Frisco tweaking adventure park offerings
Summit Daily News
With both a winter and summer season of Frisco Adventure Park operations under its belt, the Town of Frisco is looking to improve offerings and increase traffic at both the park and the recreation center.
“For that first year, there’s a lot of things we had to figure out. We’re in a much better place going into next year,” Diane McBride, the town’s recreation director said.
This past summer, the Frisco Day Lodge, designed as a reservation center and event facility, “pretty much broke even,” McBride said. There were 10 events – half of them weddings – held at the center. Lodge rentals were not pushed for the first summer, since operators were still trying to find a balance of recreational usage at the peninsula and private events at the day lodge. There were a lot of people using the peninsula while events were going on; McBride called it a learning process and said the town plans on doing a better job of balancing usage next year.
The lodge was open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, from May 22 to Aug. 19. to support the Frisco Fun Club – the town’s summer day camp program – sell snacks and retail items, share information and for facility rentals. Over this 12 week period, 2,000 guests stopped by and 350 phone calls were handled.
Out of all the adult programming held at the peninsula this summer, dog classes – including agility and obedience – were the most popular. The town is discussing whether to hold those this coming winter as well. Other programs included disc golf leagues, pickleball and mountain bike camps.
The Fun Club, held at the nordic center, saw record numbers this summer. Numbers were up 60 percent over 2010; in 2011, there were 2,158 campers for 54 days, in 2010, there were 1,346 over 60 days. McBride attributes the change to new age-specific activities and the closure of the Summit School District’s day camp program. The town is currently in conversations with the district to see if school days programming – over winter vacation and the like – is a true demand.
Youth and teen programming at the area, which consisted of cooking, disc golf and mountain bike lessons, saw the most success in its bike clinics. The majority of regular programs were canceled because of low participation; it could be that parents were looking for full day programming as opposed to minimal commitment-type activities, McBride said. Next year, skill-based programs will have fewer sessions and longer times.
The bike park, which held a soft opening in July, is still under construction and slated for a grand opening celebration Sept. 24.
One of the biggest improvements the town hopes to make is in increased tubing hill visits. Last year, the hill brought in $476,929 with 20,711 visits. This season, Frisco officials are shooting for an increase to $625,000 and 25,889.
It’s an attainable goal for an operation going into its second year, McBride said.
In 2010-2011, tubing tickets were sold in one-hour blocks every 30 minutes. This season, the same blocks will be sold every 15 minutes. It should increase hourly capacity from 120 to 160, and the town says it can be done without compromising guest experience or safety.
The height requirement will also fall – from 42-inches to 36-inches – a change being made based on participant feedback.
A few other big changes and ongoing issues regarding the tubing hill: prices. This year, the price of a season pass will be lowered from $299 to $249; only 10 were purchased last season.
Last year’s $199 10-punch transferable pass is currently being evaluated; last year, people were teaming up in line and splitting the cost of one. Council isn’t sure if they want to make it non-transferable, family-only, reduce the number of punches or just do away with it.
After evaluating last season’s surveys, the town has also decided to implement a 15 percent discount for Summit County residents in addition to a 20 percent discount for Frisco residents. Last year, Frisco residents – who received a deduction – and county visitors reported the highest satisfaction with value and fees. Summit County residents, however, showed the strongest level of dissatisfaction. The town is also considering a 20 percent discount for people who work in Frisco.
The terrain park and ski hill’s daily pass will be changed from daily to hourly. A high number of people were using it as a beginning ski hill, and an hourly rate, along with a reduced additional hour rate, should encourage more people to stop by.
A kid’s snow fort will be built, and the possibility of ski-bike rentals and instruction is being discussed. The overall goal is to entice families to stay for a whole day of fun, rather than just an hour on the tubing hill, McBride said.
Online tubing hill reservations will also start up this season, which should alleviate some of the crowds inside the day lodge during peak hours.
The adventure park will hold the same hours as last season – 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday, Thursday and Fridays, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays – but expand those during busier weeks. The town anticipates opening Nov. 24 and closing mid-April.
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