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Winter Park, Colorado Feb 2016

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Where:- Winter Park, Colorado.

When:- 30th Jan 2016 - 14th Feb 2016.

Who:- Three of us. MrsHD (Gill), MrsHD's brother (Paul) and me.

Tour op:- Crystal.

Route:- Manchester to Heathrow (3hrs stopover), Heathrow To Denver. Minibus to resort.

Staying at:- Founders Point, Winter Park Village. 1 bed apartment with a decent pull out sofa bed in the front room, dining area, Kitchen, bathroom and balcony.

Mrs HD and Paul



The view from our balcony where you can see Mary Jane in the distance.



Winter Park Village isn't in Winter Park itself, or rather Downtown Winter Park should I say. It's about a 15-20 minute free bus ride away which in itself isn't a problem but it does mean that if you want decent food and an inkling of night life you have to get on the bus.

We arrived fairly late in the day, around 9.30pm and swiftly checked in to our room and were surprised at both the size and quality of accommodation. Unpacked and dropped our skis and boots of it the locker room.



First night, a small dinner out at Vertical in the village. It was OK with some wrap type things and a few beers to finish off what had been a 27 hour day.

Day 1 on the slopes. Got our season passes and headed up the Zepher Express and the first thing to note is that all (barr one) of the lifts are short, around 5-7 minutes long. Followed a nice American guy who had a bit of advice where to ski for those who'd never visited before. Some people will have heard of Mary Jane, some wont. I have because tucked away in my ski film drawer is a Warren Miller VHS which shows some guys flying down moguls.



These are not just moguls, these are moguls with a capital M. So big in fact that at one point I turned around and could here MrsHD but couldn't see here. She was still stood up at this point and it turned out we'd hit a run called Trestle, a black diamond with bumps the size of a Range Rover.

Suffice to say that as the person who normal leads I wasn't in the good books and after that all of skiing bumps was out of the question, Paul is a good skier but doesn't use his gym membership and is almost 60. Gill started to get the hang of them by the end of the holiday and could negotiate several in a row with some style.

The resort is split into 7 territories:-

Winter Park (groomers/family): We spent most of the holiday hooning around here and nipping out to the other areas.

Mary Jane (bumps): Also has easier slopes for the others and I had a few good bump runs.

Eagle Wind (un-pisted steep, gnarley) Skied it once, nearly killed Paul.

Vasquez Cirque (Chutes) Closed most of the time, didn't ski or venture there.

Vasquez Ridge (nice and peaceful) Loved this part and didn't ski there nearly enough.



Parsenn Bowl (highest point in the resort and full of tellie tubbies) Amazing skiing through the trees but closed for 2/3rds of the holiday because it was far too cold - The lift shuts when the combined air and wind chill temp hits -40 degrees c as that's when frostbite creeps in.







Parsenn Bowl has the longest lift in the resort, around a 12 minute ride.

Terrain Parks (not really my bag)

The people who are employed by the resort are by far the most friendly I've ever met on a ski holiday and always have a bit of banter which I found pretty refreshing compared to a crusty old euro lifty.

The skiing was fantastic and I've not had snow like that in Europe for a long time, groomed runs were groomed very well and even the bumps didn't show any deterioration throughout the 11 days we were there.

Of the places we ate at night I would say the following to anyone visiting:-

Vertical in the village; average and expensive
Doc's Road House; as above
Dino's Mountain Bistro (downtown) isn't near a mountain so don't be fooled. Food was great and the staff really friendly.
Smokin' Moes (down town in Cooper Creek shopping area) Really good ribs and wings - Don't bother with a starter. We ate ours for dinner the day after.
Pizza Peddlar in the village; Good pizzas and wings - $66 for two regular pizzas and 2 wings which fed three tired skiers.

On the mountain:-

Lunch Rock:- Busy at the weekend, reasonable portions and quality.
Snoasis:- Below average food but cheap.
Mary Jane base:- OK food, average prices.
Sunspot Lodge (top of the Zephyr Express lift): Go there, sit down, be waited on, eat great food at a few dollars more than the other canteen type places.
Derailer Bar: Decent portions of average pup type food. Average price.

Overall we had a fantastic holiday and some of the touches our American friends add are brilliant, kids ski gear trolleys for example:-



Tissues and bins at the lift queues.

Would I go to America again, definitely yes but it's a hell of a flight. We went with BA which made it bearable as the food, free wine, knee room etc made for a decent journey.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Any altitude sickness?
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Just back from US trip where we did eight resorts in two weeks; of which WP was first stop staying at same place as u guys for 2 nights. Your review is bang-on!!!!! Would add Strip and Tail downtown is great restaurant and we always drove to Sharkeys diner for a proper USA brekkie experience. Yum yum yum.

We had no altitude probs as such other than a vague sensation of light sleeping for first week - prob due to bring woken up by reduced oxygen in air, plus the odd light nosebleed.

Have had eight trips to US and putting up with above symptoms is very much worth it as skiing and facilities are so fantastic...... Very Happy
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You need to Login to know who's really who.
I thought Mary Jane was famous in Colorado for other reasons these days Shocked
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Themasterpiece wrote:
Any altitude sickness?


I didn't suffer much but MrsHD was a bit off for a few days. One thing I did notice is how quick a few beers gets to you. We went out for dinner one night and I had one pint, got home and remember having two glasses of wine, everything after that is a blank.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Great report. Heading off at the end of the month, did you do any non skiing days that you could recommend, non skiing wife and youngster who can't do consecutive days. Also did you think of visiting Copper Mountain or Breckenridge for a day, was wondering if it would be worthwhile to try a day away or just stick to Winter Park?
S
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@sprackle, Hi there but no we didn't do non skiing days however there is a small tubing hill on the oposite side of the main piste with bob sleigh type tracks - get the cabriolet gondola up to the hotel and turn right to the check in area, $23 for an hour and I think we got about ten runs down.

There is also another tubing hill in Fraser (get there by the free bus) which is a similar price but is based on a shallow slope rather than tracks. Similar price from what we read.

There are also snow cat tours up the mountain from the village base, quite where they go I'm not sure.

There is a small ice skating pond which has free lessons and they have plastic stand up penguins for beginners to hold on to for grim death ( Toofy Grin )

There is a small spa in the village.

We really went to ski but Fraser is the nearest main town, about twenty minutes away on the bus so I assume there is stuff to do there but I couldn't really give any advice as we didn't go.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
sprackle wrote:
Great report. Heading off at the end of the month, did you do any non skiing days that you could recommend, non skiing wife and youngster who can't do consecutive days. Also did you think of visiting Copper Mountain or Breckenridge for a day, was wondering if it would be worthwhile to try a day away or just stick to Winter Park?
S


Whether or not you want to visit other resorts depends on how long you are there for and how much you like to ski. I was there last January for ten days. We had a day in Copper Mountain and another day in Breckenridge. I didn't think that the was enough to do in Winterpark for all ten days. The lift systems in Breck and Copper are much better than in WP, much more like big European resorts. It's a fair old way from WP back over the pass and on to Breck or Copper. We had a small bus full of people, so the transfer costs were not too great per person. Both Copper and Breck are good; I would say that Breck just edges it in terms of terrain variety. The bowls at the back of Copper were very good, though.

Tressle: Ah yes... I blundered down there on the first day. Later I mentioned it to one of the locals. He said it's probably one of the hardest runs in the resort. You haven't seen BIG moguls until you've been down there. Swiss Wall? Pah!
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
So much so that I bought one of the replica trail signs from Mary Jane base, it's going on the wall of fame in my garage.
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Hiya @sprackle - if u r in that area and fancied a day trip or two u could also seriously consider Keystone - another "corporate" but great varied resort, or if u want someplace more "backwoodsy" either Loveland (literally next to the I-70) or my personal favourite of Arapahoe Basin. Any which way it's all good Very Happy
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Great report homers double - very fond memories of WP a few years back. Never been anywhere like it for bump skiing - we improved no end Smile.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Thanks for all the replies and advice,
Cheers
S
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
"These are not just moguls, these are moguls with a capital M. So big in fact that at one point I turned around and could here MrsHD but couldn't see here. She was still stood up at this point and it turned out we'd hit a run called Trestle, a black diamond with bumps the size of a Range Rover.

Suffice to say that as the person who normal leads I wasn't in the good books and after that all of skiing bumps was out of the question, Paul is a good skier but doesn't use his gym membership and is almost 60. Gill started to get the hang of them by the end of the holiday and could negotiate several in a row with some style. "

Trestle... ah yes, I'm going to share an update with you when I get back home. Suffice it to say, I convinced my friend to follow me down to Trestle today because I thought it was a steep groomer.

Nope.

That said, snow conditions on closing weekend were astounding. They were even better yesterday at Arapahoe Basin which is the best mountain in Colorado.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
But did you take your laundry to the launderette in Winter Park village?

I used to own in for a few years in the late 1990's (well 50:50 with an American friend).

I wonder if it is still there?
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