Westword's Guide to teh '96-'97 ski and snowboard season

Lifts: 1 Silver Bullet gondola, 1 quad chair, 2 high-speed detachable quads, 7 triple chairs, 7 double chairs, 4 surface lifts.

Lift rates: Adult full-day $46, half-day $39; seniors (65-69) full-day $25; 70 and over ski free. Early/late-season prices available.

Lessons: Adult group lesson: Full-day $52, 2 hours $35; private lesson: $75/hour, 2 hours $140, full-day $340. Child group lesson: Full-day $57, half-day $39. Snowboard: Full-day lesson $57. Call 1-970-879-6111, ext. 543, for information.

Rentals: Steamboat Ski rentals. Call 1-800-359-9959 or 1-800-922-2722 for
information. Other ski shops in area.
Snowboarding: Welcome.

Cross-country: Steamboat Touring Company. Lessons available. Call 1-970-879-8180 for information. For other businesses and lodges call 1-970-879-0740.

Special events: MTV Winter Lodge, Nov. 23-Dec. 10; Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Ski Ball, Dec. 2; Ski Town USA Nordic Combined World Cup, Dec. 13-16; New Year's Eve Torchlight Parade, Dec. 31; College Ski Week, Jan. 1-14; 22nd Annual Norwest Bank Cowboy Downhill, Jan. 16; 84th Steamboat Springs Winter Carnival, Feb. 5-11; Valentine's Day Torchlight Parade, Feb. 14; Jimmie Huega Ski Express, Mar. 2; St. Patrick's Day Torchlight Parade, Mar. 17; Cardboard Classic, Apr. 14; Easter Sunrise Service, Apr. 17.

General information: 1-970-879-8499
Snow report: 1-970-879-7300

Location: 157 miles northwest of Denver via I-70 west to Colo. Hwy. 9 (exit 205) to U.S. Hwy. 40.

Opening and closing dates: Mid-November to mid-April.
Hours: 9 a.m.-10 p.m.
Terrain: 15 trails. 440' vertical drop. Base: 6,696'; top: 7,136'; longest run: 1 mile.

Lifts: 1 double chair, 1 Poma lift, 1 Pony tow.
Lift rates: Adult full-day $10; child 12 and under full-day $5.
Lessons: Call 1-970-879-0696 for information
Rentals: Call 1-970-879-8499 for information.
Snowboarding: Welcome. Half-pipe.
Cross-country: Call 1-970-879-8499 for information.
Special events: Call 1-970-879-8499 for information.

Sunlight Mountain Resort
Jim Lagasse gets to snowboard six or seven days a week. But don't hate him too much. "Yeah, it sounds great, except I'm poor," he says.

Lagasse is a freelance artist who does artwork for Sunlight to get a pass. He lives in Glenwood, twenty minutes from the mountain, and he can rearrange his work schedule to accommodate powder days at will. "I'll grow up someday and get a real job," says Lagasse, 32. "But not too soon." Until that happens, the Colorado Springs native plans to continue sharpening the snowboard skills he acquired four years ago, after having skied for more than a decade. "The great thing about Sunlight is that it's geared toward intermediates," Lagasse says. "And those runs always get good jumps on them."

The superior vaults are found in the Upper Glades, according to Lagasse. "You can just cut into the trees and find a lot of big, huge boulders and fallen timber that's covered," he says. "You pretty much make your own, and I've always found new powder over there." He adds that Sunlight has established glades but that the uppers are his favorite. "On a hard-packed day, though, you'll find me on Little Max/Sun King," he says. "It's one of the funnest: huge, rolling hills, really fun, especially when you're going fast." He says most people like Joslin because it's "wide-open and a lot steeper than a lot of Sunlight," but he contends that not everyone realizes that this intermediate can creep up to a black depending on the weather. "On one side, it might have bumps one day," Lagasse says. "On another, it might be slick and fast." Zephyr is Lagasse's preference on powder days--"super-steep and extreme," he says--along with Primo, which gets bumped up when the snow falls. "That's an ego run, though, 'cause the lift runs right over it," he says.

Those who blow the show under the lift can drown their sorrows at the Glenwood Canyon Brewing Company (402 Seventh) in Glenwood Springs. "Hey, we got our own brewpub," Lagasse says, adding that The 19th Street Diner (1908 Grand Avenue) is just as good, smaller and more friendly; on weekends Lagasse wallows in the local rock and blues bands that play at Buffalo Valley (3637 Highway 82). He says Charcoal Burger (51659 U.S. Highway 6 & 24) grills the finest burgers, along with "impressive onion rings and superb shakes," and the Cajun fare at The Bayou (52103 U.S. Highway 6) is awesome. "I get the crab, or the mako shark with mustard sauce," he says. And when he's not extremely hungry but wants to munch and drink, a lot of times he'll just hang at the Bavarian Inn across from the mountain. "They have good appetizers and good music," he says. "And it's a relaxing place to drink the night away."

To get some hair of the dog the next day, Lagasse stumbles into the Diner once again, for "the Bloody Marys, of course, to start off with," he says. "Then the omelettes, the French toast and the pancakes." He also appreciates the deals at the Italian Underground (715 Grand Avenue). "I can never finish my entree, and I always wind up taking another meal's worth home with me," he says. "Plus, it's very inexpensive. And we like cheap, 'cause we're all broke here."

General information: 1-970-945-7491 or 1-800-445-7951
Snow report: 1-970-945-7491
Location: 167 miles west of Denver via I-70 to Colo. Hwy. 82 south and County Rd. 117 to Glenwood Springs.

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