Sunlight majority owner dies during Christmas visit
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Leonard Lorentson, one of the principal owners of Sunlight Mountain Resort who was credited with rescuing the struggling ski area in the late 1980s, died during a Christmas weekend visit here with his family.
Lorentson, a longtime businessman from Kokomo, Ind., had been a homeowner at the Brettleberg Inn condominiums at Sunlight since before he became an owner of the ski resort.
He was part of a group of out-of-state investors who bought into Sunlight in 1989 at a time when many small Colorado ski resorts were closing.
Lorentson was visiting Glenwood Springs for the holidays when he died of a heart attack on Christmas Day while gathered with family at their Brettleberg home, said Sunlight General Manager Tom Jankovsky, who is also a part owner of the resort with his brother Rob.
Lorentson was 67 years old.
“He just loved Sunlight, and was a good person and generous friend,” Jankovsky said.
He said Lorentson had a history of heart problems, including a previous heart attack. Though he wasn’t skiing on Christmas day, he had been skiing the day before, Jankovsky said.
The owner of Lorentson Manufacturing in Kokomo, Lorentson was also a hotelier and was involved in banking. Locally, he also owned other property in the Sunlight vicinity.
“The role Leonard played with Sunlight was to rescue the ski area in the mid-1980s by purchasing land from the Williams estate as well as shares of Sunlight stock,” said longtime Sunlight board member Louis Meyer.
Along with two other out-of-area investors who came into the Sunlight picture at the time, Mike Bodnar and Richard Schafstall, Lorentson was instrumental in seeing the resort through several economic ups and downs, Meyer said.
“That financial stability allowed Sunlight to remain as a viable ski area for all these years since,” he said. “The local community owes a huge debt to the out-of-town folks who have made Sunlight financially viable.”
Jankovsky said there would be no immediate changes in Sunlight’s ownership, though Lorentson’s shares will go to the family.
Last year, Sunlight withdrew its application before Garfield County for a large base area development, amid economic uncertainty and after a deal to sell the resort to a Florida developer fell through.
Memorial services for Lorentson are planned for 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, at Sunset Memory Garden Funeral Home in Kokomo. Condolences may be made at http://www.sunsetmemorygarden.com.
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