A friend of mine visits Colorado from Gainesville FL, and he happens to be planning to ski at Winter Park Ski Resort. This turns out to be quite fortunate for me, as I’ve been wanting to have him visit me in my new Colorado home, Winter Park has been near the top of my list for skiing in Colorado, and I have a lift ticket for Winter Park that needs to be used before the end of the season a few weeks away.
Winter Park skiing turns out to be surprisingly impressive.
Winter Park features an excellent “back bowl,” and very good glade runs on both the main mountain face and in the bowl. At the Resort, one finds quite a few ski runs, lots of chair lifts, and relatively good signage. The blue runs are relatively demanding and scenic. The only downside is that like Loveland, the black runs are ungroomed, which keeps me off the blacks.
Winter Park contains 142 trails, over 3,000 acres of skiable area, 25 lifts, one run that is 4.6 miles long, and over 3,000 feet of vertical drop.
There are an enormous number of mogul runs. We have heavy snow all day, which reduces visibility and slows me down.
Nevertheless, I enjoy the Mary Jane run, as well as Edelweiss, Bluebell, Jabberwocky, and Lonesome Whistle.
Another slow-down we find on this day: on both the drive to the Resort that morning, and the drive back at the end of the day, we are forced to drive 10-15 mph on a twisting mountain road leading to and from the Resort for quite a long way. In both cases, we find ourselves behind a vehicle at the front of the line that is driving at a snail’s pace due to fear of sliding on freshly fallen snow. One would think that common courtesy would prevail and such a person would pull over and let other, more competent, drivers pass. I think there needs to be a campaign to educate people on driving on mountain roads around here!
On balance, though, Winter Park is good enough for return visits. Since all-day skiing only allowed me to ski a fraction of the runs, the resort is worthy of 2-4 days of skiing. One guy I spoke to from Texas says he prefers Winter Park to all other Colorado resorts.