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SAM Magazine-Evergreen, Colo., Sept. 2, 2005-Thirty years after a small ski area called Squaw Pass closed its doors here, new owners are transforming the overgrown slopes into Echo Mountain Snowboard and Ski Park. For 2005-06, the park will have a triple chair, handle tow, 600 vertical feet, and 30 acres of terrain features, along with a new base lodge and service buildings. Snowmaking and lighting will cover 100 percent of the terrain. The area is located about 35 miles from Denver, about 45 minutes from the city center.

This $5-million creation may be the first built-from-scratch park in the U.S., and it will have several distinctive elements. Music will be played from speakers located throughout the area. Planet Snow Design will create the park features and manage the park staff. The area will survey its customers via what is already an active web site and forum to determine what types of bus transportation to provide. Even the design of the lodge is intended to appeal to the 12- to 29-year-old audience the area hopes to attract. Daily ticket prices will be in the $30 to $40 range, but owner Gerald "Jerry" Petitt promises that the ticket options will be as unique as the area itself, to reflect the needs and desires of its clientele.

The question is, when will it open? Workers began clearing trails in mid July; lift and snowmaking installations are currently in progress. Construction of the lodge and services buildings will begin shortly. Petitt and manager Doug Donovan warn that the late start on the project means that the area will have minimal services in its first season, which will begin as soon as the construction is complete-and that could be any time between Thanks giving and mid-January.

Plans for 2006-07 call for the addition of another 20 acres of terrain, including a Superpipe and beginner's pipe plus open and gladed slopes. \