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Tell me about Sunlight

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm trying to find out more information about sunlight ski area outside Glenwood Springs, CO. There seems to be very little out there, whether it be YouTube videos or even TR's.

From the looks of the trail map, it appears to be a legit hole in the wall ski area.

May be worth checking out on a pow day, I'm sure it would be great then but also want to know how it skis on a normal day, the type of terrain it's know for, etc

I keep hearing about "the heathens" too and how steep it is, but haven't found any pics or video.

post #2 of 18

Did you look at the EpicSki Resort Page for Sunlight?  At the bottom, there is a list of relevant threads.  Although sometimes the posts about Sunlight may be buried and hard to find.  I added a tag link (look under Topics Discussed) to make it easier to get to the Sunlight page.

 

Did you find this TR?

http://www.epicski.com/t/110220/great-day-at-sunlight-today

 

I'm curious as well.  Will be skiing at Aspen for a few days in late March before driving to Alta.  Could fit in a day at Sunlight on the way.  I had a good time checking out Wildcat in NH for the first time a few weeks ago.  There is something to be said for a smaller place with 1-2 lifts so you don't have to spend any time figuring out where to go next.

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Did you look at the EpicSki Resort Page for Sunlight?  At the bottom, there is a list of relevant threads.  Although sometimes the posts about Sunlight may be buried and hard to find.  I added a tag link (look under Topics Discussed) to make it easier to get to the Sunlight page.

 

Did you find this TR?

http://www.epicski.com/t/110220/great-day-at-sunlight-today

 

I'm curious as well.  Will be skiing at Aspen for a few days in late March before driving to Alta.  Could fit in a day at Sunlight on the way.  I had a good time checking out Wildcat in NH for the first time a few weeks ago.  There is something to be said for a smaller place with 1-2 lifts so you don't have to spend any time figuring out where to go next.

Yes, I did see that TR.

 

Sorry, still kind of new to this site, where is this "topics discussed" you speak of?

post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiNEwhere View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Did you look at the EpicSki Resort Page for Sunlight?  At the bottom, there is a list of relevant threads.  Although sometimes the posts about Sunlight may be buried and hard to find.  I added a tag link (look under Topics Discussed) to make it easier to get to the Sunlight page.

 

Did you find this TR?

http://www.epicski.com/t/110220/great-day-at-sunlight-today

 

I'm curious as well.  Will be skiing at Aspen for a few days in late March before driving to Alta.  Could fit in a day at Sunlight on the way.  I had a good time checking out Wildcat in NH for the first time a few weeks ago.  There is something to be said for a smaller place with 1-2 lifts so you don't have to spend any time figuring out where to go next.

Yes, I did see that TR.

 

Sorry, still kind of new to this site, where is this "topics discussed" you speak of?


Sorry, I usually mention the location . . . look in the right hand column under Featured Stories to find Topics Discussed.

post #5 of 18
You won't know till you go and you won't regret going except for the long super slow lifts. Great mountain!
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by UGASkiDawg View Post

You won't know till you go and you won't regret going except for the long super slow lifts. Great mountain!


Can you compare "super slow" to a lift somewhere else?  PowMow?  Alta Sugarloaf before they upgraded it 10-15 years ago?  Homewood in north Tahoe?

 

I tend to avoid super slow lifts in the Mid-Atlantic when it means a 12-min ride followed by 3 min of skiing on a groomed trail so that ride-to-ski ratio is silly.  But someplace like Blue Knob or Plattekill, it can be worth the slow ride after a good storm.

post #7 of 18

It's a much better mountain than Powder Mountain but I've only been to PowMow once and I found it a complete waste of time...flat and uninspiring, great snow yes but the terrain sucks imo...maybe I need to shown around by a local.

 

 

The main lift at Sunlight is long and slow 15-20 minutes iirc   but it is worth the ride.  It is longer than A-lift a Copper but serves much more terrain.  

post #8 of 18

Bang for the buck is pretty good, would've liked to have been there on a powder day.

post #9 of 18

Hmm, good stats for a smaller place . . . 1750' vertical and about 500 acres, 2 doubles and a triple.  Seem to have fans who post on onthesnow.com .  I'm especially interested in the fact that people like to ski there in the spring.

post #10 of 18
Just skied sunlight yesterday, conditions are very good. They had quite a bit of snow in the last week or so, lots of cut-up still around. Sunlght is a bargin, with ticket prices on lifttopia around ~$45. Window is $60. Our second trip to sunlight, and we will return next year, as well. We are staying in glenwood, so we will ski ajax tomorrow, then highlands, and back to sunlight on the weekend. Kind of a mini ski-safari on a budget. smile.gif

My son and i always have a blast at sunlight!
post #11 of 18
We were staying at Copper Mt last spring, and since we had a season pass free exchange day to Sunlight, opted to make the drive to Sunlight. Was a decent drive even from copper, and think it probably is less crowded simply because it would be rather long drive there/back for a day trip for the masses coming from Denver.

Fun little mom/pop type of mountain and we liked it for what it was, basically a no frills fun local spot. Good value to the ridiculously expensive (but now too common lift ticket rates) typical big Colorado resorts (unless you have a pass). Parking is free/close (unlike the $25 we paid at Vail, or the $12 we paid at Breckenridge on our recent 1st trips there), and food was reasonable (not like the $14 kid meal at these other typical large resorts).

Lifts were slow, but there was absolutely no line for the last weekend of their season (not sure how mid season gets). The far left (map view) double black diamonds had nice pitch/some fun tree aspect skiing to it. Unfortunately, it was pretty solid as it did not soften up as the far left double blacks remained in the shade the whole day.

Not sure if that's typical for spring there, or if it just was colder than normal spring weather? (Any feedback on that?)

Full sun that end of season spring day, and the middle double blacks did soften up some in the afternoon. And, unlike the left side of the mountain, the whole right side (intermediate) got great spring sun exposure and turned into some real fun slushy spring snow. Was quite a contrast in conditions on the mountain.

Since it didn't soften up, we thought the double blacks would really be fun more normal or mid season and can imagine great on a powder day on the double black terrain. One of the double blacks seems to be more of a "get picked up on the road" on your last run as it goes well below lift.

Bottom line, we'd go back if we were in the area.

USASkidawg, haven't been to Powder Mt in long time, but Powder Mt definitely more fun, but its not the lift served that makes that mountain great! It would be a pretty mediocre mountain if you were talking about lift served terrain, and in that case Sunlight would be better.

Wouldn't say Sunlight is comparable to Alta 10-15 yrs ago.

For reference on experiencing different ski areas, "we" do get around (i.e my 10 y/o just skied mountain #32).
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwcski1 View Post

[snip]

Wouldn't say Sunlight is comparable to Alta 10-15 yrs ago.

For reference on experiencing different ski areas, "we" do get around (i.e my 10 y/o just skied mountain #32).

Thanks for the description of spring conditions at Sunlight.  If I get there this season, it would be in late March.

 

I was asking about the speed of the Sunlight lifts in comparison to the old lifts at Alta.  Are you saying the lifts at Sunlight are slower than Sugarloaf used to be?  I mentioned Alta because I didn't think that most folks who have skied at Sunlight would have experience with the slow lifts I've been on in the southeast or Mid-Atlantic. :rolleyes 

post #13 of 18

Marznc

 

Ironically, it's been over 20 yrs since I've been to Alta, so regarding lift speed,  suspect lift speed is pretty comparable.  We ski a few local mountains with some pretty old lifts, so Sunlight felt like a typical small local mountain lift.   With that said, still better than the "lifts" at say Crested Butte which means T-bars to most advanced terrain.  I'd take an old slow lift over a T bar anyday . . . .

post #14 of 18

@anachronism used to live in Glenwood Springs - he speaks highly of Sunlight as a good quality local mountain. I think if you go there without too many preconceptions it would be fun. I personally love out of the way places that the crowds pass by.. If the slow lifts are the only real detriment then that would be OK in my book.

 

I have not been there yet but the place does interest me.

post #15 of 18
I learned to ski last season and skied almost exclusively sunlight. Fairly steep blues for a small mountain, some good black mogul terrain, the Primo lift line on a POW day is glorious, Zephyr is nice single black with good snow and a few trees to ski around. There are two greens that go from the top down, which is pretty nice, as it allows newbies a full mountain experience as well as allowing freshmen to get over any fear they may have of taking the lift all the way up. Rebel, and Beaujolais are two pretty glorious blue runs in the right conditions. Sunlight's major flaw is that it is low. The summit is just under 10k feet which means when the weather starts warming up the snow can get pretty sketchy pretty fast what with the thawing a refreezing thing going on. The last two weekends I skied last season for instance, the first weekend was 12" of Powder actively snowing, and as you might expect the skiing was incredible. However, one week later after a week of 35-45 degree days the same runs were almost unskiable. In good conditions Sunlight is an absolute gem. The eastern ridge is not to be missed as it contains some legitimate steeps and genuinely challenging runs. Defiance is a blast in the right conditions.

Consensus on Sunlight: Great family friendly affordable mountain, NEVER crowded, fun terrain to get your first taste of steeps and mogul runs, and wonderful for a POW day on a budget. But, like many low mountains, can suffer from sketchy conditions. Overall I absolutely recommend it.
post #16 of 18

Up until I moved down here a few seasons back, I skied Sunlight nearly every season for close to 20 years. From 2010 to 2012 it was my home mountain. One of my favorite places in Colorado, and of the local hills (Powderhorn, Sunlight, Monarch, Ski Cooper, etc) it has by far the best terrain.  Feel free to PM me with any questions.

 

Great place. Of other CO ski areas, it reminds me most of Ajax before high speed lifts. This place is deserted at 85,000 skier visits at year. Snowfall is mediocre, but is well protected and the skier visits make it last a lot longer than you would think.

 

Sun King and Joslin are good long well-pitched cruisers, though Joslin can see a fair bit of sun and can get pretty firm in between storms. Peace Pipe, Dawson, and Crystal are a bit shorter and a little steeper.  Dawson and Crystal are usually groomed on one side.

 

Excluding the East Ridge, nothing ventured beyond advanced. Tom J's and Zephyr Glades are very nice. Cassanova and the skiers left of the mountain are Aspen glades. Not all trees are really skiable as they can have thick treefalls without enough snow to cover- you can see the shitshow that exists in some tree stands off the Segundo lift.

 

The signature advanced run is Defiance. About 1500 vertical feet of about 30-35* pitch. typically very nicely moguled.  Primo is not as steep, but is long with big playful rolling bumps.  Showdown, Holiday Hill, and the Alleys are lots of fun. Showdown and Holiday Hill are in full view of the lodge and usually bumped, the Alleys are in Aspens and have lots of little rock kickers and stuff. Lots of exploring in this area of the mountain although the vert is pretty short.

 

The Heathen and runs in that area make up a small bowl. It has a steep headwall which Sunlight has flogged as having a 52* pitch for years, only valid as a momentary measurement that does not sustain for even 10 feet. The total section above 40* in pitch probably has maybe 30-40 feet of vert.  It is still a lot of fun and tends to have good snow.

 

Skiers right from the Heathen, with the exception of Defiance and Inspiration, you have steeps within pretty tight trees. Legit challenge in here, perhaps like a small version of Temerity.

 

Stay off of Ute. Seriously, it sucks worse than any other run in Colorado. 2.5 miles of double fall-line flat pitch, where you have to straightline with one edge set for miles. A great way to see if you have any fit problems with your boots. Don't ski Ferret's Hollow, Segundo Road, Ute Cutoff, Fliprock, Ivy's, as they all are pretty forgettable and run into Ute high up on the mountain.

 

Tips on lifts:

Primo takes about 22 minutes. It feels longer.

Tercero (base triple) is used as a bunny hill lift and runs agonizingly slow.

Segundo only operates Holidays and weekends. When in operation, the fastest/best way to Primo is to ride it and ski Peace Pipe, Dawson, or Crystal to Primo.

 

 

 

 

.


Edited by anachronism - 1/2/15 at 3:08pm
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Thanks for the description of spring conditions at Sunlight.  If I get there this season, it would be in late March.

 

I was asking about the speed of the Sunlight lifts in comparison to the old lifts at Alta.  Are you saying the lifts at Sunlight are slower than Sugarloaf used to be?  I mentioned Alta because I didn't think that most folks who have skied at Sunlight would have experience with the slow lifts I've been on in the southeast or Mid-Atlantic. :rolleyes

 

I watched an episode of the Simpsons riding Primo one day. Without commercials, 30 minutes of network TV is 22 minutes, so...

 

Spring is a decent time for Sunlight. This place is snowfall limited, so better to go later in the season to make sure terrain is open. The mountain has plenty of different aspects so you can follow the sun around. Be aware in Spring that the East Ridge, where the best terrain is at, will close in the day for wet slab avalanche concerns. Sometimes this means your choice is to ski it early when it could be bulletproof or not at all.

 

Lift lines are always non-existent. Always. Christmas crowds means you could ski into a lift line and find 10 people in front of you 1-2 times a day. Skiing weekdays? Well, I think the picture I posted in the linked TR above of parking in the first spot in the lot at 8:50 is instructive.

post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by WalterdogEllis View Post
 
However, one week later after a week of 35-45 degree days the same runs were almost unskiable.
 

 

I think the comments on altitude are apt- this is a key reason why Sunlight sees less snow than Aspen.

 

However, for the altitude, I think snow preservation is pretty decent. I skied here in the 2011-2012 season, AKA the year without a winter. I skied a lot of groomers that year, but the bumps stayed nice most of the season. Gladed stuff not so much. The best stuff on the mountain faces due N and is steep enough to keep the sun off. Following the Sun around by skiing Dawson/Crystal early, N faces midday, and NW facing Zephyr and Rebel afternoon is a valid strategy for Spring to get melts most of the day.

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