Winter Park work crews have spent the summer improving little things on the mountain. Winter Park's Mistalynn Lee says, "With the completion of The Village at Winter Park, we are focusing on smaller improvements this season that will positively impact the guest's experience." She adds that this year's improvements don't sound as glamorous as seasons past, but they will be noticeable.

One of the biggest ways is to improve the health of the forest and trees around the area, with Pine Beetle mitigation. Pine Beetles have infested trees throughout the Rockies, with some areas worse than others. Many resorts are tearing down the dead trees to reduce safety hazards to skiers and mountain bikers, as well as a way to decrease fire hazard. It also encourages new tree growth. A grant was awarded from the Colorado community Forest Restoration Pilot Grand Program.

The Lodge at Sunspot is getting a facelift, inside and out. Stonework, entry doors, new carpet and furniture, and new deck stain will all be in place for Sunspot's 20th anniversary in 2012. The Lodge at Sunspot sits at 10,700 feet in altitude, at the top of Winter Park Mountain. You get there by riding the Zephyr Express chairlift.

You'll find more parking, too. The Vintage Hotel parking lot will have 822 newly paved marked spaces, so guests can have an easier time walking to the Village Cabriolet.  Lee says guests and staff will appreciate it. "No more mud and no more ruts in the free parking lot near the Cabriolet. Focusing on the little things can make a big difference."

Other Winter Park improvements are behind the scenes, including an updated radio system to improve Internal and emergency communication, two new snowcats, trail maintenance, additions to the bike, ski, and snowboard rental fleet, and new mountain Web cameras. Winter Park plans to open Nov. 17.