Hidden Valley
(Ski Estes Park)
Dates of Operation: 1955 - 1991
Area Stats:
*Elevations: Top: 11,400 ft; Bottom: 9,400; Vertical: 2,000
*Trails: Beg. 30%; Int. 40%; Adv. 30%
*Average Snowfall: 156"
*Ticket Prices (1984): Adults $10; Children $6
Lifts: 2 T-bars, 2 Pomas, 1 double chair (operated 1971-1977, built by
Heron-Poma with a length of 5720', 1150' vertical, capacity of 1200 pph,
and a speed of 500 fpm, click
here for article on why it was removed)
*One T-bar was built by Doppelmayr and the other by Von Roll, while
the pomas were Poma.  The lifts were eventually sold to Vail Resort.  The
T-bars were never re-installed but the surface lifts were used as the
Wapiti and the Golden Peak surfaces (now removed).
*Capacity in 1984: 3,200 p/h
Facilities: 1 base lodge that contained a cafeteria, ski patrol room, and
History: Hidden Valley opened for business in 1955, but the area was
skied by area residents long before any lifts were installed.  The area was
run by the Estes Park Recreation District and backed by local businesses.
It was eventually bought by the Park Service with the intent to phase out
the ski operations.  They removed the double chair in 1977 on the fact
that it wasn't positioned correctly.  In 1991, the area closed for good and
has since undergone revegetation.  The lodge was in the process of being
torn down in 2002 and is probably now gone.
Trail Maps:
(Click for a larger view.)
Here are ads from Ski
Magazine: ^
Topographic Map:
Click for a larger view. $
Area Pictures:
(Thanks to the Colorado Ski Museum)
Click for larger views!
Brochures from the 1960's-70's
Area Pictures taken August of 2002: #
(Click for larger views.)
The run: Pine
The run: Valley Trail
Looking up at the upper mountain from the parking lot.
The Remainder of
the Base Lodge
The Parking Area
The Lower Ski Area
Have you ever skied at Hidden Valley?
If so,
contact us with your memories!

"I skied Hidden Valley quite a few times.  The shuttle bus run to the upper T-bar was quite a ride... The bus
driver would really get a run for it going up the hill from the flats.  The upper area was great, open and
steep.  The T-bar ride was quite long up that steep hill.  It had great snow on the upper runs."
"I grew up in Loveland, and learned to ski at Hidden Valley (That's what we always called it).  It was only a
30 minute drive and we were there nearly every weekend.  The bus ride to the upper portion was quite a
trip; I'm not sure the buses were ever quite roadworthy but seemed to work.  The upper area had some
great tree areas.  The T-bar would burn up your legs quickly.  And the run down to the bottom was always
fun.  My brother and I raced from the top to bottom countless times."
"I lived in the Fort Collins are in 1978 or 79 and my job afforded me the opportunity to ski some great
conditions up in Estes Park.  Anytime the nightly news called for snow I could have the next day off.  I
skied about 25 days and got sick pay!  I grew up on Cape Cod and my memory of the shuttle is that it was
the first time I ever heard the song 'Old Cape Cod Bay.'  I would have gotten in more days but I fractured
my fibula (had real hard plastic boots) bombing down the lower hill at the end of the day!  After learning to
ski in the east...Hidden Valley's soft snow and powder was addictive."
"My Mother skied at Hidden Valley SKi Resort from 1949 - 52.  She Introduced my dad to the world of
skiing there. Since then my dad became a long time member of the national ski patrol. my mom remembered
it as a very steep and challenging place to ski."
-Scott D.
"I learned to ski at Hidden Valley in the early 1970s when my family would drive from Dallas to spend the
Holidays in the cabins at the YMCA encampment.  My fondest memories include the annual battle with my
arch-nemesis, the T-bar, and being ferried down the mountain on the shoulders of my ski instructor needing
to pee urgently.  That was one brave guy."
-Andrew C.
I was raised in Estes Park and used to ski at Hidden Valley in the 1970s. While I was in high school, used
to ski there every weekend (and sometimes during weekdays while I was supposed to be in
school).  Each year I bought a student season pass for about $75.  The Estes Park schools used to host ski
days for all the students several times each year.  We would all load up on buses and go to Hidden Valley
where we would have competitions and a dance at the lodge in the evening.  The weather on the upper area
could be severe, and I once got my nose frost-bitten by the wind up there.  Having learned to ski at Hidden
Valley, where conditions were very rugged and ungroomed much of the time, I found that I could easily ski
at any other area in the state.  I was saddened when the National Park Service closed Hidden Valley, but I
have many wonderful memories of good times there.
-Brad S.
"Hidden Valley was a fun ski experience.  The upper bowl was as good an off-piste area as any in the state.
 The bus ride was a blast.  It is a true shame that the area is gone. "
-David S.
"My family is from Estes Park and Hidden Valley is where my grandfather, parents and I all learned to ski
when we were children.  My Grandfather worked for the Park Service and was the Manager of Hidden
Valley (for the Park, this had nothing to do with operation of the resort) in the 60's and 70's.  I started
skiing there in the 80's when I was eleven and continued until it closed while I was in college.  I was
lucky enough to ski it on the final weekend. I was part of the Estes Park Ski Team in the eighties and had a
fantastic experience "growing up" at Hidden Valley!

My favorite two things about Hidden Valley: 1) You could ski almost type of condition on any given day
and 2) The lift tickets were so cheap you didn't feel guilty if you decided to stop skiing before noon.

Thank you for having these pictures to bring back the memories!"
"Just got back from the old Hidden Valley ski resort and you can pay 15 dollars a car to get threw the toll
and its a popular sledding hill now the lodge was torn down and a new warming hut and bathrooms were
built its a shame its gone now we hiked threw out it and its very big area."
-Steven D.
I grew up skiing at Hidden Valley/Hidden Rock during the 80's.  We would be there every weekend just
our group schoolmates.  The memories are too long to list and our bus driver Steve who later became
our milk man, gave us kids the best rides of our lives!!  Long live Big Basin hikes!!  Thanks to Hidden
Valley I could ski anywhere, which landed me in Steamboat.
-Jason E.
"I skied Hidden Valley with a church group from Oklahoma in the late 70's. We stayed at the YMCA of
the Rockies. The first day we skied there, the conditions were awful. But it started snowing that afternoon
and didn't let up for 48 hours. The powder on the upper mountain was 4 to 5 feet deep. It was an
incredible feeling, just floating down the mountain. I'll never forget Hidden Valley Ski Area."
-Curtis M.
I skied Hidden Valley in the mid 1980's.  Living in Fort Collins then it was the closest ski area to town.  I
really enjoyed the skiing and the people there.  The upper mountain was the best!  

"I remember one time riding the upper mountain T-bar and as I neared the top a huge heard of elk was
crossing the ridge in front of me.  When the area closed for the season we would climb up and continue to
ski as long as there was any snow. I just was viewing the area using Google Earth and the memories came
flooding back. I'm glad to have had the chance to ski with all the other folks who also loved Hidden Valley!"
-Steve H.
"I skied HIDDEN VALLEY above Estes Park, too. Longest rope tow I remember riding. You could rent a
gripper to make holding on easier and preserve your mittens. One time I broke the last several inches off of
one ski on rocks at top of lift. I didn't even know those inches were missing till I took my skis off later.
What does that tell you about my skiing?! My skis were 6'9" wooden, and I was only 5'6" -- customs
-Peggy S.

"I lived in Cheyenne in the late 70s and early 80s. I have many happy memories of driving the Poudre
Canyon, taking my kids to ski at Hidden valley and enjoying a restaurant at Estes Park."
-J. Brown

"I am a Fort Collins native and spent many a Saturday and Sunday at Hidden Valley.  Way back in the 50's
my Dad and uncle were the doctors up there.  The Drift (the upper area) was truly great skiing.  
If you could ski Hidden Valley, you could ski literally anywhere in the world.  The snow conditions up there
could range from blissful powder to drifted, wind-blown hard-pack that could break your ankle if you ever
got it caught in the ruts that looked like frozen waves.  My Dad would wake me early and let me sleep in
the car on the way up from Fort Collins.  He always new when I was going to come down at the end of the
day because he would see the lifts close, then see the skiers come down, then the patrol, then me with the
last two or three patrol.  The terrain there was so much fun.  Names like the Windows, the Camel Backs
and the Waterfall were all unbelievable.  Thanks for the great trip down memory lane.  Hidden Valley was
what skiing should be.  Close, great snow, relaxed atmosphere and affordable."

"My dad swears I skied Hidden Valley before it closed, but I vaguely remember it. However, I just skied
the upper Valley, above the road, this weekend (Memorial Day 2007). When Trail Ridge Road opens
each Memorial Day, I have someone drop me off near Hanging Canyon and hike over the ridge above
Hidden Valley. The upper bowl is above timber line and great skiing usually into June. I highly recommend
-Todd R.

"I grew up skiing Hidden Valley every weekend all winter long.  We rode a bus from Estes Park to the ski
area.  This was my parents way of getting rid of us so they could work all weekend!  We loved it though.  
Best memory would be skiing in the trees from "upper" to "lower" Hidden Valley.  Worst memory would be
the awful wind that could blow at "upper".  I nearly froze many times.  The equipment at that time
wasn't much for keeping anyone warm. I ended up skiing on the CSU Ski team
and continue my skiing adventures today."
Copyright © coloradoskihistory.com
All Rights Reserved.

* Thanks to Scott B.
# Pictures thanks to Brad C.
^ Picture thanks to Cameron H.
$ Thanks to google earth