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Sunlight Mountain in Glenwood Springs offers snow-free fun for the summer months

Local athlete Emily Geraci, who will be competing in the June 12 Tri For The Sun triathlon, does a practice run and bike ride near Sunlight Mountain Resort.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Emily Geraci used to work as a lift attendant at Sunlight Mountain while attending classes at Colorado Mountain College. Now she’s one of the 14 participants signed up for the first of its kind Sunlight triathlon, Tri for the Sun.

“I think it’s a great entry-level option to see if it’s something that you enjoy and kind of get out of your comfort zone,” Geraci said. “I love to run and bike, I’m not a big swimmer. But if I got two of the three disciplines down I think I can pull in that third one. Why not try it?”

Jamie Wall, special events coordinator for Carbondale Parks and Rec, said the event is perfect for anyone who has ever been curious about participating in a triathlon, especially since it’s a nonsanctioned sprint triathlon to get the community outside together to have fun.



“I think what’s unique is that it’s utilizing Carbondale and Glenwood. I like that we’re tying that together,” Wall said. “It’s considered an easier triathlon, and it’s casual, no pressure, you know; We’re not an Ironman, we’re not very serious at all of our events. We just like to have fun.”

The race will start at 7 a.m. Saturday, June 12, at the John M. Fleet Carbondale Pool and ends at Sunlight Mountain Resort. Wall said the race includes a half mile swim, 16-mile bike ride with 2,700 feet of vertical gain, and a 5K trail run with 600 feet of vertical gain.



“There’s no cut off time, and it’s for fun. People are going to be out there on the course, at the intersections cheering you on. … You’ll have a chance to win prizes, everyone gets a drink ticket at Ball Brewing. … It’s to get out and enjoy those three elements of the race and just to be with people who are all going to be nice; it’s not intense,” Wall said.

Geraci said aside from testing her own endurance, she plans to use the event to bring attention to her favorite nonprofit in the valley, Ascendigo Autism Services. She’ll be wearing a jersey and hat from Ascendigo and said they may even provide her with a customized swim cap as well.

“I used to work for them, and I want to raise awareness and support for everything that they’re doing and their mission. … They were a huge part of my transition to the valley, and I want to do everything I can to show my support. That’s one of my other reasons I’m getting myself out there and trying a triathlon for the first time,” Geraci said.

Local athlete Emily Geraci, who will be competing in the June 12 Tri For The Sun triathlon, does a practice run on the hill at Sunlight Mountain Resort.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

In addition to the triathlon, Travis Baptiste, group sales and events coordinator at Sunlight, said the annual Sunlight Showdown race will be happening this summer as well.

“That’s my baby. I worked with one of my close friends on the course, so I started that from the get-go a few years ago with just the running race. And then added the mountain bike race last year and added it as a racing weekend,” Baptiste said. “So that’s what I’m most excited about. … It’s very localized, it’s mostly local racers.”

The mountain bike race will be July 17, and the half marathon trail run is July 18. Baptiste said participants don’t have to complete both races, although there will be prizes for individuals with the best combined top times from both.

Sunlight is also pairing up with the Kirstie Ennis Foundation to offer mountain bike clinics for veterans. The first session is July 14-18 and is specifically for amputees, and then the second July 20-24 both can host only five participants a piece, so individuals interested should register quickly at the Kirstie Ennis Foundation website to reserve their spot.

“They’re going to come out, learn how to mountain bike, learn how to do basic maintenance on their bike, and then they get to leave with their brand new mountain bike as well, all provided by the Kirstie Ennis Foundation,” Baptiste said.

There is also the Sunlight Music Festival Series kicking off this weekend, May 28, and continuing throughout the summer hosted by Sunlight Mountain Inn. Jerry Dumani, head of events for Sunlight Mountain Inn, said they’re looking to take advantage of the ambiance at Sunlight Mountain and offer a place to relax, camp and listen to live music.

“(We’re) just trying to create an unpretentious experience. Something local, something genuine supporting local artists. Because they’ve been struggling during COVID-19. … We’re feeling confident that it’s time to really rally behind local artists and small businesses, sort of give them a place to really belong,” Dumani said.

At 7 p.m. Friday evening you can come out to the inn and see performances from Joe Alan, Ryan Hill and Gabrielle Louise. There will also be more musical performances on Saturday, and to book your spot or learn more, you can visit the website here.

“Whenever I mention the event to locals, people just light up and get excited. … People love this mountain, it’s still a hidden gem out in this part of the world,” Dumani said.

If you go…

– Sign up for Tri for the Sun or learn more about the event here.

– Register for either of the Sunlight Showdown races and read more about the events here.

– Information about the Sunlight Music Festival Series can be found here.

Reporter Jessica Peterson can be reached at 970-279-3462 or jpeterson@postindependent.com.


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