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Powderhorn Colorado bucks season’s bad news trend

Powderhorn Mountain Resort Has Many Reasons to Celebrate the 2011-12 Season


In a year that was down for many resorts across the United States, Powderhorn Mountain Resort has many reasons to celebrate. The season started on August 4, 2011, with the purchase of the 45-year-old Western Colorado resort by Andy Daly and Ken, Tom and John Gart. With the purchase came a sigh of relief from the residents of Grand Junction, the surrounding communities, and loyal customers of the resort.12_27_2011_Powderhorn_01

Powderhorns luck continued when, on the day before it opened for the season, the resort received 16 inches of fresh powder. Throughout the 2011-2012 season, Powderhorn was blessed with consistent snow conditions and strategic powder dumps. Presidents Day is the perfect example; while many Colorado ski resorts received just a few inches, Western Slope residents awoke to 19 inches of fresh snow at Powderhorn. Brave Ski Mom Blogger Kristen Lummis recounted her experience during the long holiday weekend: We woke up that morning and looked at the snow reports across the state and couldnt believe our eyes. We knew we werent going to miss an epic day at Powderhorn so we promptly got in the car and drove all the way home from our stay at another Colorado resort, just to get the powder, and we werent disappointed. The previous week the resort received 10 inches and the following week, the resort received an additional 35 inches of snow to bring the total to 64 inches in a three week period.

While most resorts had to open late or close early this season, Powderhorn had almost 90 percent of its terrain available on opening day. Within a few weeks, 100 percent of the mountain was open. On closing day, April 1, the resort had over 95 percent of the mountain open for skiing and riding. Throughout the season Powderhorn consistently had some of the best conditions in the state.

We were fortunate in a number of ways this season, said Powderhorn General Manager Daren Cole. We had great early season snow and were able to maintain coverage consistently throughout the season.The snow gods were very kind to us this year.

Snow conditions arent the only thing Powderhorn Mountain Resort is celebrating this season. While most resorts saw a decline in numbers across the board, Powderhorn experienced increases in many different categories. Pass sales for the 2011-12 season were up 15 percent, and overall skier days were up 5 percent while there was a statewide average decline of 7 percent. In addition, pass sales this spring for the 2012-13 season are already up almost 27 percent over last year.

Guest satisfaction also was up this season and much of that increase can be attributed to the new ownership and management.

Across the board we were able to deliver a great experience, Cole added. From enhanced guest service and employee interaction to the amazing grooming and snow management on the hill, the team provided an exceptional product for our guests.

Due to popular demand and to keep up with the strong sales trend, Powderhorns Spring Season Pass Sale has been extended through April 15; passes can only be purchased online.

Based on what weve learned this year, were all looking forward to next season and the future, said Cole.Powderhorn is such a unique resort within the ski industry. It is a little mountain that skis and rides big; it arguably has the best tree and glade skiing in the country.

About Powderhorn Mountain Resort

Celebrating its 45th season, Powderhorn Mountain Resort kicks 2011-2012 off with new ownership, including Andy Daly, who has been a part of the Colorado ski resort scene since 1970. Daly has served as President and CEO of Vail Associates, now Vail Resorts, and he has been involved in the Copper Mountain, Beaver Creek and Eldora ski resorts. The Gart brothers, Ken, Tom and John, are also partners in Powderhorn and bring extensive ski industry, real estate and retail experience as part of their family-owned business, Gart Companies.

The Powderhorn Partners plan to continue to make Powderhorn a family-friendly ski resort, making gradual improvements to the resort and mountain. To learn more about Powderhorn, visit or call 970-268-5700. Join the conversation at