The Winter Park ski area is owned by the city of Denver and run by a nonprofit corporation. That means that fun takes precedent over funds at this resort, making it a great family option. Most of the resort's lodging is located in the main village, less than 2 mi/3 km from the slopes.
Winter Park has 134 designated trails spread over three interconnected mountains, a high alpine bowl and the Vasquez Cirque powder area. Snowboarding is almost a religion there. Newcomers to the sport will enjoy Discovery Basin. The National Sports Center For the Disabled offers tremendous ski programs for adults and children with disabilities (http://www.nscd.org).
An adjacent mountain, Mary Jane, is famous for world-class bump skiing, and it has exceptional moguls. Other activities in the area include ice skating, snowmobiling, downhill inner tubing and cross-country skiing.
You don't need a car to get to Winter Park. Instead, you can ride the Rio Grande Ski Train from downtown Denver's Union Station to Winter Park, spend the day skiing and ride back to Denver after the lifts close. If you really want to go in style, you can rent a whole train car for the trip, which accommodates up to 40 people. (Take along a credit card with a very high limit.) The train operates Friday-Sunday and holidays.
If you choose to drive, take Interstate 70 to Highway 40 North over Berthoud Pass. Winter Park is 70 mi/110 km northwest of Denver, about a 90-minute drive. For ski information, phone 303-892-0961 or toll-free 800-976-6485, or visit the Web site at http://www.skiwinterpark.com.
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