As one of the closest ski areas to Denver, Winter Park has long been a local's paradise of bumps, family fun, and secret tree stashes. Curbed Ski has scoured the mountain to bring you the top tips on how to ski winter park like a Colorado local. From the weather patterns to spring parties in the parking lot, we've got the inside scoop.
1. Locals and long-time Winter Park I-70 commuters know that Winter Park has its own unique weather pattern. A big dump headed to Steamboat? Winter Park will probably eek out at least a few inches. Is a storm going to pound Aspen, Vail, and Beaver Creek? Winter Park still has a chance to get in on that action too. So while you may not be able to expect Wolf Creek-size snow totals, Winter Park does well in many weather scenarios.
2. While camping out for a lift to open may be standard operating procedure at Breckenridge or Vail, locals know that at Winter Park this is waste of time. Fewer crowds mean that it's a much better idea to hit the Mary Jane side while you wait for the Panoramic to open. Feeling antsy and can't wait to hit the bowls? Lap the Sunnyside lift (right next to Pano) and you'll still be one of the first on the quick 6-man lift.
3. Mary Jane and Winter Park have a lot of bumps and they are proud of 'em. And while sometimes it can get a bit old, you'll have a much better time if you're prepared. Sign up for a bump skills workshop and you'll be flying down in no time.
4. Hopefully you already signed up for the Cirque Sled Pass, because it allows expert skiers snowcat access to 1,332 acres of off-piste terrain in the Cirque territory. It only costs $10 for the entire season, but looks to be sold out.
5. Winter Park is definitely more family friendly than its famous sister resort, Mary Jane, but don't overlook its steeper terrain. On a pow day while everyone hits the Jane, head to tree runs at Winter Park for some untracked fun.
6. The Iron Horse lift only runs on Saturdays (it's still a good idea to check the lift status) so even when the rest of the resort is tracked, you can still find some fresh turns.
7. Spring skiing doesn't get more fun than parking in Winter Park's C lot and setting up camp. Bring food, your best gaper wear, and pop open a beer next to 60 year olds who ski bumps way better than you ever will.
8. When the Cirque is open, your best bet for advanced terrain is to do laps off the Cirque down to the Eagle Wind lift, then take it back up and ski down to the Panoramic Express before circling back to the Cirque. Believe us, you'll love it!
9. After skiing, hit up Riverside Spirits at the base of the Zephyr Express. This shop is owned by a longtime local and has a reputation for affordable liquor prices and a nice selection.