City may sell water to resort to make snow

Powderhorn could open early with such a deal, co-owner says

Powderhorn Mountain Resort could open to skiers a month earlier by buying water from a city-owned reservoir for snow-making, according to one of the resort’s owners, Andy Daly.

Daly told Grand Junction City councilors during a workshop Monday that the extra water would be used in snow-making machines to capitalize on early winter skiing.

“This is a time when there’s a lot of enthusiasm for skiing,” Daly said. “We can really make this a resort to be proud of.”

Resort owners and the city currently are in negotiations to sell the ski resort an acre-foot of water for about $200 a foot up to an annual 140-acre-feet of water for the next decade. In comparison, the city sells water to farmers and ranchers in Kannah Creek for $18 an acre foot, city staff said.

Councilors gave city staff the go-ahead to continue with negotiations. After Powderhorn constructs a pipeline, the city will provide an easement for the pump station, pipeline and electrical infrastructure, and provide ground covering for construction materials, according to some terms of the agreement.

The water would be pumped about two miles from Sommerville Reservoir on Grand Mesa to the resort.

Powderhorn expects to use 60 acre feet of water in the first year. The water would be available to the resort starting Oct. 15. Powderhorn expects to start construction on the pipeline next summer.

Daly told councilors that the resort is spending much more money on the project than initially anticipated and that it must construct its pipeline 3,000 feet longer than originally thought.

However, Daly said, the investment and running the resort is a “labor of love” and should result in more skier days. The resort currently has 21 acres that it covers with man-made snow, but it plans to add 120 acres utilizing man-made snow, Daly said.

Daly also said the location of the pump station and the snow-making system that the resort will be using will make the snow-making operation “the most energy-efficient snow-making in North America.”

“We’re very excited to tell that story,” he said.


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