By Brian Metzler, Special to the Rocky
Published November 17, 2008 at 6 p.m.

We know that every report of snow in the high country has you itching to head up to the slopes. We also know you're thinking back on last year and have a few concerns about this year's season. Whether you're stuck in a rut or dreading the long waits in lines or the bad traffic, we have a gift for you. Actually, we're going to give you five. Five categories of five ways to do everything from beating the traffic to learning new skills. And, of course, in these tough economic times, we offer five ways to save money.

1. Telluride's Revelation Bowl
The most anticipated new ski/snowboard terrain in Colorado this winter is Telluride's Revelation Bowl ( Located directly off the back side for Gold Hill and Chair 14, the wide-open, 800-vertical-foot bowl offers steep pitches, breathtaking features (including a massive 2,000-foot rock wall across the valley) and the potential for deep snow. It's part of a 400-acre expansion at Telluride that began last December with hike-to access in Black Iron Bowl.

2. More new terrain
Crested Butte boasts 40 acres of new terrain off the Headwall lift in the Teocalli Bowl area, with expert runs known as Teo-2 and Teo-2.5. Aspen Highlands is opening 18 new acres in the Deep Temerity terrain it unveiled last year. Echo Mountain, near Evergreen, has enhanced its tree skiing and added more terrain park features, and Powderhorn is adding two new expert runs.

3. Camp Woodward at Copper Mountain
The first-ever skiing and riding training facility solely dedicated to learning and progressing new half pipe and terrain park tricks will debut at Copper Mountain ( in January. Copper has teamed up with Camp Woodward (known for its skateboard training camps) to create an innovative instructional center that includes an indoor facility with trampolines, foam pits and loads of equipment for onsite video analysis. All-day programs will be offered for $199 ($159 for season pass holders).

4. New chairlifts
A new eight-passenger lift at Winter Park won't take you to your favorite powder stash on the mountain, but it will help you get there faster. The latest accoutrement in the transformation of Winter Park (, the Village Cabriolet will shuttle 2,800 skiers and snowboarders per hour from the free parking lots at the Vintage hotel to the base of the resort's new village.

5. New lodging
The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, on the Eagle River below Beaver Creek, is arguably the most stunning of several new or refurnished lodging properties in ski country. Opened in September, it conveniently connects its visitors to the base of Beaver Creek via the Riverfront Express Gondola, and it has a 23,000-square-foot spa and fitness center.

1. Free skiing
Steamboat ski area ( has borrowed a gimmick from Crested Butte's old book of magic by offering free skiing and snowboarding to anyone who books at least three days of lodging between its opening day (slated for Nov. 26) and Christmas. Most resorts have stay-and-ski packages during the year that include "free" incentives at other times during the year, but none as long as Steamboat's deal. If you're an expert skier or rider who's willing to help bootpack snow Nov. 29-30 or Dec. 6-7, you can earn free skiing later in the season at Silverton Mountain (

2. Ski smaller resorts
Sure, the big resorts have season- pass deals, but if you do the math, you still might be paying more per day with a $400 season pass than you would if you ski places like Eldora, Arapahoe Basin, Sol Vista, Monarch, Sunlight and Ski Cooper. Those smaller resorts are generally $20 to $30 less per day for a lift ticket than their big brothers, and even cheaper still when you consider the price of rentals, food and lodging. For $10 you can get a Colorado Gems card (shopcolorado, which offers significant discounts at nine of the state's smallest resorts, including $38 single-day adult lift tickets at Loveland.

3. Carpool to the mountains
OK, so fuel prices have thankfully gone down in recent weeks, but the cost of a tank of unleaded still isn't cheap and it doesn't help anyone if we're all driving ourselves to the mountains. It was along those lines that Boulder's Glenn Lieberman started in 2002 and turned it into a non-profit two years ago. Simply plug in your preferences (where you want to ski, where you live, etc.) and you've got a pretty good shot at either finding a ride or finding someone to chip in a few bucks for gas.

4. Don't buy lunch
If you put a cheeseburger, fries, an apple and a soft drink on your cafeteria tray, the Andrew Jackson you pulled out of your pocket probably isn't going to cut it this winter. Carry lunch in a pack and eat on the chairlift or look for free apres ski eats (like the warm chocolate chip cookies at Beaver Creek or the assortment of appetizers at the Mountain Dragon in Snowmass).

5. Look for deals
Nobody is giving it away in the high country, but with the shaky economy and the fact that gear sales and reservations were down considerably in September and October, there are bound to be deals all winter. The more flexible you can be, the better off you'll be. Late November, early January and late March are usually chock full of deals. Become familiar with resort Web sites (that's where the deals are posted first) and sites like, and And don't forget, discounted single-day tickets are available at local grocery stores and some ski and snowboard shops.