Granby Ranch opens for winter season with new leadership

A group of two snowboarders and two skiers got to tear Granby Ranch's opening day banner Dec. 10 on the Quick Draw Express lift.
Kyle McCabe/Sky-Hi News

The first-chair banner has been torn and Grand County’s second ski resort has officially opened for the season. Granby Ranch welcomed skiers and riders Saturday morning, Dec. 10, with freshly groomed slopes and even free coffee.

General Manager Roxanne Hoover is in her first year in the position, and she said that opening day makes her proud of her team and excited for the winter.

“The team here has worked really hard,” Hoover said. “This team has been working a lot so I’m proud and I’m very excited. My first opening as GM — it’s exciting. I couldn’t be happier, couldn’t be prouder to work at Granby Ranch.”

The resort opened the Quick Draw and Kicking Horse lifts on East Mountain, which provided access to four blue trails — Easy Money, High Roller, Slot Shot and Rod’s Way — and one green trail — Buckhorn. The Pony Carpet and the short Milestone lift opened as well, with two green trails, Zig and Zag, coming off of Milestone.

Granby Ranch’s West Mountain, which features black and blue trails, did not open Saturday. Hoover said that crews are still making snow on the side of the resort serviced by the Conquest lift and did not want to give a definite date for its opening, but said the goal is to have the lift running by Christmas.

Granby Ranch’s opening day looked different than one at Winter Park, Arapahoe Basin or another large resort might. After the first few chairs took skiers up the Quick Draw Express, there were a few empty ones behind them, and lines stayed sparse all morning. Hoover said a muted opening is not abnormal for the resort.

“It’s not anything less than what I expected,” Hoover said. “It’s usually a mellow opening for us. We’ll see what we can do to grow our opening day fanfare.”

The first rush for Granby Ranch, according to Hoover, comes around Dec. 20, when second-home owners come in for the holidays. Until then, Hoover said the resort will take the opportunity to keep training their staff and serving their guests.

Hoover emphasized the work Granby Ranch employees have done not only to get the mountain ready — with lift maintenance, snowmaking, grooming, etc. — but to get the base ready as well. The resort’s Base Lodge received renovations during the offseason, including new carpets, paint, furniture, ceilings, lighting, decors and even new rental gear for the ski and ride school.

The focus on the Base Lodge aligns with how Hoover described the identity of Granby Ranch — a resort that caters to families with great beginner terrain, ski and ride instruction and guest experiences.

“If I had a kid and they were learning, this is where I’d bring them,” Hoover said. “It’s just a great experience. It’s just cruising, there’s plenty of room and the terrain is just perfect for teaching.”

Hoover spoke about wanting the resort to be great at things that make it easier to bring their kids to learn at Granby Ranch, like the ski school, rental program, food, beverages and events. She said people who think of Granby Ranch as their home mountain often graduate to larger resorts when they want more challenging terrain, but that is fine by her.

“That’s cool,” Hoover said. “I mean, we’re very comfortable in our own skin and who we are here. There’s a little something for everybody.”

The resort is offering discounted ski and ride lessons now through Dec. 18, and has plenty of events planned for the season, including a visit from Santa on Dec. 17, 22 and 23, aprés and live music in the 8350 Lounge on Fridays and Saturdays, snowshoe tours on Saturdays, fireworks on New Year’s Eve, and more.

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