Cuchara Ski Area in southern Colorado may re-open. Locals have joined together to form the Cuchara Valley Recreational Foundation in the hopes of reviving the former area, which closed a decade ago. Buildings have sat vacant and ski runs have grown over.
The group hopes Cuchara Mountain Resort becomes a four-season, recreational venue which will include a new hotel and conference center, new restaurant, and lake at the base area. That lake could be a reservoir for snowmaking. More fun includes a mountain coaster, zip line course, and tubing hill, along with year-round recreational programs and outdoor educational opportunities for kids and adults. The mountain also will offer a halfpipe during the winter along with cross-country skiing.
Bruce Cantrell is the primary investor working hard the past three years to get it to come together. He said over 200 people attended a recent public forum and no one was opposed. "They just want to know what is going on. They say as long as their taxes won't go up, they're all for it."
The cost for the recreational side of the development is expected to be $20 million. Construction would start immediately if bonds are issued in November or December as scheduled. Organizers would incorporate 300 condos and single-family homes to help finance the project. A later phase would include heli-skiing and biking trails on national forest land, assuming permits can be issued.
The project would bring 600 jobs to the area, which has one of the highest unemployment rates in Colorado. Organizers also hope to lure a development to build a 70-room hotel. Cantrell says they are very close in negotiations with two different groups to build the hotel.
Maybe Cuchara can become the new comeback kid in the Rockies. OnTheSnow.com will follow the story throughout the season.