Broden’s Ski Area: Many Remember Wooden Skis, A Rope Tow and a Hut at This “Lost” Ski Hill

Story by Jenny Paulson – Long time Pueblo area locals remember going skiing “in the day” at a nearby ski hill they called “Brodens,” as shown in this photo provided by Jan Trammel of her father, using the it’s old two rope in 1967.

The ski hill, located on the back road between San Isabel and Westcliffe, was a close enough proximity from Pueblo where locals, who enjoyed skiing, could venture to during the snowy winter months in the 1970s and 1980s.

After posting her father’s photo at the ski hill on a popular Facebook group, Pueblo, Colorado,… Are You From There, Back in the “Day,” Jan Trammel found that many from the Pueblo area remembered skiing at this place.

Ray Perkins said he helped build the ski hill and skied many times down the slope, owned by George Broden for a time, thus the name of the operation.

Joe Giarratano said his family operated it from 1974 to 1977 and they called it “Ski San Isabel” during those years.

The ski hill had lift ticket sales and a small hut at the bottom of the hill with a wood stove to warm skiers, where they could break, converse and eat snacks and a meal.

Skiing was so popular in the day at this place and at another skill hill called Silver Hills, located by Westcliffe, that several shops in Pueblo rented skis. Marshall Tomsick remembers one shop on the south side of Pueblo inside a military surplus store and another downtown called Bud’s Ski Shop, just off Main Street.

The rope tows that locals describe at both resorts were actually pulled by tractors. 

Gary Giarratano said, “First time I skied was there in 1965. I think they used a tractor to power the rope tow. I walked up and grabbed the rope and it literally pulled me out of my boots! Then I learned to let it slip through my hands until I got going. I took skiing for my PE credit at SCSC and we would meet there at 1:00 pm on Weds… Almost all the small areas in the Front range closed by the 80s.”

Although may enjoyed the adventure, using the old rope tow wasn’t easy, locals recall.

“Learning to use rope tow was harder than skiing!” Said Marilyn Carlino.

“The Rope tow was the fastest way to wear out a pair of gloves,” said Ray Perkins.

“The rope tow would get icy and it would be hard to hold on to!” Said Karen Porter. “It was also rough on your gloves.”

“Never minded the rope tow,” said Roy Stringfellow. “Loved it all. About all I could afford and time to go to, for the little down hill. Fun, fun.”

Skiing there was affordable, more so then heading a further distance to a larger resort called Monarch, west of Salida.

“$1.00 lift tickets,” said Thomas Michael Stanton. “My intro to skiing.”

“We would go to Brodins when we didn’t have $3.50 to go to Monarch,” said Clifford Roberson. “Had good times there!”

Catherine Dees said, “My whole family skied there, the tickets were 99 cents, they gave you a penny back so that they didn’t have to pay taxes and charge you more. We also got my great grandmother on skis there and she had the time of her life, I skied all over Colorado until I graduated in 66 and them moved out of state. You cannot find any better skiing than the mountains of Colorado.”

Locals also remember Silver Hills, located closer to Westcliffe (off Highway 96 just west of the McKensey Junction), also now abandoned. There the concrete foundation of the lodge, moved to another ski resort still stands, as well as the rental building and an old tractor sits in the field that pulled that rope tow, imported from Switzerland.

Originating Facebook post – 

Jenny Paulson is an Independent Journalist residing in Pueblo, see also and Pueblo Independent Magazine on FB. 

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Jenny Paulson is the publisher and editor of Pueblo Independent Magazine and can be contacted for more information about Pueblo Magazine, editorial content, marketing, website design and other services.