In anticipation of its 80th season, Winter Park has made several improvements at the popular ski destination, including a new high-speed chairlift that provides easy access to the Mary Jane Territory of the resort. Guests will also enjoy a number of new events and family-friendly activities for all ages this winter. Here’s what visitors to Winter Park Resort can expect when hitting the slopes in 2019-20.
The most notable change at the resort is a new six-person, high-speed Leitner-Poma lift that has replaced the original three-person, fix-grip lift that was installed in the late 1980s. (The new lift has the same name.)
The new Sunnyside Chair grants access to skiing on the Mary Jane side of the resort. The previous lift was eight minutes, but the new ride will take skiers to the unloading spot at the top of the territory in just under four minutes. From there, skiers can hit all of the favorites on Mary Jane, including Columbine, Sleeper and Trestle, as well as Parsenn Bowl. Lunch Rock is also now accessible in half the time.
Resort officials predict the new lift will increase uphill capacity by 800 skiers per hour, and provide more time on the mountain and less time on the lifts.
Sunnyside Chair is one of three lifts that provide access to the top of the Mary Jane territory. According to resort officials, the $6 million lift upgrade is part of a $16 million improvement project at Winter Park Resort. Winter Park added a new gondola last season, but the Sunnyside project was the first chairlift replaced in 12 years.
Winter Park Resort is also allocating $7 million this year to improve lift maintenance, enhance food and beverage offerings, snowmaking and other special projects.
Celebrate 80 great years of skiing at Winter Park on Opening Day, Nov. 13th. The resort is planning an 80th anniversary celebration that will include a party and concert, craft beer tasting and birthday cake. Get your first laps of the season under your belt, and sign up for some wonderful giveaways and prizes. Enjoy $1 drafts of Coors Light all day. Lift tickets for Opening Day and tickets for special events will sell out fast, so make your plans well in advance.
Winter Park Ski Area opened in 1939-40 and was owned by the City and County of Denver for over 60 years. The municipalities eventually entered into a partnership with Intrawest ULC before the property was acquired by Alterra Mountain Company in 2018. Today, the resort offer more than 3,000 acres for skiing, with more than half of the terrain designated as difficult or expert. Twenty-six percent of the trails are for beginner and intermediate skiers. The resort receives robust snowfall, an average of about 317 inches per year.
Winter Park Resort will be holding a Firework & Family Fest every month during the season. There will be a free fireworks display, a s’mores bar, hot cocoa with marshmallows, a DJ and various prize giveaways. Here is the schedule for the fireworks displays (dates subject to change without notice):
Presented by North Face, the inaugural Venture Out Fest promises to entertain on Dec. 14. The event is chock-full of fun things to do, including dog sledding, zip lining, gear demos and several hands-on sports clinics. Hang out for the Mini Rail Jam, Disco Tubing and the Winter Camp Out. Check out live music from noon to 5 p.m., and catch the fireworks display at the base as part of the monthly Winter Park Firework & Family Fest event.
New for this season, Rippy’s Mountain Tavern offers a fresh dining option in the Village. The tavern has an authentic Colorado feel with craft beers and specialty cocktails, and offers farm-fresh fare for either a mid-day lunch or a relaxing apres-ski.
The family-friendly restaurant will feature all of the American classics, like Buffalo wings and hearty burgers with fries. But there’s also nachos, salads, seafood and a tasty kids menu. Think of it as a giant step forward from traditional bar favorites. Most ingredients come from the local Farmers’ Market or are regionally sourced. The bar will present 10 to 12 draft beers, including many local Colorado faves. There will also be signature cocktails and an assortment of craft drinks.
Kids who attend Ski School at Winter Park Resort will get to strut their stuff every Saturday this season in a parade though Winter Park Village. Join Winter Park Willie, the resort’s mascot, in a fun parade to celebrate the achievements made in Ski School. The event will have face painting, live music and yummy hot chocolate.
Winter Park Resort is honoring the Ikon Pass again this season. The Ikon Pass is Alterra’s multi-mountain season pass that is similar to the Epic Pass offered by Vail Resorts. The resort teamed up with the popular pass last year to much success. Ikon Passes for 2019-20 are now on sale.
The 2019-20 Ikon Pass allows access to more than 40 ski destination worldwide. Ikon Pass holders can ski in Canada, South America, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, along with the U.S. Here are a few of the most popular North American ski destinations included in the pass:
The resort is dedicating another $1 million for summer revitalization. Crew will be working in the spring to install two new base-area rope courses and an indoor/outdoor climbing. Several landscaping projects are also planned for early 2020 to revamp the Village and Gondola Plaza. Improvements to local hiking and biking trails are also planned.