Trip Report: Winter Park - Jan/Feb 2022
led us to Winter Park, and it was a great trip. It’s hard to believe that I‘ve been in the Peninsula Ski Club for almost thirty years and not been on a Colorado trip until now. (My fault entirely.)
I asked for input from the rest of the participants and got quite a few responses. One of the nicer features of the trip was the travel arrangements. It was mentioned by several contributors. I was looking forward to the direct flight from Norfolk to Denver and the two-hour scenic bus ride in daylight to the mountain. The only snag for me was that, afraid that the HRBT might be backed up due to an approaching snowstorm, Janice, Chris, Mahyar and I crossed early and spent half the night at the Norfolk Airport. Others also made the crossing early and stayed with members who lived on the southside. We do have some very nice people in our club. The flight was delayed about ninety minutes for de-icing but the storm did not seem to affect us thereafter. The bus ride was pleasant including the hour stop for stocking up on groceries and other refreshments. The scenery was great, but I think most had seen it before and just napped.
Our room at the Vintage Hotel was excellent, very comfortable and the kitchenette was great for making our own breakfasts and a couple of evening meals. Getting to the mountain in the morning was pretty easy. It was a short walk from the front door to the Cabriolet, but after the three-minute Cabriolet ride we had to traverse the length of the Village to get to the Gondola. I guess they expected us to window shop along the way. The promised wagons were a little help. One kid offered to pull me, but he wanted fifty dollars for it. Once we got to the Gondola though, it was easy to get around the mountain.
The skiing was great as reported by many contributors. The variety and number of trails was mentioned by several people. I signed up for First Tracks with my son, Chris, and a few others. Getting to hit the mountain before everyone else was nice, and having the guide was good since I get directionally challenged on the slopes for some reason. Cindy and John skied all six days and loved the conditions especially on the Parsenn Bowl trails through the trees. Chris and I enjoyed following them through Paint Brush several times. Cindy had high praise for Jeannette and Alterra for the trip for its cost, travel convenience, and the dining opportunities in the Village. She was pleased to take advantage of the IKON pass.
Getting the early start and trying to keep up with Chris wore me out early each day, so I did not have the energy to ski with everyone I wanted to. I have to say the altitude probably had a little to do with that, too. It affected several of us. Even our Ski Pro said she “really enjoyed sucking air” and “feeling like an old lady.” She was very appreciative of the elevators. She liked the skiing, though, only falling a “few times” and did not get run over by the crowds on Sunday and Friday. She enjoyed skiing with Terry, Kay, and Cindy, and cluing them in on the techniques of bump skiing. They faced the challenge bravely and did great. She also noted that she was very gratified that Steve was planting his poles while cruising now. Steve mentioned that he was grateful for her advice.
People enjoyed other activities, too. Janice, Chris and I walked around Fraser and a nearby park on Sunday and visited a brew pub and found the Distillery, which had an interesting menu though we never found the time to get back to it.
Janice, Mahyar and I took Thursday off and hiked into the National Forest across from the resort up the trail along Jim Creek. The snow was three to four feet deep, but as long as we stayed on the path, the packed snow supported us in our hiking boots. We think we got within a half mile of the end of the trail before snow drifts obscured the trail and we had to turn back. The woods were so peaceful and the scenery was beautiful both near and far.
Janice took a snowshoe tour from the top of the Gondola and really enjoyed her guide, Josiah, whom she had all to herself. He described the various features in the park and its history. He described the origin and current use of the Mary Jane cabins. She also enjoyed snowshoeing on her own as well and was impressed by the variety of the terrain available.
Fred had a great trip. He said he did a couple of things he hadn’t done before, like Sno-Go, a ski tricycle. He also went snowshoeing at 5:00 in the evening, when the temperature was 4 below, and a great time was had by all.
Ronnie really enjoyed the hot tub after a hard day of skiing and I’m pretty sure that Kay and Terry enjoyed it, too. I don’t know where else they would have been going in their bathrobes and with glasses of wine in their hands. Judging from the laughter coming in from our open window, I suspect there were a few others indulging with them.
The personnel shortage we had heard about did not really affect things very much. The hotel restaurant was shut down due to lack of personnel, but being able to have meals in the hotel room was very nice and convenient. Many of us found excellent dining options around the Village. We had delicious meals at the Lime and at the Vertical Restaurant. I heard that Goody's and Mexicali Taco Co. had great breakfasts. The group dinner at Hernando’s was very nice. Ronnie said he got plenty to eat, and the crowd was lively. Steve was fascinated that the wall was covered with laminated US currency. I can’t swear it was real money, but it sure looked like it.
There were a few complaints. Some found the absence of printed trail maps annoying. Some people thought there should be better signage on the slopes, while others thought it was more than adequate. Of course, the altitude bothered a few of us, and while the weather was very nice for most of our stay, the “bitter” cold on Wednesday drove some to stay indoors or to do other activities. So basically things we knew about or should have expected.
A recurring comment from contributors was that Jeannette arranged a great trip.
Jeannette, you worked hard to put it together and it showed. Thank you so much.
Photos courtesy of Mahyar, Tom, and Fred. For lots more, see the Winter Park 2022 photo album.
Well, I finally got to ski in Colorado.