Winter Park Ski Resort

Winter Park Ski Resort is one of Colorado's oldest. Opened to the public in 1939 as part of the city of Denver's parks system, Winter Park Colorado was owned and operated by the city until 2002, when Denver entered into an agreement with a Canadian corporation to give over control over day-to-day operations.

Like other Colorado ski areas, Winter Park Ski Resort has undertaken substantial improvements since the early 1990s. But despite the modernization Winter Park retains a more rural, unpretentious atmosphere than Vail, Copper, Breckenridge, and other large Colorado resorts. Renting a ski lodge in Winter Park, or even just visiting here for a day, is a great idea for families and serious skiers alike.

Winter Park Ski Resort is a perfect ski area for beginners. There is a huge learner's area served by multiple lifts from the main village. Tickets combining lift passes, lessons, and Winter Park ski rental are more affordable than at the Summit County resorts, and there is much more novice terrain to explore. Skiers who prefer a relaxed descent down the mountain will love the meandering greens that start from almost every lift.

True intermediate terrain is somewhat limited at Winter Park Ski Resort. Bluebell run off the Sunnyside lift on Mary Jane mountain and Buckaroo on Vasquez Ridge are probably the best blue runs when the back bowls are closed. When there is sufficient snow, take the Timberline lift to the top of Parsenn Bowl and check out Paintbrush or Forget-me-not.

The best time to ski Winter Park Colorado is in late winter or early spring, when there is enough base to open the back bowls. Powder days here are a treat. Advanced intermediates will enjoy the black-blue marked runs off Parsenn Bowl. Eagle Wind, a triple chair built in 2007, has opened new areas of the perennially popular Vasquez Cirque. Beware: the chutes from the top of these bowls are for experts only.

Mogul fans love to ski Winter Park. Bump runs abound all across the main mountain; the best are off the Challenger chairlift on Mary Jane.

Winter Park Ski Resort is one of the closest ski areas to Denver and other Front Range towns. Despite this, traffic to the resort is not as bad as might be expected. Drivers exit the jammed Interstate 70 at exit 232 and drive over Berthound Pass (site of a now-defunct ski area) on scenic Highway 40.

You can ski Winter Park Colorado from Denver without getting into your car by taking the special ski train from Union Station. It runs on Friday and Saturday throughout ski season. Amtrak's Zephyr train, which runs from San Francisco to Chicago, also has a stop at Fraser, from which you there is a quick shuttle to Winter Park.

The journey to Winter Park Ski Resort, whether by car or train, is an unusual treat: you know you are deep in the Rocky Mountains as you approach the town of Winter Park. The town has a nice rural feel, but it is packed with everything a skier might need. The resort has a good package for Winter Park ski rental, but you can also find some good deals at the town's many rental shops. Finding an attractive ski lodge in Winter Park is easy; the resort's reservation site lists over 150. High Mountain, located just outside downtown, is probably the best ski lodge in Winter Park.

Winter Park Ski Resort is a good choice for advanced or beginning skiers and snowboarders who want an easy-going atmosphere, close to Denver but away from the destination resorts in Summit County Colorado.

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