Winter Park Resort: 3,000 acres of family friendly winter fun |

Winter Park Resort: 3,000 acres of family friendly winter fun

Will Bublitz
Winter Park, Colorado

If you’re a skier or snowboarder, you’ve come to the right place because Winter Park Resort has got it all.

Grand County’s premier Alpine ski resort has everything a winter sports enthusiast could want including great annual snowfall of 30 feet, vast amounts of mixed terrain over its 3,078 acres and a family-friendly atmosphere provided by its welcoming staff.

“When you start with a great mountain and fantastic snowfall, everyone wants to come here and enjoy it,” said Gary DeFrange, Winter Park’s CEO. “And over the last three years, we’ve spent over $40 million in on-mountain improvements to give our guests an even greater experience.”

During those past three years, Winter Park Resort added three new chairlifts ” the Super Gauge Express in 2005, the Eagle Wind in 2006 and the Panoramic Express in 2007.

“During those years, we added our first high-speed six-pack chairlifts,” DeFrange said. “We also did a lot of glading to open up more terrain for tree skiing. All of this really improves the qualify of the skiing experience.”

This winter, Winter Park Resort is continuing its drive to offer more improvements.

Those new offerings are primarily in its commerical and lodging facilities.

“Now that we’ve done so much to improve the skiing experience on the mountain,” DeFrange said, “we’re concentrating this winter on the resort experience for our guests when they’re not skiing on the mountain. Our first new offering is more lodging at our base.”

Two hundred new lodging units are opening at the resort’s base area this ski season. Fraser Crossing and Founders Pointe will be opening its new condominium apartments between January and March.

In addition to the new lodging, the resort has been working hard to expand its commercial space by the construction of the “Village at Winter Park Resort.” This $100-million project is creating 30,000 square feet of additional space for new restaurants, retail businesses and high-end loft apartments.

“In the Village, we have 14 stores and 20,000 square feet of retail space,” DeFrange said. “We hold to the philosophy of finding the right business for the right space. Our goal is to develop a mix of shops, restaurants and tenants that really fits Winter Park.

We’re being selective and plan to work over the next year to get the right balance.”

Three of the Village’s 14 retail shops have already been rented. The new businesses opening this winter include: “Shirt Off My Back,” a T-shirt and souvenir shop; “Cheeky Monk,” a restaurant/pub featuring Belguim beers; and “Lime,” a Tex-Mex cantina.

“Both of the restaurants already have great reputations and enthusiastic followings in Denver,” DeFrange said. “And we know that Shirt Off My Back will be a great addition to our retail stores.”

Another amenity that has been added this winter is a new skating pond that is located adjacent to the Village. Lighted at night and maintained with a Zamboni, the pond will offer another element of the winter vacation experience for the resort’s guests.

Literally on top of everything else being offered this winter is the addition of Friday and Saturday night dinners at the Sunspot restaurant atop Winter Park Mountain. Guests will ride up the mountain on the Zephyr Express lift in enclosed gondolas to Sunspot where they will dine and view the lights of the Fraser Valley below.

“This will become one of the ‘must-do’ experiences for our guests,” DeFrange said. “On a full-moon night, the view is just going to be gorgeous and a unforgettable experience for couples as they dine at Sunspot.”

And last but far from least in its list of new offerings, Winter Park Resort has added an improved way for day skiers and snowboarders to get from their cars to the chairlifts through the installation of the new Cabriolet passenger lift.

After leaving their cars in the Vintage Hotel’s parking lot, guests will board one of the Cabriolet lift’s 38 gondolas and take a 2-1/2 minute ride over the Fraser River to its terminal at the Village. From there, it is a short walk to the base area’s main chairlifts.

“With the Cabriolet, Winter Park Resort has added its fourth lift in four years,”

DeFrange said. “This lift will help our guests get to our ski slopes even quicker.”

While pleased to provide these new additions, DeFrange said the resort also wants its guests to know that it is part of the whole Fraser Valley and Grand County which also has so much to offer them.

“We want them to realize that we’ve got some great communities just down the road too,” he said. “This whole area is growing from a ski-and-town situation of years past to becoming a real resort community. By experiencing what both the ski area and the local communities have to offer, our guests get two great experiences that make for one great vacation.”