2/13/23 Denver 7 News | The Cuchara comeback: Abandoned ski area in southern Colorado is closer than ever to a revival
Tucked along a curvy street in southern Colorado is a lost ski hill that will soon offer the promise of family-friendly skiing with less traffic than I-70, barely any lift lines and a daily pass under $50.
7/28/22 - Christmas in July; Commissioners donate to Panadero and golf course
WALSENBURG — It did seem a bit like Christmas in July as the Huerfano County Board of Commissioners appeared to be in the spirit of giving this week as they earmarked funds for improvements at the Walsenburg Golf Course and for Lift #4 work by Panadero Ski Corp. at Cuchara Mountain Park.
The two late-meeting votes saw unanimous support for the maintenance building construction project at the golf course and continued work on the ski lift at CMP. The board voted unanimously to make available $25,000 for the golf course to use in material purchases and $20,000 to Panadero for continued electrical work on Lift #4. The funds for the golf course project may come from American Rescue Plan funds and the board gave county administrator Carl Young discretion on which fund the donation for the ski lift will come from.
5/12/22 Featured on Cole's Climb Podcast
Panadero Ski Corporation and Cuchara Mountain Park were just featured on the Cole's Climb podcast! We discuss a brief history of skiing in Cuchara, the work to create Cuchara Mountain Park and rehab Lift 4, and the vision for what lift-served skiing will look like when it returns and how it fills a much needed niche that is lacking in the ski industry. Check it out HERE!
3/28/22 ****PROGRESS UPDATE****
Dear Friends and Valued Supporters,
With Huerfano County's most recent RFP process for a concessionaire ending in January, we have received many inquiries about the future of skiing and lift based activities at Cuchara Mountain Park. We would like to take this opportunity to share our progress, needs, and continued resolve to restore Lift 4 to public working order.
At this point in time, we feel great about our ability to get Lift 4 spinning with passengers again; however, though in excellent working condition, we face a series of costly inspections before the lift is approved for passengers.
Additionally, we will continue to work closely with Huerfano County to find a suitable concessionaire to help provide a sustainable, year-round attraction available to all residents of Huerfano County and visitors alike.
Completing the last few low voltage and control wiring connections at both the bottom and top of the lift.
Dendrite Engineering has been contracted by PSC to review all of the repairs that PSC volunteers performed on the lift. They will upgrade and document our operational, maintenance and safety procedures.
They are required to observe our conducting of a CPTSB mandated lift Load Test. This will require two visits by Dendrite at a cost of $16,500.
Volunteer training must be conducted on lift operations and equipment maintenance.
More ski trail & sledding boundary fencing & signage is required.
Finalize and install ski chair sponsorship signage.
Wildfire mitigation planning, trail maintenance, snow grooming and planning/training for ticketing and parking is required.
Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board (CPTSB) inspections. Requires two visits before certification at a total cost of over $11,000.
We must contract with an insurance carrier to operate the lift at an estimated cost of $24,000 per year.
Please continue to follow our progress on Facebook, Instagram, or via our website.
Thank you again,
Board of Directors, Panadero Ski Corp
3/28/2022 - Cuchara Mountain Park Trip Report from OpenSnow
Friend of the park and OpenSnow Meteorologist for New Mexico, Julien Ross, recently visited the park in mid-March to enjoy the big snowstorms. He wrote an excellent recap of his time here.
1/6/2022 - Panadero Ski Corp. Updates Progress on Ski Lift Restart
Panadero Ski Corp. (PSC), a 501c3 donor supported organization within the Cuchara Mountain Park (CMP) updates volunteer efforts to bring the ski lift back into service at the county park:
A team of PSC volunteers continued reconditioning and readying the ski lift for inspection and certification by the Colorado Passenger Tramway Safety Board (CPTSB). The large snow cat and smaller equipment used for snow and trail grooming required maintenance and the volunteers also made roof repairs to some of the large county-owned concrete buildings where equipment maintenance is performed. Lastly, members of the same small team of volunteers alongside the newly formed Huerfano Youth Conservation Corps. and a couple of County employees took care of daily maintenance, entrance gate repairs, grass cutting on the disc golf course, trail cutting & fire mitigation, fire wood gathering and splitting for the Day Lodge wood stove and performed sign maintenance.
PSC’s biggest accomplishment over the summer and fall months was the excavation and installation of the new 480 volt electrical service across the park to re-energize the ski lift. This was no small feat as the trench had to be 42” deep and several hundred feet in length. The wire costing several thousand dollars was donated by a neighbor who hauled it all the way up from his home in Amarillo, TX.
The ongoing generosity from neighbors and other generous donors that want to see year round lift-served activities keeps driving our team of volunteers on toward completion. Speaking of the monies to get this work completed, PSC has a little over $30K in our treasury. We have spent approximately $100K to date on the lift and snow cat. We require funding for a number of remaining tasks that are listed below totaling over $60,000, with contingency for the unforeseen. We require more money than we have and donation instructions appear below for those that want to help us get this across the finish line. Thank you.
Tasks remaining ahead of asking for CPTSB lift pre-inspection include:
Completion of the last few low voltage and control wiring connections at both the bottom and top of the lift. We have a volunteer from Westcliffe that has done much of this tedious rewiring. He is bringing a mechanic to help in the next two weeks from the Sunlight Ski Area near Glenwood Springs where he works on the same brand of lifts. Only cost to us is room and board while here and that has all been generously donated by Chris & Donna at their mountain based hostel and by the Dodgeton Creek Inn B&B (Mike Moore) and a big thank you to them!
We will have our second Outdoor Emergency Care & Lift Evacuation training session tentatively scheduled for SAT January 15th. This is an all-day training session starting at 8AM conducted by our certified National Ski Patrol Director. It is conducted for prospective PSC employees, lift operators, PSC volunteers and even those wishing to become ski patrol certified. If interested please contact Robin Johnson at 719.648.7672 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org . This is modest cost to PSC, room & board provided for instructor.
Dendrite Engineering has been contracted to review all of the repairs that the PSC volunteers performed on the lift. They will upgrade and document our operational, maintenance and safety procedures. They are required to observe our conducting of a CPTSB mandated lift Load Test. This will require two visits by Dendrite at a cost of $16,500.
We will need volunteers present on the day that we conduct the load test on the lift. During the test we place circa 370 lbs. on each chair up one side of lift. As there are 73 chairs we place that weight on 37 chairs, test the brakes on the lift then unload every other chair as we rotate the lift one complete revolution. While conducting the test we will place the cushions on each chair and also add donation recognition signs to each chair. Volunteers will be essential on that day. A separate request for volunteers from the public once we have a firm date.
Once we have agreed operational procedures employee and volunteer training must be conducted on lift operations and equipment maintenance. More on that as we get closer to certification day.
More ski trail & sledding boundary fencing & signage is required, wildfire mitigation planning, trail maintenance, snow grooming and planning/training for ticketing and parking is required. Cost in excess of $5,000.
Once all of these activities are accomplished we then schedule CPTSB inspection which requires two visits before certification at a total cost of over $11,000.
We then purchase insurance to operate the lift at an estimated cost of $24,000 per year.
We anticipate working through the winter completing the work outlined above and ahead of final inspection and certification. If we can get that accomplished before spring, the County agrees and, if there is adequate snow, then we would convey folks up the hill for winter fun.
Meanwhile, our volunteers will try to keep a sledding hill and cross country trails groomed for the public. Please come up to the park and enjoy!
Our sincere thanks to the many that have offered their help along the way and also their willingness to train and become involved once we return the lift to operation. There is room for more volunteers so if any of this interests you, please use our contact form.
In the meantime as our work continues, please donate to PSC as we have considerable expenses still ahead of us. If you are not already enjoying the CMP slopes for snow shoeing, back country skiing, sledding etc. do come give it a try. For now it’s all free, recreate at your own risk and enjoy! More to come in due course.
Donations may also be sent to:
Panadero Ski Corp. (a 501c3)
PO Box 983, La Veta, CO 81055