Intrawest has been investing significant sums of money into the little known resort of Winter Park.
The area is still flying under the radar compared to the world renowned resorts of Vail, Aspen & Breckenridge. Winter Park Resort is about to become of age and join the other Colorado resorts in delighting guests from all over the world with its terrain, superior snow conditions and yet still quiet slopes.
Two years ago the main lift accessing Mary Jane Mountain was replaced by a high speed 6 pack chairlift, called the Super Gauge, which whisks skiers quickly to the top of the mountain, where they can ski the bumps on Mary Jane, the groomers on the Winter Park side or head down sunnyside to access the Parsenn bowl.
This really speeded up access to the whole mountain and the new equipment means the lift runs smoothly with very few stoppages...
However the more important developments have been new lifts leading to new terrain. In the 2006/7 ski season the Eagle Wind lift was introduced on the backside of Parsenn Bowl. Now skiers & riders can easily access "natural" terrain and enjoy skiing the powder in the trees in really untouched conditions. Although there are a couple of runs cut through the trees, the vast majority of the Eagle Wind area is designed for skiers to make their own paths through the trees. Dropping off points are from just below the lift where most people start, but traverse a little further around the corner and you can find untouched powder days after the latest snowstorm. The Eagle Wind lift now makes the circuit to get back to this terrain extremely easy and avoids the old problem of having to take three lifts to access the backside of Parseen of the more extremem Vasque Cirque. This rugged terrain is an advanced skiers paradise and yet still remains quiet for skiers to enjoy a truely rural mountain experience.
Then in 2007/8 came the Panoramic Express which every level of skier can benefit from. The Panoramic lift replaced the old Timberline lift and added much more vertical to Parsenn bowl skiing. Extending from the bottom of Mary Jane's Edelweiss trail next to the Sunnyside lift, to the top of Parsenn Bowl at 12,060 feet above sea level, the Panoramic Express provides skiers and riders access to over 1,123 acres of terrain including Parsenn Bowl, Vasquez Cirque and last year's addition of the Eagle Wind terrain. The 6 pack chairlift is the highest in North America and part of the 8 million dollars spent on capital improvements at Winter Park Resort this year. The lift is powered by renewable energy, supporting the resorts environmental policy. Once at the top, skiers have a choice of skiing anywhere in the Parsenn bowl which ranges from rare intermediate blue run bowl skiing to more advanced blue/ black (red) runs to black level runs through tighter trees, all around where the old Timberline lift used to be. But now the runs lead into Bluebell and Edelweiss, blue runs, to take you all the way back down, giving much longer runs and much more vertical than before. The Panoramic Express will quicken guests ride to the top from the original 11 minutes it once took guests to get there to seven minutes. Due to the speed of the 6 pack you can be back at the top to choose another route down before you even know it!
But there's another bonus - Winter Park has gladed 100 acres of terrain on skiers right and added 2 brand new fairly long runs to get back down to the Panoramic or Sunnyside lifts via a different route. These 2 new trails are called Forever Eva and Parry's Peak and are intermediate trails, winding gently through the newly gladed forest, for everyone to enjoy. Parry's Peek and Forever Eva were named after a well known area botanist, Charles Parry and his wife, Eva. Both trails provide spectacular views of Parry's Peak and Mount Eva, two significant mountain peaks along the Continental Divide. These trails are groomed, allowing even the most tentative skier to enjoy this high mountain experience.
"The Panoramic Express, with its unmatched view, and the addition of two new intermediate trails, not only provides guests with quicker access to the top of Mary Jane's Parsenn Bowl, but also provides more elbow room to play once they're there," said Gary DeFrange, president & chief operating officer for Winter Park Resort. "Mary Jane has developed a loyal following of passionate regulars that will welcome these changes whereas first time visitors will fall in love with Winter Park in no time at all. We have retained the spirit of Winter Park Resort with a fresh outlook."
The guests have given very positive feedback too. Helen & Rob Brown who run Chalets USA in Winter Park have found their guests have been thrilled with the new lifts & terrain, especially Forever Eva & Parry's Peak, which guests have described as "fantastic runs in beautiful snow conditions" and "a really good addition to the resort".
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