Cuchara Mountain Park
In today’s ski industry, mega resorts are buying up the little guys so quickly, it’s easy to forget that not long ago, most ski areas were small, individual businesses dedicated to the skier. But over the years, these mom-and-pop hills were bought by non-skiers who often ran the mountains out of business. At the same time, the forests services were less likely to grant access to land and snowfall became less dependable.
The result was many abandoned ski resorts across Colorado, one of which was Cuchara Mountain Resort in Spanish Peaks Country.
The ski area, then known as Panadero Resort, first opened for the 1981/1982 season. It operated on and off for the next two decades under many different owners. The resort had five lifts, snowmaking on the entire mountain, and averaged 22,000 visitors annually. A ski area Special Use Permit (SUP) allowed the resort to operate on surrounding National Forest System (NFS) land. The ski area last operated until the 1999/2000 season.
In 2002, the Forest Service terminated the ski area’s SUP, based on the limited snowfall and the ski area’s inability to draw enough visitors to be financially viable. The NFS land remained open to public use but the lower area, the base of the ski area, became private property closed to the public
In 2017, the Cuchara Foundation raised and donated $150,000 for Huerfano County to purchase 47 privately held acres at the base for use by all Huerfano residents as a county-owned park, now called, Cuchara Mountain Park, an environmentally sensitive facility that offers year-round opportunities for recreation, education, entertainment, special events and socializing, thus enhancing the welfare and enjoyment of its visitors and boosting the local economy.
Work being done to improve the park is always an ongoing process. In the summer of 2022, they plan to add a mountain biking section to the park starting with a small pump track for young beginners to learn and practice.
They will be holding the First Chair Festival & Fundraiser over July 4th weekend in 2022. This event is being held to raise funds for the final inspections and certifications of Lift 4 to get it running for the public. The Lift is running like new and once these inspections are completed, skiing will return as Lift 4 serves 7 runs for beginners and families.
Cuchara Mountain Park has, does, and will continue to improve and serve both visitors and the community. The goal is to provide excellent outdoor recreation that is accessible to all, set among the mountainous beauty of Huerfano County.
Get the Latest Updates
3 organizations come together to support the Cuchara Mountain Park. Find their information below and follow the on Facebook for the latest updates.
CUCHARA MOUNTAIN PARK
PANADERO SKI CORP
Recent Cuchara Mountain Park Press
Lost Colorado Ski Area’s Chairlift Could Reopen This Summer
Unofficial Networks | April 18, 2022
The Quest to Revive an Abandoned Colorado Ski Area: Cuchara Mountain Park
Snow Brains | April 20, 2022
Amid controversy, dream for chairlift at former southern colorado ski area persists
The Gazette | May 3, 2022
A new plan for Colorado’s Cuchara Mountain, but this time it’s not about skiing and condos
Durango Harold | January 3, 2022
Cuchara ski resort closed since 2001 but plans to reopen next season
KRDO TV | January 18, 2021
Could skiing return soon at abandoned resort in Colorado?
Out There Colorado | January 12, 2021
Small slopes with a big mission
KOAA News5 Southern Colorado | November 18, 2020
Skiing returning to Cuchara
Yahoo News | November 18, 2020
Check out Abandoned, a documentary about Colorado’s abandoned ski resorts.
Leave no Trace when you visit Cuchara Mountain Park, and help keep it open for decades to come. Whether you are visiting from far away or a long time local, learn more about how you can make a minimize your impacts and Care for Colorado.