|Left: The east mountain
Right: The west mountain
|Sol Vista's Leitner high-speed quad
|Overlooking the west side
|Pros and Cons to Skiing Here:
|+ Very family friendly
||- Lacks any real expert terrain
|+ Lodging on site, including
|- Lower elevations translate to
variable snow conditions
|+ Short lift lines
||- Small skiable acreage
|+ Excellent learn-to-ski terrain
||- No base village or town at ski
|An expert run at Sol Vista
|Copyright © coloradoskihistory.com
All Rights Reserved.
* Resort Stats Current for 2009-10
The Colorado Ski Museum
Silver Creek/Sol Vista Ski Area
|A view of the Conquest Lift
During the late 1960’s, the ski industry was booming and new resorts
were appearing overnight. While Silver Creek did not open until the early
1980’s, the idea first came about in 1968. Dr Fred Sinkovits, a Chicago
physician, teamed up with Del Webb Development group to purchase 5
large ranches outside the Granby area. The group’s intentions were to
construct a new ski resort complete with a golf course, condos, hotels and
a reservoir. By the time development plans and approvals were complete
during the mid 1970’s, the economy was not favorable to carry forward.
The Silver Creek development site sat idle.
Years passed, but in 1981 developers Bud Gettle and Kelly Klancke
purchased the Silver Creek site and construction plans. The revised
development called for over 5,500 condo and hotel rooms to be built.
Ski lifts were installed during the summer of 1982. The company, Lift
Engineering (Yan), installed two triple chairs: the Exhibition and Conquest;
and a beginner double chair, Milestone. Silver Creek’s vertical drop was
a modest 1,000 feet.
By the mid 1980’s, the Inn at Silver Creek was built. This hotel provided
numerous rooms for guest to stay while vacationed at the ski area.
Condos were also in the works, just north of the ski hill. By the 1985-86
season, the ski area saw 101,837 skier visits.
A tragic plane accident in 1986 killed Gettle and Klancke. Without their
guidance, the resort quickly fell into financial trouble. Skier visits fell
drastically for the 1986-87 season, totaling only 87,217. By 1987, the
resort filed for bankruptcy after defaulting on 2.6 million dollar loan.
While the ski area continued to operate, its future was uncertain.
A new owner was found in 1989. The Plaza Resources Company, a
subsidiary of GEICO Insurance Company, purchased the ski area and
paid off all creditors. With the new owner, Silver Creek saw
improvements to the snowmaking system and new trails were cut.
Silver Creek’s ownership changed again in 1995. Marise and Celso
Cipriani of Brazil purchased the ski area and land for 12 million dollars.
The Cipriani family was once owners of Transbrasil Airlines and also
owns a major Brazilian meatpacking plant.
The Ciprianis purchased nearby Berthoud Pass Ski Area in 1997, after
the tragic death of that ski area’s owner. Marise marketed Berthoud and
Silver Creek together, providing ticket holders the ability to ski at both
areas under one pass. Berthoud Pass’ skier numbers increased greatly
under the Silver Creek team, jumping from 10,795 for the 1997-98
season to over 20,000 the following year.
Silver Creek saw a new high speed quad lift for the 1999-2000 ski
season. This Leitner brand lift replaced the Exhibition triple chair. With
the expense of marketing Silver Creek, Marise Cipriani filed a lawsuit in
December of 2000 claiming that two local businesses were unlawfully
using the trademarked Silver Creek name. These businesses included the
Silver Meadows development and the Inn at Silver Creek, owned by
Resort Management Group, LLC of Granby. Silver Creek Ski Area’s
name was changed as a result to Sol Vista. The new name stems from the
vast amount of sun in the valley “Sol” and the outstanding views “Vista”.
With the new name, local businesses would no longer benefit from free
During the summer of 2001, the ski area installed another new lift. The
Kicking Horse fixed quad was installed by Leitner and provided ski in/ski
out access to new condos north of the main base area.
Sol Vista’s sister ski area, Berthoud Pass, was falling on hard times. With
nearby Winter Park and Copper providing “buddy season passes” for less
two hundred dollars each, smaller areas like Berthoud and Sol Vista were
having a difficult time competing. To address this issue, Cipriani sent a
letter to the US Justice Department regarding possible anti-trust violations
in the Colorado ski market. With no other options, Berthoud Pass was
closed down and reduced to a snow cat operation.
The housing market was still going strong at Sol Vista. The ski area
property, through a development deal with Granby, was annexed in
2003. This provided additional water and wastewater agreements,
allowing construction to continue.
By 2004, Gerry Engle, developer of the Cordillera in Edwards and
Catamount Ranch outside of Steamboat Springs was brought on board to
help with Sol Vista’s plans. The ski area and development were re-
branded to The Granby Ranch. The ski area’s golf course was upgraded
in 2005 to a Jack Nicklaus course. Having a world-class golf course on
site provided better opportunities to compete with other developments
throughout the Rockies.
|Insider Tips to Skiing Here:
Old Trail Maps:
|A platter lift with the base lodge in the