The seldom-rewarded, difficult and low-paying work of saving lives and fighting fires across the mountain west is finally going to pay off this year in the form of free skiing at Sunlight Mountain Resort in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. 

Firefighters battled blazes on hundreds of thousands of acres across Colorado’s Western Slope this past fire season, most recently in Sunlight’s neighboring communities of El Jebel and Basalt. The cost of protecting local communities in the area is reported to be approaching more than $100 million. 

The small, locals-centric ski resort is offering free tickets to all firefighters and emergency responders every Wednesday of the 2018-2019 season. Sunlight officials say the new Firefighter Fun Days are the resort’s way of recognizing the efforts of local firefighters and first responders, as well as the hundreds of firefighters who come from out of state each summer to battle blazes throughout Colorado.

“This is a small way to recognize the tremendous effort, sacrifice, professionalism and dedication of our local firefighters and emergency responders,” says Tom Hays, Sunlight General Manager.

The advocacy group Friends of Glenwood Springs Fire Protection is also working on a ballot initiative that will ask voters to extend existing taxes and maintain funding for emergency fire and medical services.

To get a free lift ticket for the day, active firefighters and first responders need simply show their valid I.D. at the Sunlight Lift Ticket Office. sunlightmtn.com 

—Aaron H. Bible