WINTER PARK, A WINTER WONDERLAND

It had been snowing for days when I headed toward Winter Park. There had recently been a avalanche on Rt. 40, so I was a little hesitant about taking that road. A guy I ran into had suggested that I take Rt. 9 and go around the mountains and come in from the north. He said that it was less treacherous, although it was a little longer. I decided to take his advice and arrived in Winter Park safe and sound but it dis add an extra hour to the trip.

Accommodations
I was staying right on Main St. at The Best Western Alpenglo Lodge. My room was very large and nice. There was a hot tub to soothe your aches and pains and I enjoyed it. In the morning, there was a complementary continental breakfast in the lobby that included bagels, donuts, pastries, toast, oatmeal, fresh fruit, juice, coffee, hot chocolate and tea.

There was a free ski area shuttle bus that picks you up right in front of the hotel and drops you off at the Winter Park Resort that was very convenient. In addition, there were plenty of really good restaurants and shops near by. Rooms begin at $72 (non-holiday) during the ski season and are a good value. To book a reservation call: (800) 979-0332and tell them that you read about their hotel in the Ski Bum News.

Skiing
I had never skied Winter Park before and really didn’t know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. Winter Park turned out to be a really large ski area with five different mountain areas (Winter Park, Mary Jane, Parsenn Bowl, Vasquez Cirque, and Vasquez Ridge) that encompasses over 3,000 skiable acres. They have 25 lifts that includes 1 High Speed Six Person Chairlift, 4 Triple Chairlifts, 7 High-Speed Express Quads, 7 Double Chairlifts, 3 Surface Lifts and 3 Magic Carpets that service 143 trails. The longest trail can be found in Parsenn Bowl and it a little over 5 miles long. The highest peak is Parsenn Bowl at 12,060 ft. and the longest vertical drop (2610 ft.) Can be found at Mary Jane. There is plenty of terrain for every level of skier. I was there for two days and could not begin to ski it all.

I started off by riding up the Zephyr Express and skiing down Cranmer, a nice blue warm-up run. That took me to the Eskimo Express and Prospector Express chair lifts. I took the Eskimo Express back up to the top and came down Retta’s Run, an expert slope that had some nice bumps. Next, I rode Olympia Express and came down Jabberwocky and Cheshire Cat which were in really good shape. I spent the morning exploring the trails on Winter Park. I skied expert trails like Mulligan’s Mile and Balch. Bradley’s Bash was fun and so was Little Pierre that had bumps that were just my size.

I was lucky to run into a couple of guys that knew their way around the mountain. We made a couple of runs on Winter Park and then headed over to Mary Jane. We made our way over to the Sunnyside Chair and I liked the look of the trails under that chair. I warmed up with a little hot chocolate at the Lunch Rock on top of Mary Jane and then bid my new friends goodby. I took a run down Edelweiss, so I could check out the look of the trails in Parsenn Bowl. They looked to be in good shape, so I rode to the top and skied over to the Timberline chair. I had fun on Forget-me-not and then worked my way back to Winter Park. I took a couple more runs down the front of the mountain. By the end of the day, I was tired and happy with all the new trails I had skied.

I caught the free shuttle back to the Best Western Alpenglo Lodge and took a well-deserved rest. For dinner, I stopped at the Untamed Stakehouse and had one of the best stakes I’ve ever had. The next day, I headed back to the ski slopes to do a little more skiing. I had checked my skies the day before and stopped in to pick them up. The ski bum who was working in the ski-check was kind enough to let me wax my skis before I headed out to the slopes. I took a photo of him but my camera ate the disk where all my photos were stored, so all my great shots were lost. As a result, all the photos with story are complements of the Winter Park Resort© Winter Park Resort.

I rode up the Zephyr Express and skied a lot of the trails that I had skied the day before. I met a lot of nice people when I was at Winter Park and had a really good time. I made a few runs down the front side of the mountain and had lunch at the Moffat Market. After lunch, I was back out on the slopes skiing trails like Brian’s Run, Hughes, Lower Hughes, and other fun slopes. It was a great visit to a really great ski slope. I checked out the trails off the Olympia Express Chair and a few expert trails off the Pioneer Express chair. They still have a lot of snow at Winter Park and according to the most recent press releases, the spring skiing there is really great. If you get a chance, visit Winter Park, I know that you’ll have a great time. All the people I met there were very friendly. Prices were reasonable and I really liked this ski area.

If you drive to Winter Park, leave your car at your lodge if you can and ride the free shuttle bus because the parking lots are a hike from the slopes and there is a lot of construction related to the new village that they are building.

After a great day of skiing, I headed to my car and drove down Rt. 40. I had a chance to check out this road and compare it to other ski area roads. It was steep with more than a few switch-backs BUT even though it was snowing, it was in good shape. In many ways, it reminded me of the road to Alta in Utah, a double black diamond road!