LIFTS, SNOW AND FOOD: Grand County resorts invest in guests
In preparation for a bountiful ski season, both Winter Park Resort and Ski Granby Ranch have spent the muddy months working on improvements large and small to enhance the guest experience.
WINTER PARK RESORT
With this season’s improvements, Winter Park Resort is continuing to build on past efforts to get more people on the mountain and more quickly than ever.
The biggest investment is the replacement of the Sunnyside Lift in the Mary Jane territory with a highspeed six-seater resort officials say will decrease the ride time from eight minutes to four. At that rate, the resort expects lift lines to be reduced and the uphill capacity to increase by 800 people per hour.
“The Sunnyside lift upgrade will reduce ride time from 8 minutes to 3.8 minutes, allowing better access to guest-favorite terrain on the Mary Jane side,” said Liz Agostin, marketing director for the resort. “Not only will lift speed improve, but capacity will be increased by moving to a 6-pack, meaning reduced lift lines, faster Jane laps, and better access.”
The Sunnyside Lift, originally installed in 1989 as a three-seater, is one of only three lifts to provide access to the top of Mary Jane.
The mission of the upgrade is similar to the installation of last year’s gondola in the Winter Park territory, which increased uphill capacity by 3,600 people per hour.
“This chair services some of the best and most beloved skiing at Winter Park Resort and with this new chairlift, our guests will have the ability to ski all of their favorites on the Mary Jane side with more frequency and less congestion,” Agostin said.
Guests may also notice updates in groomed trails and resort restaurants since the resort invested $7 million in lift service improvements, slope maintenance and food and beverage offerings.
Doc’s Roadhouse offers a whole new homestyle concept complete with a craft whiskey and beer bar, as well as a new smoker to complement the new menu. It features modern twists on BBQ classics and Southern comfort foods, with meats smoked in-house daily.
Up the mountain, Snoasis will have a whole new bar area with expanded seating and 12 additional craft brew taps.
For the holidays this year, Winter Park Resort is hosting four Fireworks & Family Fest events throughout the season and Saturday Ski + Ride School Parades with Parry the Snow Safety Pup, Winter Park’s new mascot character.
Overall, this year the resort spent $16 million with a focus on improving guest experience and making it easier to spend more time on the mountain.
SKI GRANBY RANCH
In Granby, this season is about taking care of all the details and providing a family experience from the peak of the mountain to the base.
“Our new tagline is ‘Granby Ranch: It’s all here, just bring the family,’” explained Marketing Director Rachael Thackston. “What we’ve asked ourselves throughout all of the planning is how can we make it better for the whole family.”
The mountains received a facelift with the installation of a new snowmaking system, including 4,800 feet of pipe and new snow gun, on the East Mountain near the Kicking Horse Lift.
“Last year, we really struggled to get Kicking Horse open because there wasn’t a snowmaking system installed over there,” said COO Greg Finch. “Now, this new gun we just got has booster pumps so it will be a whole lot easier to make snow over there, which will be noticeable and … we’re going to be ahead of the curve.”
Meanwhile, over at the Ski School new Director CJ Mauro encouraged the resort to put in a mogul hill and more trail features, as well as keeping his eye out for more ways to diversify the terrain.
Newcomer staff have also switched up what’s offered at the Granby Ranch Grill and 8350 Bar and Bistro. The grill will be open on Mondays this year, as well as Thursday through Sunday. It’s also offering breakfast every morning.
New menus and a new look also means new events. Thursday nights will feature a new tradition with Thursday Night Suppers where diners can enjoy a homestyle meal, and on Christmas, guests will be treated to a buffet. Also check the schedule for movie nights, apres ski music hours, and vista vibes live music.
Other event plans include Holiday at the Ranch, a week of scheduled events during Christmas with a lighting ceremony, pictures with Santa, live music and more.
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