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Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding
Winter Park. This ski park is really two interconnected areas: Winter Park and Mary Jane, both open to skiers and snowboarders. Between the two peaks there are four distinct skiable sections: Winter Park; the "Jane"; Vasquez Ridge, which is primarily intermediate cruising; and Vasquez Cirque, which has seriously steep inbounds off-piste terrain. Pick a meeting place for lunch in case you and your friends get separated.
The skiing on the Winter Park and Vasquez Ridge trails is generally family-friendly, and there are segregated areas for beginners. Winter Park's runs promise lots of learning terrain for beginners and easy cruising for intermediates. On busy weekends Vasquez Ridge is a good place for escaping crowds, partly because this area is a bit more difficult to find, but the run-outs can be long.
Mary Jane is famous for its bumps and chutes, delivering 2,610 vertical feet of unrelenting moguls on a variety of trails, although there are a couple of groomed intermediate runs. Experts gravitate toward the far end of the Jane to runs like Trestle and Derailer, or to Hole-in-the-Wall, Awe, and other chutes. Expert skiers and riders seeking inbound off piste–style terrain hike over to the Vasquez Cirque.
The resort's Eagle Wind terrain has advanced steeps and deeps tucked among the trees. Panoramic Express, the highest six-person lift in North America, provides access to above-the-tree-line skiing at Parsenn Bowl, Perry's Peak, and Forever Eva, as well as terrain and gladed sections. The pitch in many areas of Parsenn's is moderate, making the bowl a terrific place for intermediate skiers to try powder and crud-snow skiing.
The resort's Rail Yard, with its superpipe and terrain parks, is specially designed for freestylers. A progressive park system allows skiers and snowboarders to start small and work their way up to the bigger and more difficult features. There is also a limited access park, the Dark Territory, which is for experts only and requires an additional fee. Winter Park, CO. 800/729–5813 or 970/726–5587. www.winterparkresort.com.
3,060-foot vertical drop; 3,070 skiable acres; 142 trails; 8% beginner, 17% intermediate, 19% advanced, 56% expert; 24 lifts; 2 high-speed six-person chairs, 7 high-speed quad chairs, 4 triple chairs, 6 double chairs, 5 surface lifts.
Lessons and Programs
Winter Park Ski and Ride School. For adult skiers and snowboarders, the Winter Park Ski and Ride School has half-day lessons starting at $99. Daylong children's programs, which include lunch, start at $149. Balcony House, Winter Park, CO, 80452. 800/729–7907.
National Sports Center for the Disabled. Winter Park is home to the National Sports Center for the Disabled, one of the country's largest and best programs for skiers with disabilities. 970/726–1540.
The walk-up rate is $92, but you can save on multiday tickets, and many lodging packages include discounted tickets.
Winter Park Resort Rentals. This rental agency rents skiing and snowboarding gear from Village location (970/726–1664) and west Portal location (970/726–1662) and includes free overnight storage. Rental equipment is also available from shops downtown. Zephyr Mountain Lodge, Winter Park, CO, 80482.
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