Cockaigne Ski Resort, delayed in its rebirth by numerous false starts, the COVID-19 pandemic and unfavorable weather, officially announced Monday it will not open for the 2023-24 season.
In a brief statement posted to Facebook, Cockaigne management said the season closure also includes its food and beverage operation.
“To all of our past team members, ski clubs, jelly rollers, season pass holders and guests, extended family and friends — Thank You for your support over the years and for being the true spirit of skiing,” the resort’s management said.
Cockaigne, located at 1493 Thornton Road in Cherry Creek, did not say why it wasn’t opening this season, and the resort declined to comment further when reached Monday.
By not opening this winter, Cockaigne’s future appears uncertain.
In July, the 462-acre site that includes a 10,000-square-foot main lodge was listed for sale by Howard Hanna Professionals. The current asking price is $3.5 million, while the description notes, “Looking for a business to start or continue? Now is your chance to either own your own ski resort or think outside the box and expand on what is there.”
According to county records, the property is owned by Cockaigne Development LLC.
In February, Cockaigne announced it was closing for the remainder of the season due to what had been a mild winter with “significantly less” snowfall than in past years. “In stating the obvious, this has been a very challenging season,” the ski resort said.
At the time, Cockaigne had received about 35 to 37 inches of snow.
“This is significantly less than average for us,” Cockaigne said. “We have only had a few periods where the temps afforded us marginal opportunities to make snow and we made as much as our snow making system would produce.”
Cockaigne opened its ski lifts on Jan. 28 this year, more than a month later than anticipated due to the lack of necessary snow and consistent colder temperatures. Nonetheless, Brandon Odell, resort general manager, told The Post-Journal in an interview this year he was excited for Cockaigne to open its slopes and provide patrons a place to ski in addition to its food and beverage services.
Efforts to finally reopen Cockaigne following a January 2011 fire that destroyed the iconic Austrian pavilion lodge took almost a decade. A new lodge was built in 2019 — replacing the one originally built for the 1964 World’s Fair held in New York City.
During the pandemic, the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency provided Cockaigne a $500,000 COVID-19 assistance loan. Prior to that, the county IDA approved a 15-year Payments in Lieu of Taxes agreement with the developers to help get the project off the ground.
“It is very unfortunate that Cockaigne is unable to open for the season and has opted to sell the facility,” said Mark Geise, county IDA director and deputy county executive for economic development. “It is truly a beautiful area with tons of opportunities for future development. We will continue to work with the owner, and will do everything in our power and capabilities to ensure that a future developer has the tools they need to be sustainable.”
Shortly after it officially opened to patrons, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held in February 2021. Jason Spain, at the time Cockaigne’s general manager, said the ceremony was kept low-key due to the pandemic.
“It’s been a great season,” Spain said in 2021. “The winter Gods have been incredibly good to us. We’ve had a lot of snow.”