Sunlight shines on opening day |

Sunlight shines on opening day

Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson Brian Magee sends snow flying as he takes a jump Friday at Sunlight Mountain Resort's opening day.

Hanging out with friends Friday on the deck at Sunlight Mountain Resort, Frank Welsh was thinking in twos.”Two runs, two beers,” said Welsh, of New Castle, who grew up in Detroit and moved to Colorado in 1999. “I just love this little mountain. It’s a great little locals’ mountain. You gotta have a pass so you don’t feel guilty for doing two runs.”The owner of Rocky Mountain HVAC, Welsh was all smiles on Sunlight’s opening day, which drew around 350 skiers and snowboarders – a 10 percent increase from last year’s first run. Welsh joked with friend Jon Petrosino, bar supervisor at the Hotel Colorado, about Sunlight’s persona.

“It’s like ‘Cheers,’ where everybody knows your name,” said Welsh, a former Sunlight ski instructor. “It’s fun. All the cool kids are here.”Petrosino discounted Welsh’s idea that everyone could possibly know his name at Sunlight, but he did agree that the ski resort is one of the valley’s most popular attractions.”It’s a locals’ mountain,” said Petrosino, a Phoenix, Ariz., native who has lived in Glenwood Springs for three years. “Everybody’s friendly and is just here to have a good time.”Deja Hanson, a Sunlight children’s center instructor, said she was having just as much fun working as Welsh was on the deck.

“It’s super. I get to go out and play in the snow,” said Hanson, who gave a ski lesson to a 3-year-old that morning. “It’s going to be a great season – I just know this.”Spirits were just as high in the resort’s marketing office. Andrew Heltzel, marketing and sales director, said of the 350 skiers and snowboarders, 250 were season pass holders.”If we get this monstrous storm that’s on the horizon, we should be set. We’ve got the same base as Aspen, 28 inches,” said Heltzel, who started working at Sunlight in June. Heltzel forecasted an eventful season for locals and visitors at Sunlight.

“We have a new sponsorship for our terrain park – Roaring Fork Centre of the Rockies. The terrain park is going to be tripled in size,” he said. “We also have this new pipe cutter that attaches to our snowcat.”Sunlight will also debut its new KSNO Winter Music Series, which will feature local and national acts on Friday and Saturday afternoons. Friday featured Tom Resselon and the Resident Powderhounds. Glass Onion will play from 3:30-5:30 p.m. today.”We’ll have bands like SoulFeel and The Hideouts – we have all types of genres represented,” Heltzel said. “Everything from classic rock to string bands.”Welsh had a few ideas of his own for drawing people to Sunlight.

“We need theme days,” Welsh said. “We could have retro ski wear and everyone could ski on straight skis.” Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext.

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