This season, a 30,000-square-foot base-area development will be completed, with much of the retail, restaurant and living space occupied by the New Year, says Winter Park spokeswoman Darcy Morse. Two of the restaurants will be familiar to Denver residents: Lime and the Cheeky Monk. Look for all-new rental equipment in the ski shop this season, too, and the Village Cabriolet will take people from the free parking area near the Vintage Hotel to the main village. On the mountain, the Lodge at Sunspot is expanding its fine dining beyond holiday meals, offering dinner every Friday and Saturday night.
As a business owner who is nervous over the current economic climate, Fenerty is glad to see development happening at Winter Park — as long as it doesn't become overbuilt. "It's a love/hate thing," he says. "I hate to see the single track trails I used to ride my bike on disappear. On the other hand, that's the direction this is going. Trying to fight it is not going to work."
General Information: www.skiwinterpark.com; 1-970-726-5514.
Location: 67 miles northwest of Denver via I-70 west, (exit 232), to U.S. Hwy. 40.
Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays; 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends and holidays.
Snow Report: 303-572-SNOW.
Terrain: 3,060 acres with 143 trails; 8 percent beginner, 17 percent intermediate, 19 percent advanced, 53 percent most difficult, 3 percent expert. Base is 9,000', with a 3,060' vertical rise; summit: 12,060'.
Wolf Creek Ski Area
If you've always been curious about the little ski area in the San Juan Mountains that proudly claims to have the most snow in Colorado but never managed to make it out that far, you might want to check out the Wolf Creek website this season. A free carpool service, called "Share the Ride, Share the Fun," is being tried out to connect skiers and boarders anywhere in the U.S., including Denver.
Rosanne Pitcher, vice president of marketing and sales at Wolf Creek, says it's part of the area's green effort. (They also purchase wind credits.) Other than that, the only change at Wolf Creek is a new building under construction at the top of the Raven lift. Eventually, it will serve as a warming hut and cafeteria.
Ann Bubb, who owns a mountain gear and apparel store in Pagosa Springs called Switchback, says people like her love Wolf Creek for its snow and its people — and the food in the food court, which is standard pub/cafeteria food, but done really well.
Her run of choice is Tranquility, off the Treasure Chair. "It's not super-steep," she says. "It's nice, short vertical, beautifully wide, a classic warm-up first run, but when conditions are right, it's something I could stay on all day and just hit areas off of it."
General Information: www.wolfcreekski.com; 1-970-264-5639.
Location: 300 miles southwest of Denver in the Rio Grande National Forest, U. S. Hwy. 160, between Pagosa Springs and South Fork.
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.
Snow Report: 1-800-SKI-WOLF.
Lift Rates: Adult day pass: $52.
Terrain: 1,600 acres; 20 percent beginner, 35 percent intermediate, 25 percent advanced, 20 percent expert. Base is 10,300', with a 1,604' vertical rise; summit: 11,904'.