Getting to and from Winter Park
Click on this map for interactive google map.
Directions to our condo:
Take I-70 west to US 40. Take US 40 toward Granby/Winter Park. It is about 25 miles from this point to Winter Park. The ski base is 10.3 miles from the top of the pass. Your turn is at 11.0 miles. As you reach the resort area, the second traffic light is Old Town Drive. It curves down a hill and Trademark Drive intersects at the bottom of the hill.
If you drove into the town of Winter Park you went 2 miles too far.
The unit is on the ground floor of Building 77 Unit 1 (just past the only one story building on the street.)
The whole trip from the airport to the condo is 95 minutes (weather and traffic permitting).
Returning to the Denver airport has more concerns.
You are about 2 hours from the airport. Please plan accordingly. Please add extra time if it snows heavily the night before you leave or if you start out to Denver after 12:00 PM Saturday or Sunday afternoon. (you could easily add an hour or two on Sunday afternoon (local traffic). It only takes about a gallon of gas to coast down from the mountains to Denver, so no need to fill up before leaving Winter Park.
Getting to know the area:
Everything Winter Park is located along highway 40. Coming from the pass, the first thing you will see is the turn off to Mary Jane. This has commuter parking for people coming for the day.
Next is the traffic signal to the Resort area. Paid parking next to the village shops. This parking is free after the lifts close. There is also another commuter lot and access to the Zephyr Hotel and the Fraser crossing and Founders point condos.
In one more mile, the next traffic signal is the turn off to Old Town. This is the turn to our condo. You will also find the Slopeside Subdivision, Winter Park Place, and a number of private homes. Old town has a shuttle route but it is not always necessary. Shuttle up hill on cold mornings. The shuttle stops closer to the lift than any other route in the valley.
The town of Winter Park is 2-1/2 miles past the resort base. It is about a mile long. This area has the most restaurants and lodgings. You cannot get to the ski base without a shuttle bus or driving your car.
The Town of Fraser (groceries) is two miles past Winter Park. Here you find the grocery store, hardware store, Amtrak station, and a number of commercial areas.
Much further down the highway are the towns of Tabernash, Granby, Grand Lake and Rocky Mountain National Park.
When picking a place to stay, keep in mind the railroad tracks. A fully loaded coal train makes a lot of noise. Try to stay at least a block away from the tracks.
So now you know: Mary Jane -> Winter Park Base -> Old Town -> Town of Winter Park -> Fraser -> points beyound.
Places to eat and buying groceries.
Favorite restaurants: In Winter Park(right hand side of road): Rudy’s Deli for sandwiches, Deno’s for top quality, Winter Park Sushi Bar, In Cooper’s Square (left hand side of road) Carlos & Maria’s Mexican, Smoking Joes BBQ.
In the Resort Village you will find the Lime (Mexican) and Cheeky Monk (Belgian beer cafe). Forget the ice cream parlor, worst ice cream ever, buy some at the grocery store. Also, do not spend the money to eat dinner at the top of the mountain. It will be dark, so you won't see anything and the food is amusement park quaility.
About groceries. You have a full kitchen, so don't starve yourself. Safeway is located in Fraser, 4 miles from us and the mountain base. With your travel packet, you will get info on how to get their royalty pricing, if you do not have a safeway card. There are a couple of convenience stores in the town of Winter Park.
You can also stop for groceries in Denver if that better fits your schedule. Get off at exit 264.
Special rules on alcohol.
Colorado has a law that prohibits an individual or corporation from owning more than one liquor store. Also, alcohol greater than 3.2% must be sold in a liquor store. The result is a liquor store in every shopping center and they are usually small, expensive and have a poor selection. The exception are a number of super large liquor stores that carry everything at a better price. Applejacks on I-70 at exit 264 is one of these. Tipsy's on CO 470 is huge and impressive (to get a discount sign up for membership.) Others, if it matters are Davidson, Daveco (the world's largest), Argonaut and Superior.
Shuttles run all over the valley to the mountain. For our condo, the shuttle runs everyday, a very short route on busy days and a longer route on slow days. There are multiple buses on the route, especially in the morning and late in the afternoon.
The closest stop is where you drove to the bottom of the hill and saw the gates that mark the entrance to the resort. The stop is just beyond those gates. The ride from that point is just one minute directly to the lift. There is also a stop in front of Alpine Ski, almost the same distance, but convenient if you got your skis there. Rarely, you can walk to the lift faster than waiting for the shuttle. That would be at 1PM when you should already have been there.
The ride home. You catch the bus where it dropped you. Tell the driver you are going to Trademark, and he will stop at the entrance. If the bus is labeled “Old Town”, your ride home is 3 minutes (busy days). If the bus is labeled, “GREEN LINE”, the ride home will be 15 minutes. (This will be on low attendance days). So the longer shuttle ride is the trade off for a day of no lift lines.
Here is a map of the shuttle routes:
The skiing experience:
This is my first attempt to help improve the skiing experience. There is much more detail but no personality at the resorts official website:
I am going to give you some opinions.
Where to ski:
If you ski greens, you will stay on Winter Park Mountain. If you ski blacks, you will soon be at Mary Jane. Most of this is monolog is about blue green.
If you are staying green most of the day, use the Gemini or Arrow lifts and work your way over to the Prospector Express. Ski back and forth to the Prospector lift until you are ready to head out. The Jack Kendrick run is wide, even, and full of ski schools. Once board, take the Eskimo Express and ski March Hare. Just be sure to pay attention to my notes on the flat areas to avoid.
The 2 hour tour:
This series of runs and lifts will take you everywhere and back home with some greens to start, and working to blues. I am a slow skier and this took me 2 hours on a busy day. My son, could do this in less than an hour if there are no lift lines. The trail map tells you the lift ride time. I can almost always ski back to the beginning faster than it took to ride up.
Lift 1: (10:00 AM) Zephyr Express (Winter Parks main lift)
Run A: Ski past the Sunspot restaurant at the top and then turn to the right.
If you want green on the first run, then go March Hare, keep to the right and take Village Way to get to the Eskimo Lift.
If you want to start blue, follow the signs to Cranmer. This is a huge wide run, ending at the Eskimo lift.
Lift 2: (10:15AM) Eskimo Express
Run B: Again past the Sunspot, stay ing high on the hill and follow the signs to White rabbit (blue) or Dormouse (green). Ski all the way down to the Olympia lift. It is flat near the end, so when you see the end coming, hit the gas.
Lift 3: (10:25AM) Olympia
Run C: Ski straight off the lift and follow the signs for the Mary Jane trail. It is a kind of narrow road for 50 yards and if you like bumps, just pick any path. Then ski down the Mary Jane trail for what seems like forever.
Lift 4: (11:00) The Super Gauge. There is a lot of parking near this lift and if it snows on a Friday night, expect a long line on Saturday. It is a six chair and fast, but can still be crowded. If the crowd looks ominous, use the single line to the right.
Run D: Ski underneath the Sunnyside lift and follow the signs to Bluebell. Lots of variety of Blues up here.
The Panoramic: This is the ultimate lift. They need lots of snow and little wind. But it takes you to the top of world. 12,060 ft. You could see Kansas, except James Peak across the valley is a 1,000 feet higher. I did not include this in the 2 hour run. If it is open, come back to this.
Lift 5: (11:15) Sunnyside: A quick old fashion 3 seater that smacks you at takeoff.
Run E: You want to go under the High Lonesome Lift. Sometimes you need to access this by getting on Whistle Stop and taking the first left. When you get to the point that you are no longer skiing under the lift it will get flat and slow. This is the point to pay attention. You are at the entrance to the High Lonesome lift. Look to the left and you will see the Lonesome Whistle run. Go that way. When you get to the flat area you will say you have been here before. But this time stay left and get on the little two seater, Looking glass.
Lift 6: (11:35) Looking glass: All of 3 minutes.
Run F: Butch's Breezeway down to the Eskimo lift. Take the Eskimo back up and the rest of the day is yours.
(11:45 AM) Back up Eskimo to Sunspot
Blue blacks?Ski down the face of Winter Park back to the Zephyr. Your family can see you fall on Bradley's Bash from the condo windows. See the ski team on Hughes. Fall on Little Pierre.
Places to avoid: There are a number of slow spots, especially for boarders. But here is the worse. Do not try to get from the top of Mary Jane to the Sunspot on Whistle stop unless you are well waxed and have the wind to your back. And you will still end up polling. From the top of the Olympia lift, do not ski back underneath it. Same place, same problem.
Always go fast at the bottom when approaching the High lonesome, Olympia and Pioneer lifts. Long flats. Not many ski Vasquez Ridge because the approach to the Pioneer lift is so slow. But once you get there, no crowds.
Where to eat: Personally, I can get by on Pizza and beer and I always go to Pepperoni's. The pizza is good, the beer is cheap and it is mostly locals. It is located at the Mary Jane Base down stairs from the lobby. Ask for mug 1508 or 1507. Mug fill is the same price as a cup.