Community Profile

Located in Grand County, Colorado, the towns of Winter Park (9,000 feet) and Fraser (8,800 feet) are surrounded by lush, high alpine environments and endless opportunities for discovery. The Fraser Valley, while easy to access from i70, is a gateway to 75,000 acres of National Forest and Wilderness and serves as a basecamp for outdoor explorers of every level.

Authentic Colorado
Both Winter Park and Fraser are a quick hop, skip, and jump away from Denver, but we’re a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the city. In fact, The Fraser Valley is surrounded by the Arapaho National Forest and three separate Wilderness areas, including Indian Peaks, Byers Peak, and Vasquez. Up here, we’re all about inviting everyone to experience the unfiltered beauty of Colorado. That’s why approximately 75% of the land in Grand County is public with 17,000 acres being managed by the City of Denver Water Board. Not to mention, Rocky Mountain National Park is just 35 miles north of the resort and offers 265,727 acres of natural land and wildlife habitats for the public to enjoy.

We’re beyond lucky to walk out our doors and step onto the trails. As guests on these lands, we invite everyone to join us in responsible exploration by caring for the environment and also honoring the original stewards of this valley: the Native and Indigenous people and nations, including the Arapaho, Cheyenne and Ute tribes. These peaks, rivers, and forests are a generous gift, and by working together, we can share and protect them for generations to come.

The Community
The eastern side of Grand County is chock-full of stunning views and year-round activities which has led to a thriving adventure industry that supports the local community. On the western side, ranching and agriculture fuel the economy. Approximately 12,000 people live in Grand County and are spread out in rural areas and throughout the six unique towns. The easiest way to access the Fraser Valley is via Highway 40 over Berthoud Pass, which reaches a scenic elevation of 11,315 feet.

The Town of Winter Park has 720 residents and 7.5 square miles of land, including the base village of Winter Park Resort. At the resort, we work in tandem with the town to foster a strong relationship and provide a seamless experience for our guests who want a full slice of the Rocky Mountain lifestyle. Our name might be Winter Park, but the ski area and town are quickly becoming four-season vacation destinations thanks to scenery and nonstop adventures

Fraser (pop. 732) offers more of a local scene and extra amenities. Located a short drive from the resort, the town is 6 square miles and has a grocery store, elementary school, library, town hall, and drug store to go along with its lowkey vibes.

All in all, the Fraser Valley is only a 90-minute drive northwest of Denver, 90 minutes from Summit County, and two hours from the Vail Valley.

Long before the ski resort was built in 1940, people lived among the towering peaks and lush pine forests of the Fraser Valley. The land on which we now ski, hike, and explore is historical and ancestral land originally belonging to the Nookhose'iinenno (Arapaho), Tsis tsis'tas (Cheyenne), and Nuuchu (Ute) tribes. The people of these Native Nations built relationships with the mountain and served as stewards of the high alpine environment for centuries. The Arapaho people have named it ‘Eagle Wind’ and this place name and heritage is reflected in several areas at the resort. (Read more about our partnerships with Native and Indigenous industry leaders here).

Around 1850, European settlers arrived, and brought mining and ranching to the valley. The first post office was built in Fraser in 1876 and still exists today as Cozen’s Ranch Museum. In the early part of the twentieth century, David Moffat began building a transcontinental railroad line from Denver to the West Coast that would transform travel to the high country. Tracks over the top of Rollins Pass were completed in 1905 and used steadily until 1928 when the 6.2-mile Moffat Tunnel was opened. With the introduction of the tunnel came the start of a new industry: logging.

While the railroad was pushing west, there was a tremendous need for timber. The logging industry flourished in the early 20th Century and provided valuable raw materials to Denver— a booming city on the border of the Western frontier. Although the first ski hills in Grand County were built in Hot Sulphur Springs in 1911, the railroad accelerated development at the Winter Park Ski Area, which opened its slopes to the public in 1940 with one ski tow and three trails. Today, Amtrak comes through the valley twice daily, giving guests a unique way to come enjoy the mountains.

Mountain Wildlife
When you live above 8,000 feet of elevation, some of your neighbors have hooves. And fur. Moose, elk, deer, fox, raccoons, and porcupines are common sights in the Fraser Valley thanks to a thriving ecosystem that also supports predators like bears, mountain lions, and coyotes. Seeing wildlife is one of the most exciting things about being up in the Rocky Mountains, but just remember that wildlife is wild. Make sure to be respectful, keep your distance, and use that zoom feature on your camera. For more information about wildlife encounters, chat with our friends at the US Forest Service office in Granby (970.887.4100).

Climate & Ecology
The Fraser Valley has three separate ecological zones: Montane, Sub-Alpine, and Alpine. Each zone is home to unique flora and fauna and showcases a different aspect of alpine life. Sagebrush, willows, aspen, and lodge pole pine exist at lower elevations while mosses, lichens, and pines decorate the landscape above treeline. The high altitude and cold temperatures mean winter can be long, but that means we’ve got some of the best powder skiing in the country! The Fraser Valley is also home to a variety of wildlife from pikas to moose to mountain lions and beyond. Learn more about wildlife encounters and the local ecology from the experts at the US Forest Service office in Granby (970.887.4100).

Average High Temperature: 54° F / 12° C
Average Low Temperature:
14°F / -10° C
Average Annual Rainfall: 27in. / 69cm.
Average Annual Snowfall:
231in. / 587cm.
Average Annual Sunny Days: 250