Visitation to Colorado ski areas topped 13 million for the first time ever in 2015-16 and Vail’s four Colorado resorts—including the two busiest in the nation, Vail and Breckenridge—hosted more than 5.6 million visitors last winter. So while driving the 75 miles from downtown Denver to the eastern side of Summit County should only take about 90 minutes or so, maybe an hour and 45 if you stop for coffee and pee break in Idaho Springs, heavy traffic has made the weekend ski trek much longer in recent years.
Suggestions of ski trains and toll roads have surfaced to quell the madness, but finally a real solution has been brought to the table: SNÖBAHN, America’s newest indoor ski zone without all the pesky snow. No lifts, no lines, no cold…no sun on your back, no wind in your hair, no powder on your boots. You’re finally free of it all.
No longer do skiers hoping to get a taste of the Rocky Mountains have to battle paddle the Subaru River to the mountains. Instead, for $40 you can carve your turns with the help of an instructor on the “soft nylon fiber carpet on a belt that revolves in a motion similar to a treadmill” while you stare at yourself in the large mirror at the bottom of the hill. No need for that selfie-stick, this is real time reflection.
SNÖBAHN, which opened for business in June and is backed by Bode Miller (planning for his future, maybe?), is also a great place to coddle your children—or your really pissy friend—thanks to a controlled, warm environment where there’s no need to hang tough or try more than moderately hard. According to the facility’s website, for those who would rather sit in the “lodge” while others “ski,” they can relax at SNÖBAR, a lounge with beer and wine, snacks and TVs because why the heck would you want to go outside and enjoy nature or try something new. There’s way too much traffic for that.