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Sunlight plans to celebrate snow with bonus weekend

April E. Clark

The snow gods keep smiling down on Sunlight Mountain Resort, as the ski area plans to reopen for additional spring skiing April 8-9.”We have had a good year,” Sunlight general manager Tom Jankovsky said. “We’ve already surpassed last year. We’re up about 12 percent over last year.”After Sunday, Sunlight’s official closing day, the resort will close April 3-7 and reopen April 8-9 with $25 lift tickets. As of Tuesday, Sunlight reported a 60-inch base, with 100 percent of its terrain open.”I just think the quality of the snow has been good,” Jankovsky said. “And that just makes everybody happy.”Jankovsky credited both Mother Nature and his staff for a successful season.”It’s been a great year, and we’ve had just a great crew this year,” he said. “As far as our elevation, we’ve had a fairly stable snowpack.”Molly Cuffe, Colorado Ski Country USA director of communications, said Sunlight – and the seven other small, so-called gem resorts in Colorado – have seen better-than-average skier numbers and prime conditions this season.”The trend of the gem resort has seen a significant growth over the past couple of years in terms of skier visitation,” said Cuffe, whose trade association represents 25 ski and snowboard resorts in Colorado. “Right now, they are 23 percent ahead of their year-to-date, five-year average in their second period.”Gems cater more to the day skier, Cuffe said, and feature minimal crowds and cheaper lift tickets. In October 2005, Sunlight’s owners put the 40-year-old resort up for sale for $50 million. Sunlight, which saw about 72,000 skier visits last year but has seen 100,000 in past seasons, remains on the market.”We haven’t been sold,” Jankovsky said. “There have been lots of people looking, but that’s it. There have been no offers.”Sunlight isn’t the only skiable peak in the state to experience a stellar season. Colorado Ski Country reports the state had its best midwinter conditions in more than two decades.”Aspen had more than 26 feet of snow this season,” Cuffe said. “At the top of Aspen Highlands, they have a 101-inch base. That’s the deepest it’s been yet this season.”Overall this season, Steamboat has led the state for total snowfall with more than 400 inches. From January through February, the state’s resorts hosted more than 5.2 million skiers and snowboarders, a 5 percent increase from last season, according to Colorado Ski Country. Colorado hosts an average of 11.5 million skiers and snowboarders at its resorts each year.


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