Powderhon Racing Club hosts the Color Sunday trail race at Powderhorn
Special to the Free Press
Hiking trails, over 300 lakes, Powderhorn Mountain Resort, and much more encompass the beauty of the Grand Mesa in Grand Junction, Colo. It is no surprise that the biggest flat top mountain in the world, covering an area of about 500 square miles, has breathtaking scenery in the fall. Color Sunday, which is set for Sept. 27, celebrates this beauty.
Powderhorn Racing Club (PRC) is a nonprofit organization that is sponsoring this year’s Color Sunday events at Powderhorn Mountain Resort. The sixth annual 10k Thigunawat individual trail race includes steep ascents and descents, rugged terrain, and stream crossing. This course is designed for racing, jogging, or hiking. There is also the third annual 3k Team Adventure run. This 3k encourages groups to work as a team, create a fun racing name, and dress as a team.
“The goal is to get all the members of your team through the course. Whether running, walking, crawling, climbing over obstacles, or slogging through mud or water,” said Mike Meyers, President of PRC. Individual registrations for the 3k are welcome.
After these two races, there will be live music by the bluegrass group StayGrass. The Sundeck will be open for people to enjoy food and drink while observing the color changes.
All the proceeds of the 3k and 10k go to the PRC, which has three ski programs. The Focus of the Buddy Werner and Development programs are to learn skills, safety, etiquette, and an introductions to racing in a fun environment. Their third program is a USSA program, designed for the athletes who want to pursue the most competitive racing programs within the USSA age class and ability class systems. The goal of PRC is to keep its ski programs affordable. They are hoping the prophets from this Color Sunday event will help expand the scholarship program, contribute to the purchase of additional safety equipment, and to continue offering more ski racing opportunities.
Color Sunday brings tourists from more than just the local surrounding areas.
“We have had many out of town participants in the past events. We have had nearly 350 participants in the past years, with over 1,000 people attending the event,” Meyer said. Between the local traffic increasing, and out of towners coming for a drive, the Grand Mesa is a busy place during the month of September and caution is advised when taking the scenic drive.
Powderhorn has offered their parking lot as a place for people to park who want to stop and hike around in the beauty. They recognize traffic is busier during the month of September, and understand pull off spots may be limited.
“We are ready to accommodate folks wanting to take a look at the colors changing,” said Ryan Robinson from the sales and marketing department at Powderhorn. He said anytime the colors start changing, he sees more traffic. Construction will be in full swing, but will not affect the parking lot. Powderhorn encourages people to hike, but not on the side of the ski slope because of the construction taking place.
Powderhorn has offered lift rides every fall for people to enjoy a peaceful scenic ride up the side of the mountain, but this year they are unable to offer this because of revamping taking place. Among many projects this summer and fall, Powderhorn is installing a high speed quad lift. Their old lift took 16 minutes to reach the top of the mountain, and this new lift will take six minutes and will allow more people on the chair lift. They are also preparing for future dry winters by installing more power and water lines which will allow man-made snow to be blown at a more consistent basis. This will help Powderhorn avoid dry patches.
Additionally, they are adding more bike trails for next summer.
“People will be able to ride the high speed quad up, and bike down,” Robinson said. “We had to make the sacrifice this summer to get everything done, but it will make this winter and the following summers better and will be worth the sacrifice this fall.”
Although Powderhorn won’t be available for hikes or ski lifts up their mountain this fall, it is only temporary. This winter will have more snow and faster lift times, and next summer will be in full swing for off-season tourism and activities.
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