Eldora Mountain Resort is updating its master plan this spring and, so far, it seems like everyone wants something out of the ski area.
As part of the process with the U.S. Forest Service, Eldora has asked for suggestions. The resort hosted three open houses in February, and there's a public comment section on its Web site where anyone can write in to let management know what kind of changes they'd like to see at Boulder County's only ski resort.
"It's been very open, from what we've seen," said Mark Flolid, president of the Boulder Nordic Club. "I've sat in at one of their meetings, and they're listening to all sorts of things."
All kinds of comments have been streaming in from all kinds of recreational interests in Boulder.
Mike Barrow, a board member of Boulder Mountainbike Alliance, said he's been to the open houses and commented on the Web site to ask for downhill mountain biking at Eldora in the summer.
"Lift-assisted riding is something no one on this side of the (Continental) Divide provides," he said, "And all the stuff that goes along with it: full battle armor, 50 pound bikes -- bikes that you can't ride up a hill.
"People drive a long ways to get that kind of experience."
Barrow said he knows it's not simple -- the resort will need good economic reasons to offer that kind of amenity, as well as lift
"I would argue that we would shut down Keystone and Sol Vista if they did it," Barrow said. "If you had the same experience at Eldora that you would get at any other place, and you only had to drive two hours, and I-70 was not part of that equation -- I think the Denver metro area would flock to Eldora."
Concert-goers want to see summer events at Eldora, too, said resort spokesman Rob Linde, but most of the comments have been about snowsports. The snowboarders want more terrain parks, the Nordic skiers want more trails and everyone wants faster lifts, he said. But Linde has seen less mainstream requests, too -- uphill access, for example.
As director of the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Association, Pete Swenson promotes the Cosmic Ski Racing series and aims to get more ski areas offering randonee events. Often, he said, this starts with getting resorts to grant "uphill access" -- access for skiers with climbing skins who skin up the hill, sans lift.
"Uphill access would appeal to the fitness crowd, the randonee race crowd, and it helps intro people to skinning," Swenson said. "And Eldora being a half an hour away from the most active community in the nation, it's a great fit."
Swenson said he hopes for designated hours -- like before and after work, when the lifts aren't running -- and trails for these skiers. "It's managed uphill access."
Flolid, of the Nordic
"When it comes to Nordic, the master plan doesn't have much to do with Nordic," Flolid said, since much of the Nordic area isn't on Forest Service land. "But that doesn't stop us from saying something, because a lot of our members go up there to ski.
Eldora intends on sending an updated master plan to the Forest Service by the end of the month, Linde said. Nothing's been decided or promised yet, but also, nothing's off the table.
"That's what's nice about the process at this point," he said. "We want to hear from everyone."