Sunlight Appreciates Skiers with $20 Lift Tickets and “Casino on the Mountain” Fun
Annual Event Benefits local United Way, almost $500,000 raised since 1986
On Friday, Jan. 8, Sunlight Mountain Resort will once again top the charts as the most affordable ski area
in the country offering $20 lift tickets to all. Since 1986, the annual Skier Appreciation Day has
celebrated skiers and snowboarders with a festivity of fun, food, music, costume contests, prizes, and, of
course, a full day of skiing. It’s a double win for the community as all proceeds from lift ticket sales go to
the local United Way Battlement to the Bells (UWBB), co-organizer of the event.
The theme of the Day is “Casino on the Mountain,” with attendees encouraged to don their flashiest
Vegas-style outfits. All gamblers, gangsters, dealers, showgirls, and floozies welcome! The best costume
in each of the adult and pre-teen categories wins a 2021/22 Sunlight season pass. Kids chomp on donuts
while adults roll the dice for other prizes, including a pair of Liberty Helix 182 Coors Light skis. With
consideration for COVID-19 safety, all events will be held outside and current restrictions observed.
“Skier Appreciation Day has become our signature community-giving event,” said Tom Hays, general
manager of Sunlight Mountain Resort, a 680-acre ski area tucked back into the mountains outside
Glenwood Springs. “It’s the day when we get to say thank you to hard-working locals and at the same
time help support the community year-round through our local United Way partner.”
The relationship with the United Way Battlement to the Bells, which serves Garfield, Eagle, and Pitkin
counties, came together over shared principles, according to Hays. Both historically focus on diversity,
equity, and inclusion.
“What we’re all going through right now makes these considerations even more poignant,” Hays said.
“Individuals and businesses alike are struggling with the financial and social impacts of the pandemic,
and we want to show our regular skiers, friends, and neighbors how much we appreciate them. We know that UWBB’s work reaches deep into hard-hit and minority segments of our population and that enables us to contribute beyond this day.” Sponsored this year by Alpine Bank, Bank of Colorado, Sopris Liquor & Wine, Balcomb & Green, and Mountain Beverage, the family-friendly event has raised nearly a half-million dollars for the locally-funded United Way since its inception.
“UWBB’s mission is to bring together the caring power of individuals with that of local organizations to enhance self-sufficiency for people in the three valleys we serve,” said executive director Traci Gurley-Tomashosky “Our long-time relationship with Sunlight is unique. We get to participate in a fun day for the community – on and off the mountain – and Sunlight’s generous support provides a big boost to our ability to do good work through the year.”
In late 2017, UWBB launched a new area-wide workforce assistance program that has since placed skilled Americorps VISTA volunteers full-time at 19 non-profit locations from Aspen to Battlement Mesa. Current recipients include Habitat for Humanity of the Roaring Fork Valley, Lift-Up, HighWater Farm, Alpine Legal Services, West Regional Mountain Health Alliance, and Youth Zone along with completed service to Literacy Outreach, Family Visitor Program, Garfield County Housing Authority, River Center, CMC Design Works, CMC Go to Work and CASA of the 9th, and others.
“Our VISTA volunteers are passionate individuals who share our commitment to improving access for all to quality health services, economic self-sufficiency, literacy, and youth advocacy,” Gurley-Tomashosky says. “The program isn’t about stuffing envelopes, but increasing the capacity of each organization to do their great work.”
Gurley-Tomashosky estimates that the workforce assistance program has leveraged more than $450,000 in direct value to these critical service providers in grant writing, funds acquisition, program development, and related in-kind support.
In addition, UWBB manages the area Emergency Food & Shelter program, promotes partner organization achievements, provides fund-raising support for emergency response efforts such as those after the mid-valley Lake Christine Fire, and helps foster a collaborative nonprofit service network from Battlement Mesa to Aspen.
Shut out by COVID concerns, this year UWBB is taking their Skier Appreciation Day silent auction online. The event kicks off on Jan. 8 and includes such items as Sunlight’s popular Sunny 6-Packs package, Adventure Snowmobile Tour for 2, e-Bike rentals, a day of guided fly-fishing, vacation getaways, and gifts certificates to shops and restaurants. For more information or to donate, visit www.unitedwaybb.org.
About Sunlight Mountain Resort
There’s so much to smile about at Sunlight Mountain! With more than 680 skiable acres and 2,000 vertical feet, Sunlight offers big skiing at an affordable price. Visit us at sunlightmtn.com.
About United Way Battlement to the Bells
UWBB is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities from Battlement Mesa to Aspen to advance the common good for all, focusing on education, self-sufficiency, financial well-being, and health. Connected in Garfield, Pitkin, and Eagle counties.