Regional: Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park to debut Winter on the Mountain
Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park is one of Glenwood Springs’ main tourist draws during the summer. Now, the park is hoping to make winter its biggest season with its new Winter on the Mountain attractions.
Although the park has stayed open through the winter in the past, this year is marked by the addition of more than half a million lights, fire pits to roast s’mores, a warming hut, 4-D movies, special lighting in the caves, a huge lighted Christmas tree and visits from Santa Claus and carolers. This is also the first year that the Alpine Coaster and the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride will be lighted and open for rides after dark.
“We’ve been trying to kick this off for a few years, and we’re just ready to go and do it,” said Shiela Kendall, special events manager at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. She said she got the idea to make winter a real event at the park after visiting Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri, and seeing it take advantage of the season. She said Glenwood Caverns had a good summer financially, so the timing seemed right to kick off Winter on the Mountain.
In addition to hoping the new attractions will increase revenue for the park, Kendall said if the winter is successful, it can have a ripple effect on the rest of Glenwood Springs’ tourist market.
“We really make our money in the summer, and I think most of the hotels do, also,” said Kendall. “And so we’re hoping that this builds the winter season and makes it more powerful than it currently is.”
Kendall said there are currently no package deals for tourists to purchase a hotel stay and passes to the adventure park. Though the park does sell tickets to hotels in bulk for a discounted rate, those hotels generally sell the tickets at full price for profit. In the future, if this year’s Winter on the Mountain proves a success, Kendall can see reaching out to other hotels and tourist attractions like Sunlight Mountain or the Hot Springs Pool to create package deals for visitors.
Marianne Virgili, CEO of the Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association, said summer is the busiest season for tourism, and she hopes Winter on the Mountain can help balance out the slower winter months.
“The new caverns offerings will definitely help increase the length of stay as well as entice more visitors,” Virgili said.
According to the 2014 City of Glenwood Springs Accommodations Tax Report, which lists hotel, motel, bed and breakfast and other short-term lodging revenue from the 2.5 percent accommodations tax, July saw more than three times the revenue of February with $132,418 compared to $41,504, and that’s not uncharacteristic of years past.
“You can see that we literally make hay when the sun shines in summer,” Virgili said. “That’s our busiest season. Fall and spring break are also very healthy for us. But along with winter, these are the shoulder seasons where we have room to grow. People will definitely want to come check out what’s new at the Adventure Park.”
Although Kendall is hopeful that the attractions at the park are enough to increase revenue in its off-season, she really wants Winter on the Mountain to be a citywide affair.
“It would be really neat if everybody in town and the businesses decorated for Christmas like crazy and got on board, and we really do make this a destination for Christmas lights,” Kendall said. “If we do it together, it could be a destination.”
Winter on the Mountain kicks off on Saturday, Nov. 1, and will last through March 1. During this time, the park will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday. During the holidays, it will be open daily from Nov. 21 through 30, except for Thanksgiving Day, and Dec. 19 to Jan. 4, except for Christmas day.
The park will host a Holiday Kick-off Party from 5-9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 21, where kids will be able to take a picture with Santa, the Coca-Cola polar bear will give away souvenirs and carolers will sing Christmas favorites.
For more information on ticket options and hours, visit http://www.glenwoodcaverns.com or call 970-945-4228.
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