TDP-L-WINTER-PARK-THE-LIFT_JAC9520x Snow riders from Cincinnati, Lauren Schwartz, left, and her husband, Corey Schwartz, get off the free Winter Park shuttle, The Lift, at the Winter Park ski area on Dec. 5, 2019.

When the bus rolls up at 6 a.m. in the crisp mountain air, Christian Tichy often is among those who climb aboard to head to work, snowboard in hand.

“A lot of times, I can’t bum rides off my friends in the morning, so I’ll take the bus from Granby,” says the 23-year-old lift operator at Winter Park Resort. “I’ll get to the resort at 7, do all my stretching and whatnot, and get ready for the morning meeting.”

The new 21-mile Granby route debuted this year as the latest expansion of Winter Park Transit’s nearly 4-year-old system, called The Lift. It connects several towns and the ski resort with free rides — providing more than 523,000 of them last year in a valley with just a few thousand full-time residents.

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