It features the iconic Mary Jane mountain named after, a 'madam' for miners now a skier's pleasure AND the cheekiest can of local craft beer. Welcome to Colorado's Winter Park
From miners' settlement in the 1800s to one of Colorado's most extensive and popular ski resorts, this is Winter Park, where PR Director, Steve Hurlbert, grew up, racing on the ski team...
Q. How well do you know Winter Park?
I am a Colorado native so I’ve literally grown up skiing Winter Park. I raced on the ski team in secondary school and we had meets in Winter Park all the time. I’ve also worked here now seven winters.
Q. So why do you think we should come?
Winter Park is the closest major ski resort to Denver, so it’s only about a 90 minute drive or train ride to get here from the city. It’s also a resort that’s big in terms of skiable acres (we’re the fourth largest in Colorado) but doesn’t feel like it. While there is variety of terrain and you can ski multiple days and not get bored, it’s not overwhelming. Plus, the people here are friendly and welcoming.
Q. Guess you know the resort like the back of your hand, what's your favourite run?
I like skiing moguls so I’m partial to Drunken Frenchman on the Mary Jane side of the resort, which is one our iconic bump runs. I also enjoy our high-alpine bowl skiing on Parsenn Bowl.
Q. Where should we head for off-piste and backcountry?
There’s a terrific cat-skiing company nearby called Powder Addiction (image above) that offers backcountry skiing serviced by snowcat.
Q. Where is the most awesome view on the mountain?
We have a bunch. The top of the Panoramic Lift is the highest point of the resort in elevation at 3,676m with incredible views. The top Mary Jane, called Lunch Rock, is at 3,414m and provides great photo opportunities of the Continental Divide.
Q. Which restaurant would you recommend in Winter Park?
My favourite restaurant is located in the Village at Winter Park and is called Vertical Bistro & Tap. They’ve got an array of locally sourced cuisine and very low-key, relaxed atmosphere.
Q. Which is the coolest bar for après? What should we order to drink?
To rub elbows with the locals, Derailer Bar located at the base of the mountain is definitely the best spot. They’ve got a variety and warm and cold cocktails but you can’t go wrong with a Mary Jane Ale, which is brewed by Colorado’s own New Belgium Brewery especially for Winter Park. In fact, Winter Park is the only place you can get Mary Jane Ale on draught.
Q Where is the best food on the mountain for lunch? What should we order?
Lunch Rock Restaurant at the top of Mary Jane is a perfect spot to stop for lunch, with aforementioned views of the Continental Divide and offers a variety of Colorado-soured fare, including sandwiches, pizza, and soup. The highlight of the menu is definitely the Slow Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, which is the perfect way to warm up while enjoying a day on the slopes. Lunch Rock also has 20 Colorado craft beers on tap.
Q What's the style for Winter Park. What should we wear to fit in?
The style for Winter Park is YOUR style. Winter Park is a relaxed, unpretentious resort where locals are passionate about making visitors feel welcome. We’re definitely not one of those towns where you need to be wearing a fur coat and you won’t feel out of place regardless of what you’re wearing.
Q Anything to do in Winter Park apart from ski and snowboard?
We have a tubing hill at the resort as well as a Tour Centre with guided snowshoe tours and scenic snowcat rides. Not far from the resort, a short ride on the free shuttle, we have cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, fat biking, and dog-sledding.
Q When is a good time to come?
Spring is definitely the optimal time because the snow is great and the weather is warmer. March is actually our snowiest month and there’s nothing better than enjoying a beer on the Derailer Bar deck while basking in the spring sunshine.
Q How easy is it to get to / from Winter Park? And do we need a car when we're there?
As mentioned, Winter Park is the closest major ski resort from Denve andr is the only ski resort in North America with city-to-slope service by train. You can hop on the Winter Park Express from Denver Union Station and it drops you literally 50 feet from the nearest chairlift. A popular plan for especially international travelers is to take a train from Denver International Airport to Denver Union Station, stay a night in downtown Denver to acclimate, and then hop on the train to Winter Park the next morning. Once you’re in Winter Park, there is a convenient, free bus system which can take you to the surrounding towns in the Fraser Valley, including downtown Winter Park two miles up the road.