Winter Park Resort, CO, just unveiled its 10-15 year masterplan for the future of the ski resort. The document, openly available to the public, details new and upgraded lifts, new terrain, remodeled lodges and on-mountain dining, and a long-rumored gondola from the ski resort to the town of Winter Park.
Winter Park Resort operates under a Special Use Permit (SUP) that allows it to operate on 7,555-acres of land managed by the USFS, Sulphur Ranger District, and Arapaho National Forest. As part of the SUP, the resort must prepare a master development plan that identifies the existing and future conditions of the resort. The Master Development Plan is the guiding document for future development, identifying a balance of facilities and improvements for a unique recreational experience that is sustainable for business, operations, and the surrounding environment.
A number of the improvements are carried over from the previous 2005 master development plan.
With the addition of a new area on Vasquez Mountain, the plans would see skiable terrain increased by 358-acres to 3,439-acres, making it the third-largest ski area in Colorado behind Vail (5,317-acres) and the newly expanded Steamboat (3,616-acres).
Several new chairlifts would be added, including access to the Cirque from the new Vasquez area by t-bar and a couple of new chairs in the new area. The Looking Glass (Colorado’s oldest working chairlift) would be removed, the aging Pony and Iron Horse lifts would be combined into one six-pack chair, the Pioneer would be replaced by a new six-pack chair with a mid-station, the Gemini would be replaced by an eight-person gondola, and the Lariat rope tow would be replaced by a conveyor. Finally, an almost two-mile-long ten-person gondola from Cooper Creek Square in downtown Winter Park would also be installed, creating a much-needed connection to the parking, bars, restaurants, and retail. The number of chairlifts would increase from 23 to 29.
The increased terrain and added lifts would see skier capacity increase 41%, from 15,830 to 22,375. Snowmaking would also be massively increased from 280-acres to 605-acres, and the Sunspot and Snoasis on-mountain dining/lodges would be remodeled.
Although the winter operations would see the most significant changes, additional summer activities and hiking and biking trails would also be added.
At this moment, this plan is just that, a plan. Implementation of projects is contingent upon site-specific environmental review and approval under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Comments are welcomed at 2022MDP@winterparkresort.com.