I can recall the first time someone ever suggested that we go ski Eldora. I was a freshman in college and was visiting my roommate’s parents at their home nestled in the mountains of Nederland, Colorado. My college roommate’s dad, Bill, was sitting across the kitchen table excitedly explaining to us that Eldora was the place to be this upcoming ski season. At first, I was skeptical. Having just moved from California to Colorado for school, I was anxious to go explore some bigger mountains in the Rockies. With a max of 1600 feet of skiable vert from top to bottom and 680 acres of terrain, Eldora certainly isn’t the biggest resort in the state. My roommate, Ike, and I protested that Eldora was too small, stating that we would get bored skiing there after a single day. But, Bill (who had more years of skiing experience than Ike and I combined) insisted. It turns out, Bill was right. Ike and I chose to ignore Bill’s advice that year; and as a result, we spent the majority of our ski season sitting in notoriously heinous I-70 traffic trying to get to the bigger resorts. The next year, we ultimately relented and bought ourselves passes to Eldora.
That next season, Ike and I found ourselves driving from Fort Collins to Nederland nearly every weekend, and occasionally even cutting class to go ski when conditions were good. It’s true, Eldora is small. And if one is willing, every run at the resort can be skied in a day. However, Ike and I weren’t bored. The small size of the resort encouraged us to explore every nook and cranny. It encouraged us to ski more creatively and find new ways to challenge ourselves. Pretty soon, we knew the mountain like the back of our hand. And it didn’t take us long to feel at home skiing Eldora.
In a time where ski towns are becoming more and more corporate and ritzy, Nederland feels like a welcome breath of fresh air. There are no swanky retail stores or massive hotels. Instead, you’ll find a community of vibrant locals and small businesses. Nederland is eccentrically authentic. The main festival that occurs every year, known as Frozen Dead Guy Days, is a celebration inspired by a man who was cryogenically frozen and stored in the back of a local’s shed. If anything, this should give an indication that Nederland is unique in the best, most genuine way.
Ultimately, skiing Eldora made me realize that where you choose to ski should be based on much more than the size of a mountain. Perhaps it’s cliché, but it’s just the truth. With enough creativity, any bit of terrain can be fun, challenging, and leave you wanting to come back again for more. I love Eldora, Nederland, and the community that comes with it. And while I no longer reside in Colorado, Eldora will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Location: Nederland, CO
Nearest Major City: Boulder, CO
Vertical: 1600 feet
Top Elevation: 10,800
Base Elevation: 9,200
Skiable Acres: 680
- ~15% Beginner
- ~50% Intermediate
- ~35% Advanced