Colorado Winter Park Intel

Discussion in 'General Resort Discussion' started by JoeSchmoe, Aug 26, 2017.

  1. JoeSchmoe

    JoeSchmoe At the base lodge Skier

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    I'm thinking of bringing my 10 year old son out for his first western ski trip. With flights as cheap as they are to DEN right now, I'm thinking of Winter Park. The 4-pack is $179. It's the last of the major resorts in the Denver area i haven't been to.

    In order to gain the benefit being an extra 500ft lower, I'm considering staying in Fraser. How is the shuttle service? My boy and I will probably be at the mountain from open to close, but some other families might not be as gung-ho. Will they be able to bail at any time and not have to wait too long for the bus? How long of a ride is it.

    I've largely been disappointed with CO tree skiing in comparison to the SLC area, but word is WP is where it's at near Denver. Is that true? How does the snow keep in the trees between storms? Does it stay somewhat fluffy for days as it does at Brighton and Snowbird?

    Finally, i hear a lot about the bumps on the Mary Jane side. Does that mean they don't groom at all? It would be nice to hit some good steep black cruisers, similar to Regulator Johnson.
     
  2. Read Blinn

    Read Blinn lakespapa Skier

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    Locals will have better information, but I've taken a couple trips to WP.

    The shuttle service is reliable and frequent — every fifteen minutes, I think. I'm not sure what the elevation drop will do for you, but if you prefer Fraser, the shuttle gets you there, and it takes, at a guess, 10 or 15 minutes, depending on stops. (My last trip there, we took the shuttle to the grocery store in Fraser — wasn't difficult.)

    Winter Park has gone up in tree-skiing rankings over the last decade. Beetles have killed a lot of pines: bad for pines, good for tree-skiing. Check with others on your specific points, but there's tons of good tree-skiing at WP.

    They groom some trails on the Jane side, I know — Mary Jane is groomed, for instance, but it's an intermediate trail. If you're looking for groomed blacks, you're more likely to find them in one of the other territories, but ask regulars about that.
     
  3. Chris Walker

    Chris Walker Ullr Is Lord Skier

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    Frequent free buses run from Fraser all day in season. They are reliable and run every 30 minutes. From Fraser to the resort I think would take like 20-30 minutes, maybe a bit longer.

    I've never been to Brighton or Snowbird so I can't compare directly but tree skiing at WP/MJ is brilliant for me. Tons of great lines in the Eagle Wind territory and off of the Trestle run on the MJ side. You can still get into the trees with gentler slopes under the Sunnyside lift or skiers left of the Vasquez ridge runs off of the Pioneer lift. I've found soft turns days after a storm in Eagle Wind.

    At Mary Jane they typically only groom the Mary Jane Trail and one side of Sleeper. The rest is bumps and yes they are legendary. But when you want a steep cruiser you can just go to the WP side. They're not really two separate resorts, just two base areas and very much connected. Hughes to Norwegian under the Zephyr lift is probably the steepest groomer you'll find at Winter Park but it is often roped off for racing. Other than that the groomers aren't generally super steep, but they can be pretty fun. Oh, often Bradley's Bash off of the Eskimo lift will have at least one side groomed. That's pretty steep.

    All in all I think there's something for everyone at Winter Park and if the snow is good it would be hard not to have fun there.
     
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  4. Jerez

    Jerez Getting off the lift Skier

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    Great place for kids too. Trees are wonderful as said. Intermediate trees off the Parsenn Bowl and Steep Trees in Eagle Wind and Belle Fourche as well as in between nearly everything off the C-lift. Just be creative, and look between named runs for the gladed versions. One of my favorite steep tree runs is off the top of Iron horse, skier's right of upper Arrowhead. Embrace the bumps!

    We have family in Fraser and Granby. We like staying in Fraser. it's easy on the bus, but we usually drive and park, which is free at the Jane. Depends on when you visit. Over a holiday weekend, forget it and ride the bus.

    YMCA of the Rockies for Cross Country or amazing Continental Divide Snowmobile tours if you want a day of something different. The snowmobile tour is a total hoot.

    Also, the Fraser Recreation Center is fantastic.

    If you are looking for adult nightlife, that is the only thing somewhat limited in Winter Park.

    Oh, and Rocky Mountain National Park is close by too.
     
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  5. Jerez

    Jerez Getting off the lift Skier

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    Forgot to mention. Not EVERYTHING in Fraser is on the bus route. So if you rent a house, check on that.
     
  6. coskigirl

    coskigirl Out on the slopes Skier

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    Calling @Magi who is very familiar with WP.
     
  7. mikel

    mikel Putting on skis Skier

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    Not sure where you have skied that disappointed you. Copper? Monarch? If so, then WP/MJ may not impress either. I totally agree with Chris. I would just add that I think the snow in Eagle Wind stays fluffy longer than other places. Good trees in the Cirque. Maybe off Trestle is what you are looking for? Rock and ledge drops?

    That's a good question about steep black cruisers. Never really thought about it because I love the cruisers at Copper and I don't go to WP/MJ for cruisers. WP/MJ has them labeled as blue/black.
     
  8. JoeSchmoe

    JoeSchmoe At the base lodge Skier

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    My experience in CO is that the trees are either too tightly spaced and you can't ski them, or they're too spaced out and the sun exposure reduces the snow quality and you quickly get hard pack moguls instead of fluffy, albeit tracked snow like you do in Utah.

    Like i said, over the last 12 years I've been pretty much everywhere near Denver except WP. I've also been to Snowmass and Highlands.

    From all the resorts, i liked Copper the best. That was mainly for the cruising in the Super Bee area. Loveland has some fun north of the highway too.
     
  9. Jerez

    Jerez Getting off the lift Skier

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    Ah. Then you might like the trees of Parsenn Bowl and the trees skiers left of Sleeper. The Eagle Wind and Trestle trees will likely feel too tight. But maybe not by the end of the week!
     
  10. cosmoliu

    cosmoliu Putting on skis Skier

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    Lots of good intel so far above. I've never considered equivalents to Regulator Johnson, but Lower Hughes comes pretty close. Always groomed, often icy, as is RJ. It even has a similar fall-away fall line. And, like RJ: If you're not paying attention to completing your turns, you can quickly find yourself going faster than you intended. Big difference, though, is that it's at the bottom of the mountain, ending at the Zephr lift line, with the snow quality factor that implies.

    Sleeper trees, skier's left of MJ's Sleeper run, is one of my favorite tree runs. Anywhere.

    Eagle Wind tree runs also are among the best. The great thing about Eagle Wind, in addition to it being up high and holding snow conditions well beyond other areas of the resort, is that you can always count on not finding a lift line up there. Even when the rest of the resort is slammed... Except on a fresh powder morning, when all the locals converge there.

    And check out the tree runs peeling off to skier's left under the Panoramic lift, like Kinnikinnic and Willit's Way. Start with the named run, then drift skier's right, milking the available spaces between the trees and staying above Edelweiss as long as possible.

    And yes, Mary Jane's reputation for bumps is extremely well deserved. Not so much for their size, or even steepness, but for their consistency. In my opinion, if you've got the bump chops, the bump runs are unmatched anywhere for that je ne sais quoi factor that makes skiing the same slope repeatedly so satisfying. I ardently believe that Winter Park is vastly underappreciated by the true disciples of our sport.
     
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  11. JoeSchmoe

    JoeSchmoe At the base lodge Skier

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    Tight is okay, but too tight to even ski is what I've seen a lot of. In fact tight tree but skiable trees equate to little or no sun exposure which is what I'm looking for. The YouTube videos I've watched so far all look good.

    Thanks a lot everyone. It's good to see someone picked up the slack for epicski.
     
  12. JoeSchmoe

    JoeSchmoe At the base lodge Skier

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    One more thing... How is coverage off piste at the end of January? That's looking like the most likely time we can make it.
     
  13. cosmoliu

    cosmoliu Putting on skis Skier

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    Vasquez Cirque MIGHT be open end of January. There is a separate ticket for the Cirque Sled, $20. It saves you almost exactly a mile hike/skate. The Cirque is not one of my favorite off piste excursions, for a variety of reasons. Eagle Wind, though, should be good end of January in an average year.
     
  14. Lofcaudio

    Lofcaudio Booting up Skier

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    Since JoeSchmoe and I have very different tastes (judging from past conversations), I think he just might like Winter Park. (It's probably my least favorite of the big Colorado places.)

    Joe is a snowboarder. He didn't like Snowmass because it was too spread out and had low angle traverses to get around the mountain. I would think he would find the whole Winter Park side even more problematic in that regard. Vazquez Ridge is out. Hi-Lo is out. Getting to and from Eagle Wind will be a slog. Mary Jane and Parsenn Bowl have some good stuff, but Pano gets shut down so frequently, it seems it's closed more often than it's open.

    Winter Park has lots of flat spaces that make it less than an ideal place for snowboarders (unless you start at Mary Jane and stay there the whole time). Hughes and Sleeper would be the most similar to Regulator Johnson, but neither is even close to as steep as RJ.

    If you end up going to WP, don't go on a weekend or a holiday. It will be crazy-crowded.
     
  15. StuckonI70

    StuckonI70 Booting up Skier

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    I think you've got us figured out. Bravo.
     
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  16. JoeSchmoe

    JoeSchmoe At the base lodge Skier

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    Holy moly, that's a good memory.

    This trip will be different than the usual trip since it's with my son, and not my adult friends. I'm thinking I can put up with some traversing and spend more time on individual pods. The plan is to ski Tuesday to Friday. Do you think I'll get killed even when sticking to individual pods?

    I think the SLC mountains will always be my favourite, but my son's friend and dad aren't interested in doing the SLC ski commute. Also, we can save quite a bit of money by going to CO.
     
  17. Monique

    Monique bounceswoosh Skier

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    I find this (partial) comment baffling.
     
  18. Lofcaudio

    Lofcaudio Booting up Skier

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    It's not all that hard to remember the ONE SINGLE PERSON IN THE WORLD who didn't like Aspen Highlands (toe side?) and Snowmass.

    Winter Park has location and price...unfortunately, those benefits appeal to a lot of people and it will seem like a madhouse compared to BCC and LCC (even though "location" is a bit overrated compared to Snowbird). If the Panoramic Express is open you can have lots of fun in Parsenn Bowl along with the Mary Jane/Sunnyside areas. I didn't do much tree skiing at all while I was there, but did find some nice stashes in between the runs Bluebell, Columbine, and Roundhouse off of the Sunnyside lift.
     
  19. Read Blinn

    Read Blinn lakespapa Skier

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    If you avoid weekends and holidays, though? The weeks I've been there (the week after Presidents' Week), lifelines were minimal to nothing. I don't know BCC or LCC, however.
     
  20. JoeSchmoe

    JoeSchmoe At the base lodge Skier

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    What I mean by that comment is that at Brighton and Snowbird, you unload at the top of the lift and the entire mountain is skiable.

    In CO, the forest cover can be thicker... Either there's undergrowth between the larger trees or the forest is too thick. Yes there are many dedicated glade runs, all of which I'd consider skiable... But you can't just duck into the trees anywhere and everywhere.
     

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