Winter Park Resort
|Winter Park/Mary Jane Resort|
Winter Park Village
|Location||Grand County, Colorado, USA|
|Nearest city||Winter Park, Colorado|
|Top elevation||12,600 feet (3,840 m)|
|Base elevation||9,000 feet (2,743 m)|
|Skiable area||3,081 acres (1,247 ha)|
|Runs||143 total |
|Lift system||25 total (9 high-speed chairs, 10 fixed-grip chairs, 6 surface lifts)|
|Snowfall||370 in (940 cm)|
The mountain opened for the 1939–1940 season as Winter Park Ski Area and was owned and operated by the city and county of Denver until 2002, when Denver entered into a partnership with Intrawest ULC, a Canadian corporation headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, which operated the resort until Intrawest was acquired by Alterra Mountain Company in 2018. For nearly 70 years, a popular way for Denver residents to get there was via the Ski Train, which arrived at the resort's base area through the Moffat Tunnel. Ski Train service ended in 2009 but returned as the Winter Park Express in 2017. Winter Park Resort is home to one of the world's largest and oldest disabled skiing programs, the National Sports Center for the Disabled.
The resort consists of three interconnected mountain peaks (and seven "territories") — Winter Park, Mary Jane, and Vasquez Ridge — which share a common lift ticket. Mary Jane, opened in 1975, has a separate base area and is known for its moguls, tree skiing, hidden huts and generally more difficult terrain. It encompasses the above-tree line terrain of Parsenn Bowl. Vasquez Ridge, opened in 1986, offers intermediate terrain and mogul runs. In 1997, 435 acres (176 ha) of backcountry terrain in Vasquez Cirque were opened to skiing, although access required hiking from the top of Mary Jane; the 2006 relocation of the former Outrigger triple chairlift to the backside of Parsenn Bowl provides an easier escape back to Mary Jane after descending Vasquez Cirque.
Since taking over operation of the resort, Intrawest has made several changes to the mountain's infrastructure, renovating the food services in the West Portal base lodge, opening new lifts in 2005 and 2006, and publicly announcing plans for a new base village to include hundreds of new condominia, a parking structure, a "Village Pond," and a "family swim center," all accessible via a new open-air gondola known as "The Village Cabriolet." However, while this change has benefitted the economic development of the town and the resort, it has also been a threat to the existing historic resort base. The historic Balcony House remains under threat of demolition. This historic building was designed in the Googie style of architecture, which was a popular style in the 1940s to the 1960s.
In an attempt to make Winter Park into a year-round resort, the resort operates the lifts during the summer months for mountain biking. The Arrow chairlift also services an alpine slide in the summer, and the base area features miniature golf, a climbing wall, and other diversions. While the Winter Park area is also a popular destination for golf, there are no golf courses located at, or operated by, the resort itself.
- Base: 9,000 ft (2,743 m)
- Summit: 12,060 ft (3,676 m)
- Vertical rise: 3,060 ft (933 m)
- Skiable area: 3,060 acres (1,238 ha)
- Trails: 169 <winterparkresort.com> total (9% beginner, 34% intermediate, 57% advanced/expert)
- Average annual snowfall: 365 inches (930 cm)
- North: 50%
- East: 10%
- South: 2%
- West: 38%
25 total (manufacturer, year installed)
- 1 eight-person cabriolet gondola lift:
- Village Cabriolet (Leitner-Poma, 2008)
- 2 high-speed detachable six-passenger chairlifts:
- Super Gauge Express (@Mary Jane) (Leitner-Poma, 2005) Photo
- Panoramic Express (@Mary Jane) (Leitner-Poma, 2007). When opened, it was marketed as being the highest high-speed six pack in North America, a title it retained until the Kensho SuperChair at Breckenridge Ski Resort was built in 2013.
- 7 high-speed detachable quad chairlifts:
- Eskimo Express (Poma, 1999)
- Gemini Express (Poma, 1993)
- High Lonesome Express (Poma, 1991)
- Prospector Express (Poma, 1994)
- Zephyr Express (Poma, 1990) - to be replaced with a ten person Gonola in 2018
- 4 triple chairlifts:
- Arrow (Yan, 1977)
- Eagle Wind (Yan, installed 2006; former Outrigger chair)
- Endeavour (Poma, 1993)
- Sunnyside (@Mary Jane) (CTEC, 1989)
- 7 double chairlifts:
- Challenger (@Mary Jane) (Heron-Poma, 1975) Photo
- Discovery (Heron-Poma, 1984)
- Galloping Goose (@Mary Jane) (Heron-Poma, 1975)
- Iron Horse (@Mary Jane) (Heron-Poma, 1975)
- Looking Glass (Riblet, 1965)
- Pony Express (@Mary Jane) (Heron-Poma, 1975)
- 3 surface lifts:
- 3 conveyor lifts:
- High-speed detachable quad chairlifts:
- Summit Express (Poma, 1986; replaced with Super Gauge Express high-speed six-pack in 2005). This lift now runs at the Mission Ridge Ski Area in Washington State.
- J-bar lift (1939 – ?)
- 2 rope tows (1945 – ?)
- Comet T-bar lift (1957; replaced with Arrow triple in 1977)
- Meteor T-bar lift (1957–1977; replaced with Outrigger triple)
- Bob Woods T-bar lift (1940s; replaced with Apollo double in 1969)
During Winter Park's 75-year history, many individuals have made significant contributions to the development and image of the ski area. Several ski trails have been identified on the resort's website as "historical trails," and even more exist on the mountain. A commemorative sign, with a brief narrative about the individual's contribution to the ski area, has been installed along each historical trail. Listed are both the run and in parentheses the lift that reaches them:
- Hughes (Zephyr Express or Eskimo Express)
- Cranmer (Eskimo Express or Zephyr Express)
- Allan Phipps (Zephyr Express, Eskimo Express or Prospector Express)
- Bradley's Bash (Eskimo Express or Zephyr Express)
- Mulligan's Mile (Zephyr Express or Eskimo Express)
- Jack Kendrick (Prospector Express or Looking Glass)
- Mt. Maury (learning slope with carpet)
- Retta's Run (Eskimo Express lift line)
- Engeldive (Prospector Express and Looking Glass)
- Balch (Zephyr Express and Eskimo Express)
- Wilson's Way (Discovery learning double)
- Mary Jane Trail (reached from Super Gauge Express, Olympia Express or High Lonesome Express)
- Over N' Underwood (Prospector Express or Looking Glass) (not listed on website)
- Butch's Breezeway (Prospector Express or Looking Glass) (not listed on website)
- Elizabeth McIntyre (born 1965), freestyle skier, Olympic silver medalist; lives in Winter Park
- Ryan Max Riley (born 1979), freestyle skier, US Champion, and humorist; lived in Winter Park
- Ryan St. Onge (born 1983), freestyle skier, World Champion and two-time Olympian; lived in Winter Park
- Michelle Roark (born 1974), freestyle skier, World Champion silver medalist and two-time Olympian; lived in Winter Park
- "Winter Park". Winter Park Resort - Official Ski Resort Website - Winter Park, Colorado. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
- "Who We Are". Intrawest. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
- Jason Blevins (January 11, 2018). "The new name in ski resorts you need to know: Alterra Mountain". The Denver Post. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
- Danika Worthington (January 7, 2017). "Winter Park Express brings back train service between Denver and Winter Park". The Denver Post. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
- TCSP. "History of the Winter Park Resort". Retrieved June 16, 2018.
- "Winter Park". Winter Park Resort - Real Estate – Winter Park, Colorado. Winter Park Resort. Archived from the original on June 19, 2015. Retrieved June 19, 2015.
- "Best Ski Resorts: Winter Park Resort Terrain, Snow Quality and Mountain Ranks". ZRankings. ZRankings, LLC. Retrieved June 16, 2018.
- "Colorado Chairlift Locations". Colorado Ski History. Retrieved June 16, 2018.