You’ll Definitely Want to Check Out Salida’s Christmas Mountain
If you're looking for an incredible Christmas light display, then you'll enjoy the enormous mountainside lights on Christmas Mountain in Salida.
Called 'Christmas Mountain' by the town's residents, the giant lit tree with ornaments, garland, and a treetop star. Airline pilots flying into Colorado Springs have reported seeing the 750-foot Christmas Mountain tree from the air.
Vickie Sue Vigil, President of the Salida Small Business Alliance says the lighting of the tree is part of a celebration which takes place each year the day after Thanksgiving. The event includes a parade, the opening of 'Holiday Park' and fireworks.
The massive display built on Tenderfoot Mountain serves as the year-round home to the giant lighted S -- for Salida -- surrounded by a heart representing the town's nickname, 'The Heart of the Rockies.'
Volunteers string together 'Christmas Mountain' with 4,500 bulbs stretching over a mile long. It takes weeks to put this together and the electric bill for the tree averages about $1,200 per season.
According to American Profile, Christmas Mountain got its start in 1989 when electric contractor Chris Shirmer and his crew decorated the mountain with 220 floodlights powered by 22,000 watts of electricity.
Shirmer found he had the right idea but the wrong lights because from town it just looked like a bunch of big light bulbs.
The following year, surveyors drafted a mountainside tree and volunteers strung lights on the mountain using that plan. It worked so well, the town has been lighting Tenderfoot Mountain for Christmas ever since.
Over the years, improvements have been made including the installation of electrical boxes to plug lights into and converting from incandescent to LED lights.