Winter Park has always been one of Colorado’s best big resorts, and the closest major ski area to Denver. Now a $USD 30 / $AUD 40 million makeover should put it even higher on your must try list.
Headline act is the new Zephyr Gondola, featuring 10 person cabins whisking guests from the base to The Lodge at Sunspot in a mere five minutes. The new gondola has a revolutionary Direct Drive system, the first of its kind in North America, which makes the new lift not only whisper-quiet, but much more energy efficient.
Winter Park skiing options
From the top at Sunspot you can take your pick to head directly into, or further out to, whichever of Winter Park’s “Seven Territories” takes your fancy.
The 7 distinctly different zones at Winter Park add up to a more than respectable 3081 acres. Plenty for everyone here: groomers to black diamonds in the Winter Park Territory; world-class glade skiing in the Eagle Wind Territory; panoramic bowl skiing/riding in the Parsenn Bowl Territory; jumps and jibs in the Terrain Park Territory; off-the-beaten-path powder stashes in the Vasquez Ridge Territory; steeps and deeps in the Cirque Territory; or world-famous bumps in Mary Jane Territory.
It may be known as Denver’s “Home mountain” thanks to the proximity and continued operation since 1940, but outside of peak times is no busier for that than other Front Range resorts.
For international guests staying slopeside midweek it’s easy to ski as lonely as you want to be from uncrowded groomers to the more challenging options. Families will also appreciate the space.
Winter Park accomodation and village
For 2018-2019 $USD 2 million for the new look Village Plaza makes it the hub of base-area congregation, with an open, comfortable feel that is perfect for events, weddings, small concerts, or just socializing. Over 30,000 square feet of snow-melting to keep walkways clear helps make getting around easy. There’s a big ice skating rink, shops and varied dining options.
The compact base village features excellent deluxe condo accommodation at Winter Park’s signature property, the Zephyr Mountain Lodge. There are several other condo properties at or close to the base, or more accommodation to suit all budgets is available at Winter Park town a couple of miles down the valley connected by free shuttle buses to the resort.
Getting to Winter Park
From Denver via I-70 west and US Hwy 40 it’s a 75-mile drive to Winter Park.
But if you hate highways, you can just catch Amtrak’s Winter Park Express direct from Denver’s historic Union Station to the resort. So for those who want to avoid shuttles, rentals, taxis or ubers, get the airport train into town and then the famous Winter Park Express for just $USD 29 one way!
The service operates from January 4 – March 31, 2018 on Saturday & Sunday, plus the first two Fridays of each month (January 4 and 11, February 1 and 8, and March 1 and 8 – which would be ideal arrival days for international visitors).
A new lounge car with food and beverage service has been added, with floor-to-ceiling windows for enjoying the scenic 90 minute trip from Denver Union Station directly to the slopes of Winter Park Resort.