As the Colorado air becomes crisp and snow finally falls, many Coloradans turn to the slopes of the Rocky Mountains for winter recreation. Few remember that Weld County once had its own snowy oasis.
Opening in 1971, Sharktooth Ski Area was named for the fossilized shark teeth found during its construction. It included a beginner’s hill on a sandstone bluff five miles west of Greeley overlooking the Poudre River. Then Greeley Mayor Dick Perchlik and his wife Sylvia created the ski area with the help of Greeley realtor and ski enthusiast Clyde Davis. In a 2004 Windsor Tribune interview, Sylvia stated her husband “started doing it as a community service so that the average kid who couldn’t afford to go to the mountains could learn what skiing was.”
The ski area closed after 16 years of operation due to decreased snowfall and rising insurance costs. Sharktooth’s legacy continues with former visitors and staff. In a recent interview with KUNC radio, former ski director Ulli Lumpitlaw remembered the area as a “fun place” with unique events “that wouldn’t happen at Winter Park or Steamboat.” Many people referred to Sharktooth as “the World’s Smallest Ski Resort.”
Originally printed in the Greeley Tribune in 2017
Written by Katherine McDaniel, former Exhibits Preparator