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SAM Magazine—Windsor, Colo., Sept. 18, 2023—With plans to open by Thanksgiving, 12-acre Hoedown Hill will become Colorado’s newest skiing, snow tubing, and sledding area. The project is the dream of Martin Lind, a third-generation Windsor resident and owner of real estate development firm The Water Valley Company. Hoedown 3

Hoedown Hill is located at RainDance National, a golf resort that’s part of the Water Valley Company’s residential development project in Windsor that includes five lakes, two golf courses, restaurants, tennis, biking and hiking trails, and more.  

Lind’s son and vice president of operations for The Water Valley Company, Tyler Lind, has been working on Hoedown for five years, and construction began about a year ago including grading the slopes for skiing, tubing, and sledding. 

While he did not reveal the total cost of the project, he said the idea was spurred by his father who carries fond memories of Shark Tooth ski area that operated just five miles west of nearby Greeley from 1971-1986.

“He grew up going to that hill and always dreamed of bringing something bigger and better, an experience that didn’t take hours to get to, didn’t break the family bank, and that created fun for anyone and everyone,” Tyler Lind said.  

Hoedown’s base elevation is about 4,800 feet with 120 feet of vertical. The central portion of the area is dedicated to ten tubing lanes, the longest being about 1,100 feet. The lift infrastructure includes four fully enclosed conveyor lifts with lights and audio. The longest is about 1,000 feet and serves the tubing lanes. Two 500-foot-long conveyors serve ski and snowboarding runs on either side of the tubing area. The fourth conveyor is about 100 feet long and will serve a beginner area. 

Hoedown Hill Map

The final trail design is not yet complete, but Lind said the network will include one green run roughly 2,000 feet long, a couple of blue runs, and five or six black runs, all about 400 to 500 feet in length. 

Snowmaking includes 15 tower guns with built-in weather stations that are fed via existing pump infrastructure from the RainDance River Reservoir at the bottom of the hill. 

“Once at the hill, we have a booster pump system to increase water pressure demanded by the snowmaking system. We’ll use millions of gallons, but because of the designed drainage, we’ll have less than 15 percent water loss, and 5 to 8 percent of that is due to evaporation,” Lind said. 

Hoedown purchased two grooming machines—one new and one used—and the entire area is covered with lighting for night activities.  

“The reaction has been amazing, I think we have huge support throughout the community,” Lind said.

SNOW OperatingHoedown 2 is providing consulting and design and services, including a dedicated Terrain-Based Learning area. Effective Edge has been hired to design the terrain park. CHS Snowmakers has consulted on the entire project since May 2022 and is now working to complete the snowmaking installation and helping to install the conveyor lifts.

“We will continue working with Hoedown over the next three years to implement terrain based learning and various other guest experience initiatives,” said Eric Lipton, COO of SNOW Operating.  

Initial plans are to operate five days a week, with the area being closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Hours of operation will vary from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. or 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Lift tickets will be available in either half-day or full-day. Lind anticipates needing 30 to 33 employees per shift, and hiring as many as 200 employees during the winter season. 

“There's not one thing that we skimped on as far as infrastructure,” Lind says. “We bought the best, we’ll put in the best for our employees. Our objective is to make sure we're over employed, not underemployed. We want this experience to be next level, and encourage folks to skip the traffic and come and enjoy this right in their backyard.”

Lind said he plans a soft opening Thanksgiving weekend to get staff familiarized with the operation before heading into the holidays. In the summer, plans call for mountain biking, hiking, zip lining and live music concerts. 

“The summer operations aren’t finalized—we are working on that as we speak—but this hill will be open year-round for various activities, one of them being an amphitheater that is bigger than Red Rocks,” Lind said.