By Meghan McCloskey
Taking the Kids Special Correspondent
By springtime, many skiers are exhausted by the lift lines, carved out runs, and crowded resorts in Colorado Ski Country. But Sunlight Mountain Resort is the perfect little oasis where skiers can hit the mountain without having to schlep to the lifts.
The proximity of Sunlight Mountain to Glenwood Springs, CO makes for the perfect exhilarating day on the slopes to complement a relaxing evening at the town’s healing hot springs.
We arrive at Sunlight Mountain from Denver on Saturday, and although the mountain hasn’t seen much snow in the last couple of days, we feel like we are skiing powder. The mountain is nearly empty and many of the lines are untracked. We are late risers, but are the first ones on some the morning runs we take. Despite only having a few lifts, the mountain has 680 acres of skiable terrain. In two days of skiing, we don’t even come near to exploring the entire mountain.
The terrain at Sunlight Mountain is very unique; the tree runs are mostly aspen groves rather than the lodgepole pines and blue spruce covering many Colorado resorts. Especially helpful for spotting a ski buddy, the bald trees allow for yards of visibility and beautiful scenery. The glades range from steep double black diamonds to the kid-friendly Enchanted Forest, making tree runs accessible to skiers of all levels.
Riding up a chairlift from the base to the peak, skiers can delight in views of the Glenwood Canyon with its characteristic red rocks. Stunning views of the 12,965 foot Mount Sopris and the Elk Mountain Range.
There is nothing pretentious about Sunlight Mountain and that extends to the lunchtime options. At this ski mountain, you can still grab lunch for under ten dollars and the options are all things kids love like chicken tenders and hamburgers. We enjoy our quick lunch break next to a rustic fire pit where old college friends are catching up and local teenagers are bragging about their last run.
Just twelve miles away from Sunlight is Glenwood Springs, the ideal place to rest weary muscles and rejuvenate for the next day of skiing. Surrounded by canyon walls, Glenwood Springs has an enduring historical charm while offering modern restaurants and hotels. We stay at the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, where unlimited visits to the hot springs and a hot, made to order, breakfast is included.
Sunlight Mountain offers a Ski, Swim and Stay deal that makes skiing affordable for families. Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, and many other participating hotels, offer a package that allows kids under 12 to ski at Sunlight Mountain for free. Even more, the Ski, Swim and Stay program offers a free shuttle from your hotel to Sunlight Mountain.
The Glenwood Springs hot springs waters are derived from the Yampah spring and are considered sacred by the Ute Indian Tribe who first discovered them. The large pool is massive, think football field, and is kept at around 93 degrees. We spend most of our time in the therapy pool, kept at 104 degrees. The mineral water smells of sulfur as the heat allows many dissolved solids in the water. These waters are thought to have healing properties. It may not be medically proven, but I can attest that I have no soreness and am full of energy when I wake up the next morning. Time to conquer those aspen glades!