Since its inception 63 years ago, Winter Park Resort has been a
place for locals and visitors mostly from Denver to ski, and more
recently to snowboard. All of that is about to change. Vancouver,
Canada-based Intrawest Corp., purveyor of mountain villages
throughout North America, is nearing the completion of a deal to
operate and redevelop the resort, which is owned by the city of
“It’s all but a done deal,” said Winter Park spokesperson Joan
Christensen, noting that the resort’s board of trustees, as well as
the mayor and city council of Denver have approved the deal.
“They’re just finalizing the tiny details. I expect we’ll be under
Intrawest’s management by late November.”
Intrawest has contractually committed to investing $50 million
in on-mountain improvements, such as additional ski lifts and
restaurants, over the next 10 years, Christensen added. Visitors
will see some of the improvements during the 2003-2004 season.
Meanwhile, Winter Park has spent $2.6 million in improvements
for the upcoming season: a new terrain park and half pipe, which
will replace existing ones that were spread farther apart; a hand
tow; a delicatessen at West Portal Station; a retail shop offering
ski accessories and souvenirs; a candy store; and new snow-grooming
Although Intrawest has not announced plans to do so yet, the
company also is expected to develop the base area, pending the
finalization of the contract. The company is known for developing
pedestrian villages with accommodations, shops, entertainment and
dining at ski resorts such as Whistler, British Columbia, Copper,
Colo., and Tremblant, Quebec. Christensen said improvements to the
base area could start as soon as the 2004-2005 season.
Meanwhile, the beginnings of a village are already in place with
the Zephyr Mountain Lodge, Winter Park’s only ski-in, ski-out
accommodations. The lodge, which opened in February 2000, offers
one-, two- and three-bedroom condominiums on the upper levels and
shops, restaurants and pubs on the ground level.
The units are individually owned, but 70% are on a rental
program, according to Kelly Mace, the lodge’s director of sales and
marketing. Nightly rack rates range from $109 to $850, depending on
the type of unit and the season.
The slope side building opens to a large pedestrian plaza,
across which are three ski lifts accessing 2,886 acres of
Inside, the lodge offers a rustic yet contemporary feel, with
rich woods, striking upholstery colors in plaids and solids, gas
fireplaces and wooden blinds. All units feature full kitchens with
stained natural woodwork, dining areas, spacious baths, televisions
in living rooms and bedrooms, and videocassette players (movies can
be rented at the front desk).
Most of the units, which range in size from 569 to 1,780 square
feet, feature outdoor decks. And some of the upper-floor units have
vaulted ceilings. In addition, the lodge offers self-serve,
lockable ski and snowboard storage, as well as an exercise
facility, outdoor whirlpool tubs, heated underground parking and
complimentary transfers to the nearby towns of Winter Park and
In other Winter Park developments:
" The National Sports Center for the Disabled, the world’s
premier training center for adaptive skiing, has launched a program
offering family lessons to disabled skiers and snowboarders. The
program allows spouses, parents and siblings to learn together and
provides skills in assisting the disabled family member on the
slopes. Available during holiday periods and spring break, the
lessons include other activities, such as showshoeing and sleigh
" A new meeting facility, the Shadow Mountain Ballroom, opened
last season at Winter Park Mountain Lodge, accommodating up to 300.
The facility features floor-to-ceiling windows, a spacious deck,
audio-visual equipment and high-speed Internet access.
" The travel agent-only Web site, www.bookwinter park.com, has
been redesigned. Launched in 1999, the site provides sales tools
such as customized sell-sheets, last-minute lodging deals and bulk
airfare quotes. Agents also can access information on fam trips,
entertainment and resort pricing. Call Winter Park central
reservations at 800-453-2525.
Web site: www.skiwinter park.com; agents only:
Call Zephyr Mountain Lodge reservations at 877-754-8400. Web
site: www.zmlwp. com.