There are more famous ski resorts in Colorado; Vail

by:SanTong     2020-06-08
The history of Winter Park goes all the way back to the 1939-40 season, making it one of America's oldest ski areas. The resort is especially near and dear to the hearts of many Denver area residents because of its proximity to the city and because the city and county of Denver actually owned and operated it until 2002. Winter Park was the place where several generations of kids from Denver learned to ski. For 70 years until 2009, a train, 'The Ski Train', carried skiers from Denver to Winter Park in the morning and returned in the evening. It's passengers included members of the 'Eskimo Club', a ski club for kids which still provides and economical way for kids to learn to ski. Winter Park was founded, not to cater to the wealthy elite, but to provide a great place for the children and families of Denver to ski. Today Winter Park Resort is still owned by Denver, but is managed by Intrawest ULC. The Ski Train is no longer in operation, but the drive from Denver only takes about an hour and a half. There is also excellent bus service with room for all your gear. The resort has blossomed into a year round outdoor recreation paradise and is equally popular with mountain biker in the summer as it is with skiers in the winter. Grand County, where Winter Park is located is also home to SolVista Ski Basin, near Granby. SolVista tends to cater to beginners and Winter Park has a greater variety of terrains and more challenging ski runs and trails. The town of Fraser is close by and provides additional dining and lodging options. Grand County is also adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park with its spectacular scenery, hiking, fishing and wildlife viewing. The base elevation of the resort sits at just about 9000 feet and rises to 12,000 feet at the summit. There are 134 runs, 25 lifts including 9 high-speed chair lifts, 10 fixed-grip chairs and 6 surface lifts (rope tows, platter pulls and magic carpet conveyors) spread over 2,762 acres. Currently, all of the lifts combined can transport more than 35,000 people an hour to the tops of the slopes. The skiable areas consist of three main peaks which are serviced and interconnected by several lifts including Mary Jane and Vasquez Ridge. Mary Jane has a separate base and is well-known for its challenging steep moguls, tree skiing and Parsenn Bowl. While the popularity of the resort has continued to grow every year, and Intrawest has increased the rate of development, some traditionalists have worried that the historic nature of Winter Park will not be preserved. It remains to be seen whether development can allow the area to flourish economically while preserving the rustic charm that generations of Colorado residents have come to treasure.
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