Echo Mountain to Become Ski Training Center
Located west of Denver, the Echo Mountain ski area was recently sold at an auction to a company that plans to turn it into a ski training center. The new owner of the ski area is Pykkonen Capital LLC and the motivating factor behind the purchase was to provide a place primarily for school-aged young people to develop their competitive skiing skills. The resort will become the new home for the Front Range Ski Club, with changes being put in place as early as November to be ready for the upcoming ski season. Echo Mountain had a decent amount of snow in the past skiing season unlike some North American resorts, and the fact that it lies entirely on private land will give the new owners free rein to make changes to suit their needs.
In a published interview, Nora Pykkonen revealed that she had been considering moving her family to Vail to give her children more time on the snow. That idea was discarded in favor of buying the 226-acre Echo Mountain ski area and turning it into a place where her children could spend as much time as they needed to develop their skiing skills – and there will be top-tier coaches on hand to train them and other keen young skiers, including World Cup skiers Petter Brenna, Sarah Schleper-Gaxiola, Mike Farny and Patrik Järbyn.
Echo Mountain will be set up with stations focusing on specific skills, such as jump starts and sliding. On the completion of their run, skiers will have the opportunity to review their form on video, taking note of where there is room for improvement. Surface lifts will speedily take skiers to their starting points ensuring that every moment counts while training.
Pykkonen reportedly plans on investing $5 million in Echo Mountain in the coming seasons, with the possibility of developing beyond the current 80 acres of skiable terrain to deliver up to 1,500 vertical feet of skiing. Other plans include building a Super G course and a mogul lane, as well as a new restaurant. Snowmaking guns will supplement snowfall where necessary, and a shuttle system is envisioned to assist students across the metro area to get to the slopes.
Previous owner of Echo Mountain, Jerry Pettit, noted that this new development will be an interesting opportunity for young skiers and he hoped in the future to hear of an Olympic skier coming out of Echo Mountain.