Winter Park Resort opens Saturday, joining a handful of ski-country destinations that have already powered on the gondolas. We profile them all in The Edge, our insider's guide to the 2014 ski and snowboard season, and we'll be rolling out those profiles as the mountains open.
But if you really like Winter Park, the National Sports Center for the disabled is selling raffle tickets that will land the lucky winner a lifetime ski and ride pass there. Tickets cost $50 each or three for $125. In addition, six smaller prizes will be awarded, one per week through December 5 (when the grand prize will be announced). They vary in value from $50 to $500. Raffle sales, sponsored by the Fraser River Vally Lions Club, began last month and will continue through December 4. Get them here.
Read on for our profile of Winter Park.
WINTER PARK RESORT winterparkresort.com 970-726-1564
Winter Park is celebrating its 75th-anniversary season this year with a gala celebration January 23 and 24, featuring fireworks, torchlight parades and a cross-country ski race. The resort published a 196-page coffee-table book for the occasion; Winter Park: 75 Years of Imagining More is full of fun historical facts. Did you know, for example, that George Cranmer, director of Denver's Department of Parks and Improvements from 1935-1947, is known as the "Father of Winter Park" and was also a driving force behind developing Red Rocks Amphitheatre? Or that all of the trails in the Eagle Wind Territory, like Left Hand, are named after prominent leaders from the Northern Arapaho tribe who were indigenous to the area? The biggest capital improvement to mark the anniversary will be the opening of the new mid-mountain Lunch Rock restaurant.
Signature experience: Buy the $20 season pass for the Cirque Sled, a 48-passenger snowcat-pulled sled that will be your chariot to the Cirque Territory and save you the hike to the big, treeless bowl.
Splurge: Book a day on Jones Pass in the Powder Addiction Snowcat ($400 per day, $4,000 to fill it up for a private tour with twelve of your most capable riding buddies). You'll get as many as twelve runs in on 2,500 skiable acres of the Arapaho National Forest.
Ski bum tips: If you don't already have a couch to crash on in Winter Park, you can pre-purchase credits for up to ten nights at the base area's Vintage Hotel with the Vintage Lodging Pass, starting at $719. The rooms sleep up to four people, with pet-friendly lodgings available for a small fee.
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Drink locally: Churchill's Bar at Five Mountain Tavern is your best bet for a broad selection of made-in-Colorado beers on tap.