Back country skiing has become a popular sport for those seeking adventure off the beaten path and now one guide book can help you navigate through the lost resorts. 11 News reporter Kieran Wilson met up with the author of Powder Ghost Towns Monday and explored one of those ski areas right here in our own backyard.
Locals know the area as Old Powderhorn, but Grand Junction’s Ski history marks it as Mesa Creek and is featured as the only “lost ski resort” on the western slop in Pete Bronski’s new book Powder Ghost Towns.
Bronski talks about the ski runs; "these lost ski areas, ones that have lift service skiing, they've closed down and now they're back country destinations." According to Bronski in the 1940's local skiers from the Grand Junction ski club built a small resort “where wagon road crosses Mesa Creek.”
It had two ski runs and two rope tows each serving five hundred feet of vertical. Bronski says, "places like Aspen, Vail, and Beaver Creek tend to get a lot of the credit but a lot of the major milestones in skiing in the state happened in these lost ski areas." In the 1950's two Poma lifts were added to the growing resort totaling 3900 feet. Bronski says the seven or eight runs at mesa creek are still up there waiting for you, just head up the lift line on some snowshoes or ski–skins go to the apex and take a climbers left.
Bronski says "the runs are pretty clear for the most part some of them close out in the trees but just head to the left and you'll end up right here at the base." Mesa Creek was popular but it wasn't big enough to deal with the demand. So in 1966 Powderhorn ski resort fired up its lifts but Mesa Creek is still there you just need some imagination and a love of the outdoors.
You can pick up a copy of Powder Ghost Towns in Grand Junction at Summit Canyon Mountaineering and REI. Or you can order the book online at amazon.com.