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