There is something about the start to ski season that we love. Maybe it’s the snow. Or maybe it’s the scramble to find all of the gear we’ve left in random places last May. It might be watching the first snow fall, but more than likely it’s finding that joy of sliding downhill once again. As terrain opens up, and we get to re-connect with our favorite runs, there are a couple of our favorite trails we can’t wait to see. Whether you’re new to the slopes, or a seasoned skier, we’ve compiled our list of favorite early season laps. Enjoy!
- Village Way Via Whistlestop – A family favorite, and a must do for first timers. Located on top of Winter Park off The Gondola, this run is an opportunity to really get some turns in, over 1,000 feet from top to bottom! Hop on Whistlestop and enjoy a nice cruiser. Then pass High Lonesome Express and proceed to Village Way. The most important part on this run is don’t forget to howl like a wolf while going through the tunnel 😊.
- Ski Papa –A hidden gem for all beginners. Ski through Discovery Park and get a taste of glade skiing on this twisty tree traverse. The best way to get here is taking the Gemini Express. You can either take Discovery back up, or head back down to the base via Village Way or Turnpike.
- Bobcat – An exploration through a land where the wild things are. Make some turns under the Endeavour lift, go left, and make sure to watch out for the snow monkeys.
- Jack Kendrick – A great opportunity to explore more of the mountain. Located off the top of Prospector or Looking Glass, this green runs alongside a terrain park, where you can stop and take a gander at all the tricks being thrown. Continue on and weave in and out of the tree islands for some added practice.
- March Hare to White Rabbit – Hop on over to Winter Park’s Alice in Wonderland inspired area. Become as “mad as a March Hare” and test your skills on this challenging green. Let the mountain take you down to the right and enjoy a nice cruise if you’re looking for the easier option. The best way to get here is to take The Gondola or Explorer Express.
- Cranmer – No better way to start the season than to dedicate a run to the father of Winter Park, George E. Cranmer. Stay to the left if you want to take in the scenery, go to the right if you want a challenge in the mogul field. Take The Gondola to access this run.
- Butch’s Breezeway – One person in the family a groomer skier? One wants to try jumps? This is perfect for you! With our small terrain park Ash Cat next to this mellow run, everybody gets what they want. Located at the top of Prospector and Looking Glass.
- Tweedle Dee – A short groomer with an incredible northwest facing view of Fraser Valley. Don’t be afraid to let loose, especially on a sunny afternoon when the snow becomes slushy. The best way to get here is from Prospector or Looking Glass.
- Larry Sale – A great way to end the day is to take this blue down to the base. Take the Arrow for easiest access, but you can get here from the majority of runs in Winter Park Territory.
- Bradley’s Bash – Pay respect to the first Executive Director of Winter Park and the inventor of the first snow grooming machine, Steve Bradley. While you might be lucky to catch this run on a corduroy day, you may have to test your ability on the bumps. Just off The Gondola or Explorer Express.
- Retta’s Run – Considered one of the hardest runs in Winter Park Territory. A long, steep, bumpy run to really test your quad strength. Stay strong, the legendary Retta Stanley is watching from above (on the Explorer Express).
- Narrow Gauge – This blue-black run is usually one of the first to open with Mary Jane. It’s a great run to knock the rust off and get ready for all The Jane has to offer. It connects with the Mary Jane Trail for a great early season top-to-bottom test of those quads.
- Drunken Frenchman – Again, typically one of the first runs to open with Mary Jane, and can be a true early season test for the expert skier. If you are lucky enough to catch ‘The Frenchman’ on the first rope drop of the season – it isn’t just one of our favorite early season runs, it might be one of the best runs – period.
Well, there you have it! Whether you’re a green machine, a blue bandit, or a black diamond expert, there’s plenty of great terrain open for your early season turns. You can stay up-to-date on all of our open trails and lifts on our website, our app, social channels, or sign up for our Snow Report emails. What are your favorite early season laps at Winter Park? P.S. We hope you found your mittens.