Winter Park Resort is ready for ski season with a new lift, workforce housing

Winter Park Resort has invested more than $100 million in improvements for the 2023-24 season, from employee housing, to a new lift serving Vasquez Ridge, to dining options.
Winter Park Resort/Courtesy photo

As snow dusted the highest peaks around Grand County this week, Winter Park Resort is getting ready for opening season with several new additions.

Last year marked the resort’s earliest opening Oct. 31, 2022, – with snow already flying at 12,000 feet this year, an early opening might be in the forecast. For the 2023-24 season, Winter Park Resort will celebrate the opening of a new lift, as well as completion of their workforce housing project.

“Both capital improvement projects mark a nearly $75 million investment into the employee and guest experience,” the resort wrote in a news release about the upcoming season.

Catch a lift  

Guests can take their first ride up the mountain in a six-passenger, high-speed lift called Wild Spur Express. The resort stated that Wild Spur Express has the capacity to move 2,800 people up the mountain in an hour. It will become the only lift to access the challenging Vasquez Ridge territory after the four-passenger Pioneer Express was retired after the 2022-23 season.

“Ultimately, intermediate and advanced skiers and riders will get more on-mountain time on the terrain they want,” the resort stated in a press release.

Vasquez Ridge includes nearly 285 acres of mostly intermediate trails and more advanced, steeper bump runs. The territory is off the beaten path, where guests can enjoy more solitude and find secret powder stashes. It will serve blue runs through the trees, like the Quickdraw or Shootout, up to black diamond runs like Aces and Eights.

Wild Spur will also have a mid-point loading zone, so guests can make quicker laps on intermediate and advanced trails. Formerly, on Pioneer Express, guests had to take a flat beginner section at the end of their run. Wild Spur is expected to open in mid-November or early December, depending on snow conditions.

In addition to the new lift, the resort stated they will offer “on-mountain and base-area upgrades, including snowmaking, new food and beverage concepts, and new retail and rental experiences.” This equals more than $100 million in capital improvements and upgrades.

More time on the mountain

Intermediate and advanced skiers and riders looking for quick one-on-one tips can take 60-Minute Pro Tips. These classes will be offered at $99 a session and start at 8 a.m. daily, giving guests early access on the mountain with the instructor, and freeing up the rest of their day. If guests want even more time on the mountain without crowds, they can add Early Ups to their season pass or day ticket. This grants them 30 minutes of early, mostly solitary lift and slope access. There are a limited number of Early Ups this season, so the early bird will get the worm before they are sold out.

The resort will also open a new gear rental spot next to the gondola. The Zero Creek Gear House will let guests pick up and drop off their rentals without having to trek to the base-area Village.

Guests enjoy fresh corduroy on a sunny day.
Winter Park Resort/Courtesy photo

Where to go when hunger strikes

When guests are ready to take a break and head into the Village, they can grab a drink at Sundog Tap Room. This new dining space boasts a grand tap wall where guests can serve themselves with more than 30 different taps of beer. The rest of the menu includes cocktails, wine and bar snacks.

For guests who are on the mountain to shred, not socialize, they can snag a quick bite at any of the four on-mountain pop-up dining spots. The new pop-ups are designed to offer convenient, grab-and-go food items. Each will have a different theme: grilled cheese, Philly cheesesteaks, walking tacos and quesadillas. Pop-ups are planned for the top of the Wild Spur Express lift, the bottom of the Olympia lift, the Mary Jane base area, and just outside Lunch Rock at the top of the Super Gauge lift.

Home in the mountains

The resort is also moving closer to the opening of its workforce housing project. The 330+ bed project is one of the largest to be completed in Colorado this year. Named Conifer Commons, the housing units are expected to be move-in ready for employees mid-fall.

Sky-Hi News will continue to report on the progress of Conifer Commons workforce housing as it nears completion. To learn more about Winter Park Resort’s 2023-24 season and to purchase ski passes, please visit   

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