Resorts see steady growth in summer visitation |

Resorts see steady growth in summer visitation

Sawyer D’Argonne
A rider takes off a jump during the Colorado Freeride Festival at Winter Park Resort this summer.
Sawyer D’Argonne / Sky-Hi News |

As the summer season winds to an end for Winter Park Resort and Granby Ranch, both resorts are reporting steady growth in visitation from previous years, in large part due to a steady stream of events and festivals in the county on top of world-class recreation they offer.

While primarily thought of a predominantly winter ski resorts, the word is getting out that the summer season may have just as much to offer as winter.

“It seemed like every day in the summer was busy,” said Steve Hurlbert, director of public relations and communications for Winter Park Resort. “I think summer is one of those things that’s kind of been off the radar a little bit for the entire ski resort industry. And I think that’s becoming less the case now.”

Winter Park resort doesn’t disclose specific numbers for visitation, but Hurlbert said the resort saw growth consistent with previous years, and that the increment of growth seems to rise every year.

He said that despite not being able to share specifics, anecdotal evidence of growth could speak just as loudly.

“We’ve got one of the largest mountain bike rental businesses in the country with some 300 rental bikes,” Hurlbert said. “This year more than any other summer that I can ever remember we had more Saturdays where the entire mountain bike inventory sold out. It’s little things like that that stick out to you, even more than a number or a percent.”

Granby Ranch also saw growth in visitation this summer, setting record numbers in their bike park. Marketing Manager for Granby Ranch Sarah Wieck attributed this season’s success to an increase in larger events that helped to bring exposure for the resort.

This year Granby Ranch hosted the third annual Upslope Brewing Backcountry Tap Room, the Colorado State Downhill Championship and the Granby Ranch Roundup Colorado High School Cycling League Race.

“It was the best year since it’s been open, and that was a big things for us,” said Wieck. “We had a couple of larger events that we’re really excited about. It was just good that we had a bunch of people here so they know who we are and where we are. We got a lot of exposure from those events for sure.”

Winter Park Resort echoed the sentiment. Hurlbert said that having special events on the weekends is vital to bringing visitors up from the front range, emphasizing the Colorado Freeride Festival and Village Uncorked, the resorts wine festival, as major draws to the mountain.

Hurlbert also gave credit to the town of Winter Park for helping bring in visitors with their festivals and concerts throughout the summer.

“I think any time the town has an event or an activity it helps the resort, and I like to thing it’s vice versa too,” he said. “So anytime we can bring people up to Grand County and bring people up to Winter Park it helps us both.”

Hurlbert said that as soon as the summer season officially ends Winter Park Resort would go to work with plans on expanding and improving Trestle Bike Park. Wieck said Granby Ranch currently doesn’t have any plans for expansion, but that plans could easily change before next summer.

Both Winter Park Resort and Granby Ranch close for the summer season on Oct. 1. Winter Park Resort will open for the winter on Nov. 15, and Granby Ranch will open on Dec. 15.

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