Why Ski Here? – Winter Park CO Ski Vacation
Since its opening in the winter of 1939, which makes it the oldest continually operated ski area in Colorado, Winter Park has provided top quality skiing that is unlike any other experience. It has consistently ranked as one of the top ski resorts in the United States (#1 for moguls) and more than a million skier and snowboarder days are recorded at Winter Park each year. Consider these other top 10 reasons to ski Winter Park this season.
For skiers and snowboarders from Europe, Canada, Mexico and throughout the US, there are many non-stop flight from most major airport hubs. Denver International Airport (DEN) since 1998, has daily flights on United Airlines, BMI, Southwest, Aeromexico, Air Canada, Lufthansa, American and Delta.
It’s only 86 miles to Winter Park Resort from the airport, which, depending on conditions, can take less than 2 hours. The first traffic lights you’ll see will be when you approach the resort!
We all know that for most people, great snow is the be-all and end-all of any skiing vacation. To kick-start what is more than likely going to be an excellent natural base at the start of the season, snow-making machines are hard at work during October and the first two weeks of November. Currently, some 27 trails over 313 acres in Winter Park are serviced by snow making equipment. In Winter Park however, once the season starts, it relies on nature and a great track-record to provide the desired conditions.
A long-established boast in Winter Park reads: “Season after season, Winter Park receives more snowfall -it’s a fact”. The current 10-year average is 29 feet of snow, more than any other major Colorado ski resort.
#3: Everyone Fits In
Another nice benefit of Winter Park is the fact that skiers and snowboard enthusiasts as well as beginners will enjoy themselves here. The resort offers a huge trail system with ample variety to accommodate every skill level and every age. Across the five adjacent areas of Winter Park, Mary Jane, Vasquez Ridge, Vasquez Cirque, Parsenn Bowl and Eagle Wind with 3,081 total acres of skiing, 143 designated trails and 1,212 acres of off-piste terrain. Colorful trail names reflecting the history of the resort or specific themes and 14 of the trails have been named with a historical significance.
#4: Terrain Parks
Snowboarders have long been embraced at Winter Park, comprising as they do and ever-increasing percentage of the “riding” public. Winter Park Resort is a leader in world class terrain parks. Offering six terrain parks of varying degrees of difficulty, Winter Park Resort’s philosophy is that the best way to learn is through a progressive park system.
From the resort’s beginner park, Starter Park, which features small boxes that are just off of the ground, to Rail Yard, Winter Park’s advanced terrain park, which features a combination of rails, jibs, a super-pipe, and jumps, snowboarders are very well catered for. Dark Territory, Rail Yard’s controlled access area, pushes the skills of expert skiers and riders with features designed for the most technical tricks.
#5: Ski Friendly
Arguably nowhere stresses the importance more of skier safety, etiquette and “Ski Friendly” than in North America, and that rings especially true in Winter Park. Maps and trails with their level of difficulty are clear, groomed trails are meticulously maintained, hazards (temporary or permanent) are marked or have clear warning signs, and lift lines are polite and orderly with none of the queue-jumping or “worming” techniques employed at many European resorts.
Have a friendly chat with the lift attendants who will concern themselves more with helping you on your way, than with the quality of their tan. Mountain Hosts are on hand for advice or information on any aspect affecting skiing choices in the resort, and the Ski Patrol, which has a #1 rating in the country to its name, fully live up to their reputation.
Since 1993, Winter Park has featured a special “learn to Ski Park” – 20 acres of prime terrain for adult beginners, children, ski school classes and disabled skiers. Importantly, permanent fencing installed around the upper perimeter of the Learn to Ski Park separates the terrain from more advanced skiers. This is an excellent concept, as so often a beginner’s nerve and confidence are shattered by either slopes which are open to all and therefore a feeling of intimidation prevails, or by unthinking skiers who fail to slow and/or give a wide enough berth on passing.
#6: Ski School
Winter Park has an extensive and varied program of ski and ride programs for people of all ages and abilities. Choose from full-day or half-day lessons, group or private, Winter Park Resort’s Ski and Ride School has taught guests how to ski and ride longer than any other Colorado resort.
#7: On-Mountain Dining
Costs can really mount up when putting together all the component parts of your ski vacation, and the outlay on food and drink during the day while skiing can be sizeable. At Winter Park, options abound and with the right planning and attention, can be far less expensive than you might think. For the best deals on the Winter Park side, check out Snoasis Market – located on mid-mountain Winter Park. Snoasis is a blast to the past with its music, colors, and deck space, and it’s the resort’s best place to sit back, take in a specialty drink. During March and April when spring comes around and the sun is out, the bbq grills are out in full force and the decks fill up.
The brand new Lunch Rock was finished in 2016 and boasts a 16,000 square foot building at the top of Winter Park with a modern feel and large deck with magnificent mountain views that will seat 150 people! The indoor state of the art bar will seat 28 and the restaurant will seat 250. Get anything from a burger to pizza and high craft beer.
Over on Mary Jane, visit the Club Car – Mary Jane’s Club Car restaurant is the locals’ favorite and still the best kept secret around! Serving the best Bloody Marys in the valley, Club Car is perfectly situated at the base of Mary Jane Mountain and is open daily for lunch and après ski. Want pizza? Pepperoni’s Pizza and Sports Bar, located in the Mary Jane base lodge, offers guests a true sports bar appeal and features some of the best slices in the valley, not to mention the Colorado’s largest membership mug club!
You may come to Winter Park for the skiing, but when you stay at the condos, townhomes, private homes, or cabins here, you’ll be impressed with the space, amenities and true home-away-from-home feeling. Depending on your choice of lodging, a variety of amenities are available to guests too, ranging from clubhouses with pools, saunas, workout facilities, to private hot-tubs, decks and some great views. For the best Winter Park offers in lodging, consider a great selection of Premier Properties.
While downtown Winter Park is still relatively small, there is a distinct laid-back friendly atmosphere, almost anywhere you’ll go. It’s definitely not ritzy or razzmatazz and the nightlife is more about small, relaxed gatherings in local bars and restaurants, than the nightclub scene.
Winter Park is undoubtedly one of the best ski resorts in the country but it is still one of the most affordable options around. Booking early will not only get you the “early bird” savings, but if you have done the appropriate research, will guarantee you the unit that you want. Choose from special Winter Park lodging and skiing discounts which are readily available and explore the terrain without spending a fortune doing so.
These top 10 reasons to visit Winter Park are just the start of what you will experience in this resort. The skiing, of course, is phenomenal.