Powderhorn Ski Area-USA

Powderhorn Ski Area: ‘Where the pace is slower and the smiles are broader.'

Grand Mesa is a beautiful part of the Western Colorado, and as you move towards the northern edge, some 1600 acres of jaw-dropping mountain terrain comes into the picture along with the Powderhorn Mountain Resort. The latest purchase of a super-fast detachable quad lift has made Powderhornnot just another ski resort, rather, a resort that is ready to serve its customers the entire year and takes them downhill through their lifts to the Grand Mesa’s Mountain biking grounds.With the best of tree skiing facilities on the snowy mountains, Powderhorn receives a total of 250 inches of dry and light powder every winter.

In all its glory, with minimal lift lines, an ever smiling team of employees and proximity to the Grand Junction, Powderhorn is no less than a hidden gem buried deep in Colorado’s mountains. Even in the summers, the guests can enjoy miles and miles of mountain bike trails and lift rides that take them through scenic views of the valley that they are unlikely to come across anywhere else.

Powderhorn Statistics

Base Elevation: 8200 feet

Summit Elevation: 9850 feet

Vertical Drop: 1650 feet

The people at Powderhorn have a very simple motto which keeps up their services all through, and  that is, ‘Where the pace is slower, and the smiles are broader.’ Powderhorn welcomes all levels of skiers with their three terrain parks, a complete service bike center and Ski and Ride, base area dining, rental equipment, lodging and shopping, making it beyond perfect as a destination for all; be it couples, groups, friends or family.

Here you can get a very large and comfortable variety when it comes to ski terrains, such as boulder fields, glades, and bumps. Among all other ski resorts in Colorado, this one stands out mainly due to its climate and terrain. Mesas are a flattop mountain, and Powderhorn in situated right beside one of the largest mesas in the world, unlike other ski resorts that sit on mountain canyons. This opens up a view that expands up to 20 miles, all through the desert below.  Powdery, dry snow is produced here due to the high desert location that Powderhorn inhabits, which is a little to the east and north of Colorado National Mountain and at the same time east of Colorado’s Grand Junction.

The Rocky Mountain News once reported, “Powderhorn makes up for a lack of vertical with two quality terrain parks,” and gave a special mention to Powderhorn’s “Old West feel” and its special focus on “families, beginner, and intermediate skiers.” The resort happens to have a huge variety when it comes to terrain; along with it groomed runs, boulder fields that are filled with cliffs and jumps and steeper tree runs.


The base elevation at Powderhorn is 8,200 feet, and summit elevation is 9,850 feet, with a vertical drop of 1,650 feet. Of a total skiable are of 1600 acres and 63 runs in total, 20% is for beginners, 50% is for those at the intermediate level, and 30 % is for advanced athletes who have developed their skill enough to survive on it. The climate at the resort is just right, with 250 inches of snowfall each year and 21 acres of snowmaking whenever needed. Powderhorn has five lifts, of which 1 is a quad lift, 2 are double lifts, 1 is a surface lift while the last one is a tow lift.

When skiing opened up on the heights of Grand Mesa in the 1940s, all it had was a rope tow, which became a surface lift in the 1950s. Then, 1966 saw the inauguration of Powderhorn ski area, with a surface lift and a double chair 3 km below Mesa Creek, which is another ski area. The west end of Powderhorn was enhanced even more by the addition of more terrain and a double chair in the 1970s and then was bought by a developer in Texas. A double chair then replaced a surface lift, and a fixed grip quad replaced the main double chair after this sale took place. Then, the dau lodge was lifted with a wood deck, and all parking lots were paved in the year 1986. The next significant changes were made in 1988 when patio units replaced the condominium garages, and the Powderhorn Ski Area was changed to Powderhorn Resort. Work on Wildwood subdivision began in 1966 when a local entrepreneur purchased Powderhorn Resort. It changed hands again in 1998 when Powderhorn was purchased by Dean Skalla and Steve Bailey.

Another 2000 square feet were added to the day lodge in 1999, along with a 5000 sq ft sundeck, with a bridge that can come in handy to direct towards the lifts. Then hotel and restaurant were renamed Wildwood Restaurant and Inn at Wildwood after a complete renovation. Soon, sales picked up following the completion of the Wildwood subdivision. Then, the Inn at Wildwood’s rooms were enlarged and renovated, after which, three brand new glade runs and two trails were added so as to increase the skiable area by some 140,000-meter square. The 18 hole disc golf course that the Powderhorn Resort boasts of and the 10 kilometers of trails for mountain biking was added in 2007.

When the resort was resold in 2011, and an immediate investment of 800,000 U.S. dollars was made by the new owners, which added to the rooms in the lodge, snowmaking machines, a half pipe with a radius of a hundred miles and many other upgrades were introduced. More construction began in 2015, to improve and add aspects like the new high-speed quad chairlift.


This year, Powderhorn is celebrating their 50th Anniversary, so the season passes for this year have already gone on sale at early season pricing. The pass for 16/17 season offers many benefits, like unlimited skiing, direct lift access, snowboarding, along with discount in the resort, various deals funded by local partners and more than 30 days that are either discounted or free at many other resorts. If you purchase an adult pass and happen to have a kid with you who is under the age of 6, his/her ticket will be free with the adult pass. Due to the 50th Anniversary year, the resort, with every adult pass is giving away ‘buddy vouchers,’ implying that you can take with you a total of 20% discount on two full day tickets if they are redeemed during this season itself. Both college and military passes are also eligible for these ‘buddy vouchers.’ If you are here with family, then do ask for the family discount when you purchase the passes.

Without these offers, the tickets range from 104 dollars to 549 dollars.

So, this holiday season visit, because experiences are gained, never purchased, which is why they do not have a price tag. The staff if friendly, always ready to serve with a smile on their faces and genuine hospitability in their hearts. The dining, the bars, the coffee shops will never let you be homesick, and the slopes and terrains will leave you too tired to worry about anything else. Staycations are good for the summer, but the snow in your backyard can only do so much for you when you compare it to the fine powders of Colorado. So go ahead and visit the place with your family and enjoy skiing to the fullest!

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