New ski lift really is in bolstering Powderhorn business

A new lift and ample snow helped attract more skiers and snowboarders to the Powderhorn Mountain Resort during the latest season, managers announced.

Skier visits during the 2015-2016 season at Powderhorn were up 45 percent over the 2014-2015 season and 16 percent over the four-year average for the resort. The latest number was the highest for Powderhorn since new owners purchased the resort on the Grand Mesa east of Grand Junction in 2012.

A skier visit constitutes one person skiing or snowboarding for any part of one day.

“The increase in skier days were driven by a tremendous community response to the new lift, strong early season snowfall as well as favorable snowmaking conditions,” said Sam Williams, general manager at Powderhorn.

The Flat Top Flyer high-speed quad chair replaced the nearly 30-year-old Take Four lift at Powderhorn and carries people up the slopes twice as fast.

The lift was part of $5 million in capital improvement projects that also included 8,000 feet of increased snowmaking, almost doubling coverage to 42 acres.

The increase in skier visits at Powderhorn was a part of a record-breaking season for the 21 resorts that belong to the Colorado Ski Country USA. The trade association reported a total of 7.4 million skier visits during the 2015-2016 season. That number constitutes a nearly 5 percent increase over last season and 10 percent gain over the five-year average. Member resorts also captured almost 25 percent of the national skier market last season.

At Powderhorn, expectations for continued growth aren’t limited to the winter, said Ryan Robinson, marketing and sales manager at the resort. “Excitement is high coming off a successful winter, and we’re carrying that momentum into Powderhorn’s first year of lift-accessed downhill mountain bike riding this summer.”