It’s finally arrived! To celebrate, here’s a lovely song to listen to while you watch the snow fall with us!
Just think, you’ll be flying down the slopes in no time.
Speaking of flying down the slopes…did you know that we are just six short weeks to Winter Park Resort’s ski season opening day of November 17th?!
With the countdown officially on, it’s time to shape up for ski season. Take a peak at our feature on Ski Vacation Workouts for our top tips on getting your body ready for the slopes.
Or, if you prefer to do your training on the slopes, check out our early ski season lodging special, save 20% on 3 night stays between November 17th – December 18th, including Thanksgiving!
We hope to see you soon!
Debs Bridge October 4th, 2015
I do, I do, and with all this talk of El Nino, we might just get one.
You can’t have missed the all the talk on the news of the El Nino weather pattern that continues to grow in the Pacific Ocean, and what that cycle might mean for skiers this coming winter.
References to ‘Godzilla’ and comparative studies to the 1998 El Nino (AKA the ‘King Kong’ of `98) that smothered Colorado in feet of powder suggest that we could indeed be in for a MONSTER ski season. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.
So what exactly is El Nino? Well, after extensive research, I was able to put together the following definitions.
El Nino – Defined By Dictionary.com as:
A warm ocean current of variable intensity that develops after late December along the cost of Ecuador and Peru and sometimes cause catastrophic weather conditions.
El Nino – Defined By Old Time Skiers as: Powder
El Nino – Defined By Chris Farely as:
Yes, it’s still a little early in the day to make definite predictions, but with all this crazy weather talk, this half-full kind of gal is eyeballing some new powder skis for this ski season!
While we’re on the subject of the upcoming ski season, Winter Park has a couple of changes going on that are well worth mentioning.
The first, is the introduction of new Hands-Free RFTD lift passes. These chip embedded passes will replace all paper tickets and should significantly speed up the lift boarding process at all base area lifts.
How do they work? Simple. Skiers just stow away the pass in their jacket pocket and the soon to be installed lift gates will automatically open when the pass holder walks through the scanner. Rumor has it that your ski pass photo might also pop up for the Lift Crew to verify you as the pass holder, so make sure you smile pretty for the camera this year.
Next up for discussion is the opening and closing of a couple of stores and restaurants opening in Base Village. Rocky Mountain Eyewear (next to Riverside Spirits) has been replaced by a traditional Candy Sweet Shop with an awesome selection of yumminess guaranteed to have your kids bouncing off the walls in no time. The other big change is the departure of the Cheeky Monk, we’ve not heard what it will be replaced with yet, but will keep you posted with any updates.
The last (and admittedly very unofficial, but a gem of a rumor), is that we’ve head a whisper in the wind that Winter Park Resort is toying with the idea of taking on A-Basin & Loveland as the ‘Last Man Skiing’ resort for 2016. Nothing has been confirmed by Winter Park Resort, and the last official word on the street was that the resort is still scheduled to close in Mid April, but the rumor going around town is that there’s a possibility that areas of the resort could stay open as late as May 7th???
Whatever the truth, so long as El Nino does his thing, we’re going to be in for an epic 2015/2016 ski season, so plan on coming up to Winter Park to join in the fun.
To browse our 145+vacation rentals in snowy Winter Park, CLICK HERE.
@[email protected] August 29th, 2015
If you haven’t experienced autumn in the mountains, trust us, you’re missing out! Every season up here offers its own unique beauty, but the changing of the aspens is perhaps one of the most awe-inspiring experiences you and your family can have together. We love how easily the vibrant trees lend themselves to beautiful photos and fond memories. That’s why we’ve hand-picked a list of our favorite scenic drives and destinations to watch this incredible phenomenon. Grab a latte and your camera, and hit the road. You’re in for an amazing day of leaf-watching.
Meadow Creek Reservoir (Map)
Driving above Devil’s Thumb gets you to this serene reservoir, surrounded by trees and wildlife. Picnic areas at this spot include fire pits, so you can make s’mores and hot chocolate while you relax and watch the leaves.
Devil’s Thumb (Map)
This destination is a wonderful place to walk around, or enjoy a beer by the bonfire as the sunsets. Even better, catch a sunset and see the alpenglow over the mountains over the trees.
Snow Mountain Ranch (Map)
The YMCA/Snow Mountain Ranch is just a short drive from Winter Park, nestled alongside Highway 40 in Granby. The ranch itself is a beautiful place to hang out, but it’s also the start to a number of hiking trails to get up close and personal with nature.
Columbine Lake Trail (Map) This fantastic and well-maintained hike takes you through the Indian Peaks wilderness. It’s a moderate hike, a gradual incline with a few scrambles, and the views are striking.
Trail Ridge (Map) Trail Ridge Road is the name for Highway 34, which traverses Rocky Mountain National Park, a picturesque setting to not only see the leaves, but for an incredible wildlife experience during the yearly Elk Rut. (More info on the elks here!)
Cottonwood Pass* (Map) A short drive from Hot Sulphur Springs, this is one of those routes you won’t soon forget. Deemed by many a “mountain wonderland,” this is the epitome of nature’s idyllic beauty.
Monarch Lake* (Map) The drive to the trailhead of Monarch Lake is incredibly scenic, running alongside the water through Grand Lake. You’ll love the feel of this well-maintained trail, with superb views of the trees changing all around you.
Bring your camera and come on up, hope to see you soon! If you are planning a leaf-spotting vacation in Colorado, click here take a peek at our 140+ modern vacation rentals in Winter Park .
Debs Bridge August 28th, 2015
So they say, an ounce of cure is worth a pound of prevention, and the best way to pack for your mountain stay is to come prepared. That doesn’t mean you have to pack an insanely full car, either! We’ve compiled a list of must-haves (and must-skips) to make sure you can pack light and enjoy your stay.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When you’re in Winter Park, follow the above advice for a fabulous fall mountain getaway!
Pack your bags and come on up, hope to see you soon! If you are planning your fall or winter vacation in Colorado, click here take a peek at our 140+ modern vacation rentals in Winter Park .
Debs Bridge August 28th, 2015
Tempting though it may be to chase after animals for that fantastic Instagram photo, the wildlife in Grand County can pose a serious risk to hikers and bikers. When provoked, an animal attack can be deadly, both to you and the animal, so if you’re lucky enough to spot one, please observe from a distance!
Here are a few tips for hikers who want to avoid hostile animal encounters in the wild.
So, what to do if you accidentally cross paths with a potentially dangerous animal? If avoidance doesn’t work, your next steps can save your life.
Moose: These guys can be unpredictable, and are perhaps the most dangerous of encounters you may have. They’re enormous, and faster than you. If you see a moose, wait patiently for it to move along, or slowly retreat the other way. If the moose appears agitated (ears back, lips smacking) it’s time to retreat. Get between two trees and wait for the moose to leave. If he charges, RUN. DO NOT STAND YOUR GROUND. More information on moose encounters here.
Bears: You may notice that locals differ in opinion on what to do if you encounter a bear. Most encounters with our county’s black bears will be peaceful and non-aggressive. Still, it’s best to avoid contact to prevent an attack. If you see them from afar, make some noise to alert them to your presence so they can retreat. Respect its space, and always give the bear an escape route. If the route isn’t clear, as a last resort you can try to “move” the bear by “getting big,” that is, lifting your jacket over your head and demanding that the bear “GET OUT OF HERE.” If the bear is acting aggressively (say, a mama bear defending her cubs), listen to her message. You’re too close and she wants you to leave, so the polite thing to do is comply. More information on bear encounters here.
Lions: If you see a mountain lion, she has already seen you (so they say). Take this encounter very seriously. It’s time to create some distance, backing away while facing the lion. “Get big” with your jacket, and speak slowly, firmly and loudly to let this predator know that you’re a big guy too. If the lion lunges, fight back by any means possible. Protect your neck and throat, and use whatever tools you have on hand to fend off the lion. More information on lion encounters here.
Now, hopefully we haven’t scared you! Animal encounters are rare, but it’s best to be prepared just in case. Sometimes on a quiet evening, you get the chance to see a fox or an elk walk through your back yard, and there’s truly nothing better than watching them from a distance.
We hope to see you soon! If you are planning a summer hiking vacation in Colorado, click here take a peek at our 140+ modern vacation rentals in Winter Park .
Debs Bridge July 29th, 2015
Nothing ruins a vacation faster than one of your group becoming afflicted with a very preventable ailment, especially when it happens right at the beginning of the trip! The rules are a little different above 9,000 feet, so we’ve compiled a list to help you make the most of your mountain getaway.
To avoid altitude sickness, High Country Healthcare recommends the following:
If you notice a wet cough, or that any of your symptoms (headache, nausea) are not getting better, seek medical attention immediately. More information from the CDC.
Word of the day: Reapply! Make sure to consistently reapply sunscreen while you’re outside. More information on sun care from the CDC.
Before you hike, check the forecast and locations of shelters. If you can’t complete a hike before the storm, reschedule for another day.
If you’re already on the mountain and you notice a storm rolling in, do not wait until it’s raining to find shelter. Lightning can be present without rain! Find shelter, avoid open areas, and do not place yourself under the tallest object. If you’re in a group, spread out and run back to shelter or your vehicle. For more lightning safety tips, check out the National Weather Service Lightning Safety Page.
Thanks for reading! With a little knowledge and preparation, we know you’ll love your Winter Park trip. See you soon! If you are planning a summer hiking vacation in Colorado, click here take a peek at our 140+ modern vacation rentals in Winter Park .
Debs Bridge July 28th, 2015
It is fair to say that when the snow starts flying, the big focus in Winter Park is the world class skiing to be had at Winter Park Resort. But we all need a day away from the slopes from time to time, and with so many other activities on offer, it would be a crying shame to go home without trying out at least a couple of the following.
Zip your way up to the Continental Divide and feel like you are on top of the world with Grand Adventures Snowmobile Tours. Take in incredible views of the Winter Park Ski Resort, Fraser Valley & the Front Range Mountains during this beginner friendly 2 hour tour. Perfect for the beginner to intermediate riders and families looking to experience Colorado’s backcountry on a snowmobile.
There’s something distinctly romantic about ice skating on a real pond as snowflakes fall around you. Winter Park has a variety of ice skating venues on offer at little or no cost to any would be Nancy Kerrigans out there.
If you’ve ever yearned to take a break from the high speed chase we call modern life and make a return to the more traditional values of good old fashioned ranchin’, it’s time you took a Feed Sleigh Ride at Cabin Creek Stables of Devil’s Thumb Ranch.
If you’ve ever longed to feel like Nanook and command your own sled of dogs, have we got the adventure for you. Winter Park Lodging Company has partnered with Dog Sled Rides of Winter Park to provide our guests with an exhilarating-once-in-a-life-time ride.
A favorite activity among locals and visitors, young and old, families and friends is snow tubing and sledding. Winter Park and the Fraser Valley has a variety of locations to choose from.
Snowshoeing is a great and inexpensive way to escape the crowds and enjoy the simple splendor of reconnecting with mother nature. Winter Park is home to a vast network of public trails that offer everything from an easy stroll along a sparkling creek bed, to a heart pumping hike to the high ground.
Click here for our Favorite trails for snowshoeing in the Winter Park Area.
A hot air balloon ride is a wonderful experience in all year round. Believe it or not, Wintertime is a great time to take flight aboard a hot air balloon ride. The temperature actually rises as you reach higher altitude, so while the rest of Winter Park is shivering away below, you’ll be feeling warm and toasty in your hot air balloon.
Join in the hot new craze on the mountain: skibiking, aka Frankenbiking! Believe it or not, skibiking is very easy to learn and a really fun way to get around the mountain. Winter Park Resort offers beginner and intermediate skibike lessons daily, and even offer night rides when the Sunspot Restaurant is operating.
Sometimes a day off should be just that. If you want to sit back, relax and give your body a little well deserved TLC check out the plethora of pamper palaces on offer in the winter park area. A forty minute drive west of Winter Park will find you at the town of Hot Sulphur Springs, and the historic Hot Sulphur Springs Resort & Spa. Offering a full range of spa services, (including massage, body wraps and facials) and over 20 hot spring pools to choose from, the resort is a pure mecca of relaxation and natural wellness. A little closer to home is Devils Thumb Ranch, a true paradise of mountain beauty and charm, with a jaw droppingly beautiful spa that you’ll never want to leave.
Think ice-hockey minus the skates, pads and brawls. Broomball is a fun, free activity on offer at the Village Pond at Winter Park Resort.
Sarah October 4th, 2013
First Measurable Snow in Winter Park, CO
It is that time of year again when we can start looking forward to white fluffy snow being on the ground her in Winter Park. That also means it os time for the fifth annual “guess the day of the first measurable snow at Winter Park Resort”.
There are lots of amateur weathermen here in Winter Park prognosticating on the kind of snow year we will have this ski season. I have heard that since we have been getting all this rain that we will have a great snow year and we will have a bad snow year. Heard an old tale that snow will be as high as the skunk weed that is currently in bloom. Fireweed also seems to be an indicator of the amount of snow headed our way this year. This years Farmers Almanac says that will have an above average snow year with colder temperatures than usual. I say just bring on the snow!
So, the 2013 First Measurable snow contests goes like this:
Rules for all tricky ones out there:
Last year 2012 was a relatively late snow coming October 23th. In 2011, the first snow was October 6th with a small snow storm. In 2010, first snow was a little late with an October 12th blizzard. 2009 brought us first snow on September 21st and 2008 was early with a September 10th date. Last year I predicted September 13th and was off by almost a month. So everyone put your Winter Park Resort Trail-maps in the freezer for good luck (and to make the snow gods happy) and get your snow dance on. I will start things off with the fist snow prediction for ski season 2013/2014.
Here is to tall skunk weed, an abundance of fireweed and snowstorms measured in feet.
Sarah September 9th, 2013
The Winter Park & Fraser Valley (and nearby Rocky Mountain National Park) is a hot spot for migrating elk during their annual rut, and a fabulous place to witness the natural world up close & personal.
The elk (wapiti) is one of the largest species of the deer family, and one of the largest land mammals in North America. Elk range throughout the US in forest and forest-edge habitat, feeding on grasses, plants, leaves, and bark.
Adult elk usually stay in single-sex groups for most of the year with the exception being during their elaborate mating ritual known as the rut. The elk rut runs from late August through early November and is a spectacular display of strength , aggression, showmanship and courtship from this fascinating species.
In order to attract and keep a harem of cows by their side, a bull elk must put on a near continuous display of dominance and strength. To draw the attention of far off females, the bull elk will perform a bugle call into the air that be heard for miles, the louder the call, the more interested the cow will be. Bugling is most common early and late in the day and is one of the most distinctive sounds to be heard throughout the Winter Park & Fraser Valley in the fall.
If a bull crosses the threshold of another’s harem, it is considered a challenge by the residing bull. A theatrical battle of posturing, bellowing, strutting and pawing will ensue until one party backs down, or a they engage a fight using their antlers to wrestle. In the event that bulls do lock antlers, the fight tends to be short in duration, but incredibly physical and dangerous for both parties, often causing one, or both of the bulls to sustain serious injuries. For this reason, the bulls will spend many minutes trying to out-psyche their opponent before committing to a physical interaction (and it is this display that is most widely witnessed during the rut).
In the elk world, it seems a bulls’s work is never done. Having conquered his opponent, the winning bull must return to his harem and resume the task of out bugling and out battling any future opponents, or risk losing them to another suitor. Although the bull may appear at first glance to be the dominant party within the harem, it is the female who ultimately decides which harem she will be part of, and will not hesitate to leave if her bull fails to hold her interest. In the course of a single day, it is not uncommon for a bull to engage in multiple spars and courtship displays of bugling, thrashing and rounding up, mating with and guarding his harem.
Amid these incredible displays of nature is the ever enduring back drop of fall in the rocky mountains. Vibrant yellow aspen burn into brilliant blue skies, while the deep purple and orange hues of the willow offer protection and forage for the marauding elk herds. Photography enthusiasts will travel from all over the world to capture the action of the rut against the stunning vistas of the Rocky Mountains.
Although elk are frequently seen around the Winter Park area, our recommendation for viewing large herds of elk during the rut, is to take a day trip to Rocky Mountain National Park (approximately 35 miles North of Winter Park). RMNP is home to many huge herds of elk, in addition to many other species of fascinating wildlife that are often more visual and active in the fall months (including moose, bear, deer, big cats, big horn sheep).
For further information on activities and events in the Winter Park area during the fall months, visit Winter Park Lodging Company, or call 877-329-1383.
Sarah August 2nd, 2013