Winter Park, CO 1-26-19

Resort and backcountry skiing and snowboarding in the western US and Canada, including our famous reader-submitted No-Bull Snow Reports.

Moderator: Tony Crocker

Winter Park, CO 1-26-19

Postby EMSC » Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:27 pm

Nice, winter day.

Really complex long story behind the scenes but I was at WP alone for the day. I was late; well, more precisely I was late for I70 traffic. With no traffic I would have been at WP by 9a. with traffic it was closer to 10:30a. Yep, that's how bad Colo is now on weekends. Especially Saturdays. In fact All WP parking and even close by overflow lots was long occupied. So I parked in the downtown parking garage and shuttled bused around which was shockingly convenient. Probably faster and easier than about 50% of the people parking at the resort, but in distant lots. I waited a total of about 30 seconds for a bus to the ski area and walked onto a waiting bus going back...

We're towards the end of a storm cycle and WP reported 3" overnight (18" in 72 hrs) with flurries and a chilly breeze blowing. I promptly headed for Eagle Wind for some pitch by taking the new Gondola out of the main WP base for my first time. It replaced a quad that used to have huge lines and with the gondola, those lines are fairly short now. Good upgrade capacity wise.

I had multiple laps on Eagle Wind going to at least Medicine Man section each time. While crowded for Eagle wind there wasn't a line of more than 4-5 chairs on any laps. Soft snow and if you know where to go some untouched or barely touched lines to ski starting about half way down. The upper part is always wind swept and skier sluffed to soft bumps.

I was getting a bit chilly (feet) so decided to grab a late lunch at Lunch Rocks at 1:45 for 15 minutes. During that time the wind picked up a bit more and heavier overcast came in. Nothing too bad really, but for whatever reason WP decided to shut down both Parsenn bowl and Eagle wind areas. Yet another thing I dislike about WP. Very illogical and weird operational decisions on top of it's already bad layout and lift network design, etc... If it weren't run by Alterra, I would simply chalk it up to being owned by the government (The owner is the City of Denver, Alterra just has an operating lease).

Anyway, I made some laps on the best part of Mary Jane hitting the chutes area a few times before heading back over to the Winter Park side of the hill for my final couple of laps since that is where I needed to catch the shuttle. Overall not a bad day, but WP being WP there is always some weirdness that creeps into the picture.

Unfortunately most of my pics just show snow conditions.

Eagle Wind

Eagle Wind

Lower Eagle Wind

Mary Jane "Chutes". There really only one 'Chute' in here and it's permanently closed so it's definitely a misnomer. That said there are several nice steep double diamond lines through the giant rock garden style of an area that flanks the cliffs.

Nice storm cycle recently

Best I could do for an action shot

Yes, yes I did park all the way over there

All things considered, some really deep snow in places and some seemingly not as deep as you would expect snow in places. Must be different wind directions this year or something.
User avatar
Posts: 2297
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 6:54 pm
Location: Front Range of Colorado

Re: Winter Park, CO 1-26-19

Postby Tony Crocker » Mon Jan 28, 2019 3:17 pm

It's interesting to see a local with the same sentiment about Winter Park that I have. It has world class mogul runs nicely shaped by expert mogul skiers, but moguls are not my priority.

What changes would you suggest to Alterra to improve Winter Park operation? I notice it is creeping into the later season a bit more in recent years.
Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
User avatar
Tony Crocker
Posts: 10916
Joined: Thu Sep 23, 2004 10:37 am
Location: Avatar: Charlotte Bay, Antarctica 2011
Location: Glendale, California

Re: Winter Park, CO 1-26-19

Postby EMSC » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:17 pm

Unfortunately, the list is quite long so not likely to post too detailed information.

There are many structural deficiencies just in the lift/trail layout that should never have happened really but those would take a long time to slowly fix as the gear is replaced.

Operationally, lets just say that if Loveland or Abasin nearby operated in similar manner with any of their even semi-double diamond and/or above-treeline terrain, those resorts would probably be out of business. Fortunately for Winter Park, 90% of their terrain is low altitude and/or not all that steep of tree lined runs. Really WP should just invite some of the top operations folks from resorts with real terrain and bigger skier visit #'s to stop in for a few days and make most of the needed recommendations. Going farther afield, I can't even begin to imagine Lake Louise, Big Sky, or numerous other resorts operating similarly and putting off limits the terrain that WP does or shutting things down an hour plus early in a 10-15 mph breeze with moderate overcast like they did Saturday and apparently Sunday too; according to a co-worker who was there Sunday. Another example would be Vasquez Cirque which I believe has not opened at all this season yet... Even though ABasin for example already has even East Wall and North Pole open. Despite the recent snows, except some occasional days, the avi rating has only been moderate for OB skiing (2 of 5). That terrain should have opened 3 weeks ago at least with the above average snowpack this year. And on and on... I could list many more weird choices and operational annoyances.

That said, WP has "grown up" a bit in recent years, it is better than it was; though still a long ways to go to be anything resembling world-class operationally. I went there to avoid even more of I70 issues and that WP has had more snow from the recent days of the storm cycle than Copper...
User avatar
Posts: 2297
Joined: Wed Apr 11, 2007 6:54 pm
Location: Front Range of Colorado

Re: Winter Park, CO 1-26-19

Postby TRam » Mon Jan 28, 2019 9:30 pm

Winter park has some the best snow in the state, thats a fact. It faces mostly north and is super high altitude and cold temps. There operations has gotten worse in the last 20 years from when I skied there starting in 95. I like the terrain on the jane side but the upper mtn incl parsons bowl and the cirque is just poorly managed. Ski patrol or mtn ops treat 6" on that flat terrain like Snowbird does with 24" on the there actual cirque.
Some of my favorite stuff is off the old iron horse lift like the mushroom patch and the rock garden you pictured. good report
If you don't still ski, then you never really did.
User avatar
Posts: 203
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2007 4:29 pm
Location: Park City, UT

Return to Western North America

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 42 guests

All content herein copyright © 1999-2017 First Tracks!! Online Media

Forums Terms & Conditions of Use