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Winter Park Resort upgrading ski gondola and snowmaking system

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Mountain Technology,

Colorado newspaper Sky-Hi News is reporting that multiple improvement projects at the Winter Park Resort in Colorado, US – including a new 10-person ski gondola and an updated snowmaking system – are due to be operational in time for the forthcoming winter season.

Steve Hurlbert, Director of Public Relations for the resort, said that the resort had received US$28.2 million from its parent company, Alterra, more than any other Alterra-owned resort has received for improvements this year.

The ski gondola will replace the Zephyr Express chairlift, which first began operating in 1990.

Hurlbert said: "[The Zephyr] was just old and slow and it broke down all the time. Not only was it put in there in 1990 and used, it was also our summer operations lift, so it wasn't just the time it was operational, it was also the mileage because we were using it year-round."

The new gondola, manufactured for the resort by Leitner-Poma at a cost of US$16 million, is expected to increase upload capacity to 3600 guests per hour and decrease wait time by 15 minutes during peak season.

Winter Park Resort is also replacing its 42-year-old snowmaking system. The project, costing US$4 million, requires replacing old pipes and adding new, high-tech snow guns.

"It's going to enable us to create a much better snow surface for those early seasons," Hurlbert said. "Man-made snow also plays a valuable role in establishing the base for the rest of the year."

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