Sunlight opens ahead of schedule
Sunlight Mountain Resort kicks off its 48th season early this weekend, with a 15 inch base and 60 percent of the mountain open Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Snowpack in the Roaring Fork watershed is currently 109 percent of median, according to the Roaring Fork Conservancy, giving Sunlight a week head start on its Dec. 5 deadline. The resort will be closed December 1-4 to prepare for its official opening, which will feature a blessing from Fr. J. Harrison L. Heidel, Parish Priest of St. Barnabas Episcopal Church.
On Friday, locals and visitors alike descended on the mountain, lining up at 9 a.m. to take advantage of a beautiful blue sky day and a $10 discount on lift tickets. They kept staff busy without undermining the resort’s laidback, small town vibe.
“I love opening day,” said Marketing Manager Erin Walla. “It’s crazy busy but fun. Everybody’s in a fantastic mood. They’re all psyched to be here.”
Walla said the decision to open early was made on Tuesday, and word spread from there by newspaper, radio, social media, and word of mouth.
Greg Morton, 46, and his sons heard about it over Thanksgiving dinner. They were up from Littleton to visit the boys’ grandfather and decided to hit the slopes.
“It’s early skiing, but it’s blue ski and sunshine, so you can’t complain,” Morton said. “I think any time skiing Sunlight is wonderful.
“I’d like a little more snow, but the weather’s perfect,” agreed Spencer, 15.
Tanner, 12, allowed that it was “pretty good” while Cooper, 10, called it “awesome.”
Ned Montgomery, 25, of Glenwood, said his runs on Sun King were particularly good.
“It’s a little crunchy here and there, but when the sun comes out it softens everything up” he said.
Ivy Arneson, a 26-year-old Glenwood native said she’d been coming to Sunlight since she was 2 and hopes to nab three or four ski days a week this season.
“You can go on a run here and not see a single person. It’s our private gem,” she said.
Jeff Schropp, visiting from Michigan, where heavy snows opened many resorts last weekend, agreed that Sunlight is something special.
“You guys are so fortunate,” he said “You’ve got a great diamond in the rough here.”
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Former Carbondale trustee Katrina Byars said she wants to bring a voice of environmental sustainability to the commission, and believes her opponent has served long enough.