Ski trips are more than just a mountain and hardware to get you down. They are rooted in experiences and atmosphere created at the base, on the lift, and even in the mountain culture. How do you capture a Winter Park experience? Try our top 10 Must Dos while you’re here!
1. Dinner at our Mountain Top Lodge: Sunspot
Riding up the Zephyr during the day light hours is a classic starting point for most of our riders, but riding up at night is an entirely different experience.
First off, you aren’t just on a regular chair. We rotate in our Gondolas, so rest assured, you won’t be exposed to our chilly evening temps. Next, the anticipation and excitement that starts bubbling when you get on the lift for your first ride on the mountain is now supplemented with wonder and aww as you get a glimpse of the twinkling town below. And that’s not the only sparkle you’ll enjoy. Step off the Gondola and see the stars like only the mountains can give them. You’ll realize just how far away from the city you are.
And this is all before dinner.
When you finally step into the mountain top lodge you are in the dreamiest of mountain venues. The fire is crackling, the aroma of some of the best food in the valley is making your mouth water, and your waiter is waiting to pop the bottle of bubbly (or wine) waiting for you to relax.
Not every Coloradan spends their weekends dining on mountain tops- but it is definitely a must-do bucket list option for mountain indulgence.
2. Hot chocolate at Hill House
Snow sports and hot chocolate are a pretty classic duo. And we have a great place to warm up with gourmet hot chocolate after a day on the mountain, a game of broomball in the Village, or of course after an hour of fun on the adjacent tubing hill.
Take the Cabriolet, our open-air gondola, from the Village and you’ll arrive at the base of the tubing hill. You’ll be in a great spot to start your tubing adventure and then pop in Hill House to watching your friends tube on the indoor screen, sip on a variety of hot cocoa delights, and hang out in one of the hidden gems of Winter Park Resort.
3. Perfect conditions
Perfect means something different to everyone. We get it. We also GOT it. Whatever you define as a perfect day of skiing, with a little bit of luck and timing, you can find it.
Dreaming of fresh corduroy lines? Got those.
Want to take on top notch Terrain Park features? You bet ‘cha.
Bumps on bumps? Hell yeah man!
Drooling at the thought of a private powder stash? Oh yahhhh.
Us locals have better odds of hitting those fresh lines and powder stashes, but with over 3,000 skiable acres, even if you get here 3 days after a snow dump, you have pretty good chance of scoring big. And when you do. Oh man!
4. Mary Jane Tailgate
Looking for an iconic local scene? Well, you can’t get any closer than Mary Jane tailgating. We all know (or are) those skiiers/riders that get to the hill before the sun, but the Mary Jane Territory is the best for these diehards (or aspirational die-hards) to congregate with coffee, Monster, or beer of choice, in hand!
Get those good ol’ fashion Colorado ski day vibes at one of the most “extremely Colorado” ski bases. So bring your grill, a six pack, and a couple of lawn chairs because you are going to meet some of the old timers who will give you all (or almost all) of their tricks of the trade- and you still won’t ever master the Mary Jane bumps like these seasoned veterans.
5. Snowmobiling on the Continental Divide
After all the gravity powered fun, switching to something motorized offers a change of pace to enjoy some new views of the Continental Divide. And what breathtaking views they are! Get a unique perspective of the Fraser Valley and the endless stretches of rigid mountains with Grand Adventures. They offer both Guided Tours and Unguided Rentals and is conveniently located in the Village of Winter Park Resort. Their tour is the only one in the County that ascends to 12,000 feet!
6. Mary Jane Ale
We know you’re hyped on the craft beer scene in Colorado, so why not taste one of the unique mountainside brewskies you can only get on draft-slopeside.
7. Live music
We’re big on music—your playlist for driving over Berthoud, your chairlift sing along jams, and of course the music that accompanies your après activities. This is a jam session best served LIVE and we certainly provide. From down in the Village to up at Lunch Rock, from downtown Winter Park to the base’s month of music during Springtopia, we are about the MUSIC!
So stop by for skiing and whatever, but remember that a day in Winter Park isn’t complete without a strumming guitar.
8. Take a Stroll
Winter Park’s downtown has quite a few hidden gems that will fill your stomach, delight your taste buds, and offer some local color to fill out your mountain experience. Park over by Cooper Creek Square and visit Mountain Grind for a warming cup of joe or a needed jolt for your sweet tooth (gelato and fudge). Then, explore the rest of Cooper Creek. Stop in Grapes and Grains to try some local Colorado taps and tastings or drop by one of the unique boutiques, like Haven, where you can find one of a kind gift, accessories, or home decor.
Stop by the dog-friendly, Hideaway Brewery for locally brewed beverages and locally raised canines. Try one of their core beers or test out something on their rotating menu. I’ve yet to find a beer I didn’t like on their menu.
Then either pop next door for some grub at Fraser Valley Hot Dogs, or wait until you get to Rudi’s just further down the main road (Highway 40).
If you’re looking to take things to the next level, stroll on by to Idlewild Spirits Distillery for small plates and the best Moscow Mule in town. They make their Whiskey, Vodka, and Ginger Beer in house making their classic cocktail legendary.
But don’t take our word for it, get out and see what you can find on the main road. New shops and restaurants are popping up all the time!
9. Parsenn Views
Later season visits MUST include prioritizing a trip to the top of the Panoramic Lift. This one draws a crowd, but man is it spectacular at the top. It also is the rare bowl that is accessible for blue skiers/riders. But no matter what level rider, getting to the top of Pano will take your breath away.
We’re the only ski resort in the United States that offers guests the option of riding a train right to the base of the mountain. Before riding through the historic Moffat Tunnel, the conductor will tell you it’s time to change into your ski/ride gear so you can hit the slopes directly from the train platform.