Oct 28, 2010 8:47 PM by David Ortiviz
Big plans for the Cuchara Mountain Resort in Huerfano County. A couple has bought the old ski resort south of La Veta, with plans to turn it into a year-round destination. Several ski ventures have failed in the past, in fact the resort has been closed the past decade--however, the new owners are optimistic about it's future.
The new owner, Bruce Cantrell and his wife want to turn the Cuchara Mountain Resort into a four-seasons destination. Skiing and snow tubing on 70 acres of private land--and year-round imagine riding down the slope on a 1200 ft long zip-line. "They let you go at the top and let you free fall down the cable," said Cantrell.
Cantrell also plans to build a mountain coaster. "You come down doing circles, going through trees," said Cantrell.
Additionally, old buildings on the property will demolished or renovated into space for a restaurant and a 72-bed hotel. The cost for the improvements in the recreation area totals $14 million.
Also included in the master plan, an additional $6 million to build reservoirs for future snow making operations. Plus, $10 million for real estate development.
Cantrell's business plan details a complicated string of funding sources including bonds, loans, grants, private investments and his own money. "My wife and myself purchased this so we could eventually deed this over to the operating group," said Cantrell.
Cantrell says eventually he'll sell the recreation area to Cuchara Valley Recreational Foundation, a recently founded non-profit which is working to lift up tourism and economic activity in the area. "This is a community venture. This is a venture to bring the people of Walsenburg, La Veta and Cuchara together to create jobs," said Cantrell.
Some hurdles lie ahead for the resort. Ski operations have failed four times since the 80s. Also, the U.S. Forest Service would have to agree to allow skiing on adjacent land. However, Cantrell believes this time, with local support, the resort will succeed. "It can't fail I won't allow it to fail," said Cantrell.
The resort is scheduled to open in the summer of 2011.