Sunlight Mountain realizes how much the locals mean to the resort. They also know that not everyone can make it up to the hill to ski and ride. Each season Sunlight hosts appreciation days in hopes to get more people out on the slopes to enjoy a day of skiing or riding. Two January special event days include Teacher and Student Appreciation Day and Lafarge Skier Appreciation Day.

Friday, Jan. 7 marks the first of Sunlight's exclusive ski days. Cement and concrete giant, Lafarge, has sponsored Skier Appreciation Day for the past 24 years. A $15 lift-ticket purchase benefits the United Way. Twenty local charities in the Garfield County area will receive portions of the United Way funds raised. Free beginner ski lessons are available for those interested until there are no instructors left to teach. Williams, a natural gas production company, is generously donating the ski lessons.

Teachers and students affiliated with K-12 schools in the greater Glenwood Springs area have a weekend day for their own to enjoy similar benefits. Sunday, Jan. 9 Sunlight will host Teacher and Student Appreciation Day for those teaching or attending school in Basalt, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs, New Castle, Silt, Rifle, Parachute, and Meeker. 

"After years of Skier Appreciation Day we realized that teachers and students couldn't miss work or school," Sunlight's Dylan Lewis explained to OnTheSnow. "So we decided to have a special day for them on the weekend."

Teachers are treated to a free lift ticket with proof of employment. Students who are K-12 and can prove attendance at any of the schools receive a $15 ticket.

"We see skier numbers around 1,000 for each appreciation day," Lewis said. Those are solid numbers for a ski area just off the map with a small local base. "Basalt teachers take advantage of our day since a lot of them can't afford to ski at Aspen."

Don't miss the choosing of a new mascot for Sunlight Friday, Jan. 7. Come to ski or ride before 11 a.m. dressed as the mascot you believe Sunlight should adopt. Pictures will be taken and posted, then voted on throughout the day. Voting closes at 3 p.m. The winner will be announced soon after, and the new mascot will take to the slopes once the new costume is created.

"We're encouraging people to get into the spirit of Sunlight, and help us choose our new look," Lewis said. "I'm excited to see what shows up."

More Information on Skier Days and Mascot Costume Contest.