Loveland Ski Area

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Loveland Ski Area
View from above the Eisenhower Tunnel
View from above the Eisenhower Tunnel
Location Arapahoe National Forest
Clear Creek County,
Colorado, U.S.
Nearest city Silver Plume, 10 miles
Coordinates 39°40′48″N 105°53′49″W / 39.680°N 105.897°W / 39.680; -105.897Coordinates: 39°40′48″N 105°53′49″W / 39.680°N 105.897°W / 39.680; -105.897
Vertical   2,210 ft (674 m) (Basin)
     850 ft (259 m) (Valley)
Top elevation 13,010 ft (3,965 m) (Basin)
11,250 ft (3,429 m) (Valley)
Base elevation 10,800 ft (3,292 m) (Basin)
10,400 ft (3,170 m) (Valley)
Skiable area 1,800 acres (7.3 km2)
Runs 93 total
Ski trail rating symbol-green circle.svg - 13% beginner
Ski trail rating symbol-blue square.svg - 41% intermediate
Ski trail rating symbol-black diamond.svg - 46% advanced/expert
Longest run 2 miles (3 km)
Lift system 10 total
- 3 quad chairs
- 4 triple chairs
- 2 double chairs
- 2 surface lifts
Lift capacity 14,293 / hour
Terrain parks 1 - Love Park
Snowfall 422 inches (1,070 cm)
Snowmaking 160 acres (0.65 km2)
Night skiing none
LovelandSki Area is located in United States
LovelandSki Area
Ski Area
Location in the United States
LovelandSki Area is located in Colorado
LovelandSki Area
Ski Area
location in Colorado
View of the ridge
above Loveland Ski Area.
The view from a lift
at the Loveland Ski Area.

The Loveland Ski Area is in the western United States, located near the town of Georgetown, Colorado. Adjacent to the Continental Divide and Interstate 70, Loveland is within the Arapahoe National Forest. It is one of the closest ski areas to the Denver metropolitan area and Front Range corridor, making it popular with locals.[1]

The company is operated by Virginia Lee Upham of Mineral Wells, Texas, widow of previous owner Chet Upham.


The Loveland Ski Area is the combination of the Loveland Basin and Loveland Valley ski areas. The two areas, formerly connected by a double chairlift, are now served by bus. The area is one of Colorado’s highest ski areas with a summit of 13,010 ft (3,965 m) and the second highest lift-served areas in North America at 12,697 ft (3,870 m). The ski area takes its name from adjacent Loveland Pass, which separates it from the nearby Arapahoe Basin ski area, on the west side of the Divide via U.S. Route 6.

The ski area is situated on the east side of the Eisenhower Tunnel, through which I-70 crosses the Continental Divide. Because of its lofty elevation, Loveland is typically one of the first ski areas to open; the earliest opening record on October 7, 2009. It also has the most "first" victories (five and one tie) in recent years.[2] It is generally regarded as the closest major ski area open to the Denver market. Due to its lack of on-site lodging, Loveland often has shorter lift lines and less-expensive lift tickets, particularly midweek.

Loveland Basin Ski Area[edit]

The Basin is the larger of the two areas that compose Loveland Ski Area. It features a vertical drop of 2,210 feet (674 m), a base of 10,800 feet (3,292 m) and a summit of 13,010 feet (3,965 m). The Basin is home to 7 of the 10 lifts and 85% of the 1,800 skiable acres. Another feature of the Basin is the vast terrain above the timberline.[3]

The Basin is the home to the main lodge of the area as well. Facilities at the lodge consist of the ticket tower, a rental and repair shop, lockers, a retail area, ski patrol, a nursery, and administrative offices. The retail sport shop has been awarded the Gold Medal Shop Award by SKI Magazine ranking it as one of the top 60 shops in North America.

The Ridge @ Loveland is the lift served area off chair 9 at an elevation of 12,697 feet (3,870 m) and is hikeable to the summit at 13,010 feet (3,965 m). It features almost entirely Black and Double Black runs. It also has 360 degree vistas that stretch across and beyond the Continental Divide.

Loveland Basin also has a Terrain park named Love Park. It is situated along the Tempest run off of the #1 lift. The Park has terrain for everyone from beginners to advanced riders and includes Rails, Funboxes, Tabletop jumps, Kickers. The Park occasionally hosts competitions like the Vert Alert and the Rail Jams.

Loveland Valley Ski Area[edit]

The Valley is geared toward beginners at Loveland. It has two chair lifts, Chair 3, which serves its intermediate and racing runs, and Chair 7, which exclusively serves its beginner slopes, All Smiles and Take Off. Generally, its slopes are gentler which suits itself well to be the home of Loveland’s Ski and Ride School.

Loveland Valley has a lodge building that consists of a cafeteria, bar, the Ski and Ride School office, a ticket office, a rental shop, lockers, hygiene services and a retail area.

Loveland Race Club is also located within the Valley. The Club practices and races at the upper end of the Valley’s Switchback Trail. Practices are held every afternoon and races are held on the weekend. The Club also has a lodge just below the base of Chair 3.[4]

There is a big race that happens at Loveland Valley every year called the Loveland Derby that is put on by the Loveland Race Club.

Ski patrol[edit]

Loveland has a combination volunteer and paid patrol that services the mountain and leads the way for other volunteer patrols with their extensive camaraderie. It is one of the few patrols in the Rocky Mountain Division that has an active young adult program, who share the same responsibilities as their adult compatriots.[citation needed]


Loveland was first opened as a ski area in 1936 by J.C. Blickensderfer. Mr. Blickensderfer installed a portable tow rope in what is now Loveland Basin. The following year, operations were taken over by Al Bennett who used a modified Model T to power the tow. In 1941 the area was named Loveland Ski Tow Inc. and through the 40’s the area grew to boast 4 tows.

Many changes occurred during the 1950s and 1960s which made the Ski area much more accessible. In 1955, Loveland Ski Tow Inc. was purchased by stockholders and Pete Seibert, the future co-founder of the Vail Ski Resort, was hired as General Manager. Loveland's first chairlift, Chair 1, opened in 1955. Chair 2 was added in 1957, as was the Mambo Café, which was situated near the base of what is now Chair 4. Chairs 3 and 4 were also constructed during the 1960s. Loveland saw the construction of the Eisenhower Tunnel beginning in 1968, with tunnel openings in 1973 and 1979. The owner Upham and Loveland general manager Otto Werlin conceived the idea of artificial snow from observing the pumps and compressors being used to dig the nearby Tunnel.

The 1980s and 1990s brought about several upgrades to existing equipment. In 1984, snow-making capabilities were installed. In 1985 the #2 Chair was upgraded to a high capacity Lift Engineering Yan triple. The late 80's also saw the construction of expanded lodge facilities at the Valley area. The #8 Chair, a fixed grip quad, was installed to access intermediate and advanced terrain in 1990. In 1995 the Basin’s lodge was remodeled and expanded. Lift #3 was replaced in 1996 with a Poma High Capacity Quad. 1998 saw the installation of Lift #9 which provided access, one of the highest chairlifts in the world, to "The Ridge".[5][6]

In 2011, #4 Chair was torn down and replaced with a Leitner-Poma 250 Alpha 80 Fixed Triple Chair.[7] In 2014, A book was released to document the history. The 2013 Master plan was in the back inside cover, which includes a replacement Chair 5 and expanded terrain, And 2 new lifts, Lifts 10 and 11, as well as a Surface lift on the Ridge. In June 2015, Chair 2 (YAN, 1984) had its lift line and chairs removed. The original chairlift will go up to lift 6 and drop off. The Newer Upper section is a refurbished YAN lift (original location unknown) which will serve The Bennett's bowl and Ptarmigin Roost at the top.

Proposed Olympic venue[edit]

When the International Olympic Committee awarded the 1976 Winter Olympics to Denver in May 1970, the local organizers' proposal included the development of Mount Sniktau as the primary venue for alpine ski racing for downhill and giant slalom, with slalom at Loveland Ski Area.[8][9] By early 1972, it was decided to move the alpine events to Vail because the proposals did not meet the Olympic standards.[10][11] After the Colorado voters, in November, rejected public funding for the Olympics, it was relocated to Innsbruck, Austria.[10]

Plane crash[edit]

On a clear Friday afternoon in early October 1970, a chartered airplane carrying half of the Wichita State University football team crashed just northeast of the ski area. A total of forty were on board and only nine survived; the cause was attributed to several pilot errors. First responders were motorists (I-70/US-6) and construction workers at the Eisenhower Tunnel.


  1. ^ Davis, Joyzelle (31 December 2007). "I-70 shutdown takes toll on ski areas". Rocky Mountain News. 
  2. ^ Hendrick, Thomas (21 October 2012). "Loveland Ski Area to open Tuesday". ABC 7News. Denver, Colorado, USA: Scripps TV Station Group. 
  3. ^ "Loveland Ski Area Mountain Stats". 2014. 
  4. ^ Loveland Racing Club
  5. ^ Colorado Ski History
  6. ^ Loveland Ski Patrol History
  7. ^ "Loveland Ski Area". 2011. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  8. ^ Rapaport, Roger (February 15, 1971). "Olympian snafu at Sniktau". Sports Illustrated: 60. 
  9. ^ "The Denver That Never Was: 1976 Winter Olympic Games". Denver Public Library. August 2013. Retrieved December 27, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "Denver Defers the 1976 Games" (PDF). Ski p. 2. Retrieved 12 May 2014. ...1976 Winter Games, they were originally awarded to Denver. 
  11. ^ "Olympic notes: Appeal on Schranz rejected". Pittsburgh Press. UPI. February 1, 1972. p. 30. 

External links[edit]