The Edge

Westword's guide to the 1997-98 ski and snowboard season

That somewhere is Winter Park, where Boyer has called home for the past six years. "I first came out because one of my roommates, her dad is blind, so we used to come out here for the great disabled program they have," the 28-year-old explains. "And then after school, we were like, 'Let's get out of here,' so I came here to work for the disabled program." For the first three years she did that in the winter and guided whitewater rafting tours. "Okay, I had a really cake life," she admits. "But now I'm going to school at the University of Denver, and that's a brutal commute, you know." She also works for a medical billing company that has a great policy: When there are ten or more inches of new snow, they have to close down for the day.

Although Boyer has also been known to take a "mental day" for skiing. "One time I was determined to ski every black run on the hill," she says. "It is doable. I started at the very first chair, and I finished when sweep was closing up. I couldn't stop at all; I even had to pee in the woods. But it was great."

Needless to say, she's fairly well-versed in the blacks. "Okay, my favorite would have to be Boiler, because it has a lot of different terrain on it--not just bumps--and it's got rocks and different jumps," she says. "It's just got a lot more terrain and is a fun run to play around on." She also endorses Engledive, on the Winter Park side, as a "real good, short bump run, a good place to learn and practice on." She adds, "If you're an intermediate trying to move up to blacks, you'll really feel like you've accomplished something."

Winter Park is well-loved for its trees--tight, but containing endless powder. Some of Boyer's favorites are out of bounds off Vasquez. "The whole ski area has tremendous trees; there are people who do nothing else," she says. "You'll see Helmet Jim--he's the king of trees here, and you can't miss him because, besides the helmet, he wears these big fatty skis. He just skis trees all day long, and he got a lot of people to wear them, because the trees are so tight, you'll bonk your head off."

There are easy trees, though. "They just did an easy tree run off Parsenn Bowl, to skier's right," Boyer says. "I think it's Swede's Ridge. They've really done a nice job glading it out, and when there's a lot of snow, you don't get too much speed."

Boyer's don't-miss run on a powder day is Outhouse. "You should be there on the first chair to catch it, just once," she adds. "I hit it one time when we had 24 inches of snow; it was like this frenzy down at the bottom to be first on the run. It's absolutely amazing--you go straight down and just absorb and eat snow." Stashes are possible on Gambler, too, even "in the afternoon on a powder day and it's all cut up, there's still usually some snow that's untouched," Boyer says. For cruising, she names Cranmer, on Winter Park, but only early in the morning. "When it's busy, it stinks," she adds.

Boyer also thinks it's a shame that everyone thinks Mary Jane has all the bumps. "Balch, on the Winter Park side, is one of my all-time favorite runs, 'cause no one skis on it," she says. "It's long and consistently has bumps. But everyone's doing the bumps on Jane." She does like the Mary Jane Trail over there, though, calling it her "favorite blue run on a clear day."

Boyer, a semi-vegetarian, calls herself a "PB&J-in-the-pocket kind of girl" when it comes to eating on a powder day, but she says she has been known to grab a pizza at Hernando's Pizza (78199 Hwy. 40). "It's one of those where you eat the crust with honey, and the Roma Sonoma is fabulous, with artichokes, chicken and sun-dried tomatoes," she says.

And she admits to "making my daily payment to the Moffit Bagel Station [78437 Hwy. 40]." She adds that the food is good, inexpensive and fast. "You can zip in there and get out quick," she says. For a longer, sit-down breakfast, she suggests Carver's (93 County Rd. 7) for a "hearty kind of thing." And if you have a "really, really, really long time for breakfast, The Kitchen [78542 Hwy. 40] is wonderful," she says. "But, God, one time I went in, we were the only ones in there, and we were still there two hours. One lady cooks, washes dishes, serves, pours coffee..."

At the end of the day, Boyer advises the younger crowd to head to The Winter Park Pub (78260 Hwy. 40) for a cheap dinner. "Bar food, really good pizza, Chicago-style, great nachos, and you can't beat taco night on Tuesdays for $1 tacos," she says. "It's turned into the local hangout for the younger set." The older crowd hangs out at Deno's Mountain Bistro (78911 Hwy. 40), according to Boyer, which she adds has "delicious pasta, if you can wade through the smoke to get to it." And while Boyer recommends that those looking for good ethnic "go to Denver," she does highly recommend Fontenots (78711 Hwy. 40) for Cajun. "It's got great atmosphere," she says. "It's a bit of a splurge, with entrees from $8 to $12, but the killer fish sandwiches are $5 at lunch, and the catch of the day blackened, with their blackberry butter sauce, is unbelievable."

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