ALPENGLOW ATTRACTIONS | Sunset activities expand at Winter Park Resort
Gone are the days when skiers and riders come off the mountain after Winter Park Resort runs the last lifts at 4 p.m. This season, guests can extend their hours on slope with several new sunset and nighttime adventures, and likely without worrying about a reservation.
Resort spokesperson Jen Miller said Winter Park is not planning to bring back the reservation system it implemented last season to help control crowds for COVID-19 protocols, though that could change depending on the public health situation.
“Right now, we have no plans to have a reservation system,” she said.
With the return to a less COVID restricted season, the popularity of the evening and night events the resort previously offered prompted the expansion of ways guests can enjoy the slopes post-lift this winter.
“It’s such a great time to experience Winter Park during the alpenglow,” Miller said. “The mountain really is the best place to watch the sunset.”
For the skiers and riders who aren’t ready to quit with the lifts, the resort is offering guided sunset ski and ride options, where participants use headlamps to light their turns. The guided sessions last two hours and tackle ungroomed, intermediate trails.
The sunset guided tours join the popular ski and ride guides that the resort has been offering for the past few seasons, as well as the sunset snowshoe tours that started last season.
Guides at Winter Park are a cohort of locals with in-depth knowledge of the resort that Miller said are a great way to customize a day on the slopes and get an insider’s look of the mountain.
“Even if you’ve been skiing at Winter Park for 20 plus years, the guides are a great way to show you new things that you haven’t considered before,” Miller said. “It’s also a great option for a powder day … to get early access on the mountain and skip lift lines.”
In addition to the guide options, weekend sunset hours are bringing back the free Gondola trips to the Sunspot Lodge for mountaintop apres.
For those hearty and enthusiastic enough to stick around on-mountain after the sun is down and the stars are out, another new offering this year are astronomy tours, which include use of telescopes at the Hill House at the top of the tubing hill.
“Our dark skies are pretty amazing,” Miller said. “You just don’t get that many other places and so it’s a cool thing for people to experience in the mountains.”
Other big changes are happening with the resort’s food scene, which has seen an influx of new restaurants.
Food offerings at the resort grew with the opening of MexiCali Tacos, as well as the announcement of a new outdoor woodfired dining facility called Ember at Snoasis and the openings of Bradley’s at the Base and the well-known Front Range restaurant Stoney’s Bar and Grill in the Winter Park Village this season.
“Ember is a live-fire concept where we’ll have daily meat specials and sides outside on the patio that looks over Cranmer,” Miller said, adding the resort adapted Snoasis to take advantage of the popularity of outdoor dining.
However, indoor dining will return this year at the resort’s restaurants and bars for those wanting a moment out of the cold.
Miller said all staff, regardless of vaccination status, are being required to wear masks indoors and guests are being encouraged to do so. There is no mask requirement outside, including on lifts, which will be loaded to full capacity this year. Also returning is the single’s line for lift and Gondola riders.
For the latest information regarding the resort’s COVID-19 policies, go to winterparkresort.com.
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