Route 66 Cities Beaches





We've skiied almost every slope in the continental United States and we prefer Winterpark in Colorado. There are many outstanding ski resorts in the country, and there's always the lure of Whistler Blackcomb or Tremblant in Canada. Jackson Hole is the most challenging and Whitefish Mountain has the most powder. But for our purposes Winterpark is perfect and we think it may be perfect for you, too. First, back East, schools schedule Spring Break in mid to late March or the first week of April. Many resorts are either closed or have fewer than half their slopes still operating. Because it faces North and East and is on the Continental Divide, Winterpark is still fully open. Second, since Intrawest took over as the operator for the city of Denver, it has poured millions into updating and new construction. Third, Winterpark has the finest ski school in the country, whether for children, teenagers, adults or handicapped skiiers. Fourth, all other amenities aside, we come to a ski resort to ski. And this is the finest across the board skiing in the country. Whatever you want : greens, blues, blacks, moguls, long cruising runs, off trail, powder, it doesn't matter. A family or group can thus come to Winter Park and various members can find a week's worth of slopes at their level.
Winterpark has more blues and high greens than any of the other major resorts. And many of the blues and high greens are long cruising runs, not the abbreviated runs of other resorts. We also like the fact that Winterpark is so BIG you can ski there a week and not keep retracing routes. It's the biggest resort in the nation. Mary Jane, the mogul capital of North America, was once a completely separate resort. The Parsenne Bowl was once wilderness area. We like the fact that if you stay here a week, you're almost certain to see at least one major snow which will probably close the highway passes coming in, clog traffic in the valley and require the railroad to bring out the big snowplow engines, always fun to watch. We like the fact that the crowds head for Vail, Aspen, Copper and Breckinridge so there are rarely lift lines at Winterpark. There will be a lot of people here, but it covers so vast an area that they disperse over all the trails and don't jam any one area. And finally we like the fact that it's still Colorado's best kept secret so prices for lodging, skiing and eating out are way below its rival resorts.
Not only is Winterpark an easy two day drive by interstate from Kentucky, but Amtrak passenger trains stop twice a day, and the Ski Train stops once a day. When we say stop, we mean right at the main lodge at the base of the slopes. So you could combine an Amtrak trip, which is special in itself, with a ski trip. You could come in by train a couple of different ways. First, you could take Amtrak all the way. This would involve taking the Cardinal or Capitol Limited, then changing trains in Chicago for the 24 hour trip to Winterpark. Your train will stop in Denver but you don't change trains. Or you could fly into Denver and take the Ski Train from there to Winterpark, a one hour commute.

We also like the lodging options in Winterpark. There is plenty of lodging right at the base of the slopes.

If you're coming alone or as a couple or a family, we highly recommend Timberhouse, a classic ski lodge. Tucked in the trees on the Billy Wood Trail, your rates include breakfast and dinner and afternoon tea by the fireplace. There's a pool table, ping pong, sauna and outdoor hot tub. Over Spring Break they offer a $55 a night special which covers room and meals.

The base village includes the usual condo style accommodations with fire places and kitchens. They're new and as nice as any units anywhere.

Further down in the old village are chalets and homes suitable for larger groups. We've rented three of those units over the years for groups of 12-15 and had a great time. There is a shuttle bus which roams the village in a continuous loop, coming back by the same stop every 45 minutes, and dropping you right at the base of the lifts.

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