Winter Park ought to offer extended spring skiing
May 29, 2008
To the Editor:
Yes, it’s another beautiful day in Grand County. Sunshine, snow-covered peaks and snow in the forecast. The ski area has been closed for six weeks now and snow still covers most of the mountain.
Year after year, the ski area rushes to blow snow on Parkway and Lower Hughes to try to open on time. The conditions are usually terrible, but the loyal skiers and riders consistently show up to take advantage of the early season riding.
Then every year, when great spring conditions exist, the area is in a rush to close “Colorado’s Favorite.”
Why couldn’t the area operate with limited lift service and trails (similar to the Snowbird ski area in Utah)? Snowbird opens Fridays through Sundays for spring skiing and even offers a spring season pass for the extended season.
If it’s a Forest Service issue I’m sure they would be happy to extend Winter Park’s permit until snow conditions are unacceptable. Perhaps it’s a money issue. Doubtful, considering the fact that “Colorado’s Favorite” is the locals area of choice (not only due to proximity, but consistently favorable conditions as well).
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There are plenty of snow enthusiasts that would take advantage of an extended season and subsequently spend their hard-earned money locally (also helping local businesses sustain the tight “mud seasons”). Not to mention the positive marketing and a way to “give back” to the loyal pass holders who choose Winter Park as their “favorite” year after year.
Based on my research, the closing date is more of a “planning” issue rather than permit limitations or monetary restrictions. I strongly encourage feedback and debate on this issue and urge all local skiers/riders to speak up. Winter Park (Intrawest) is cutting our ski seasons short.