Winter Park Resort’s skier upload capacity will be significantly increased next season with the addition of a new gondola.
Winter Park Resort announced early Monday morning, that as part of larger Alterra Mountain Company plans, they will replace the Zephyr Express chairlift, currently a high-speed quad chairlift, with a new 10-person gondola. The new gondola is expected to be installed and operational, ready for the 2018-2019 ski season.
The lift upgrade is just part of a $28.2 million capital improvement investment earmarked for the resort by Alterra Mountain Company, the parent organization of Winter Park Resort.
The new gondola promises to increase upload capacity to 3,600 guests per hour and to decrease wait time by roughly 15 minutes during peak season operations. The new gondola will be a Leitner-Poma gondola and is projected to cost approximately $16 million. The gondola will run from the main resort base area to the Lodge at Sunspot along the current chairlift route.
Representatives at Winter Park Resort said the official name of the new gondola has yet to be determined.
In addition to the exciting new gondola, Winter Park Resort plans to invest the remainder of the $28.2 million capital improvement fund into a complete overhaul of the resort’s current 42-year-old antiquated snowmaking system. The overhaul of the system will include pipe replacement work and energy efficiency upgrades along with new snowmaking guns at a cost of $4 million.
This greatly improved system will allow Winter Park, whose base area sits at 9,000ft, to open more and more terrain much earlier each season. Other upgrade work includes plans to conduct logging operations on 21 acres in the Eagle Wind territory.
“Logging operations will also be conducted over 21 acres of Eagle Wind Territory improving the gladed skiing experience in the area while also contributing to the overall health of the forest by removing dead and dying timber that will promote forest vegetation,” resort officials stated.
The new gondola replacing the Zephyr Express will be the first on-mountain lift installation project Winter Park Resort has undertaken since 2007 when the resort installed the high-speed six-pack Panoramic Express, which improved access to Parsenn Bowl, the Cirque, and Eagle Wind.
The Zephyr Express is also the main access to Winter Park Resort’s (Mountain Bike Capital USA) Trestle downhill mountain bike park and miles and miles of mountain biking trails during the summer.