Cabriolet to solve long-time parking issues at Winter Park Resort
November 10, 2008
Parking and skier drop-off at Winter Park Resort will be changing after the opening of its new Village Cabriolet lift later this month. The Cabriolet is not a chairlift but a gondola designed to carry skiers to and from the parking area to the ski resorts base. Construction on the lift began in late summer.Well be conducting load tests on the Cabriolet on Nov. 25-26, said Jennifer deBerge, the resorts communication coordinator. The Cabriolet will be up and running for our guests on Thanksgiving Day.Winter Park Resort is officially opening its ski season on Wednesday, Nov. 19.Once the Cabriolet becomes operational, Winter Park Resort is recommending that all day skiers begin parking in the lot of the Vintage Hotel, located adjacent to the resorts main entrance on U.S. Highway 40. Parking in that lot is free of charge.After parking, skiers will then board the Cabriolet at its main terminal in the Vintage Hotels parking lot. They will ride it down to the lifts other terminal at the Village, which is the resorts new commercial area.After arriving at the Cabriolets Village terminal, the resorts guests will then proceed through the Village on a walkway of heated brick pavers that will keep it free of ice and snow. The Zephyr Express, which is the resorts main chairlift, is short distance away. Starting this ski season, our guests will now be parking in our largest parking lot, which is the one at the Vintage Hotel and then riding the Cabriolet, said Laurie Mason, the resorts Base Services Director. In the past, they would park at one of our other lots and then ride a shuttle bus to get to the base, she said. By parking at the Vintage, they now wont have to wait for a shuttle bus. All they will have to do is get on the Cabriolet and go. While making these changes, Mason emphasized that the total number of parking lots and parking spaces at the resort will remain unchanged. The resort will still offer more than 4,000 free parking spaces at both its Winter Park and Mary Jane facilities.One result of this new plan is that the Vintage Hotels parking lot, which can accommodate more than 800 vehicles, will be used to its full capacity. In the past, it was used mostly by the hotel guests and on big-skier days, Mason said. But you always had to wait for a shuttle bus. Now both hotel guests and day skiers can ride the Cabriolet.Except on high-volume weekends and holidays, the Vintage Hotels parking lot is expected to rarely fill up, Mason said. When the Vintage parking lot is full, skiers will be directed to park at the nearby F and G parking lots. The F lot is located on the other side of Winter Park Drive from the Vintage. The G lot can be found across U.S. Highway 40 from Winter Park Resorts main entrance. Those directed to park in the F and G lots will receive shuttle bus service to and from the Cabriolet. Mason explained this will allow a quicker turnaround in picking up guests and reduce fuel expenses for the buses.All shuttle buses coming from downtown Winter Park will be dropping off and picking up at the Village Bus Circle. Those parking at the resorts Old Town parking lots will be offered shuttle bus service, but only on weekends and holidays.Skiers wanting to park near to the resorts base area can do so at the Village Parking Garage which opened last ski season. However, parking in the three-story, indoor facility is not free. Half-day and full-day parking fees are charged. Quick drop-offs or pick-ups of skiers can still be done on the third story of the Village Parking Garage. Upon entering that facility, drivers will be issued a parking stub. If their drop-off or pick-up takes less than half an hour, no fee is charged. For those wondering about the length of the walk from the Cabriolet terminal at the Village to the base areas chairlifts, resort officials said no one should worry. Its not a long walk at all, deBerge said. Once they do it, they wont think its long. It will be a safe, convenient walk on heated pavers to and from the Cabriolet lift.Cabriolet by the numbersBetween its two terminals at the Vintage Hotel and the Winter Park Resort Village, the new Cabriolet lift is 1,416 feet long and will carry passengers over the Fraser River. It has 38 open-air gondolas with each gondola having an eight-person capacity. The travel time between the two terminals is expected to be about 2-1/2 minutes. Resort officials estimate the gondola lift has the capability of carrying 2,800 passengers per hour.