Winter Park Resort
Seventy-nine years of institutional knowledge is kept at Winter Park Resort, Colorado's longest continually operating ski resort. What began as a project by Denver's city government to provide seasonal fun for residents has become a world-class destination, catering to vacationers who land at the Denver International Airport, less than a two-hour drive away. While recent development has focused on year-round recreation, classic skiing and riding is still the calling card.
The famously bumpy terrain is spread across two mountains, with most beginner trails on the resort's namesake peak. Board the High Lonesome Express for runs that start above 11,200 feet, and descend gently down thin tree stands and open areas. Meanwhile, Mary Jane Mountain is an advanced outpost with its own base. "The legendary lady," as the mountain is called, boasts technical moguls and flowy blues.
The Parsenn Bowl is a high-alpine paradise. Vasquez Ridge, another one of the resort's designated "territories" best known for its hidden powder stashes, offers more backcountry-feeling thrills. If tricks are your thing, check out the resort's terrain parks.
Skiable terrain: 3,081 acres
Trails: 143, 8 percent beginner, 18 percent intermediate, 19 percent advanced, 55 percent expert
Average annual snowfall: 327 inches
Mountain stats: 12,060-foot summit, 9,000-foot base, 3,060 vertical
Check out: Carvers for breakfast in town, Back Bowl Soup Co. at the resort, Hernando's Pizza and Pub in town, Idlewild Spirits, Great Adventures Snowmobile Tours
Getting there: Off Interstate 25 north, exit for U.S. 6 west and follow to Interstate 70 west. Take Exit 232 for U.S. 40 toward Granby. Continue west on 40 to Winter Park.
More information: winterparkresort.com
SETH BOSTER, THE GAZETTE