Colorado’s favorite madam is turning forty this weekend, with an all-day birthday bash on Saturday, January 30. After four decades of skiers and snowboarders racing down her bumpy terrain, Winter Park's Mary Jane will be celebrating in style — ‘70s glam style, to be exact. And the fun won't stop there. “This year’s Winter Park Carnival is all in conjunction with Mary Jane’s fortieth birthday,” says Steve Hurlbert, spokesman for Winter Park, citing the annual weeklong carnival that will kick off February 6. “This is a birthday party-slash- carnival, but we’re mostly using the birthday as an excuse to throw a big party.”
As legend has it, the Mary Jane Trail was well-trod by miners and railroad workers in the late 1800s. Mary Jane was a local “lady of the evening,” well-known for her services and business sense, apparently, since a grateful customer reportedly gave her a piece of land that is now known as Mary Jane Placer, right at the base of the mountain. In the '30s, the area was cleared for the first man-made ski trail in this part of the United States, although it wasn’t until 1975 that Winter Park opened Mary Jane Mountain for winter sports.
Mary Jane’s Birthday Bash will take place right on that piece of land. “This big thing that we’re doing is a 1970s-themed costume party that’s kicked off at the base, and that’s something that we’ve never done before,” Hurlbert says. “We’ll be holding a costume contest from twelve to four that afternoon, and we’re also doing a mogul duel for the first time.” Since Mary Jane is known for her bumpy terrain, the park will set up a course along Rainbow Cut. Participants must compete with a partner, and will be judged on speed, style and 1970s costume.
“The winner of Mary Jane’s Mogul Duel will be awarded a limited edition Mary Jane’s 40th T-shirt,” Hurlbert adds. “Each participant is also entered into a raffle we’ll be doing, where we’ll be giving away a special pair of Mary Jane custom HG powder skis.”
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Mary Jane’s Birthday Bash, set for Saturday, January 30, at the base of Mary Jane, will also feature snow sculptures by each lift, a photo booth, a bonfire, music by Hunker Down from noon to 4 p.m., and a group chorus of "Happy Birthday" to Mary Jane at 3:15 p.m, right before the raffle at 3:45 p.m. After the party on the mountain ends, the action moves to downtown Winter Park, which will host a parade and fireworks at 6 p.m. For more information about Mary Jane’s Birthday Bash or the Winter Park Carnival, visit winterparkresort.com.