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Two years ago Loveland Basin was just a place with a lot of snow and a couple of rope tows snuggled up against the east side of the Continental Divide.
Today, with over $500,000 spent in developing chair lifts, rope tows and 11 runs, it offers a weekend haven to ski enthusiasts in the Denver area. After piling the wife and kids into the family car, the ski fan heads out U.S. 6, and 57 miles later pulls into the parking lot at Loveland. Loveland has two double chair lifts, the newest of which opened last week. With a capacity of 800 an hour, this new lift brings skiers 5,700 feet up one side of the basin in a real Alpine snowfield. At an altitude of 12,000 feet there are no trees, just soft and gentle slopes where novices can tumble around without running into anything. Further down the slopes experts find powder skiing in the deep ravine among the trees. The older chair lift on the opposite side of the basin is used by those who want steep, tough and tricky runs on a par with the hair-raising stretches of Strawpile or Elevator Shaft at Aspen. Roy Parker, the area manager, can sometimes be persuaded to go along; and when not too busy teaching snow bunnies, Ski School Head Jack McTargnahan is good company too.
At day's end it is a 12-mile drive to Georgetown for a family dinner of smorgasbord or fried chicken at the Alpine Inn. Then, with the kids tucked away, parents and young people hike off to the Red Ram, a new night spot in town which features a rathskeller and Austrian food specialties.
SKIING ACROSS THE COUNTRY
UP—inches of snow on upper slopes and trails LO—inches of snow on lower slopes and trails CR—crowd last Saturday SN—inches of snow last week
Loveland Basin, Colo.: Skiing very good on packed snow, with powder on expert trails, for families and crowds of young racers. Women favoring tangerine and moss-green Bogner stretch pants. UP 18, LO 18, SN 0, CR 750.
Arapahoe Basin, Colo.: All lifts operating. Good hard-packed surface. Ski school teaching Schaeffler shortswing technique, and pupils learning fast. Air Force Academy has contracted for 500 lessons for cadets. UP 20-40, LO 20.
Alta, Utah: Mambo and Main Street runs best, all trails open and packed. Experts hitting back slopes where powder waist-deep. Booked solid. UP 48, LO 42, SN 0, CR 1,000.