Plans are laid
My son, Jon, and I had decided we were going for a weeks snowboarding together and our usual European venues were on the agenda. Would it be Andorra, Three Valleys, Saint Foye or maybe Morzine, all familiar venues to us? Having received my weekly update from www.Igluski.com I noticed some cheap deals in Colorado. To cut a long story short we evenually signed up to a 'Room only' deal in Winter Park for £359.00, what a steal!!! Next we had to find out where Winter Park was having heard of most of its neighbours such as Vail, Breckenridge and Steamboat. Turns out Winter Park is only 65 miles out of Denver so a nice easy transfer. The piste maps looked encouraging so we just bided our time counting down the days to the 22nd March.
Winter Park is divided into two main areas, the mountain area comprising the base area, mountain and lifts and the town area of downtown Winter Park and Fraser. Resort height is 2500 metres going up to 3600 metres at the top of the mountain. The range of runs to go at is awesome and every skill level is catered for in spades whether boarder or skier. There are a really good range of interconnecting greens, a good proportion of blues and blue/black (read red run in Europe) and plenty of blacks and black double diamond and EX (Extreme!!!). Also included for good measure is the infamous Mary Jane area which is a mogulers paradise!! For the powder hound the Parsenn Bowl and Vasquez Cirque powder bowls offer some serious delights the latter after about a mile hike!! The only downside of the latter for boarders is that the exit from the bowls is via a mile long cat track most of which is icy and not always board width (ie braking difficulties!!)
Downtown Winter Park is accessible after 05:15pm via the resort shuttle bus which during the day circulates every 20 minutes between hotels and condo complexes to resort base, the destination in the evening (green bus line) is Cooper Creek Square area in downtown WP where there are a plethora of good eateries, Safeways and more restaurants are available at Fraser about half a mile down the road or a 'black' bus ride from Cooper Creek.
A fantastic resort for all skill levels, our rep told us that lessons were available for $35.00 for two and a half hours which is a pretty good deal. It can be a bit of a pain in the morning getting to the top of the mountain as you have to ride up to Winter Park station and then down a pretty flat green to get up to another lift which will get you up to Mary Jane and Timberline.
Our accommodation at Mountain Lodge was fine with the usual hot tub and sauna facilities and it was easy to get a good meal both on the mountain and in downtown Winter Park. It seemed a bit pricey for food but the all up cost of the holiday was only slightly more than a European winter sports holiday. Would we go again....just try and stop us!!!