Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sunlight Mountain readies for 50th season

Opening set for Friday

Sunlight Mountain Resort is scheduled to open for the 2016-17 ski season on Friday, Dec. 9. Located near Glenwood Springs, Colorado, the 680-acre resort plans open top-to-bottom with more than 150 of those skiable acres for opening day. The ski area has received about 2 feet of natural snow so far in the season with 5 inches in the past 48 hours. The resort plans to officially recognize its 50th anniversary on Friday, Dec. 16.

Sunlight Mountain Resort plans to open for the ski season on Friday, Dec. 9.
(Photo Credit: Sunlight Mountain Resort)

Snow expected 

Sunlight's opening day should also coincide with a winter weather system expected to roll into Colorado on Thursday night. The National Weather Service forecast predicts chances of snow throughout the weekend.

A favorite of local skiers and families on a budget, Sunlight is actually about the same size in terms of skiable acres as nearby Aspen Mountain.

Somewhat surprisingly for a relatively small area, Sunlight boasts legitimate expert terrain. The Heathen, a run on the area's East Ridge, is considered one of the steepest in Colorado with a 52-degree pitch.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Vail Mountain opens Back Bowls

Sun Up Express makes debut

On Saturday, Vail Mountain debuted a newly installed high-speed quad lift, the Sun Up Express (#9), with the opening of terrain in the Colorado resort's famous Back Bowls. The additional opening upped the current skiable terrain to 1,285 acres, according to the official Vail snow report. The snow report indicated a base depth of 18 inches with a season-to-date snowfall of 31 inches.

Vail Mountain opened part of its Back Bowls on Saturday.
(Photo: Vail Resorts/David Neff)
The Sun Up Express (#9) replaced the Sun Up Lift (#17), a fixed-grip, triple-chair originally installed in 1979 at Beaver Creek and moved to Vail in 1992. Along with the increased capacity of going from a triple to a quad, the new lift access means the average ride time going from more than eight minutes to just under four.

About 24 percent of the expansive resort was open for skiing and riding on Saturday. By the end of the day, 11 of the 31 lifts were operating. According to meteorologist Joel Gratz of, Vail could see significant snow during the first half of the coming week. Additional snow will likely translate into more open terrain.

Epic Pass deadline nears

The purchasing deadline for the popular 2016-17 Epic Pass is scheduled for Sunday, December 4. The Epic Pass is an unlimited season pass for all of the resorts owned by Vail Resorts, plus Arapahoe Basin. The 2016-17 pass provides five days at Whistler Blackcomb, because the Canadian resort was only recently purchased by the company. The pass also provides limited access to several European resorts. The Epic Pass costs $849 for an adult and $439 for children ages 5-12.