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Woodward Park City Looks Ahead to Winter Operations


The new General Manager of Woodward Park City told KPCW all about what the  the rest of the summer has in store and teased at what things might look like heading into winter.


Chris Gunnarson was brought on as General Manager at Woodward Park City earlier in September and has been busy getting the facility ready for the winter season. With the COVID-19 pandemic still ongoing, running a facility that utilizes things like foam pits presents a unique challenge.


Gunnarson has been in the snowsports industry for nearly his entire life and came to Park City two years ago as part of POWDR’s efforts to integrate and expand Woodward in the local community. He said the Woodward Park City project got final approval just after he took the job and his heavy focus on the project made the transition to General Manager an easy one.


“It just made sense to combine operating this facility here at Woodward Park City with all of our ongoing future efforts as kind of a laboratory for progression and development and experiment,” said Gunnarson. “I was pretty excited to get the opportunity to champion that with the phenomenal team that’s already in place.”


Woodward Park City’s grand opening was only last December and the pandemic shut down operations after only three months in March. Woodward caters to the more extreme side of the sports world with downhill mountain biking in the summer and freeride skiing and snowboarding options in the winter. Year-round indoor facilities are also available to sharpen athlete’s skills.


Woodward re-opened for summer programs in May and Gunnarson said he and his team have been hard at work adapting their summer plans and are looking ahead to winter operations.


“We’re working on our winter plans and we’re in a constant state of evolution on our existing summer plans,” he said. “As you said, we’ve only really been in operation three months, we haven’t gotten a full year under our belt, but the good news is, and the reason why we think the future is so bright, is that the nature of Woodward, across our whole portfolio and especially here, is constant evolution, constant progression, constant change.” 


Gunnarson says the only things currently closed at Woodward are the indoor foam pits. Everything else is available with some restrictions on capacity in order to comply with current health regulations. 


Pre-pandemic, Woodward was already using a reservation system to regulate how many people were at the facility at one time, similar to how Park City Mountain Resort has announced a reservation system for mountain access this winter.


Gunnarson said this gives Woodward a leg up on the competition this year. 


“Well it won’t be a whole lot different than what we’re doing already and we have a little bit of an advantage on maybe the rest of the typical ski resort industry in that we already have had a reservation system in place since we opened,” he explained. “Since COVID and we returned to operations, we have very strict temperature checks, questionnaires, mask enforcement policies, social distancing regulations. We’ve been operating this way since we’ve been back open and so the only difference is now we’ll be doing it on snow versus on dirt or concrete.”


Woodward Park City offers both monthly membership plans as well as drop-in visits, both with reservations. For more information on Woodward Park City and the programs they offer, visit woodwardparkcity.com.

Sean Higgins covers all things Park City and is the Saturday Weekend Edition host at KPCW. Sean spent the first five years of his journalism career covering World Cup skiing for Ski Racing Media here in Utah and served as Senior Editor until January 2020. As Senior Editor, he managed the day-to-day news section of skiracing.com, as well as produced and hosted Ski Racing’s weekly podcast. During his tenure with Ski Racing Media, he was also a field reporter for NBC Sports, covering events in Europe.