Powderhorn Mountain Ski Vacation Guide

Grand Junction's Powderhorn Mountain Resort has come a long way since the 1940's and a tow rope. These days, the Western Slope mountain is spruced up for prime-time, providing terrain parks, quad lifts, and a wealth of activities throughout the ski season. Situated between Moab (and the Arches National Park) of Utah and the reknown Aspen, Colorado, the area is able to offer the best of both concepts to its visitors. The resort itself is just northeast of Grand Junction, in Mesa, Colorado.

Ski Levels

The slope's base may be at 8,200 feet, but the peak at 9,850 feet is actually about 4,000 feet above the valley town. The mountain provides a rousing 20 percent of its trails for beginners and 50 percent for intermediate skiers, and some exciting terrain park features, providing adrenalin rushes for beginners and experts alike. Pepsi Corporation continues to sponsor the main terrain park area, continuing the tradition of thrills. Receiving 250 inches of snow in an average year, the mountain has also been set up with snowmaking equipment, should the need arise. The ski area itself is a large bowl, with the black diamond runs nearer the top on each of two areas. To the right (as you're facing the mountain) you'll find more blue diamond trail, including long runs like the Snow Cloud, which runs into the Lower Dude and on back to the lifts, and Tenderfoot, which begins at the top and makes its way around to Lower Snowcloud, a very long trail combination, before ending up at the other lift. Overall, the mountain's trails are well designed, perfect for the beginning and intermediate skier to hone his skills while enjoying the vacation time. As the skills improve, one can easily progress to more difficult runs.

The school and ski patrol are top-notch, as is the case in most all Colorado resorts. The resort is proud of their ability to take first-time skiers and bring them up rapidly and safely towards intermediate abilities. They walk you through every step of the program in advance, so you'll know what you're doing from before you even arrive at the mountain.

Après Ski

The Stay and Save lodgings on the mountain itself may be appealing (who doesn't want to start the day's skiing right outside the front door?) but most of the nightlife is going to be happening in town, whether that's right there in Mesa or in nearby Grand Junction. There you'll find plenty of live music by some very talented locals and a variety of dining choices as well. Though the elevation is slightly lower than many of the Colorado resorts, this is still the Rocky Mountains; multiple layers of thin clothing and a breathable waterproof “powder” jacket are advised. A neck gator can be a welcome piece of gear as well. Even though you may feel warmer in Grand Junction, there's still a lot of UV light bouncing off of the snow, so glasses or goggles are also in order.

Powderhorn is a great place for a ski vacation for any level of skier, while providing many exciting opportunities for beginners and intermediate skiers to advance—and it's a lot of fun to ski.

Powderhorn Mountain Snowboard Vacation Guide

Rider’s Guide

This wonderful Colorado resort has two double chairs and one quad chair that take you up to roughly 30 trails, where you can enjoy 250 inches of Colorado’s best powder. The longest trail run is 11,600 feet and the trails are rated 20 percent for beginners, 50 percent for intermediates, 15 percent for advanced. If you’re up on your math, you’ll know what that means a full 15 percent of the slopes are expert only. Let the games begin!

Parks and Pipes

When you’ve had enough of conquering amazing natural features like trees, corduroy, stashes, and Powderhorn’s treacherous boulder fields, it’s time to head to their superb terrain parks for even more fun. Their motto is "Memories are made at Powderhorn Resort" and you are going to have some amazing memories once you get through the Mt. Dew Junction Park on Peacemaker. This is a truly expert park with a few easier features thrown in to appease the intermediates and to allow the experts to brush up on their skills. See if your talent and techniques will allow you to master Mt. Dew’s Rainbow rail, 30 foot Flat rail, C rail, Wall Ride, Pyramid, Pipes, Barrels, Benches, Boxes, 20 foot kicker, 35 foot kicker, Flat-Down and Flat-Down-Flat.

Out of Bounds

You have to take some time to visit the Colorado National Monument, which is truly one of the grand landscapes of the American West. Drive the spectacular road to view desert bighorn sheep and soaring eagles amidst sheer-walled canyons, towering monoliths, and multi-colored formations. Drive all of historic Rim Rock Drive across 23 miles of breathtaking panoramic views and numerous overlooks.

Hangout & Hookup

The Wildewood Restaurant right off the slopes will serve you up a great meal in a relaxing atmosphere, especially on Saturday Steak Nights or Sunday Brunch where you can eat all you can see and even the under 21 crowd can get full. There’s also find a great selection of refreshing beers and a good wine list. If you want some experience some amazing variety in your watering holes, you have to head out 40 minutes west to historic Grand Junction in order to try out one of the best bar scenes anywhere in the state. Some of the locals’ and visitors’ favorites include Bailey’s Lounge, Blue Moon Bar, Brass Rail, D J’s Roadhouse, Garfield’s Pub, Night Gallery Lounge, Quincy Bar & Grill, Thunder Mountain Tavern, and Weaver’s Tavern, just to mention a few. If you want to wet your whistle with some amazing local brews, you have to check out The Breckenridge Ale House and The Rockslide Brewery, where you can get ample ice cold mug-fulls to quench the most vicious thirst. When it’s time to catch the big game on huge TVs, sip some suds and play some games, the locals head to Wrigley Field Sports Bar or Fast Eddy’s Sports Bar. All of Grand Junction rocks right into the wee small hours of the morning, but keep an eye peeled for the schedule of the Mesa Theater & Club, which is often home to some righteous events.