Sunlight Mtn visits down 25 percent in 2017-18 season |

Sunlight Mtn visits down 25 percent in 2017-18 season

Sunlight Mountain ski patrollers boot pack a run on the west side of the mountain to try to make the most of the sparse snow the Glenwood Springs ski area had seen by early January.

A lack of snow led to a late start to Sunlight Mountain Resort’s 2017-18 ski season and snowballed into a 25 percent drop in skier and snowboarder visits for the season.

Still, the Glenwood Springs resort managed to break a single-day visitation record during the Presidents Day weekend in February. Sunlight saw more than 1,600 visitors in a day, said Troy Hawks, marketing and sales director for Sunlight.

The resort was unable to open until Dec. 21, two weeks after the scheduled opening, and it had only one run available into the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Even so, decent snow in February and March helped Sunlight rebound, Hawks said.

Sunlight released its season numbers Thursday in conjunction with the annual Colorado Ski Country USA report. Combined, the 24 Ski Country member resorts finished the season 2 percent down compared to the prior season.

Up valley, Aspen Skiing Co. managed to salvage the season after a poor start, ending 7 percent down in skier visits compared to the prior winter.

Sunlight’s total snowfall for the season was down 50 percent compared to a normal year, Hawks said.

“Snowmaking allowed us to open our lower lift and we were happily surprised by the number of out-of-state visitors we saw over the holidays,” he said. “While more advanced skiers and riders opted to ski elsewhere, beginner and intermediate skiers still came to enjoy skiing at Sunlight.

“These are skiers that more enjoy mild temps, blue skies and groomed terrain,” he said.

Hawks said Sunlight also ended the season on a high note when Olympic ski racer Alice McKennis of New Castle spent a day on the mountain and had a run dedicated in her honor.

Plans for the 2018-19 season are to open a week later than had been planned this year, on Dec. 14, and to close a week later, on April 7, 2019, Hawks said.

“We’ve added several new pass partnerships, including three free days and no blackouts, at Loveland,” he added.

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