More than half of available tickets for Sunlight Mountain’s 36th annual skier appreciation day already sold

Skiers and riders fill Primo lift as Sunlight Mountain thrives with activity during the 35th annual skier appreciation day. Kyle Mills / Post Independent

Lift tickets for Sunlight Mountain’s 36th annual skier appreciation day are going fast, a resort administrator said.

With just a week away from the Jan. 8 event, Sunlight Mountain Resort Marketing and Sales Director Troy Hawks said late this week that more than half of the available 1,000 tickets — just $20 a pop— have been sold.

The event kicks off at 9 a.m. Jan. 8.

“It’s going to be a social-distanced reuniting of local people,” Hawks said of this year’s event, which will be held entirely outside. “But I have to say, with our strong holiday business, we’re already seeing strong sales for this coming Friday from folks from out of state and even the Denver Front Range.”

Skier appreciation is an age old tradition in Garfield County. Since 1986 the promotional event that donates proceeds from ticket sales to United Way Battlement to the Bells has welcomed people to not only enjoy fresh powder, but games, auctions and contests.

“Skier Appreciation Day has become our signature community-giving event,” Sunlight Mountain Resort General Manager Tom Hays said in a recent Sunlight Mountain news release. “It’s the day when we get to say thank you to hard-working locals and at the same time help support the community year-round through our local United Way partner.”

United Way Battlement to the Bells board member Robin Waters said the plan is to allocate those proceeds toward various non-profit activities and programs.

“This is really special to us,” she said. “we’re really, really grateful to sunlight and their ongoing partnership.”

One major entity receiving funding includes their area-wide workforce assistance program launched in 2017. According to the news release, the program has since placed skilled Americorps VISTA volunteers full-time at 19 nonprofit locations from Aspen to Battlement Mesa.

So far, volunteer efforts through this program have been responsible for leveraging more than $450,000 in direct value to these critical service providers in grant writing, funds acquisition, program development and related in-kind support, the release states.

“Our VISTA volunteers are passionate individuals who share our commitment to improving access for all to quality health services, economic self-sufficiency, literacy and youth advocacy,” UWBB executive director Traci Gurley-Tomashosky said in the release. “The program isn’t about stuffing envelopes, but increasing the capacity of each organization to do their great work.”

In addition, proceeds from skier appreciation day ticket sales will go toward the area Emergency Food & Shelter program, which promotes partner organization achievements, provides fund-raising support for emergency response efforts such as those after the mid-valley Lake Christine Fire, and helps foster a collaborative nonprofit service network from Battlement Mesa to Aspen, the release states.

This season’s event, however, will be run a bit differently due to COVID-19 regulations. The highly anticipated doughnut-eating joust as well as costume contest will be held outside.

Meanwhile, this year’s event is set to pay homage to the big rollers and bright lights of casino gambling. The theme, “Casino on the Mountain,” invites everyone to dress up in their most impressive Vegas-style gear. All gamblers, gangsters, dealers, showgirls and floozies welcome, the release states.

Hawks said the resort will set up tents accessible near the lower lift. There, skiers and boarders can try their luck.

“People can maybe play a casino game,” Hawks said. “They might pick up swag from one of our sponsors.”

The annual event will also include an online silent auction. Participants have a chance to bid out for snowmobile tours, hotel stays and even pieces from local artist Kris Cox.

In addition, Hawks said the west deck has been expanded to help maintain social-distancing while tables will be set up outside at the main base area.

Sunny Yeti, the resort’s shaggy, mysterious mascot, is also expected to make an appearance.

“He likes to appreciate those folks as much as everybody else,” Hawks said. “We haven’t exactly heard from him, so we are hoping for an appearance from Sunny.”

Anyone interested in purchasing a ticket can do so by visiting Hawks said, due to limited internet services the resort, for riders to print out the ticket confirmations in advance. Tickets can be obtained at will call.

Season pass holders are exempt.

1. Go to:

2. Choose “January”

3. Click on Jan. 8th

4. Add tickets to your shopping cart.

5. Proceed to checkout

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