So I went to the ski expo on Friday and had a pretty long conversation with the guy in the Echo booth. Turns out that after the racing in November, they are going to be open to the public full time. Not only that, they are going to have night skiing until 9PM T-F. Since I can take a minor detour on rt 103 (Squaw Pass rd) for night skiing after work, I decided to buy a 3 pack for $59. Not too shabby.
The guy working the booth was telling me that they own all the land down to Idaho Springs (Not forest service land), and were hoping to eventually expand to near the bottom Idaho Springs. Right now they are in the process of a land swap since the two major chunks of land they own are caddy cornered.
Seems like a really cool concept, but the first thing that pops in my head is that the elevation of Idaho Springs is ~7,500, close to the base elevation of Arrowhead at Beaver Creek. Idaho Springs gets less snow that the immediate surrounding areas due to Clear Creek Canyon blocking out the brunt of many storms, although since the rep said that would give them about 1,500 feet of vert they are probably not going all the way to the bottom. I've driven in the Springs and Squaw pass rd in some big storms, and Squaw Pass definitely gets more snow than the Springs. I have no idea how Echo would finance another lift either, but hey if Silverton can buy and install a lift for $20,000, anything is possible.
Curious to see what develops.