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Sunlight sees slow, dry start

courtesy Sunlight Mountain Resort

Sunlight Mountain Resort opened over the weekend, two weeks later than planned and with just one run open. The lack of natural snow has hurt this year’s numbers.

On Saturday, 400 people visited the Glenwood Springs ski resort - down about 50 percent from Christmas weekend last year.

The original Dec. 8 opening date got pushed back twice, due to the dry December.

Sunlight’s Troy Hawks said it was important to get the mountain set up for the holiday weekend and that strategy paid off.

“You know, overall I’d say it’s been a successful one, it certainly isn't doom and gloom on this end,” Hawks said. “We'd like to have more terrain open, but we are pretty pleased with how it is going at this point.”

Hawks said some tourism has been hurt due to the limited terrain, more advanced skiers are choosing to spend their winter holiday elsewhere this year. But many out of state visitors, who make up about half of the resorts' clients, are still making the trek to the valley.

“We’ve been pretty transparent about the terrain we’ve had open, so that we don't disappoint anybody from out of state that might not be aware of the winter we've been having so far,” said Hawks. “And folks are enjoying themselves, the beauty of the Roaring Fork Valley is that there are a lot of alternative ways to enjoy your time.”

Hawks is now keeping his eye on February. The last two years that’s been the dry month, but there's been early season snow to pad out the slow spell.