With a 75-year history, Winter Park Resort has been always Colorado's favorite. Located about a 90 minute drive from Denver the resort features over 3000 acres of terrain that span across three interconnected mountain peaks: Winter Park, Mary Jane, and Vasquez Ridge.
Winter Park is a lot of fun and it’s not the kind of mountain that you only ride park at; it has
a mass of freestyle terrain everywhere. Mary Jane, opened in 1975, has a separate base area and is known for wild bumps and sick tree skiing and riding. If there is pow (and there is), this is a place to start your day before moving onto the park lines. You will be laughing down the line, it's that much fun.
Once you get enough of the finest terrain to be found anywhere in the country, it's time to check any of the six terrain parks that get shaped daily. If you are an advanced rider a good lap is the Railyard, the pipe, and Dark Territory that can be hit all in one run. In addition to the massive inventory of rails and features the Railyard is full of, the 18-foot superpipe will get your adrenaline pumping enough before stepping up on the lower Rail Yard section: the Dark Territory. The Dark Territory has the biggest jumps and you need to have a separate pass, and even watch a short video and sign an additional waiver to enter it.
Intermediate riders will have fun on medium-sized parks that are Gangway or Re-Railer with rails, jumps, and other kinds of fun jib-features. The youngest riders or first-time riders can learn the first moves at Starter and Bouncer area before moving onto the Ash Cat, a small and medium-sized park. Ash Cat can be also super-fun for seasoned riders who want to test their biggest tricks on the smallest of features.
Continuously growing and changing, there is a never dull moment when shredding the Winter Park. The resort looks with favor on riders of all levels with a structured program to develop personal riding ability, creativity, and style in a progressive, fun, and supportive coaching environment. In 2007, together with the city of Denver and volunteers, the Ruby Hill Rail Yard was the country's first free urban terrain park built in a city, becoming a nationwide model for numerous cities and ski resort collaborations. The second year saw participation grow to over 6000, which the city used to quantify Ruby Hill Rail Yard as an annual park.
As for what’s new, the resort is very excited this year to be hosting the U.S. Revolution Tour on Feb. 29-March 5, which is a major developmental event for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard team. The U.S. Revolution Tour has proved to be a progressive venue for today’s top junior riders to take the competitive stage in halfpipe, slopestyle, snowboardcross and big air. The tour is designed to serve as a stepping-stone for athletes making the transition from competing at the grassroots level to the elite level. The series is focused towards riders 13-19 years old. Top winners may earn an invite to be part of the U.S. Grand Prix, Junior Worlds, USASA Nationals, and participate in Project Gold camps. Competition format may vary slightly at each stop, but athletes will always compete as an open class.
All in all, your week or two in Winter Park will be most excellent, filled with endless pow runs and sick park laps. Throw in the bag the classic Colorado sunshine and you will get a perfect winter destination whether you consider yourself a halfpipe rider, jibber or an occasional rider. And before you leave, don't forget to taste local dainty; the Rocky Mountain Oysters. Yummy!
Photos: © Winter Park Resort