Zephyr Express Replacement Part of Nearly $30 Million In Capital Improvements
Winter Park Resort’s venerable Zephyr Express chairlift will be replaced by a new 10-person gondola, part of $28.2 million in capital improvements that will be in place in time for the 2018-19 winter season. Other additions include the first phase of a complete overhaul of Winter Park’s snowmaking system, increased lift maintenance, snowcats, and 21 acres of logging in Eagle Wind Territory to improve glade skiing.
The gondola will increase uphill capacity to 3,600 guests per hour, decreasing wait times by 15 minutes during peak season while swiftly and comfortably delivering guests to the Lodge at Sunspot. The $16 million Leitner-Poma gondola project will feature a cutting-edge energy saving direct drive system, making it environmentally sound as well as efficient. The regulatory approval process for the project is currently underway and construction is slated to begin in the spring. The gondola will be Winter Park’s first on-mountain lift installation since the Panoramic Express was added in 2007.
In addition to the new gondola, Winter Park will upgrade its antiquated 42-year old snowmaking system with new energy efficient components, pipe replacement, and high-tech snowmaking guns. The $4 million system will ideally allow Winter Park to open additional terrain earlier each season.
Accompanying the big-ticket additions, Winter Park is also investing heavily in maintenance with significant earmarks geared for lift upkeep, grooming equipment, and snow guns. 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 revegetation.
Winter Park is the beneficiary of the commitment by Alterra Mountain Company to continually improve the guest experience at each of its 12 mountain destinations. Over the next five years, Alterra has pledged more than half a billion dollars in capital improvements, spending $130 million across its destinations for 2018-19 and $110 million each subsequent year.