Powderhorn reports increased sales in first season under new ownership

Season pass and lift ticket sales increased at Powderhorn Mountain Resort during the inaugural ski season under new ownership. Timely storms that dumped more snow at Powderhorn than many other Colorado ski areas helped.

“We were fortunate in a number of ways this season,” said Daren Cole, general manager at the resort, located on the Grand Mesa east of Grand Junction. “We had great early season snow and were able to maintain coverage consistently through the season. The snow gods were kind to us this year.”

Daren Cole

Powderhorn reported a 15 percent increase in passes for the 2011-2012 season and a 5 percent increase in overall skier days. One skier day represents one person skiing or snowboarding for any part of one day at the resort.

The increase in skier days at Powderhorn bucked an average decline of 7 percent in Colorado.

Ken, John and Tom Gart joined with Andy Daly in purchasing Powderhorn and about 700 acres of undeveloped land nearby at an auction in August.

Their venture purchased the ski area and land for a total of just over

$1.4 million.

The Gart family, which has been synonymous with sports in Colorado for more than 80 years in operating two chains of sporting goods stores, brought financial resources to the venture. Daly, a veteran of the Colorado ski industry who has managed nine resorts, brought his experience.

The new owners lowered prices on season passes while investing about

$800,000 in improvements.

“Across the board we were able to deliver a great experience,” Cole said. “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.”

Cole said he expects to build on the success of the inaugural season under new ownership. Pass sales for the 2012-2013 season are already 27 percent ahead of this time last year.

“Based on what we’ve learned this year, we’re all looking forward to next season and the future,” Cole said. “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.”