Sunlight Mountain Resort near Glenwood Springs tunes up for opening |

Sunlight Mountain Resort near Glenwood Springs tunes up for opening

John Gardner
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Chad Spangler/Post IndependentAndrew Milar readies rental skis up at Sunlight Mountain Resort outside of Glenwood Springs in preparation for opening day. The ski area is targeting Dec. 5 to open the mountain for skiing and snowboarding.

SUNLIGHT MOUNTAIN RESORT, Colorado ” Dylan Lewis sees the month of November at Sunlight Mountain Resort as a sort of cruel torture.

“I’ve got eight months of planning for the upcoming season and watching the snow melt, now we are only 23 days away from opening day,” Lewis said looking toward the mountain from the sun deck at Sunlight, the resort south of Glenwood Springs.

“These are the hardest days,” he said.

With a shallow layer of snow covering the slopes, Lewis, Sunlight’s marketing manager, has already had his first tracks of the season. The temptation was just too much to resist.

“You just wait,” Lewis said. “Like the first of November comes and you’re thinking that it could snow any day now. Then, you have a couple of storms like this and I hike up and ski down in the grass.”

Sunlight is scheduled to open on Dec. 5 for the season. But with a little bit of luck, they could open a little closer to the annual turkey dinner.

“If we get hit hard again we could look at the Friday after Thanksgiving as our opening,” Lewis said.

On Dec. 4, Sunlight is hosting a screening of the Teton Gravity film “Under the Influence” at the Hotel Colorado to help kick off the season.

The first clue for the annual Sunlight treasure hunt, sponsored by the Glenwood Springs Mall, will also be released on Dec. 5, as well.

“The next couple of days we will go out and hide the treasure,” Lewis said.

Last year the treasure, a Sunlight season pass and $500, wasn’t found until week 13, Lewis said, because of all the snow that had accumulated.

“People were digging three foot trenches last year with all the snow we had,” he said.

Last year, Sunlight received nearly 300 inches of snow, according to Lewis. That was the highest recorded snow total since the early ’90s, he estimated.

With the sun shining bright on Thursday, a powder day seemed to be very far away.

But the crew was hard at work fine-tuning the resort itself in preparation for opening day.

Thursday, ski shop employees were tuning skis and boards, while other workers assembled a new section of roofing that overhangs the grill on the sun deck.

“For me it kicks off the end of August, with the selling of season passes,” Lewis said. “Most are sold by the end of October.”

According to Sunlight’s general manager, Tom Jankovsky, season pass sales are “on budget” compared to last season, around 2,500 sold already.

And he’s happy to be on par.

“We are pleased with our season pass sales,” Jankovsky said. “With the economy the way it is we are pleased with where we are.”

Jankovsky noted that with the introduction of the Colorado Epic Pass through Vail Resorts, a five mountain mega pass, they may have lost some season pass holders. But, he said, it looks like they may have picked up some from elsewhere to keep pace with last year’s sales, and Lewis agreed.

“Season pass sales are strong,” Lewis said. “We’ve got a strong local market and a growing market between New Castle and Rifle.”

And there is still no lift lines. And now there are only 21 days before opening day.

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

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