Colorado’s Cuchara Resort could awaken from long slumber

Posted By: The Ski Channel on August 18, 2010 7:01 pm

Cuchara Mountain Resort might no longer be the skiing ghost town that it has been since 2000. According to a report in the Denver Business Journal, a new recreation district has taken ownership of the former southern Colorado ski area.

The Huerfano County local government was scheduled to vote on the issue Wednesday. The commissioners must approve formation of the special district that will operate the resort. Bonds need to be issued for improvements to the ski area’s infrastructure that has been sitting idle for 10 years. Private contributions are also being sought to help reopen the resort. Organizers of this effort say the $14-million redevelopment plan will create 600 new jobs and include a hotel and conference center.

The past 10 years have seen various unsuccessful attempts to resurrect the 225-acre ski area. Even prior to its closing in 2000, the resort was forced to shut down during several stretches in its history due to financial and permit difficulties.

Originally opened as Panadero in 1981, Cuchara was the southernmost ski area in Colorado. With a summit elevation of 10,810 feet and a vertical drop of 1,600 feet, the ski area had three double chairlifts and a triple chairlift. Cuchara claimed an average annual natural snowfall of 200 inches with 74 percent of the area covered by snowmaking.