The colorado locals favorite hill celebrates 80 years of bumps, beers, trains, and pow turns in the bowl this season. Celebrate by booking a big weekend or using that Ikon pass.
On mountain, you can nosh on chili, brats and frito pies at the funky Sundance Chili Hut (winterparkresort.com) located far from base-area brewhaha at the top of the Pioneer Lift. If you are down at the bottom, head to Doc’s Roadhouse near the gondola for sloppy-good nachos and queso and a cold Upslope Mary Jane, a citrusy pale ale that the Boulder Brewery began producing specifically for the resort this year. In town, Goody’s Mountain Creperie and Cafe (goodysmountaincreperie.com) is a solid bet for breakfast or dinner with everything from Belgian waffles to a scrumptious Southwest crepe with chicken and pico de gallo—or sate the kids with a s’more crepe before the long drive home.
The comfy, classy yet unpretentious Zephyr Mountain Lodge (winterparkresort.com) sits right at the base of the gondola and features the perfect aprés relaxation with outdoor hot tubs that look out on the slopes. Rooms range from one to three bedrooms and run from $329-$974 on January weekends, but look for deals throughout the season.
Just across the street, condos at Fraser Crossing/Founders Pointe (winterparkresort.com) ring up at $289-$1,000 for two to three bedrooms. If you’re looking for a bargain, head to the Viking Lodge and Ski Shop (skiwp.com), where you’ll find double rooms for around $125 per night. And if you want to add some ooh and ahh to your winter, book a stay when the resort hosts its Fireworks and Family Fest nights on January 18, February 15 and March 14. There’s live music, games and s’mores at the base area–which adds up to fun for all ages.
Over the summer, the resort put $6 million into an upgrade of the Sunnyside Lift, which access a fun spattering of blues, blacks and glades on Mary Jane that give a little something to skiers and riders of mixed ability levels—and is the perfect option if you are seeking untouched pow turns on your first run. The new lift will give you more time on the mountain; it bumped up from a four-pack to six-person chair and the ride time goes from eight minutes to just under four minutes. Ski it, then head to the big, open lines on Parsenn Bowl. When you are ready to head back to the base, drop the backside steeps on Vasquez Cirque—just prepare for a quick run and a long traverse out. Sick of traffic? The legendary Winter Park Express ski train (amtrak.com/winterparkexpress) begins service on January 10, running from Denver’s Union Station (leaving at 7 a.m.) and back (departing Winter Park at 4:30 p.m.) Friday through Saturday. Tickets run from $29-$59. —D.S.