Winter Park Resort

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Winter Park/Mary Jane Resort
Winter Park Village
Winter Park Village
Location Grand County, Colorado, USA
Nearest city Winter Park, Colorado
Coordinates 39°53′13″N 105°45′45″W / 39.88694°N 105.76250°W / 39.88694; -105.76250 (Winter Park/Mary Jane Resort)
Top elevation 12,060 feet (3,676 m)
Base elevation 9,000 feet (2,743 m)
Skiable area 3,081 acres (1,247 ha)
Runs 143 total
8% beginner
18% intermediate
19% advanced
55% expert
Lift system 25 total (9 high-speed chairs, 10 fixed-grip chairs, 6 surface lifts)
Snowfall 370 in (940 cm)

Winter Park Resort is an alpine ski resort in Winter Park, Colorado in the Rocky Mountains. Located just off U.S. Highway 40, the resort is about a 90 minute drive from Denver, Colorado.

The mountain opened for the 1939–1940 season as Winter Park Ski Area[1] and was owned and operated by the city and county of Denver until 2002, when Denver entered into a partnership with Intrawest ULC, a Canadian corporation headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, which has operated the resort since then.[2] For nearly 70 years a popular way for Denver residents to get there was via the Ski Train, which arrived at the resort's base area through the Moffat Tunnel. (The Ski Train was terminated by the railroad in spring 2009.) Winter Park Resort is home to one of the world's largest and oldest disabled skiing programs, the National Sports Center for the Disabled.

The resort consists of three interconnected mountain peaks (and 7 "territories") — Winter Park, Mary Jane, and Vasquez Ridge — which share a common lift ticket. Mary Jane, opened in 1975, has a separate base area and is known for its moguls, tree skiing, hidden huts and generally more difficult terrain. It encompasses the above-tree line terrain of Parsenn Bowl. Vasquez Ridge, opened in 1986, offers intermediate terrain and mogul runs. In 1997, 435 acres (176 ha) of backcountry terrain in Vasquez Cirque were opened to skiing, although access required hiking from the top of Mary Jane;[3] the 2006 relocation of the former Outrigger triple chairlift to the backside of Parsenn Bowl provides an easier escape back to Mary Jane after descending Vasquez Cirque.

Since taking over operation of the resort, Intrawest has made several changes to the mountain's infrastructure, renovating the food services in the West Portal base lodge, opening new lifts in 2005 and 2006, and publicly announcing plans for a new base village to include hundreds of new condominia, a parking structure, a "Village Pond," and a "family swim center," all accessible via a new open-air gondola known as "The Village Cabriolet."[4] However, while this change has been great for the economic development of the town and the resort, it has also been a threat to the existing historic resort base. The historic Balcony House remains under constant threat of demolition. This historic building was designed in the Googie style of architecture, which was a popular style in the 1940s to the 1960s. This building is a standing memory to the original history of Winter Park.

In an attempt to make Winter Park into a year-round resort, Intrawest operates the lifts during the summer months for mountain biking. The Arrow chairlift also services an alpine slide in the summer, and the base area features miniature golf, a climbing wall, and other diversions. While the Winter Park area is also a popular destination for golf, there are no golf courses located at, or operated by, the resort itself.



  • Base: 9,000 ft (2,743 m)
  • Summit: 12,060 ft (3,676 m)
  • Vertical rise: 3,060 ft (933 m)


  • Skiable area: 3,060 acres (1,238 ha)
  • Trails: 143 total (9% beginner, 34% intermediate, 57% advanced/expert)
  • Average annual snowfall: 365 in (927 cm)
View looking north from the top of Parsenn Bowl prior to the construction of the Panoramic Express.
View looking east at Parry's Peak from near the top of the Mary Jane.
Panoramic view of the Zephyr Express and Zephyr Mountain Lodge.

Slope Aspects[edit]

  • North: 50%[5]
  • East: 10%
  • South: 2%
  • West: 38%


25 total (manufacturer, year installed)

Ski trail near the top of Winter Park Resort.

Former lifts[3][edit]

  • High-speed detachable quad chairlifts:
  • Quad chairlifts:
    • High Lonesome (Poma, 1986; converted into High Lonesome Express high-speed quad in 1991)
  • Triple chairlifts:
    • Outrigger (Yan, 1977; moved to the backside of Parsenn Bowl in 2006 and renamed Eagle Wind)
    • Zephyr (Yan, 1983; moved to replace the Eskimo double in 1990; replaced with Zephyr Express high-speed quad). This lift is now the Sweetwater triple chairlift at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort in Wyoming.
  • Double chairlifts:
    • Apollo (Riblet, 1969; replaced with Eskimo triple chairlift by Eskimo Express high speed quad in 1999)
    • Eskimo (Riblet, 1963; replaced with Yan triple chair (former Zephyr) in 1990 and then Eskimo Express high-speed quad in 1999). When removed, this lift underwent several controlled destructive lift tests, such as a motor room fire, a rollback, a tree falling on the line, and a tower pull.
    • Gemini (Miner-Denver, 1969; replaced with Gemini Express high-speed quad in 1993)
    • Hughes (Riblet, 1961; removed in early 1990s)
    • Olympia (Riblet, 1971; replaced with Olympia Express high-speed quad in 1996)
    • Prospector (Riblet, 1963; replaced with Prospector Express high-speed quad in 1994)
    • Timberline (Poma, 1992; replaced with Panoramic Express high-speed six-pack in 2007). This lift was built in 1972 at an abandoned ski area near Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was relocated to SolVista near Granby during the 1980s, and was then relocated to Winter Park in 1992. The lower terminal was abandoned at the base of Parsenn Bowl when the Panoramic Express was opened but finally removed in the summer of 2015.
  • Surface lifts:

Historic Trails[edit]

During Winter Park's 75-year history, many individuals have made significant contributions to the development and image of the ski area. Several ski trails have been identified on the resort's website as "historical trails," and even more exist on the mountain. A commemorative sign, with a brief narrative about the individual's contribution to the ski area, has been installed along each historical trail. Listed are both the run and in parentheses the lift that reaches them:

Winter Park Resort nestled in with the Continental Divide
  • Hughes (Zephyr Express or Eskimo Express)
  • Cranmer (Eskimo Express or Zephyr Express)
  • Allan Phipps (Zephyr Express, Eskimo Express or Prospector Express)
  • Bradley's Bash (Eskimo Express or Zephyr Express)
  • Mulligan's Mile (Zephyr Express or Eskimo Express)
  • Jack Kendrick (Prospector Express or Looking Glass)
  • Mt. Maury (learning slope with carpet)
  • Retta's Run (Eskimo Express lift line)
  • Engeldive (Prospector Express and Looking Glass)
  • Balch (Zephyr Express and Eskimo Express)
  • Wilson's Way (Discovery learning double)
  • Mary Jane Trail (reached from Super Gauge Express, Olympia Express or High Lonesome Express)
  • Over N' Underwood (Prospector Express or Looking Glass) (not listed on website)
  • Butch's Breezeway (Prospector Express or Looking Glass) (not listed on website)

Notable People[edit]

  • Elizabeth McIntyre (born 1965), freestyle skier, Olympic silver medalist; lives in Winter Park
  • Ryan Max Riley (born 1979), freestyle skier, US Champion, and humorist; lived in Winter Park
  • Ryan St. Onge (born 1983), freestyle skier, World Champion and two-time Olympian; lived in Winter Park
  • Michelle Roark (born 1974), freestyle skier, World Champion silver medalist and two-time Olympian; lived in Winter Park

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Winter Park". Winter Park Resort - Official Ski Resort Website - Winter Park, Colorado. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  2. ^ "Who We Are". Intrawest. Retrieved 2015-06-27. 
  3. ^ a b TCSP. "History of the Winter Park Resort". Retrieved 19 June 2015. 
  4. ^ "Winter Park". Winter Park Resort - Real Estate – Winter Park, Colorado. Winter Park Resort. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 
  5. ^ "Best Ski Resorts: Winter Park Resort Terrain, Snow Quality and Mountain Ranks". ZRankings. ZRankings, LLC. Retrieved 2015-05-04. 
  6. ^ "Colorado Chairlift Locations". Colorado Ski History. Retrieved 2015-06-19. 

External links[edit]