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That other area

Allyn Harvey

Tired of Aspen’s fast-paced, high-rolling lifestyle? Hankering for a hunk of skiing like you’re used to back home? Wondering if 3,000-plus vertical feet is just a bit too much for your Flatlander’s legs?

Then it’s time to check out Sunlight Mountain Resort.

If Sunlight were located in eastern Oregon, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula or anywhere in New York it would be considered a great mountain. But geographical misfortune has put Sunlight just an hour away from the skiing (and marketing) juggernaut known as Aspen/Snowmass. With Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Snowmass so close, Sunlight rates as a “damn good” mountain.

It’s got three lifts, the second-least expensive tickets in the state (a full-day ticket goes for $39), and one of the steepest trails in the state: the Heathen, which plunges down toward Four Mile Creek at more than 50 degrees.

Actually, Sunlight’s glades, both in the main area and Sunlight Extreme, are top-notch. The glades through the aspen trees accessed off Segundo lift are a pleasure to ski in the days following a big dump. And Sunlight Extreme has some outstanding steeps that would even impress the hotshots at Aspen/Snowmass.

Sunlight also makes it easy to get back into the forest on a snowmobile tour, which is worth checking out if you’ve never done it.

The town you see from the top of Sunlight is Carbondale, which is a little trippy for all who are used to looking down on Aspen from the gondola.

This week, Sunlight is hosting the Joslin Freeride Invitational, a judged freeride event, on Feb. 23. The Special Olympics Northwest Colorado Regional competition in skiing and snowshoeing is set for Feb. 24. And the Bring the Funk Festival ” with a variety of events showcasing the trickier side off freestyle riding ” is scheduled for the weekend.

As of Sunday night, Sunlight was boasting a 51-inch base on top and a 43-inch base at midway.

Aspen Highlands picked up 7 inches of new snow in the past 24 hours, according to the Aspen Skiing Co.’s 5:30 a.m. snow report. Snowmass has 5 inches, and Snowmass and Buttermilk both picked up 4 inches of fresh stuff, much of it falling overnight.

Avalanche danger for the Roaring Fork Valley is moderate on any terrain, with pockets of considerable for steep and wind-loaded terrain at and above treeline.

Be wary of steep, wind-loaded slopes near and above treeline today. These will be the most likely area for human-triggered avalanches. Take the time to investigate the bond of these new wind slabs to the old snow surface below in the area you are traveling.

Avalanche danger details provided by the Roaring Fork Avalanche Center. For more information, call 920-1664 or visit http://www.rfavalanche.org. For conditions around the state visit geosurvey.state.co.us/avalanche.


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