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Winter Park opens Wednesday

Reid ArmstrongSky-Hi NewsWinter Park, CO Colorado
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Winter Park Resort president Gary DeFrange hasn’t done a snow dance already, he’s certainly dancing now. More than 9 inches fell on the mountain in the last 24 hours and more snow is in the forecast for the next two days, which is great news for the ski area with its opening day set for Wednesday, Nov. 17.”My excitement builds with each snowfall,” he said. “Significant early season storms paired with ideal temperatures for increased snowmaking production are setting the foundation for a strong season.”The arrival of the resort’s 1,000-some seasonal employees is highly anticipated by everyone from restaurants and bars to retail shops and the grocery store.”The energy at the resort is contagious as employees return and the shops and restaurants prepare to open,” DeFrange said.The still-recovering economy and job market has had a noticeably positive effect on Winter Park’s workforce, noted Human Resource Director Karen Gadberry.The resort has had a large pool of qualified applicants for the various seasonal and core positions they posted throughout the year.”Due to the high volume of motivated and qualified applicants, we are seeing an excellent skill set trend that brings us a (high) level of expertise, experience and education,” Gadberry said, allowing Winter Park to “hire the very best-of-the-best.”And, while about 8 percent of the workforce continues to be international seasonal workers, the bulk of the staff come from the Grand County community or other areas around the country, Gadberry said.Not only will the staff be more qualified, but they’ll look better too. In the coming weeks, the blue and gray employee jackets will be traded for red.”They are of high quality, manufactured by Spyder,” said Communication Manager Mistalynn Lee. “The pants are black. Many departments put in their requests and comments, and a team worked directly with Spyder to produce a uniform that is expected to be warm and functional for all departments.”Locals will be jazzed about the addition of 20 rails to Winter Park’s six progressive terrain parks.In addition, there are sections that can be combined to create almost any imaginable configuration of rail feature.”After 4 years without a single new rail it is great to have put together such a big order of fresh and innovative rails,” said Bob Holme, terrain park, youth marketing manager. “The 20 new rails, in addition to our existing rail inventory, will allow the terrain park crew to be even more creative in our park set-ups and flow.”So what run will you head for first on Wednesday?”At this time we cannot say what runs are open because it is conditions- and weather-dependent,” Lee said. “We are currently making snow (I can see the snow guns going it out my office window) and mother nature has been helping with early season snowfall.”Just to be sure opening day gets off on the right foot, resort officials are practicing a tried-and-true method of bringing on more snow – they are putting their trail maps in the freezer.”It’s a little superstition we have here at the resort,” Lee said.

Winter Park Competition CenterKids and teens looking to get their ski tip or the nose of their snowboard in the door of competitive skiing and riding can check out the alpine racing, terrain park, freestyle mogul and all mountain programs of the Winter Park Competition Center. New this season is the All Terrain 10-week program on Saturdays for skiers 11-18 who are interested in skiing the whole mountain but are unable to attend a full season program.

This school is a little different; every class is recess with friends. Registration is open for young skiers and snowboarders, ages 3 to 14. Whether a Guppy, Minnow, Barracuda or Piranha, these programs have ability levels ranging from first-timer to expert. One main benefit of booking a multi-week program is the level of progression each child can achieve with the same coach and group, helping to build confidence and skill level.


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