As the summer season is drawing upon us, it’s high time for ski fans to rejoice. What could be more exciting than heading to the mountains in the summer to ski down the steep slopes?
While we can’t get rid of the thought that summer and skiing don’t always go together, there are indeed some glorious spots where one can have a blast this summer and enjoy skiing in the winter. One of them is Granite Peak Ski Area in Colorado, which opened for the season on June 1st and has been getting rave reviews ever since.
Granite Peak is the latest addition to the Arapahoe Basin ski resort, which is located in the heart of the Rockies. This mountain is smaller than the other two in the area, and it’s significantly cheaper (one-day pass: $46; three-day pass: $105).
With fewer passengers, the chairlift provides for a more intimate experience on the mountain. When it comes to the restaurant at Granite Peak, there are only a few options: Hiker Grill, which is open for lunch and dinner; Peak 8 Café, which is open for lunch and snacks; and the Summit Cafe, which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can find more information about the resort’s restaurants at granitepakhiker.com.
An Overview Of The Resort
Let’s take a look at the resort from the point of view of a first-time visitor. Where should one go if one wants to explore the mountain? The best way to get an overview of the area is to look at the map provided by the resort. It’s highly recommended to click on it and print it out. With a bit of direction, one can find their way to the nearest elevator, which will take them straight to the summit (3,096 meters high). The last stop of the lift is named Crystal Mountain and features a beginner trail and a cross-country track.
When reaching the top, the first building that will catch one’s attention is the lodge, which serves as the summit hotel. There’s also a restaurant and a bar here. If one is not feeling too welcoming, they can always stay at one of the resort’s cabins. Each one has a kitchen, a private bathroom, a living area, and a view of the mountainside.
Another option is to take the gondola down to Squaw Peak for a change of scenery. The ride takes just over five minutes, and it’s a great way to witness the mountain from a different perspective. One of the best viewing points on Squaw Peak is the top of the lift, which is located at the peak’s western entrance. The ski area also features the Mountain Village, a huge hub for skiers and snowboarders, where many trails and ski mountains meet. The village is basically a collection of shops, restaurants, cafés, bars, and hotels. It also features the newly constructed Ski Wreath, which marks the end of the main ski run. Located in front of the village, one can find the Arrabelle Trail, named after the sport’s first professional skier. This 14-kilometer trail starts at the village’s elevator and heads north to Arrabelle Mountain. Arrabelle is one of the highest peaks in the area (3,450 meters high), and from there, one can have a panoramic view of the valleys and mountains. It’s a great place to end the day after a hard day on the trail.
Besides the aforementioned Summit Cafe and lodge (equipped with a restaurant and a bar), Granite Peak provides for a breathtaking view of the area from multiple angles. The elevator ride to the summit provides insight into the massive rock formations that powr the area with green hues. There’s also a good selection of lifts and trails, which makes for an ideal ski resort. One can have a full mountain view from the top of the Schweitzer Chair lift. This 12-person lift takes you to a plateau (2,718 meters high), where you can take in the spectacular peak fog and feel the fragrance of fresh pine in the air.
Located at the Schweitzer Chair lift’s base is the North Summit Squeeze (a 5.7 km long double black diamond run), which takes you to a plateau. From there, one can head to either one of the Four Seasons Ski lifts or the Apres Ski Zone. You can’t miss these two areas; they are connected by a covered bridge. The four seasons area features mostly blue trails, and it’s a great place to explore after a long day on the mountain. The apres ski zone is the place where you can get a beer or a cocktail after your ski biking ride (a biker bar is located in the apres ski zone). This optional area is connected to the main village via a road that leads to the top of the mountain. This is the last lift you will need to buy a ticket for, as it takes you to the gateway to the summit and back again for free.
Where To Stay
The best place to stay at Granite Peak is the Main Lodge, as it offers the best of both worlds: the hospitality of a traditional hotel and the privacy of a campground.
Campers are also available at the main lodge, as well as at Arrabelle Mountain, Squaw Peak, and Arapahoe Basin (all of which are just minutes away from the lodge). The lodge features a restaurant and a bar, and it’s the perfect place to call home after a long day on the mountain. Furthermore, it is the only building in the area that provides direct access to the Internet via wired (cabled) connection.