Sunlight Mountain Ski Resort has a rich history that dates back to 1966 when it was opened by the Sunlight Ranch Company on 420 acres of private land and 2081 acres of U.S. Forest Service land. The resort started with a handful of trails and one chairlift, and it opened with 15,000 skier days. During the first years of operation, Sunlight operated on a shoestring budget, and part-timers and volunteers managed the lift; all other services were operated by local contractors, including ski rental equipment, restaurant facilities, and the ski school. A second chair was installed in 1973 to provide service to newl cut trails, and skier days climbed to 38,000. The decision in 1977 to develop a long-range master plan with the Forest Service was instrumental in altering the course of Sunlight and initiating growth. Sunlight also assumed responsibility for all services. The Sunlight Master Plan was approved by the U.S.F.S. in 1981, and the name was changed from Sunlight Ranch Company to Ski Sunlight Inc In 1993, Sunlight Extreme was added to the ski area (12 new black and double black diamond trails), and a new 40-year ski area term special use permit was signed with the U.S.F.S. To more accurately describe its evolution to a year-round resort, including summer activities for the whole family, and to reflect a more diverse population of recreationalists, Ski Sunlight was renamed Sunlight Mountain Resort. While the buildings and trails surrounding Sunlight have changed and continue to improve, the groundwork that was laid by Sunlight’s founding fathers in 1966 is still in place today.
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