Work nearly finished on Powderhorn improvements

Construction on a new chairlift at Powderhorn Mountain Resort east of Grand Junction has entered the final phases.

Leitner-Poma, the Grand Junction company that manufactured the lift, was scheduled to start installing the upper terminal of the lift on Oct. 7. Work on the lift should be completed by mid-November, in time for the opening of the ski season planned for Dec 17.

The Flat Top Flyer high-speed quad chair replaces the nearly 30-year-old Take Four lift and will carry people up the slopes twice as fast, more than halving the typical riding time from 13 minutes to 6 minutes.

In addition to the new lift, the $5 million capital improvement project at Powderhorn includes 8,000 feet of increased snowmaking, almost doubling the current snowmaking area coverage to 42 acres. The new, upgraded snow guns, which will be fully automated, were scheduled to arrive at the resort Oct. 6. The new snowmaking system will be ready to start making snow as soon as weather conditions allow.

“We are looking forward to a great upcoming season. We know that all the hard work and effort that has gone on this summer to upgrade our facilities will continue to enhance our guest experience and will make for a positive season,” said Sam Williams, general manager at Powderhorn.

Dave Smith, slope operations manager, agreed. “The excitement around here is really building. The lift and the snowmaking are nearing completion, and we are looking forward to the start of a new era at Powderhorn.”

The resort also has expanded its snow grooming fleet to include a winch cat for grooming and rebuilding steep slope areas and a Prinoth Beast snow cat, which is a third larger than a traditional snow cat and more efficient for snow grooming.

More than 3,000 feet of new mountain biking trails also have been created at Powderhorn. The resort plans to have 12 miles to 15 miles of trails ready for the summer of 2016.

Still other improvements include changes to the rental shop.

“We have changed the layout of the rental shop to be more user friendly in all aspects. We converted the shop into a pay-last system. All renters will be able to go through and get their rental items first and pay at the end with equipment in hand,” said Dusti Reimer, a spokeswoman for Powderhorn.