There's the kind of skier who leans over with butt out making a tee-pee (let the smoke out at the top) and scrapes down the slope with an incline like a Kansas highway and STILL wipes out--skis, poles and body parts spilling across the snow. Mary Jane, part of the Winter Park mountain is NOT the ski resort for them. Bunny slope fans, stop reading now.
Recommend this product?
I grew up in Colorado, lived in Breckinridge for a few years and have skied most of the best the Colorado Rockies have to offer. But now that I live in New York city, I'm a wreck. The mole hills around here offer snow like a wet blanket and a fall on the ice is like getting beaten with a concrete bat. So when New Yorkers around the office mention that they're planning a winter vacation to Colorado, and ask me about the best place, I say, "My God, man, don't go to Mary Jane." I'll tell you why.
It's too good for a bunch of people who think that anyone really cared whether those silly Mets or and the snooty Yankees stifled back as yawn as they swept another Series.
The lift lines are short at Mary Jane and the snow is unusually tasty from January until early April. It's a quick hour and a half drive from Denver and since it's part of the Winter Park ticket, the less experienced part of your ski crew can go snow plow the day away as you shred up the challenging Drunken Frenchman or some of the triple diamonds. And if you're a mogul fiend, by the end of the day your legs will ache from the Hemmingway-esque bumps like white elephants. There's a jump where my college buddies and I attempted to do a back flip to prove our manhood. I'm sworn to secrecy so you'll have to find it on your own, but I can tell you that my attempt was less like a back flip and more like a jackhammer on Greenwich Avenue. It wasn't pretty.
The variety of runs is limited since Mary Jane isn't huge, but the intensity of the runs makes up for any short comings. There aren't any green (beginner) runs, so you don't have to worry about dodging the plowing snow bunnies. Experts will feel totally challenged by the end of the day, and intermediate skiers will have grown to a new level.
If you're skiing with Jack Nicholson at Aspen, you're not worried about money, but if not, the prices around the Winter Park area are slightly less than the bigger areas like Breckinridge and Vail. As far as partying at the end of the day, Winter Park comes up a little dry in comparison to some of the other multi-national-tourists-in-for-the-week-and-wanna-get-lucky areas like Breckinridge, Vail and Aspen. But there are a few good bars where you can catch live music if that's your bag.
Everyone assumes that all Coloradans own a pair of K2s and hit the slopes every weekend. It's a surprisingly low percentage of people that even ski in Denver, but the locals who want serious boarding go to Mary Jane. They have stickers on the bumpers of their Jeeps reading, "No Pain, No Jane." They're the first ones on the frosted lifts in the AM and the last ones to rise up to the top, finally hitting the main lodge for spiced rum by dark. When they eat it hard on one of the cliff-like, narrow back trails, where even the ski patrol gets nervous, they pick up any lost arms and legs and finish the rest of the run.
If you want a challenge, take on Mary Jane.