be changes to our features and how we do things out on the hill," Chevalier said. "At the end of the day, Powdr is very much a company that wants Eldora to be the brand that it needs to be, and allow us to shape into the direction that matches our consumer demands and interests as best as possible."
Chevalier notes that any pass prices that a skier hears about in August are subject to change and very likely will as the weeks go by, noting, "The later you wait, expect to pay a little bit more."
For now, Chevalier is touting the Eldora Super Value Season Pass on sale for a limited times at $289, which carries some blackout days and is good for Eldora only. But college students need to save wherever they can to afford those late-night munchies, so Eldora will make it easy on them, at a cool $189, with no blackouts.
Looking beyond Eldora, there's plenty of terrain to cover, and you'll have to part with more of your beer money.
Rocky Mountain Super Pass, Super Pass Plus
A steeper investment would be the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus. At $589, that provides unlimited access to Eldora, Winter Park and Copper Mountain, as well as six days at Steamboat Springs and three at Crested Butte.
You may well be wondering if there are student rates available on these and other passes. The answer is yes. As of the end of July, the advertised college rate on the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus was $459.
The Rocky Mountain Super Pass, with unlimited access to Winter Park and Copper Mountain, goes for $509, but to college students is just $419.
For those with expansive ski horizons, Epic Passes rule the day. Cutting to the chase, here's the breakdown.
Epic Pass: For $809 you get unlimited access to Colorado resorts Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin plus out-of-state destinations Park City, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Wilmot, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, Perisher as well as international resorts that will be announced as they are confirmed.
College Epic Local Pass: Full-time student status (proof of 12 credits required) and $559 gets you unlimited skiing at Breckenridge, Keystone, Afton Alps, Mt. Brighton, Wilmot and Arapahoe Basin, with limited holiday restrictions at Park City, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood. It also includes a total of 10 days at Vail and Beaver Creek, with holiday restrictions.
College Summit Value Pass
This gives unlimited, unrestricted skiing or riding at popular nearby resorts Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, plus limited holiday restrictions at Breckenridge, for $419 and evidence of those same 12 college credits
The M.A.X. Pass
This bad boy gets you five days at 32 resorts across North America, including three of Colorado's finest: Copper Mountain, Winter Park and Steamboat Springs. The pass is $649 for those 18 to 69 through Oct. 11, and $39 for children 5 and under.
Route 40 Pass
Two world-class resorts, Winter Park and Steamboat, are linked on this pass, named for the stretch of highway connecting the two. It provides unlimited ski/ride days with a Winter Park season pass, plus four days at Steamboat. That's available for an adult rate of $489, knocked down to $399 for college students.
Colorado has plenty more to offer skiers and boarders, as far south as Wolf Creek and all the way to Telluride in the southwest. Consult websites for your resort of choice for the most up-to-date pass information available, and know that the prices — just like the weather — are subject to change.
Charlie Brennan: twitter.com/chasbrennan