Wind brings more worries than extreme cold for Winter Park and Granby Ranch
Grand County will see lows around 6 degrees Thursday during the day, with wind chill temperatures as low as minus 34 degrees and wind gusts as high as 40 mph. The wind chill and winter storm watches that started Wednesday will continue until 11 a.m. Friday and 6 a.m. Thursday, respectively.
Winter Park and Granby Ranch saw strong holiday-week crowds on Wednesday, despite the high winds. Winter Park had to close the Gondola due to high winds, and while wind gusts should be less extreme Thursday, they could still reach 40 mph and may cause lift closures.
“I talked to several people who’ve been here for a long time and asked him to check records if we’ve ever closed because of the cold,” Winter Park Spokesperson Jen Miller said. “We have not yet, as far as anyone here knows or remembers, but it’s the wind that impacts our operations more than the cold.”
Miller said staff receive training for working in cold temperatures and all have access to shelter, even on the mountain. For guests, she said skiing in the cold will be an issue of personal comfort, although the resort does have many buildings on the mountain and at the base for skiers and riders to go in and warm up.
Granby Ranch General Manager Roxanne Hoover echoed Miller’s sentiment, saying the ski patrol building at the top of the Quick Draw Express will also be open to guests as a warming hut.
“We have medically trained staff there,” Hoover said. “So if someone rides the lift up and is already feeling it, they should exit the lift, go right over to the patrol building and check in with somebody there.”
Hoover also said Granby Ranch’s first-aid station on the first floor of its Base Lodge is a place where people affected by the cold can get medical attention. She emphasized the importance of guests coming prepared for the cold weather by covering as much skin as they can, even on their face, as frostbite can set in quickly in extremely cold temperatures.
Cold days may call for taking more frequent breaks or even cutting your day short, Hoover said. Granby Ranch and Winter Park both have shops to buy hand warmers or gear guests need to stay warm. Miller said the resort sent out communications, including social media posts, reminding guests to be aware of the cold, bundle up and take as many breaks as needed Thursday.
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