SNOW & SUN, PARKS & PIPES, CRUISERS & BRUISERS — THE WINTER PARK WAY
WINTER PARK, Colo. – Trying to pin Winter Park Resort to a single characteristic or experience is impossible. The culture, style and personality of the resort have been shaped and defined by 73 years of evolution and revolution.
Winter Park Resort was the brainchild of Denver’s manager of Parks and Recreation, George Cranmer, and was created to provide a “winter park” for the residents of Denver. With the help of some enthusiastic volunteers, Winter Park fired up its first rope tow with a $1 lift ticket in 1939. Since that modest beginning, the resort has steadily morphed into one of the top ten ski resorts in the United States, hosting nearly a million skiers and snowboarders annually.
Winter Park’s first and ongoing claim to fame is consistently abundant snowfall. Averaging 30 feet of snow annually entitles the resort to the coveted title of “most snow of any major Colorado resort,” a distinction that has been unchallenged for more than 73 years. With its proximity to Denver, just 67 miles away, Winter Park is a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts.
The scenic trip over the recently widened and improved Berthoud Pass is the route most skiers and snowboarders take but The Ski Train, which has been running since the ski area first opened, remains a popular option. It leaves downtown Denver’s Union Station on Saturdays and Sundays from mid-December through early April with some special Friday and holiday trips. It follows a leisurely and beautiful route through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains before going under the Continental Divide through the 6.2-mile long Moffat Tunnel. Passengers arrive at the base of the slopes and disembark steps away from base facilities and chairlifts.
The wilder side of Winter Park emerged in 1975 when the rowdy Mary Jane Mountain opened. Revered for big bumps, deep chutes, tight glades and steep pitches, “the Jane” has earned cult-like status for her feisty attributes and ego-humbling terrain. Consistently ranked #1 for moguls in North America by Skiing Magazine, Mary Jane is fiercely loved and defended by legions of bump skiers and riders who relentlessly pursue the tightest, cleanest lines down the faces of her daunting trails.
In steady succession, additional sections of the mountain opened including Mary Jane’s backside, Vasquez Ridge, Parsenn Bowl and, in 1997, Vasquez Cirque – the resort’s most extreme and dramatic terrain. Today, Winter Park boasts 25 lifts serving 143 trails spread over more than 3,081 acres across four mountains.
And, the resort keeps improving. To better serve the next generation of skiers and riders who have given their hearts and loyalty to this venerable resort, Winter Park has expanded on its new terrain park, Rail Yard, with new progressive rails and improved jump design. Pipe aficionados head straight to the resort’s new Superpipe on Allan Phipps trail. A 100-foot snow bridge whisks skiers and riders over Cranmer Cutoff for a more seamless transition between the park and the new Superpipe. Aspiring riders of all ages can test their skills in the expanded terrain park on Jack Kendrick trail with new jumps and rails.
After all these years, all those powder days, all these improvements and all the happy memories, it is no surprise that Winter Park Resort is still affectionately known throughout the state and beyond as “Colorado’s Favorite™.”