Winter Park Fall Vacations

Aspen colors in coloradoFall is a beautiful time to visit Winter Park, particularly if you time it just right with the peak turning of the aspen leaves, or the annual elk rut.

A quieter time of the year, you can still enjoy a host of mountain activities, but without the crowds or busy event calendar of the summer months.

Winter Park Resort remains open throughout the week for downhill access until September 28th (Village Adventure Park is open at the weekends only), and the conditions are fantastic, as we move out of the august monsoon cycle, to the draw crisp temperatures of September.  For those that prefer to go under their own pedal power, the options are limitless for riding quiet trails through the stunning fall colors.

The Winter Park & Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce has just released their Top 10 Colorful Bike Rides for Fall, take a peek here.  All of these trails are good for biking, or hiking, and offer amazing valley views.

Rocky Mountain National Park is a must if you are hoping for a little wildlife viewing during the elk rut (click here to see our ‘stuck in a rut’ blog), and even keep your eyes peeled around Winter Park for Yogi and friends as our big furry friends wander through town in hopes of finding an unattended pic-a-nic bas-ket/unlocked dumpster.

Fall is also a fantastic time to take a horseback ride in the valley.  The horses enjoy the cooler temperatures, and adopting their four legged form of travel will allow you a better chance of getting close to elk & moose migrating through the valley.   We highly recommend Cabin Creek Stables at Devils Thumb Ranch, as a great horse program offering small sized group rides, through seemingly endless aspen groves.

For the avid golfers out there, our highly acclaimed courses at Pole Creek, Granby Ranch & Grand Elk stay open until the snow flies (generally making it through October).   As a quieter time of the year, don’t be at all surprised to find yourself teeing off to empty greens, save for the odd moose or elk that might decide to stop by!

Take a trip to Grand Lake to play around on boats, head to Kremmling for a raft trip down the Upper Colorado, or simply snuggle up in your mountain vacation rental with your special someone.  No matter what your preference, there’s still plenty going on, in and around Winter Park during the early fall months.

For more information or guidance on booking a fall getaway to Winter Park, call one of our friendly vacation planners at Winter Park Lodging Company.


Ski Movies To Get You Excited For Winter

As the leaves begin to turn, and frost begins appearing in the early mornings, I can’t help but get a little bit giddy for Winter; and apparently, I’m not the only one.

Freeskier Magazine have just published their Trailer Time list of ski movies to get you in the mood for ski season.  The big names are all in there including Warren Miller, Teton Gravity Research, Whiteroom Productions, plus a lot of up and coming movie makers that seem to be making their mark in a big way.


“While some thermometers might suggest otherwise, another ski season is fast approaching. For many skiers, the best way to look forward to the impending pow days and park sessions is by taking a look back at the winter gone by. This perennial ritual keeps many snow-starved skiers from slipping into the grip of insanity, and video production companies are happy to help. After devoting an entire season to amassing thousands of clips, these filmmakers spend countless hours whittling the footage down into a neat, tidy package: the trailer.

Keeping with the tradition FREESKIER started in 2005, we’ve collected all of this year’s best ski movie trailers and displayed them below—in one, easy-to-find spot—for your viewing pleasure. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the best that the 2013/14 season had to offer.”  -  Copyright Freeskier.

Click here to check out the full article and clips in Freeskier Magazine’s Trailer Time.

Of course, many of the classics just can’t be beat,  Blizzard of Ahhhs, Yearbook and Steep immediately come to mind, but my firm favorite (and only reason I still own a VCR) has to be Aspen Extreme.

Tagged as ‘Top Gun on skis’ by the Seattle Times, the fictional movie follows TJ & Dexter as they make the move from blue collar workers in Brighton, Michigan, to ski instructors in Aspen, Colorado.   Mixing the right amount of cheesy drama (ski school rivalry, drugs, the local man-eater) with killer ski sequences (featuring Scott Schmidt, Doug Coombs and more), Aspen Extreme is my #1 of ski movie to get you revved up for winter.


Summer Tubing Fun Near Winter Park

YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch Opens Summer Tubing Hill

YMCA Summer Tubing

Image courtesy of Snow Mountain Ranch YMCA

Who says you need snow to hurtle down a mountain on an inflatable donut?  

The fun loving adventure hounds at the YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch have raised the bar with the opening of their year-round Snowflex tubing hill.

What-now?  Snowflex is a revolutionary man-made surface that mimics the absorption and sliding quality of groomed ski trails.  Hailing from Britain (where snow is a rare commodity and mainly limited to the Scottish highlands), the Snowflex system was designed to allow ski and snowboard enthusiasts a year round surface on which they could hone their skills.  For those familiar with the traditional plastic-carpet-style ‘dry’ ski slopes, this is a whole other beast…and a much more user friendly one at that!   This Snowflex slope is the first of its kind in Colorado, and just the 3rd to be built in the entire US.   

The Snowflex Tubing Hill at Snow Mountain Ranch is designed with rollers and short steeps that make for a really fun ride.    Using the same type of inflatable tube that you would for winter tubing, you can go round and round as many times as you like, without even loosing your breath thanks to the magic carpet escalator.   There’s also a handy concession hut at the top of the tubing hill, which makes for a great shady spot for parents or little ones to hang out in, while the older laugh themselves tired on the slopes.


The tubing hill will be open year round, and is only for tubing purposes – no skiing or snowboard at this time.   Off-site guests must purchase a day visitor pass to the facilities at Snow Mountain Ranch which will give them access to the tubing hill, and many of  the other activities on offer at the Y, including swimming pool, mini golf, tennis courts, hiking and biking trails.

YMCA Daily Activity Pass

13 and older: $35 per person
6-12 years old: $25 per person
3-5 years old: $15 per person

For further information on the tubing hill and other activities on offer at Snow Mountain Ranch, call 970-887-2152 ext 4135.

Rocky Mountain Centennial Year

rocky mountain vacationsSeptember 2014 marks Rocky Mountain National Park’s 100th anniversary.

This special centennial celebration will be marked by a calendar of events including guest speakers, art exhibitions, guided tours and more. To get the full schedule of planned events at Rocky Mountain National Park, click here.

We firmly believe that Rocky Mountain National Park is one of Colorado’s special treasures, and highly recommend putting it on your Winter Park to-do list.

The west entrance to the park is a located just 45 minutes north-west of Winter Park, just past the town of Grand Lake (well worth a visit in itself).

Spanning 415 square miles of breathtaking mountain wilderness, Rocky Mountain Park offers 300 miles of hiking trails spider webbing off of the infamous Trail Ridge Road which crests at 12,000 feet.

Columbine Lake Trail Hike in Winter Park, ColoradoSightings of large herds of elk, deer, moose are commonplace (even from the road), and offer budding photographers spectacular images against a back drop of dramatic alpine peaks. A short hike from any of the parking areas will transport you to your own private wilderness where you can encounter yet more wildlife, and an untouched landscape of natural meadows, rivers and forest.

Normal entrance fees to Rocky Mountain National Park are $20 per vehicle, and the pass can be used for a full 7 days from the day of purchase.  Pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles & mopeds are admitted for just $10, with the same 7 day revisit allowance.

Free Entrance Days!

Special calendar dates enjoy special benefits at Rocky Mountain National Park, including free admission days.  August 25th marks the National Park Service’s 98th Birthday, and offers free entry to all National Parks, including Rocky Mountain.


We think this is a perfect opportunity for our guests to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, and are offering a special lodging deal to help you extend the weekend, and enjoy a day in the park this August 25th, 2014.


  • Stay must be for 3 nights or more, and include the evening of either August 24th, or August 25th 2015.
  • Offer valid at most, but not all properties
  • Must book by August 23rd. 

Book Online Today

Winter Park Resort 2014/15 Opening Dates

first week of skiing 012 Winter Park ColoradoWinter Park Resort has announced it 2014/15 operating dates as November 13th, 2014 – April 26th, 2015.

That makes it just 99 days to ski season!

Last ski season at Winter Park saw 377.5 inches of snow fall, and an extended season thanks to the mega snow pack that just refused to go.  Early indicators are hinting for a similar weather pattern this year…so keep doing that snow dance and keep your powder planks handy.

The introduction of the Cirque sled was all the buzz in  in 2013/14, and it’s sure to be another winner again this year too…who can argue with $10 annual sled pass?

This year however, the talk of the Village is most certainly the additional of Lunch Rock restaurant at Mary Jane.  This vast, 16,000 square foot, eating and gathering venue is rapidly taking shape at the top of the Super Gauge lift, and is going to make for a whole new experience Jane Side.   Check out last month’s Lunch Rock blog to learn more.

Ready to start planning your Winter Park ski vacation?    Book today to take advantage of our huge early bird winter lodging sale and take a whopping 33% off your entire stay.


  • Valid for all winter stays, except 12/25/14 – 01/02/15
  • Valid for most, but not all properties.
  • Must book by 08/31/14.
  • All lodging reservations enjoy special guest discounts on lift tickets, rentals and more.




We are also offering Christmas night & New Years night FREE if you book a stay from December 25th – January 2nd, plus many more lodging specials through out the year.

Winter Park Lodging Specials


Winter Park Business News

Summer has sprouted a few new businesses around Winter Park, and seen a growth spurt in others.  Here’s this month’s round up of Winter Park business news.

Volario’s at Vasquez Creek Inn
The good folks at Devil’s Thumb are ready to showcase their great taste in food and dining  at the soft opening of Volario’s this August 15th.

With a full remodel of both restaurant and menu, we will officially bid a fond farewell to one of Winter Park’s old time favorites (Gasthaus Eichler), and a big ‘Hello’ to what will surely become the hot new ticket in town.

Serving a full menu of Meditteranean delights from 4pm daily, Volario’s will be offering apres ski antipasta, stone baked pizzettas, traditional Meditteranean entrees, and a special menu bambini for the little ‘uns.

Price point wise, it’s also a big thumbs up.  Antipasta plates will go from $4-14, Pizzettas from $13-16, and Entres from $25-29; and anyone who has sampled the Ranch House Restaurant at Devils Thumb, knows that you can expect a very high standard of food & service for those prices.

For more info, check out

Out Door Restaurants winter park co

Image courtesy of DaVinci

All Decked Out At Da Vinci
Diners are now soaking up the sun, along with the stellar views on the new sun deck at Da Vinci in Cooper Creek Square.

Extending its cool vibe outdoors has been a major project for Da Vinci, and a nice little face lift for the external north face of downtown’s favorite mall.

We highly recommend checking it out over a spot of lunch this summer, and putting it on your list of apres-ski haunts, as we suspect it’s going to be an awesome spot to watch the alpenglow light up the continental divide this winter.

For the latest Da Vinci news and events, visit

Hideaway Park Brewery
Winter Park welcomes its first nano-brewery in the form of Hideaway Park Brewery.

Located next door to Fraser Valley Hot Dog, Hideaway Park Brewery is a fabulously unpretentious tap bar offering hand crafted beers (that are brewing all around you), and a good bit of banter while you’re supping on your brew of choice.

The on-tap menu includes an IPA, summer ale, stout and red ales; and while the brewery will not be serving food, they will allow you to bring in a box of your favorite take out to munch on while you’re having a drink.

Hideaway Park Brewery is open Wednesdays – Sundays, on an afternoon/early evening schedule, so be sure to check out the opening times below to make sure you stop by at the right time.

Summer opening hours:Wednesday/Thursday from 3 PM – 7 PM, Friday/Saturday from 12 PM – 8 PM, and Sunday from 12 Noon – 6 PM.

Want to know more?  Visit

Lunch Rock At Mary Jane

New Restaurant On The Slopes Of Mary Jane

Lunch Rock Restaurant, winter park resortExciting news for the upcoming 2014/15 season at Winter Park Resort: a brand new Lunch Rock will be opening it’s doors at the summit of Mary Jane.

Out with the old and in with the new, was definitely the theme of this exciting new development at Winter Park Resort.  

In a nutshell, the characterful but outdated (and outgrown!) Lunch Rock Cafe is no more…and the new and improved 16,000 ft Lunch Rock Restaurant is currently under construction.  

As more and more skiers flock to the Jane Side to access Parsenn Bowl, Vasquez Ridge, The Cirque, Eagle Wind and the bumps of Mary Jane, it became clear to the management at Winter Park Resort, that skiers really needed a better equipped meeting and eating spot on the Jane Side.   The new Lunch Rock Restaurant will feature an expansive 150 seat sun deck, and 250 seat indoor restaurant and bar, set inside a stunning structure that reflects the mountain elements and history of Winter Park.  Constructed of steel, wood & stone, the restaurant design will feature beetle kill pine, and energy saving strategies that support the resort’s eco-friendly policies.

In the words of Gary DeFrange, President & COO of Winter Park Resort:

“We wanted a bigger facility,” says Gary DeFrange, President and COO of Winter Park Resort. “But as we thought about what this facility should be, we wanted to make sure we stayed with the tradition, so the building needed to look like it belonged and it needed to look like it was really something we would build at Mary Jane. As you look at the architecture, you’ll see that.”

Although most visitors will enjoy the Lunch Rock Restaurant during a well deserved mid day break from skiing, the facility will also be available for weddings, retreats and corporate events.

See the whole story, and view a short film of the conceptualization and construction of the Lunch Rock Restaurant at


Picking The Right Vacation Rental

New Intereactive Floorplans Make Choosing The Right Vacation Rental Even Easier

Winter Park VacationsWe understand that planning a vacation can be a tricky business: there’s activities to plan, transportation to arrange, equipment to rent, and finding the right vacation rental for all your family’s needs.

At Winter Park Lodging Company, we’re always trying to make the booking process easier, so that you can spend less time trawling through endless websites, and more time planning the fun stuff.

One of the big reasons our guests love to chat with our reservation team during the booking process, is so that they can ask specific questions about the layout of the property.

We understand that most families or groups are going to have specific needs when it comes to sleeping arrangements.  For example, parents are going to want to know the proximity of their room to the kids’ room, guests with mobility challenges are going to want to know how many flights of stairs there are in the property, and multi-family groups are going to be looking for at least two living spaces with entertainment outlets for the children.

Long story short, we recognized the need for floor plans in our property listings.  And not just any old floor plan, we wanted a plan that would take our guests on a virtual tour of our vacation homes, with a birds eye view of the floor plan for each level of the home, plus full color photos.

Partnering with cutting edge floor plan provider TruPlace, we are excited to announce that we have completed floor plans for 30% of our properties currently feature an interactive floor plan, and we intend to have the remaining 70% completed by the end of September.
Vacation rentals with floorplans

How do they work?  Simply click on the floor plan button on our property listing and a complete plan of the home will appear on your screen.

An image is shown in the center of the screen, with the floor plan on the right side of the screen.  Now, hover your mouse pointer on different rooms on the floor plan, and you will see the image change to a view of each of the areas you hover on.  You can even see key views from some of the rooms or decks by pausing your mouse on each of the dots.

Notice also, the tabs at the top of the floor plan.  Click on each of the levels (Main, Upper, Lower, All) to see the specific layout of each floor.

Or, perhaps you would prefer to see a complete gallery of all of the images, including exterior shots, garages, and shared amenities?   Click on the tabs above the main image to view a more traditional view of the full gallery, slideshow and a mapped location of the property.

Initial feedback from our guests has been extremely positive, with many saying they’ve never felt more confident in booking a vacation rental.    Additionally, many of our property owners have shared that they love looking through some of the other properties in our program, to get inspiration for interior design ideas and furnishing updates.

Take a look for yourself.   We’ve offered a quick selection of some of our vacation homes with floor plans below.   Click on the links below to open the listing, then click the FLOOR PLAN TOUR button to open up the interactive floor plan and gallery portal.

High end vacation rentals in winter park

Base Camp 456

4 bedroom loft at winter park resort

Base VIllage Loft 101

modern condos in winter park

Trailhead Lodges 723

Modern Townhome on free shuttle

Elk Trail Townhouse

Music On The Mall at Winter Park

Things to do in winter park coloradoGet A Taste For Cooper Creek Square This Summer

Many of you will be familiar with quality shops and restuarants in Downtown Winter Park’s Cooper Creek Square.

For those who have yet to discover its charms, you’ll find a great mix of artisan crafts, souveniers, coffee shops and fine dining options, plus a selection of free events throughout the year.

Regular Events At Cooper Creek Square

Music On The Mall…And A Little Something On The Side
Every Friday (through August 29th), 6pm – 8pm

New this year, Cooper Creek Square is offering a tasty addition its Music On The Mall free music series: free courtyard table service from any Cooper Creek Square restaurant!   Simply grab a table around the stage & fountain, and an onsite server will offer you a special Music on the Mall menu with tasty offerings from Casa Mexico, DaVinci, New Hong Kong, Mountain Grind, Smokin’ Moes, Star of India & The Sushi Bar.

We LOVE this concept, because each table of diners can order from multiple retaurants at once, avoiding the ‘where shall we go’ discussion.   Add some cracking live music, and we have ourselves a winner!

Live Music, Face Painting, Bouncy House & Balloons
family mountain vacation
Every Saturday (through August 9th), 1pm – 4pm

 A little something for all the family; enjoy an afternoon of live music, face painting, crafts, a bouncy house, kids play area and a balloon artist.

Free Carriage Rides
Every Saturday (through September 13th), 3pm – 7pm

Clippety-clop, take a ride round the block!  A free horse-drawn carraige ride is the perfect accompaniment to dinner on ‘Restaurant Row’.


Looking for more ways to have fun on your family vacation to Winter Park? 

CLICK HERE to check out our Winter Park Resort summer activity guide.

CLICK HERE for our latest lodging deals in Winter Park, Colorado.


Winter 2015 Predictions

El Nino Planning A Visit?

Best skiing in americaI know, I know,its July.  Like everybody else in the nation, I am fully in the throws of BBQs, Biking and Boating…and yet, when i’m standing in line at the check out, I inadvertantly find myself scanning the shelves for the 2015 Farmers Almanac.

Nope, I’m not turning to turning to potato farming, but I am hoping to cultivate a few powder turns this winter, and the Almanca is my little teaser of what mother nature might throw our way.

Technically, the Alamanac doesn’t go on sale until late August; but the good folks at have been chatting with NOAA to bring us a little teaser of what may be in store this 2015 Ski Season.

One little disclaimer, we are still 6 months out from winter, and weather patterns can change, so consider this a tentative forecast.   But if there’s a glimmer of truth to it…we could be in for an EPIC season!

Winter 2015 snow forecast“Based on the latest temperature readings from the Pacific the scientist at NOAA believe that the 2014-2015 winter season will be heavily effected by an El Niño. It is still unclear how strong of an El Niño we should expect but it may be the strongest we have seen since the 1997-98 event.

So what does this mean for us skiers?

Colorado: Interesting news for Front Range powder-hounds: According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research, 20-inch snowstorms are almost twice as likely to occur during El Niño years as neutral years. Most monster storms, though, hit during spring and fall, while mid-winters are relatively dry. Bust your skis out early and don’t get discouraged by a snow-free January – a late-season blizzard could be just around the corner.

- Quoted from   For the full article, click here to visit

We’ll update you with additional snow forecasts as they begin taking shape; but if you are feeling excited about the prospect of a big early season entrance, take a peek at our early bird ski special:

Stay Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve for FREE!