Hometown Mountain Shoutout: Powderhorn Mountain Resort, CO

James Pulfer |
Powderhorn, colorado
A good friend making some telemark turns above a cloud inversion. Photo Credit / Gayle Moore

Just below the northern rim of the “Largest Flat Topped Mountain in the World”(Grand Mesa), lies Powderhorn Mountain Resort, CO (PMR). Offering more than 1600 skiable acres, just 45 minutes driving from Grand Junction, CO. PMR graciously receives at least 250″ of beautiful Colorado powder each season. Consisting of Spruce, Fir, and Aspen trees, Powderhorn offers incredible glade skiing. With almost 3/4 of the skiable terrain offered to be beginner and intermediate, this hill is a fine place for one to learn to ski or ride. I myself learned the hobby that I enjoy from year to year, at this laid back hidden gem.

Powderhorn, colorado
Last chair photo opportunity from Bill’s run. Photo Credit / J.T. Pulfer II

Although lacking some amenities one might expect from a year-round resort, Powderhorn offers one of the most family-friendly ski experiences you can find. The lack of amenities is no problem for the locals who return every winter for some of the most amazing, aspen glade skiing we have found anywhere! Lending nicely to this family-friendly experience is a 5-star crew of ski instructors, with experience teaching all over the world. Probably my favorite thing about PMR is the camaraderie achieved by this tight-knit ski family over the years. I have met my very best of friends at this amazing place, and when it snows you will find them all in one spot. Powderhorn!

Some nearby unique canyon country with the slopes of powderhorn as a backdrop. Photo Credit / J.T. Pulfer II

As for the East end of the mountain, accessed by “The Flat Top Flyer” high-speed detachable lift, this area offers great skiing, boasting many nice trails of all levels. Groomers, moguls, and glades are just some of what you’ll find on this end. Powderhorn’s tallest cliff drop is accessed on this side of the mountain. The terrain parks reside here on the East end from year to year, maintaining a nice jump line and various rail features. Fireworks and a torchlight parade can be viewed on N.Y.E. from the cozy lodge at the bottom of the “Flat top flyer”.

The Author James (J.T.) Pulfer II scoping a fresh line at one of many “stashes”. Photo Credit / Steven Hunter

With touchy phone service around the mountain, you’re sure to locate your friends on the “West End” chair. Powderhorn’s lift #2 is a Heron-Poma double chair, installed in 1972. This trusty older lift still has an old-school hemp cored haul rope. There are no beginner trails here on the west end. This chair is where you will find some of my favorite terrain that is offered at Powderhorn. You can also access some very unique boulder field riding, that I have yet to find elsewhere.

Powderhorn, colorado
This picture was taken by the author, on a chilly -11 degree morning working as a lift operator. Photo Credit / J.T. Pulfer II

With the recently installed High-Speed detachable Quad (2015) replacing the old fixed-grip quad “Take-Four”, the trip up top was cut in half from 12+ minutes to about 6 minutes, eliminating a midway station in the process. This upgrade is very helpful to foot passengers for a fall time ritual Powderhorn puts on called “Color Sunday.” This event takes place the last weekend in September when the Aspen trees are typically peaking in their color change. This is a great event that I like to bring non-skier friends to and show them this very special place. This new lift has also opened up the slopes of Powderhorn to downhill mountain biking. Powderhorn is steadily adding and improving bike trails with help from some very rad folks.

Powderhorn, colorado
Powderhorn Mountain Resort trail map

Resort Stats:

Location: Mesa County, Colorado, United States

Nearest major city: Grand Junction, Colorado

Vertical: 1,650 ft

Top elevation: 9,850 feet (3,000 m)

Base elevation: 8,200 ft

Skiable area: 1,600 acres (6.5 km²)

Runs: 63 total

  • 20% beginner
  • 50% intermediate
  • 30% advanced/expert

Longest run: Tenderfoot/Lower Dude 1.8 miles long (2.9 kilometers)

Lift system: 3 total (1 quad chair, 1 double chair, 1 magic carpet)

Terrain parks: 3

Snowfall: 250 in/year

Website: http://www.powderhorn.com

Photo Sources
Gayle Moore
Steven Hunter
J.T. Pulfer II

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