I'm going to winter park in about a month and while I have searched the forum there doesn't seem to be much current talk about the area. I'm going with a group so I don't have a car. It looks like there is a bus service to get around on? What are the good places for dinner? Any tips for avoiding crowds? I'm skiing with my wife and her parents so any of the harder terrain (bumps) is off limits unless I go by myself. Thanks in advance.
Heading to Winter Park, what to expect?
I'll miss the holiday weekend by a week, I'm not going until march. We're Staying at the Vintage Hotel so it looks like we'll be busing to town at night for dinner and such. Thanks for the tip on the tree skiing, that sounds like fun for some runs away from the family, if the conditions are decent maybe I can convince them to go to. My 75yr old father in-law is capable just tentative. We've been skiing together for 20 years, he used to follow me on all the tougher stuff, not so much lately.
The rest of your crew should love Kramner and the stuff off Olympia gives a variety of blue pitch as long as they ski blues. If it is greens, then they should ski off of High Lonesome unless it is really uncrowded in which case there is some harder green terrain off of Prospector closer to the base.
You should be able to get around by shuttle in town and the 'village' stuff you'll see as you walk from the lot unless you park Jane side, which doesn't sound wise based on your description.
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Maybe because beginners don`t have the stamina/ability/deisre to pole for a half mile?
Having said that, it can be really fun for a visiting group to get up on the bowl for the views and experience given it is the highest six pack lift served spot in North America. Obviously that doesn't matter for most of this forum, but the idea might inspire the group to be a bit more adventurous for photo op time. It is easy to get around the entire mountain without getting caught in difficult terrain. That might help the OP ski more difficult terrain without ditching the family front side if going solo is going to cause heartburn later.
Go to the Back Bowl Soup Company in the on-mountain village. (You will pass it on your way to the Cabriolet to get back to your hotel.) Great gourmet, home-made soups and wonderful sandwiches. You can get soup to go too if you are too tired to go out to dinner.
For your timid skier companions:
If you can keep up enough speed to handle a longish run out, you can go over to Vasquez Ridge area for a change. Often less crowded because it's out of the way. Several nice, pretty and wind-ey (as in twisty, not blowing!) blues over there.
The "Alice in Wonderland" runs are a great variety of greens and blues on the Winter Park side. (White Rabbit and Jabberwocky are adjacent to each other and have really nice mix of pitches and are wide open) Tweedle Dum and Dee are a hoot too, with a baby terrain park next to one of them which is fun to watch the little rippers play on)
Ice Warning: Cheshire Cat is a tempting blue-black that seems always scraped up at the top. Hughes is a tempting groomed black run under the Zephyr lift, but they use part of that run for racing sometimes, so it can get icy, as in injected blue ice where the race course was set.
Parsenn bowl on Mary Jane side usually has a groomed swath down the main run, so your group might be able to go up for it. Worth it for the view.
Edelweiss and Bluebell (?) are great very easy blue runs over on Mary Jane as someone mentioned. An overlooked blue groomer(s) area especially when it's crowded is Arrowhead Loop off the two-seater Pony Express lift on Mary Jane. These are more advanced blues than Edelweiss and Bluebell. Sleeper is the main Blue groomer, besides Mary Jane Run mentioned above, and usually has good bumps on skier's right with the rest of the run groomed. But try to hit it when the snow's soft. (Its nickname is "Scraper" because it gets a bit steep in spots and beginners tend to ski it sideways, scraping it to hardpack) But if they can handle it, it will allow you to try the bumps and still ski the same run as they. (Bradley's Bash on the WP side is also often bumps one one side and groomed on the other.)
Sun Spot is the nicer on-mountain cafeteria and there is a sit down side too if your family is in the mood for a more Euro-style leisurely lunch. (skip the dinner there though) (Snoasis is the one near the beginner area and where ski-school goes and it's ready for a face-lift.)
Great starter bumps, if you or your group decide to get adventurous, can be found on Over n' Underwood off the Prospector/looking glass lifts on the WP side.
Beware the hordes going back to the bottom on Parkway and Village Way green runs at the end of the day. just go slow and ski defensively. But do not take Turnpike (unless it's been re-graded since I last made that mistake with some kids) it's a Loooong walk to get back to the village on a flat, flat road.
Last tip: get the grooming report in the morning....