Get with The Plan
September 14, 2021
Article by: Stacey Zavadil
Want to know what’s next for Granby Ranch? It won’t happen without your input.
Back in skiing’s cowboy era, owner-operators were famous for their ad hoc ways, stringing up lifts like Christmas lights, and erecting base lodges like they were pitching tents. Little thought was spared for the skill levels of guests, access to facilities, and the flow of skiers, pedestrians, and vehicles. Bikes weren’t even a consideration.
Take the base of Granby Ranch for example. Like a miniature Whistler Blackcomb, it’s essentially two disjointed mountains connected by a void. While it needs to serve a community of 5,000 homes and day visitors, the base area lacks a central gathering spot. There’s no place for kids to swim or monkey around in summer; no obvious meetup locations; no bakery for the morning’s doughnuts. Nothing anchors the square. Granby Ranch wasn’t so much planned as it was grown wild.
Now enter SE Group, which was the first company in the world to plan, design, and build ski areas, and has envisioned more than 2,500 of them. SE Group—it dates to 1958—was also a leader in engaging with communities, environmentalists, and land managers, aspiring to get mountain planning right for the long haul. That’s not hyperbole: In the 1970s, SE Group envisioned Deer Valley. Today, Deer Valley, North America’s top resort in delivering a customer-centric experience, is putting the finishing touches on that vision. The new vision for Steamboat? That’s an SE Group project. So too with the revitalization of Cannon Mountain, New Hampshire, and the Alpine Training Center on its sister hill Mittersill Alpine Resort.
At Granby Ranch, SE Group is in the initial concept phase of a plan to anchor the base area while improving flow. Simultaneously, SE Group is mapping out a new competition venue (See Bode Story) and conceptualizing new facilities and resort amenities.
As the plans gel, SE Group and the Granby Ranch team will reach out to the community, carefully consider the environment, and build a long-term vision of the mountain and its facilities. And, oh yeah, all those improvements to the guest experience won’t come at the expense of the small-mountain atmosphere that people love Granby Ranch for.
“Smaller ski resorts are way more important today than they were even 10 years ago,” says SE Group Lead Ski Area Designer Chris Cushing who is overseeing the Granby Ranch project. “For a lot of people, the big resort experience is just too much. We need more intimate places like Granby Ranch where guests can get to know the staff and let the kids roam. People want to feel comfortable. That’s what we’re trying to build on at Granby Ranch.”
This story appears in Granby Ranch’s fall mini-magazine edition. For more information or to get a print copy, please email eloveland (@) granbyranch.com.