Cuchara Mountain Park, CO: The Reopening of this Hidden Gem

Dominic Gawel | | Industry NewsIndustry News
cuchara, colorado,
Cuchara Mountain Park after a fresh snowfall. Photo: Cuchara Mountain Park

Cuchara Mountain is nestled away in the beautiful Sangre de Cristo range of Southern Colorado, just 25 miles north of the border of New Mexico. Cuchara Mountain Resort first opened for the 1981/1982 ski season as Pandero Resort with five lifts and snowmaking. The resort operated on and off for the next twenty years under several different ownerships. In 2000, Cuchara shut down without reopening. In 2017, Huerfano County purchased 47 acres in the base area Cuchara Mountain Resort to operate as a public park with funds from the Cuchara Foundation. Since then, much of the base area has been refurbished.

cuchara, colorado,
Turns in fresh powder at Cuchara Mountain Resort. Photo: Cuchara Mountain Park

After Huerfano County purchased much of the base area, a Master Plan was developed to develop Cuchara Mountain Park into an economic driver for the valley. The master plan was released in 2018 and detailed a “long-range strategic plan to create an accessible and enjoyable year-round hub for recreation, education, entertainment, and social events that is financially responsible and ecologically friendly.” Some of these long term plans include a new day lodge, outdoor classroom, sledding, skiing, yurt camping, snowshoeing, and backcountry skiing. Cuchara plans to operate mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, mini-golf, scenic lift rides, and more in the summer. The Pandero Ski Corporation will operate Cuchara.

cuchara, colorado,
Cuchara Mountain Resort Trail Map. The ski area has a vertical drop of 1,562 feet. Photo: Cuchara Mountain Park

Cuchara has plans to implement this vision into a reality. They have four phases of implementation; currently, they are in Phase 1. Cuchara has increased its social media presence and has started refurbishing some of its lifts. Cuchara is hoping to get some of their smaller lifts and four trails operating this season. They have purchased snowcats to groom the terrain. In the next several years, they also hope to get snowcat skiing to the top of the mountain. On Facebook, you can follow Cuchara Mountain Park, the Cuchara Foundation, and the Panadero Ski Corporation.

Phase 1 (0-3 years):

Photo: Cuchara Master Plan
cuchara, colorado,
Photo: Cuchara Master Plan

Phase 2 (3-5 years):

Photo: Cuchara Master Plan
Photo: Cuchara Master Plan

Phase 3 (5-10 years):

Photo: Cuchara Master Plan
Photo: Cuchara Master Plan

Phase 4 (10+ years):

Photo: Cuchara Master Plan
Photo: Cuchara Master Plan

The owners of Cuchara plan on keeping the mountain affordable, simple, and quaint. Cuchara is not easy to get to, and they do not plan to become a destination resort but an economic driver for the valley. Currently, you will find skin tracks and powder turns on the runs of Cuchara Mountain Resort.

Photos:

cuchara, colorado,
Touring at Cuchara Mountain Park. Photo: Cuchara Mountain Park
Fresh Snow at Cuchara Mountain Park 12/02/2020. Photo: Cuchara Mountain Park
Summer at Cuchara Mountain Park. Photo: Cuchara Mountain Park

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