Fresh snow heralds Sunlight’s 50th opening day |

Fresh snow heralds Sunlight’s 50th opening day

Ryan Summerlin
Aaron Scott and Alex Mendoza head up the mountain during opening day at Sunlight Mountain on Friday morning.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent |

Snow lovers rejoiced Friday over Sunlight Mountain’s opening with 4 fresh inches of snow.

So far this month, the ski resort has received 2 feet of snow, allowing Sunlight to open more than 40 percent of its terrain Friday as the ski area marks its 50th season. More than 100 people showed up for first chair.

Many familiar faces were on hand at the mountain for opening day, and just about everyone said they’ve been skiing at Sunlight forever.

“I’ve been here for over 30 years. It’s good to be out making turns,” said Chris Kennedy. “I’m a local. I’ve lived here my whole life, and this is a locals’ mountain.”

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Said Aaron Scott of Glenwood Springs, “This is my third run of the day; the snow conditions are really good. I grew up snowboarding this mountain.”

Alex Mendoza, also from Glenwood, said he’d been coming to Sunlight for 14 years. “This is the locals’ gem, it’s like home for all the locals. I like it here because it’s not crowded, and I love the mountain vibe.”

Snowmaking crews started working Nov. 18, and good weather gave the effort a boost, said Troy Hawks, Sunlight marketing and sales director.

“This season Sunlight has made the largest investment in top-line ski and snowboard rental equipment in its history,” Hawks wrote to the Post Independent. “Sunlight now boasts one of the largest ski and snowboard rental fleets in the Roaring Fork Valley featuring new gear from Dynastar, Nordica, K2, Burton and more.”

The mountain has a new demo center where the outdoor bar used to be, and it has new advanced tuning equipment. Sunlight has also remodeled its rental department, upgrading to non-slip floors and new storage systems.

“These are just some of the improvements skiers and riders will find at Sunlight for its 50th birthday season, and we’ll be releasing more news in the weeks to come,” said Hawks.

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the small mountain also put up for sale the world’s most expensive lift ticket, dubbed the “Sunny 700.” This $700 lift ticket gets the purchaser a full day on the mountain and a pair of Sunlight limited edition 50th anniversary skis, made by the Colorado-based Meier, and a day pass to Iron Mountain Hot Springs.

It’s a season of partnerships on the mountain, as Sunlight is hooking up with some big Glenwood companies for the beginning of the season.

The mountain’s official 50th anniversary will be Dec. 16. The following two days will be the mountain’s birthday bash weekend, when a lucky skier and snowboarder will win a pair of Sunlight’s anniversary edition skis and snowboard.

Bighorn Toyota, itself celebrating 40 years, will have a drawing at Sunlight on Dec. 17, with the winner taking home a set of the anniversary skis. Then on Dec. 18, the mountain will host another drawing during halftime of the Denver Broncos game. The winner will be awarded a limited-edition snowboard.

Glenwood Canyon Brewing Company has also brewed a Sunlight 50th anniversary beer, “a special straw-colored lager that will be on tap all season long; or at least until the kegs run dry,” according to Hawks.

This anniversary season will also see the rollout of an eight-segment film detailing Sunlight’s history, with historic footage from the mountain’s archives and recent interviews with Sunlight veteran skiers and snowboarders, he said.

Visit to purchase the Sunny 700 pass. The mountain’s film series, the first of which has already been premiered, will be viewable at Sunlight’s website and social media pages.

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