When Arapahoe Basin fired up a chairlift on October 21, 2017, they also kicked off their 70th Anniversary season. 70th anniversaries are a big deal. Not many married folk reach this milestone, and in Colorado, only five ski areas are older: Howelsen Hill, Loveland, Monarch, Cooper and Winter Park (Aspen Skiing Company also got it’s start around the same time in 1946).
This season, Powderhorn and Sunlight, two western slope favorites turning 50, join Arapahoe Basin in celebration.
Happy Birthday A Basin
Arapahoe Basin opened in December 1946 with one rope tow and a lot of spirit.
Known “the Legend,” Arapahoe Basin is legendary for its ultra-long season on true-north slopes, a famous party scene and some of the steepest and deepest skiing in Colorado.
Birthday celebrations begin on December 10th, with day lift ticket pricing ($19 for kids, 6-14; $46 for adults) for the weekend. Birthday cake, live music and a party are planned for the 6th Alley Bar and Grill at the base on Saturday.
And, since Arapahoe Basin’s platinum anniversary coincides with the 125th anniversary of the White River National Forest, special Junior Ranger events for kids, Ski with a Ranger tours and a commemorative photo booth will celebrate this 70 year public/private partnership.
What’s New at The Basin
For the third summer in a row, Arapahoe Basin invested more than $1 million on guest improvements. Recent off-season work included doubling the size of Arapahoe Sports and finishing up the Base Area Plaza project.
As for skiing, lift tickets are now included with all Kid’s group full or half-day snowsports lessons, and children enrolled in multi-week Kid’s programs get a discounted season pass.
A Basin receives an average of 350” snow each year that skis for an average of 233 days per season. With 960 acres and 2,270 vertical feet, guests have their choice of 109 trails.
In addition to great deals on kids’ lessons and tickets, A Basin is family friendly with relaxing and warm places to hang out and play, whether you’re taking a break from the snow, or tag-team babysitting with little ones.
As for parties, if you can’t make the birthday bash on December10th, you can always tailgate any day of the season. To reserve a choice spot, visit the Arapahoe Basin website.
Powderhorn: A Half-Century of Skiing on the Grand Mesa
Looking at a map of Colorado resorts, you’ll find Powderhorn near the Colorado border with Utah. Coming from Denver, this means driving I-70 past the exits for many of the state’s most famous resorts.
But if you enjoy prodigious powder, skiing pristine aspen glades and a family-friendly, small town atmosphere, Powderhorn Mountain Resort is worth the drive.
Last season, Powderhorn installed the ski area’s first high-speed quad, a significant improvement that increased local loyalty and the attractiveness of the mountain to visitors.
And while the Flattop Flyer gets much of the buzz, the best-kept secret at Powderhorn remains the terrain on the West End. Since most guests are content to ski the mountain’s frontside, lapping the fast lift, the West End runs and trees hold snow for days. There is no beginner skiing on the West End, but the glades are among the resort’s finest and it’s here that you’ll find Powderhorn’s steepest pitches.
It’s also where you’ll find the golden chair: In honor of the resort’s 50th birthday, chair number 50 on the West End lift has been painted gold.
Powderhorn’s birthday event is on December 17th with the Ice Bar opening, live music, giveaways and a 50th Anniversary video screening.
A Powderhorn reunion is planned for February 4th for all the many, many people who have given their time and passion to Powderhorn. Plus, kids 6 and under ski free all season, with the purchase of an adult pass.
Powderhorn has 1200 skiable acres with 1,650 vertical feet. The resort has 42 trails, 2 terrain parks and plenty of off-piste terrain to explore.
With a central base lodge, free parking and low prices, Powderhorn is everything warm and friendly. You’ll notice many of the locals know one another, and soon, they’ll know you, too.
Sunlight Mountain Resort: Film Fests, Beer, Skis and More
There’s a lot going on at Sunlight Mountain Resort this winter.
Let’s start with their new mayor. On November 8, Gabby Noyes, age 8 was elected Mini-Mayor in an online election. Her term begins immediately, just in time to kick off the resort’s 50th anniversary!
Next up on the birthday agenda is the Winter Stoke Film Fest, featuring locally produced short videos, a portion of the resort’s 50th Birthday video series and feature length films. Winter Stoke will be in Glenwood on December 1st and in Carbondale on December 8th.
Sunlight’s opening day is December 9th, with donuts for the first 50 people in line at the Tercero chairlift. December 16th-18th is the official Birthday Bash with free ski demos and more. January 6th is Skier Appreciation Day and lift tickets are just $20. The fun continues into February, with Ski Spree on the 4th and 5th.
Throughout the season enjoy a 50th anniversary brew from Glenwood Canyon Brewing Company, or take a bit of Sunlight home with custom-made 50th Anniversary skis and snowboards from Meier and Sunlight branded 50th anniversary ski chairs from Colorado Ski Furniture.
What’s New At Sunlight
Sunlight has expanded their ski and snowboard rental fleet for 2016 and completely renovated their base lodge rental shop. Other updates include additional day and ski lockers and a new ski and snowboard demo center.
Located near Glenwood Springs, Sunlight Mountain Resort is a low-key, friendly place with 680 skiable acres, three lifts and 2,010 vertical feet.
Sunlight boasts one of Colorado’s longest beginner runs, Ute (2.5 miles), and Heathen, with one of Colorado’s steepest pitches at 52°. A full 55% of the terrain is rated intermediate. It’s an affordable place for families and everyone else to build their skills, have fun, and enjoy a 50th anniversary beer on the sun deck.
Kristen Lummis is a freelance writer and the founder of Braveskimom.com