Pros:Great Weather, friendly employees at WPR, excellent skiing, no crowds during week.
Cons:Early sundown, can get bitter cold and windy, crowded on weekends.
The Bottom Line: I think WPR's management knows what people want when they ski and strives to deliver.
I just returned from a great trip to the Winter Park Resort (WPR). It was my first trip to WPR. I went with the intention of learning to snowboard after skiing for over ten years.
The weather was perfect, clear, 30 degrees at base, no wind. I was lucky.
All day lift ticket in Jan 2004 was $49 per day (I think).
Not many green trails, but enough to learn how to ski. There are several points along the green trails where you need to pick up speed to make it through the flats. I can only think of three places on the mountain where this happens. Once you "skate" through them, you'll never forget about them next time. One of the longer green runs, called Turnpike is somewhat narrow for a beginner snowboarder, but my fourth day on the mountain allowed me to ski right on down, almost without having to turn and not have a problem.
The sun casts a shadow beginning about 2:30PM this time of year, and the snow conditions changed somewhat. I tried to stay in the sunlight after this time of day to obtain better snow conditions.
In one word, Excellent. I took four classes. The newbie classes are big, and slow. The higher level classes are much smaller, like one or two students. Excellent value.
Ask for Sally Emerson from Australia. She is the best snowboard instructor you can get.
Really good, but expensive. Dasani 20 Oz water $2.75 ea. Good deli sandwich at base about $6. The larger mid mountain restaurant (I forget name), very nice and similar pricing as at the base.
The City of WinterPark runs some kind of winter shuttle using ancient, noisy school buses painted gray on the outside. The drivers and nice and know how to drive well. They were also a very helpful source of information about the town. The shuttle schedule is frequent enough (1/2 hr mostly) and FREE. It worked well for me. Even goes to SafeWay grocery store at night.
Trip from Denver can be made via a really cool City of Denver operated train called "The Ski-Train" (see www.skitrain.com for more info). A club car roundtrip was $75 and very good even though I did not use the return trip ticket. The train is slow, and only goes about 35mph according to my hand-held GPS unit. It takes over 2 hrs to get there, and leaves early in the morning from downtown Denver.
After snowboarding for five days, I returned to Denver via the primary shuttle operator (forget name at moment), which is well known around time. Fast, cheap and a little crowded, but would do that again next time.
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Level of Experience Needed: Intermediate
Best Time to Visit: January
Best Suited For: Families