Powderhorn Resort heads for the auction block

As ski areas go, Powderhorn Ski Resort doesn’t have the glitzy reputation of Aspen or Telluride, the massive and varied terrain of Vail or Steamboat Springs or the lodging, shops and restaurants that help attract millions of skiers each year to the resorts listed above and others throughout Colorado.

But what Powderhorn does have is a handful of great runs, usually wonderful snow and a loyal following of skiers and snow boarders, many of whom grew up learning their snow skills at Powderhorn.

In fact, much of the charm of the little ski area on Grand Mesa is that it’s not one of the giant resorts. It has maintained a neighborly flavor, a place where locals are likely to meet old friends, either on the lift or in the lodge.

Many of those local skiers and boarders no doubt experienced a bit of anxiety when they learned last week that the current owners of Powderhorn plan to put the ski resort on the auction block Aug. 4.

Through almost a half-century of operation, Powderhorn has had just a handful of owners. Most have worked closely with surrounding communities to welcome local skiers and develop good working relationships with regional businesses. Others have done a poor job in that regard.

Current owners Steve Bailey and Dean Skalla have made Powderhorn a good local business and corporate neighbor.

But the two men, now in their 70s, say they want to retire. Hence the decision to sell the ski resort. The auction plan means there will be a firm date for that sale, not long, drawn-out negotiations with potential buyers.

We join countless winter sports enthusiasts in this valley, and in nearby communities on the Western Slope, in hoping that Powderhorn finds new buyers who maintain that neighborly feel to the ski area, and perhaps modernize its lifts and other facilities.


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