While skiing, the stunning views here span for twenty miles; that is because Powderhorn Mountain Resort sits on the flat top mountain, The Grand Mesa. This makes Powderhorn unique in its setting because many other ski areas are located on mountain canyons. After a detailed history, Powderhorn was purchased in 2011 by partners Andy Daly, and Tom and Kent Gart. Daly was a previous President of Vail Resorts and had major involvement with Eldora, Copper, and Beaver Creek Resorts as well. Since the new ownership, improvements have been steadily made to the resort including a halfpipe, the only one within a 100 mile radius, and as a result, skier visits have increased. In fact, over the 2012-2013 season, visits increased by eight percent. Dave Smith, Powderhorn’s Marketing Director says, “Snow of course always brings a big aspect to it- but I think a lot of [the growth] is due to the new ownership and their future vision of the resort.”
Powderhorn, now more than ever, is committed to being a community partner. If you’ve been to any festivals this summer, such as the Peach Festival, you’ve probably seen Powderhorn there. “This summer was a new one for us - a bag jump was purchased by the resort,” said Smith. Powderhorn is one of the few resorts that actually has their own bag jump. Generally, an independent company travels with a bag jump and takes it to different resorts. With their own, Powderhorn was able to travel and take it to different local festivals. Has Smith made the jump? “Oh Heck yea!” he says enthusiastically. Powderhorn rented a scissor lift so jumpers can go to whatever level they want. “It was fun to watch people’s perceptions on it,’ said Smith. People think they will take the height to the max, but once they’re up there, it feels completely different.
When others have been playing in the sun, with snow as the last thing on their mind, crews at Powderhorn have been thinking of nothing but snow and working tirelessly to ensure a smooth ride for the upcoming season. “It started as soon as the lift shut down last season,” said Smith. There is a lot of work to maintain and improve a ski area each year. “These guys are working their tails off. They are brush-cutting, operating machinery…. it is not a sit back a relax job. They are out there working to make sure that everything is safe for the coming season,” Smith adds. The crews work in steep terrain, with unsure footing, with a blade by their feet, “you’d be amazed,” he added. In addition to the trail maintenance and expansion, there is lift maintenance; ensuring safety for the coming season. With employees that have worked in resorts such as Sunrise Park Arizona, Aspen Snowmass, Angel Fire in New Mexico, and more, these men are true professionals and craftsmen of their trade. “They are not just out there doing a job- it is their profession. They take the quality into what they do every day,” said Smith.
In the coming years, Powderhorn is looking to continue to make more improvements. Some of the first things in order are new ski lifts. The lifts will come from local manufacturer, Letnier Poma in Grand Junction. Other major ski- industry manufacturing sites such as, Prinoth snow cats and Lenko snow guns are in Grand Junction. “We’ve got a lot of power in the industry having these wonderful partners right down the road,” says Smith.
Powderhorn is now looking forward to its last and biggest off-season event: Color Weekend on 27th and the 28th. This weekend will be packed with fun. To get a bird’s eye view of the vibrant fall color, Powderhorn will have their scenic lift ride running, its bag jump up for those adrenaline junkies, and its bungee trampoline going for adventure seekers. On Sunday, The Color Sunday adventure Challenge kicks off. Put on by Powderhorn Racing Club and The Western Slope Center for Children, it consists of 3 different races at the resort: The 10K Thigunawat, 3K Team Adventure Run, and a Kid’s Obstacle Fun Run course. Proceeds go to both organizations. On Sunday from 10- 4, visitors can also enjoy an exhibit by artists who have been painting on the Grand Mesa since the 21st.
While all this is going on, visitors can enjoy a pint and food with live music by Zoloft and the Destroyers and the Gerry Goodman Band at the lodge. New this year is the ability to camp in the parking lot for free. “To go to bed and wake up to the view that we have there is phenomenal,” said Smith.
For all of the events happening this weekend at Powderhorn, please visit their events calendar.
Networks Unlimited has had the pleasure of working to find solutions using technology for the mountain resort. From Smith’s experience, there are families that have members that don’t want to necessarily be on the mountain. Instead, they can use their devices. Having Wi-Fi is a huge benefit for them. “They can do what need to do: whether it be work, pleasure, or games,” says Smith.
If you want a live look at Powderhorn, you can go to their website and see what is going on with a live cam. Want to see the current snowfall? Check it out with the phresies cam; both features have been donated by Networks Unlimited. “Even when I’m in my office, I check it out and see what is going on,” says Smith. Currently, Networks Unlimited is working on a standardized timing system to allow racers to compete and qualify at Powderhorn. “We are able to do a lot of great things with you guys,” says Smith of the partnership. “The future is bright.”