Powderhorn Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

  • Vertical (ft)
    8,200 – 9,850 (1,650)
  • Average Snow Fall
    250 inches
  • Lifts (4)
    1 quad
    2 doubles
  • Ski Season
    mid Dec - late Mar
  • Terrain Summary
    Size – 1,600 acres
    Beginner - 20%
    Intermediate - 50%
    Advanced - 30%

Powderhorn Ski Area Terrain

Powderhorn has 1,600 acres (648 hectares) of skiable terrain, although there aren’t many trails and the ski resort feels smaller than the statistic. The Powderhorn ski area essentially sits on a wide face that drops down from the rim of the Grand Mesa. The terrain is completely below the tree line and most of the slopes have a good pitch, the exception being the beginners’ slopes near the base area.

Most of the Powderhorn ski resort terrain is serviced by only two lifts, and there are a few flat trails that cross the resort such as Maverick and Tenderfoot, so snowboarders will need to get up plenty of speed or befriend a skier for a tow.

Powderhorn reminds me a little of Durango Mountain Resort with its below timberline trails, mogul runs cut through the trees, and rollers on some of the groomers. One main difference is that Powderhorn is much smaller, and there are distinctly fewer riders at Powderhorn.

Lifts

The primary lift is the Take Four quad chair which has a midway station and services the (lookers) left half of the ski area. The lookers’ right side is serviced by the West End double lift which feels like it will never come to an end. Powderhorn also has a short double chair for some green runs, as well as two surface lifts at the base area.

Lift Tickets

Lift tickets are inexpensive, especially relative to most other Colorado ski resorts. There are also opportunities for lift ticket discounts (e.g. when you buy gas at Shell). Unlike many other ski resorts, kids don’t ski free, but tickets for pre-teens (7-12) and children (6 and under) are very cheap. Single ride tickets are available for those just using the lift to access the Grand Mesa cross-country ski trails.

Powderhorn Snow

The Powderhorn ski area typically doesn’t receive huge amounts of snow (250 inches per season; 6.3 metres), and the amounts per season can vary significantly. Nevertheless powderhounds will often get the horn over the powder at Powderhorn because the semi-arid climate results in dry powder. The north facing slopes generally keep it in good condition, but on the downside the top elevation of the resort is only at 9,850 feet (3,002 metres).

A very small proportion of the terrain has snowmaking capability.

Powderhorn Terrain Parks

Powderhorn has a couple of terrain parks. The main terrain park, Peace Park, is located near the base area and has various hits for beginners and experts all mixed in together. Near the top of the quad chair is the Top Cut Park which has natural features that were constructed from fallen trees within the resort. Powderhorn also has a 13’ half pipe.

For the Beginner

The beginners’ area is small but adequate for most learners. Little kids having lessons can start on the magic carpet and then progress onto a dedicated beginners’ chair lift that offers nice low angle slopes. Beginners can then progress onto the quad chair and unload at the mid-station.

Intermediate Skiing Powderhorn

Even though 50% of the terrain is rated for intermediates, there are only about 8 blue trails so it seems less than the stat. What Powderhorn lacks in quantity it makes up for with quality. A couple of the blue runs are reasonably mellow, but the rest have a lovely pitch! The trails cover the full 500 metres (1,600 feet) of vertical, and with good grooming and great fall line, the blue runs are a lot of fun to whizz down.

Advanced Snowboarding and Skiing Powderhorn

Powderhorn also grooms a couple of the black runs which are amazing to fly down and get the eyes watering. Wonderbump is sometimes groomed and has some wondrous roller bumps where you can get air time. And other than right near the base area, there are no pesky slow signs or ski patrollers to minimise your fun (unlike places like Vail Colorado).

In addition to black runs that are invariably covered in moguls, Powderhorn has various marked glade runs. The resort has a mix of aspens and pine trees, and unfortunately some of the aspens don’t protect the snow quality adequately.

Powderhorn has some good unmarked tree skiing. One example is the area in the middle of the resort which can be accessed by a traverse from Maverick. This region even has a boulder field that drops onto Tenderfoot. Needless to say, the lack of crowds at Powderhorn is a major pro for powder hounds!!

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Powderhorn ski resort has a decent pitch to it, but there’s nothing really steep or gnarly to challenge experts.

Those with the right know-how and backcountry equipment can head into the side-country on the west end of the resort. There’s lots of delightful tree skiing and you can essentially just keep traversing out to find more fresh tracks.