Across the state of Colorado, housing is a premium—a problem that’s only amplified in mountain communities. Therefore, it makes it extra challenging for people looking to move to the mountains and work at resorts to find housing. The past few seasons have shown resorts how detrimental a strong workforce is to keep lifts turning and guests happy. Winter Park Resort is the first to recognize that begins with affordable, quality housing specifically for the workforce.
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Monday, October 17, marked the completion of the first phases of construction for Winter Park Resort’s Workforce Housing project. Saunders Construction crew has finished laying the groundwork and pouring foundations in preparation for the modular components. Instead of conventional construction, this project will use a modular-style building. The actual components are being constructed in Idaho by Nashua Builders and will be finished by Spring 2023. The planned opening will be in the Fall of 2023, and residents will be able to move in ahead of the 2023-2024 season.
Additionally, by using modular components built off-site, this project’s construction is more sustainable than a conventional project. It reduces waste and excess use of resources making it an environmentally friendly approach to building. Plans for the complex include the eventual installation of solar panels within the next three years.
A joint effort between the Town of Winter Park, Winter Park Resort, and Alterra Mountain Co. has pushed this project to top priority ahead of expanding the resort’s amenities for guests in an attempt to solve the ongoing housing crisis. Improving the quality of living at the forefront of this project will be the first of its kind.
The entire complex is onsite at the entrance of the resort. Located right off Highway 40 and Winter Park Drive, residents will have easy access to work, public transit, and even recreation, meaning little to no commute.
Not only is the location extremely convenient, but it’s also the largest development of its kind. The complex will feature over 330 rooms: a combination of studios, single rooms, and even multi-room units, designed for both seasonal and year-round employees including workers with families. Again, with improved quality for the workforce in mind, there’s an emphasis on privacy. Each room will be personal and lockable. Kitchens and some living areas will be communal but every resident will have access to their own room—it is not dormitory style.
There’s no doubt that mountain towns across the state are facing a housing crisis. High Demand and limited real estate make moving to the mountains a harsh reality. The growing popularity of short-term vacation rentals hasn’t helped the cause either.
Prior to this workforce housing project, less than 10% of Winter Park Resort’s employees lived in employee-specific housing. Oftentimes it was up to the employee to independently find housing in the neighboring small towns.
“This has been needed for years, I lived in a hotel in Granby for a year as a lift-op in the 90s.” – Amy Skogen, former Winter Park Resort Employee
There has been limited housing offered by the resort, however, it was mostly dormitory style: shared bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas without any privacy. The quality of this future workforce housing complex is what truly makes it unique. In addition to this new complex, the resort will continue to offer units through its Employee Housing Program.
The Town of Winter Park, Winter Park Resort, and Alterra Mountain Co. has set a new bar for the future standards of workforce housing in resort mountain towns. There wouldn’t be a resort without employees who keep lifts turning and the day-to-day up and running. It’s imperative they have somewhere comfortable to live.
“Collectively we believe that the ultimate goal is to enhance the quality of life for our workforce and residents.” – Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos