Winter Park, CO

A full 15 months and a handful of incredible trips have passed by since my last post, but I’m committed to getting back on track in 2018, and this past weekend provided just the chance.  C and I recently celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary and decided to commemorate the occasion with a long weekend in Winter Park, CO.  As kids and college students, we logged 50+ on-snow days a year (C was a ski racer and I was a ski instructor).  And now, well, now we live in the middle of the prairie.  So, we left the girls with my parents and off we went!

We got to Denver late Thursday morning and took our time enjoying a leisurely brunch at The Moonlight Diner.  After brunch, we started making our way through Denver and up to Winter Park.

Since we couldn’t get into our condo until later in the day, we spent our first afternoon cross-country skiing at the lovely Devil’s Thumb Ranch and Spa.

 

Neither of us have much experience with cross-country skiing and it is WORK, but it is satisfying work.  We started with an hour-long trail on classic skis, winding our way through the ranch in the stillness of fresh snow.  After a light lunch, we decided to try our luck with skate skis.  We thought we would do a shorter trail this time, but we got a bit off course and spent another hour and half on the trail. We got back into the lodge just as the wind was whipping up. We were wiped but happy.

Friday was a bright and sunny day, what the locals call “a bluebird day.” We took advantage of every minute of it. We skied across Winter Park’s diverse terrain, from rolling groomers to natural moguls up in the Parsenn Bowl. After lunch and a mid-afternoon coffee/Olympics break, I switched from skis to a snowboard and slowly got back into the rhythm of riding. We capped the day off with a hearty dinner and more Olympics-watching. Who knew curling could be so riveting – and I say this now with the utmost sincerity!

Windy, frigid temps and weekend crowds greeted us Saturday morning, but once we got past the base area, we found our groove. Our groove happened to be a classic double chairlift and powdery bumps in the glades. As Northeasterners, we know from skiing on ice, but skiing glades in the powder was a new—and pretty amazing—experience.

 

Navigating the moguls and the trees also kept us warm, even when the temps dipped well below zero. We ducked back into the condo to thaw and enjoy a long lunch (and more curling!) before heading back out. I was on my board again and we found some nice groomers over on Vasquez Ridge, but the wind was fierce. After a handful of runs, it was time to head back in, warm up, return our skis, do a little shopping, and pack up for the trip home the next morning.

Although it was just a quick little getaway, we had a fantastic time. We skied hard, took advantage of some much-needed downtime and simply enjoyed being together. The past ten years have brought so much joy into our lives; it was nice to take a moment to reflect on all that we are grateful for.

Pro-tip: Winter Park is great for confident intermediate or advanced skiers/riders and C and I would go there again if it were just the two of us, but we wouldn’t recommend it for kids or novices or even intermediates who prefer gentle, groomed terrain.

 

 


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