lake city skill hill

Hey, listen up.

It's not always about crazy progress. Things don't necessarily need to be newer, faster, and re-upholstered.

This is because it is fun to be able to time travel.

My preferred time travel mechanism is the T-Bar lift at Lake City Ski Hill.

Lake City is not exactly known as THE place to ski in Colorado. Backcountry skiers could disagree with me. They don't need the help of machinery to pull them to the top of the hill, like the rest of us do. 

Lake City is a good place for kids to learn, or for those of us that are a little worn out with wild boar being served at ski resorts.

I've never been anywhere quite like it. From what I hear, it's like a lot of little ski areas where people in the midwest grew up learned to ski.

It's small. No fuss. No fluff.

Admission: $10

Lift: 1 Poma lift

To buy a lift ticket, you walk into the rustic shack where the smoke seeps out of the chimney into the cold Colorado sky. It doesn't look like like much from the outside. 

Inside, there is no insulation, just the bare plywood protecting skiers and snowboarders from the elements. The rafters of the building store boots and skis from the late 90's, early 00's when parabolic skis were oh-so-cool.

It is the coziest place, perhaps on planet earth, because of the wood stove centered in the room. Metal folding chairs and a couple of vinyl booths surround the room, perfect for humans to sit on and buckle their boots. Tinsel hangs on the windows from holidays gone by. To me, it feels like childhood in there. 

It is the best way I know to ski in 1995 again.

If only they played some good R&B from this decade on a boombox.


The prices are not inflated here. Bring your sack of quarters. Hot chocolate costs 75 cents and includes the freeze dried marshmallows. I think they also have some fresh marshmallows to double down. This may be unpopular to say but aren't astronaut grade marshmallows better tasting, longer lasting, than the jet puffed variety?

The last time I was at LCSH, it was Betty Lou's (one of three that work at the hill) last day. She labored at this 247 vertical feet family ski hill for many years, helping all the kids trade in for bigger boots and longer skis. She hosted them after school in this hut in the middle of Hinsdale County, near the revered cannibalist Alfred Packerd's massacre site. We will save that interesting story for another day. Need something to look forward to. But the important part is that Betty Lou is one of those people that warm you up like a good cup of Swiss Miss hot cocoa.

This place is magic, at least to me. The three workers at Lake City Ski Hill think that Crested Butte is a cosmopolitan destination, calling our 1500 person town "a zoo" and "the BIG city." Our tattered ski clothes, hot from the winter 2014 collection is too fancy here. They don't need any of that. The skiers of Lake City are perfectly happy in this corner of the San Juans, with their couple of ski runs, slow tow rope lift, outhouse bathroom, and their decades' old jackets.

So as snow falls an inch here and not there in Crested Butte, I don't have a lot of enthusiasm for my home ski mountain. I am not enticed by its many lifts, bars, or terrain parks.

But I am longing for a certain place, a place that has stayed the same, a place that has withstood the test of time.

In my cell phone, I have their contact saved as Lake City Ski Hill. I don't know who does the responding. To find out if they are open, I text them.

They respond promptly, "Not yet, need about a 6" dump."