East Ridge Expansion

2021/22 Season Update

About the New Lift
Many folks have been asking about our plans to install a new lift on East Ridge.
The short answer is that the new lift is not on the list of improvements for the coming season.
Folks will recall that when we first announced our terrain expansion plans for East Ridge, we did not assign a specific timetable for completion of the project.

From the start we made it clear that the project would be implemented in three phases, and this summer crews are continuing to carry out Phase 2, further glading new and existing terrain.

In the wake of the global pandemic, our planning for a new lift on East Ridge remains tabled in favor of tackling more immediate needs.
This coming season skiers and riders can look forward to:

1.) An expanded and improved lower parking lot;

2.) Six (6) new electric vehicle charging stations;

3.) New ticketing and season pass software;

4.) New scanners at the lifts;

5.) New online store;

6.) New website;

7.) New Sunny Pop!

We were clear from the start of the East Ridge expansion project that we would not move forward with a new lift if we weren’t able to do so while also maintaining our affordability for local and visiting families alike.

Complicating matters in the immediate are the soaring costs of materials such as steel due to ongoing supply chain challenges. New lift installations are happening at a premium price right now.

Indeed, capital improvement projects look a little different at small, independent, family-owned ski areas than they do at the neighboring multi-national, mega-corporate ski resorts. Consequently, the price of the lift tickets and the length of the lift lines also look different.

Last season Sunlight offered the least expensive lift ticket in Colorado, and that’s a fact that we pride ourselves on. Affordability plays a big role in our mission to provide experiences that leave our guests with so much to smile about.

We were heart-warmed to see so many new people taking up the sport last season, and it’s a trend that gave us cause to take a renewed look at our 5- to 10-year capital improvement plans.

In terms of future investments in lifts, we are taking a reprioritized look at our needs and at this moment it is very likely that upgrades to our existing lifts will happen before a new lift installation occurs.
Make no mistake, we are not abandoning our plans for East Ridge, as we previously mentioned crews are continuing to glade this summer. East Ridge holds incredible advanced terrain that is popular among our skiers and riders, as evidenced by the increased presence of moguls over there in between storms. There is still a strong argument for improving access to East Ridge.
Or not. We’ve also heard from many folks that don’t mind an added lift ride to get to East Ridge, if only because it helps the powder there last for days, not hours.
What are your thoughts?

One thing that is left unchanged, is our commitment to our skiers and riders and our mission to deliver so much to smile about.
Please take this quick survey to share your thoughts, one lucky respondent will WIN a 2021/22 Sunlight Season Pass.
Take the survey: https://bit.ly/3dWgki9

2020/21 Season Update

The global pandemic crisis has unfortunately forced us to trim back our trail maintenance crew by 70% this summer, but the crew we have has been busy further widening Vortex, one of five new runs that came online last season.

Raise your hand if you skied Que Pasa last season and loved it!?

With the tall old-growth pines on East Ridge, further widening the trails has dramatically helped them capture more snow, while still maintaining minimal impact and a healthy forest.

Also, the forest service was here a few weeks ago and we are awaiting more of the necessary approvals.

But of course the biggest hurdle in all of this is financing the new lift in a way that does not have a big impact on our lift ticket and season pass prices. At the moment, all of our focus is on seeing our company through this global pandemic crisis, while also taking all steps we can to ensure the health and safety of our guests, staff, and community. Financial planning for the new lift is on hold.

We hope that by next spring the pandemic crisis is behind us, and we can focus our attention back on future capital improvements at Sunlight. Thanks for your support! 

December 16, 2019 – Sunlight Mountain Resort announced a three-phase $4 million expansion plan that will add a new lift to its East Ridge expert terrain plus nearly 100 acres of additional skiable terrain.

This summer trail maintenance crews completed Phase 1 of the project that included extensive glade work to the ski area's existing Aligator Alleys, Deception, Defiance, and Perry's Plunge. More trees were cleared below Midland Traverse adding approximately 500 vertical feet of descent to Lower Defiance, and Lower Deception. In all five new hike-out runs will be created in Phase 1 of the project.  Other new runs include Cedar Glade, Vortex, and Defiance Lift Line, although the last name has not been completely settled on. 

Phase 2 of Sunlight's expansion into East Ridge will commence next summer, and involves glading nearly 100 additional acres of forest to the east of Perry's Plunge that currently marks Sunlight's eastern-mostboundary. Midland Traverse will be expanded to the East, and more runs will be added below Midland Traverse ending just above Four Mile Creek. 

The loading station for the new East Ridge lift will be on the south side of Four Mile Creek near the intersection of Four Mile Road and Forest Road 300. The top unloading station will placed above Beaujolais and Rebel, providing access to beginner, intermediate, and expert runs west of East Ridge. 

The new terrain, located on private land, will be hike-out only until Phase 3 of the project is complete. Trees will also be cleared to make way for a new fixed-grip quad lift that will be installed in Phase 3. 

This is a multi-year effort, and while glading work is already underway, we are in the very early stages of a process that includes building a capital fund, negotiating additional financing, permitting processes with the county and Forest Service, mapping, planning, and shopping for lifts. Sunlight's last expansion happened in 1993 with the addition of East Ridge that added more than a dozen new black and double-black expert runs. The new East Ridge Expansion will add more intermediate and advanced terrain to the east, and also lengthen existing runs further downhill near Four Mile Creek. 

We're excited to expand skiing and riding on the already legendary East Ridge, these new runs mean our local skiers and riders have even more powder to explore and exploit, and it's all just one chairlift away and conveniently located close to home.