No posh or glitter, just a relaxed vibe coming from friends and families who flock to Winter Park Resort. The resort, which has been owned by the City of Denver for over 50 years, is in the Rockies approximately 70 miles from the city. The ride alone, when the weather is good, is worth the trip.
“The Park” is basically three mountain peaks, Winter Park, Mary Jane and Vasquez Ridge (same lift ticket). Winter Park, with its 1,700-foot drop, is predominantly beginner and intermediate skiing while the experts head to “The Jane”.
Hughes and Cranmer on The Park side are fun, intermediate runs. Bradley’s Bash is a good advanced intermediate challenge.
The Jane, with 2,610 feet of vertical, has some of the best mogul skiing in the state. Outhouse, one of the connectors between the Park and the Jane is steep, relentless and one of our favorites. Derailer, Drunken Frenchmen, and Riflesight Notch, which can get rocky with thin snow, are all great – challenging – runs.
If you’ve never tried skibiking (heading downhill on a bike on skis, instead of wheels, which has handlebars for steering), it’s a lot of fun.
Winter Park in the Summer
The resort and town rock in the summer, with numerous festivals and events. At the base, there’s an alpine slide, an outdoor rock climbing wall and miniature golf. If you’re a mountain biking fan, Winter Park is for you. Between the hundreds of miles of off-road trails, and the Trestle Bike Park, you’ll never be bored but might want to arrange for spa treatments in the evening.
Getting To Winter Park
From Denver, Winter Park can be reached by driving west on I-70 to Empire (exit 232) and continuing up and over Berthoud Pass. The trip takes about an hour and a half unless you get caught in weekend skier traffic, which will really slow you down. Watch your speed in Empire because the sheriff works hard to fill the town’s coffers. The roads are well maintained but can be snow packed in winter and early spring (See Weather Tips), so plan your drive accordingly. Winter Park’s base is about 9,000 feet so check out our High Altitude Tips.