Powderhorn Mountain Resort Opens Season with Superheroes and New Snow
Driving west along I-70 in Colorado, you pass a lot of ski resorts. If you go far enough west and look to the south, just as you pass the tiny ranching community of DeBeque, you’ll spot Powderhorn Mountain Resort, carved out of the side of Western Colorado’s majestic Grand Mesa.
Powderhorn may be the last Colorado resort along I-70, but it is the first Colorado resort when it comes to snow. With prevailing winds blowing west to east, the Grand Mesa is the first big (11,000 feet) obstacle snowstorms run into as they enter Colorado. This means powder, and a lot of it, at Powderhorn.
Waiting For Snow, Waiting To Ski
Overnight is not a long time to wait, unless it’s Christmas Eve or the night of a big snow. Looking out my window at 10:00 p.m. on Tuesday, it was snowing. At 10:30 p.m., it was snowing. At 7:00 a.m., it was still snowing. Powderhorn reported 8 inches of new snow on Wednesday and it was snowing hard when I got there. The mountain was shrouded in clouds and visibility was nil. I got on the 6th chair of the day with another skier. “What are you supposed to be doing today?” I asked him, assuming that he was, like me, playing hooky from other responsibilities. He looked quizzically at me. “I’m doing just what I’m supposed to do today. I am supposed to ski,” he answered.
Exiting the Take Four lift to the left, we followed other skiers and riders to the more challenging terrain on the front side of the mountain. Just that morning Powderhorn dropped the rope on a black run called Racers’ Edge. Steep, deep and creamy with untracked snow, the snow was breathtakingly perfect and the run -- skied nonstop – simply took my breath away, and not just because of the face shots. While others raced off to carve up more pristine snow, I stopped to take some photos. The woods were silent, the snow was deep and piling up, and the clouds hung low. While it wasn’t a Colorado bluebird day, it was truly a snow day. And I was happy to be there, in the woods, in the cold and in the SNOW.
When You Go…
Powderhorn opened for the 2012-2013 Season on December 14th with a Superhero celebration. While the 2nd year ownership team of Andy Daly, Ken Gart and Tom Gart, are too modest to admit it, they are the resort’s true superheroes making investments and changes to the mountain which have truly enhanced the resort.
“The place is in great shape,” shares Andy Daly. “We've accomplished a lot of maintenance that was deferred for ten years. We have two new snowcats and have done a lot of work on trail grooming. Everyone coming up can have a wonderful weekend or day of skiing at Powderhorn.”
In addition to trail work during the summer across the entire mountain, two new gladed runs, Sven’s Bend and Upper and Lower Thunderbird Glade will open this season. A new groomed run, named Bronco after the long-time ski patrol director, is also on the map. An additional lane has been added to the tubing hill and, if conditions permit, the resort’s first half pipe will open this year.
Inside the lodge, the new Trader Café combines a coffee bar with an art gallery featuring local artists on a rotating basis. The menu at the Sunset Grille has been completely redone, and most every weekend this season will feature live music and Western Slope microbrew specials.
If you’re thinking about skiing Powderhorn during the holiday break, there will be Christmas carolers on Saturday, while Santa will strap on his elf-made boards and carve it up on Sunday and Monday. New Year’s Eve will feature the Monster Ball Drop Jam slope style competition, a torchlight parade and fireworks.
Season long festivities include Tutu Tuesdays, Gaper Get ‘Up Day, the annual Telefest and a full month of March Madness including Big Air – Big Hair and the fourth annual dummy jump.
For more information, check out the 2012-2013 Powderhorn events calendar.