Grand Mesa Snow Adventures
[Grand Mesa Colo. | January 2020 | By Karen Prather]
Grand Mesa is home to two longtime capitals of recreation: Powderhorn Mountain Resort, developed in 1966, and Mesa Lakes Lodge, which pre-dates the resort. Both facilities offer uniquely different experiences, but both share the magnificent country atop the world’s largest flat-topped mountain at over 11,000 feet. Whether you’re up on the Mesa to play in the snow or just to take in the views, you’re sure to enjoy your time there. To see what’s new at both resorts, the Silver Stage takes you atop the Mesa via video viewable online,
Powderhorn Mountain Resort draws skiers and boarders, locals and visitors alike to Western Colorado every year. It’s the closest winter sports resort for many residents of Western Colorado and Utah. In the 53 years since it opened, and with mostly beginner or intermediate ski runs, Powderhorn is still one of the most “family-friendly” in Western Colorado.
Last winter, Powderhorn introduced Free Learn to Ski & Snowboard Program. “It was such a hit that we’re bringing it back,” said Courtney Kenny, events and marketing coordinator at the resort. Powderhorn’s goal is to make skiing affordable for the whole family. That’s tough when the average national prices for ski passes have risen continuously for the past few years (the average ski lift cost was $90 last year, according to snow-online.com). Besides the ski pass, there’s the added expenses of travel, clothing, and the actual gear to play in the snow. “Because of where we are and how our market reacted, we decided we had to make it so that anyone in town can ski three times, get lessons, get rentals, try it, love it, and then want to come back,” Kenny explained. Powderhorn also brought back their Free Learn to Ski or Ride program this year—even bigger and better—to continue their effort “to make skiing and riding accessible for everyone to enjoy it,” Kenny said.
Powderhorn’s newest hangout, one of several restaurants, is the heated Umbrella Bar. It sits at the base of Flat Top Flyer, a lift that gets you to the top of the mountain in six minutes, an experience that definitely calls for an adult beverage.
Check out the link to learn more about Powderhorn’s programs: powderhorn.com/lessons-rentals/ski-ride-center/free-learn-to-ski-ride/
Take a day at the resort, try out the powder, and visit the Umbrella Bar. 48338 Powderhorn Drive, Mesa, Colo. 970-268-5700. powderhorn.com/
Mesa Lakes Lodge, on the banks of Beaver Lake, is part of the Mesa Lakes Recreation Area. (Make the first right turn after Jumbo Reservoir on Grand Mesa.) The lodge—a common area with a restaurant—and the cozy collection of cabins are open year-round, weather permitting, and draw winter visitors from all over the world. Activities include cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing. The secluded, pristine location makes it more relaxing than the bigger resorts. Sleeping accommodations include two- and three-bedroom cabins with bathrooms and seven bungalows that share a common shower house.
Andrew “Andy” Brito took over the Lodge, a long-established presence up on the Mesa, about seven years ago. “I made it my mission to update the interior quite a bit. It’s just baby steps, but I wanted to make the restaurant better and be open for more days,” he said. There’s always something fun to do at Mesa Lakes Lodge. Brito and his team conduct ice fishing and snowmobile tours as well as sleigh rides and offer live music at the Lodge.
Mesa Lakes Lodge. 3619 Hwy. 65, Mesa, Colorado. 4 Stars TripAdvisor. (970) 268-5467. mesalakeslodge.com/
Both facilities boast pristine, less-crowded accommodations as well as world-class views and are popular venues for destination weddings. Be sure to take our video tour of the Mesa Lakes Lodge and Powderhorn’s new Umbrella Bar.
Ice Fishing Tournament at Mesa Lakes Lodge to benefit Hospice.
On February 1, 2020, pending permission from the Forest Service, Mesa Lakes Lodge plans to host their first annual New Year’s ice-fishing tournament. Donations from the event will benefit Hope West Hospice. Pre-register via Mesa Lakes Lodge Facebook page or on their website at mesalakeslodge.com.