Nora Pykkonen has purchased the 226-acre Echo Mountain ski area and is converting the Clear Creek County hill into a ski-racing training facility focusing on school-aged racers. Pykkonen is founder of the Front Range Ski Club, the club will call Echo home. According to reports, the roster of top-tier ski coaches includes World Cup skiers Sarah Schleper-Gaxiola, Petter Brenna, Patrik Järbyn and Mike Farny
Echo was previously owned by entrepreneur Jerry Pettit, who pumped more than $5 million into the ski hill after acquiring the dormant Squaw Pass ski area in 2002 for $700,000. Pettit grew skier visits from 12,000 in Echo’s inaugural 2005-06 season to more than 32,000 last year. Originally designed and marketed as a terrain park for younger skiers and snowboarders, Echo evolved by adding lights and ski racing. It has since become a popular training area for Denver-area racers and mountain ski racing clubs limited by available race terrain closer to home.
Pykkonen plans to invest $5 million in coming seasons. She envisions developing beyond the area’s 80 acres of developed ski terrain, delivering 1,500 vertical feet of skiing. Her team plans to build a Super G course, a mogul lane and a new restaurant. They will add snowmaking guns, create homework and tutoring stations and develop a shuttle system for students across the metro area.
Assuming Colorado receives some early snow, Echo will open in November. The sale price was not disclosed in the deal that closed Tuesday.