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Winter Park for a beginner?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I am looking for options for skiing in Colorado February 7-14. I will be with my wife who is more or less a beginner skier. I have never been to Winter Park. From the trail map it looks like there are tons of green runs, but how easy is the place to navigate? Are the green runs really easy? We tried Keystone once and that was an absolute disaster but she really liked Breckenridge. It sure is much easier to plan a trip for myself..
post #2 of 25
I like Copper for beginners. It has good terrain, but the mountain separates beginner terrain from expert terrain. So there isn't that intimidation factor for beginners. It is right next to Breck so you could easily work it in if you are going to Summit Co.
post #3 of 25
Winter Park has excellent beginner terrain. There is a section of the mountain near Snoasis called Discovery Park that has three, maybe four lifts that serve a variety of easy, beginner runs. It's nice because it's segregated but the beginner isn't relegated to the bottom of the mountain. Means you can ski intermediate or advanced terrain and still meet up at Snoasis for lunch or whatever. After she graduates from that section, there are also some more advanced green runs that parallel blue ones nearby.

It is easy to find your way around and regroup, as long as you stay on WP mountain.

They also have a very good ski school...

The only drawback to WP beginner terrain is the run back down at the end of the day is a bad choice between horribly crowded or impossibly flat.

Lastly, my experience has been that the snow quality is better at WP than at Keystone. I consider myself an advanced skier and even I was nervous on some of the easy runs navigating around Keystone - too many different levels together not paying attention.

Did i mention they have a great ski school?
post #4 of 25
I'm surprised to hear that she had a disastrous time at Keystone. Schoolmarm (one of the great green runs in skidom) must have been crowded?? A good chunk of Winter Park (to lookers right from main base) is green circle terrain, has it's own on-hill restaurant (Snoasis) and many chairlifts. The greens on this lower portion of the mountain are somewhat easier than the green/blues from the top of Dercum/Keystone. There are a few scenic greens higher on the hill too. WP has a highly regarded ski school.

Sorry to duplicate Mom. I was typing while she was posting.
post #5 of 25
I'll second the surprise that Keystone was a disaster-not my kind of place but it's comfy intermediate, beginner heaven. With the exception of Abasin, pretty much all of the I-70 region ski areas are beginner friendly (Including Winter Park). I think Copper's ski ability 'regions' at the resort work pretty well. You might want to check out the slightly off the path-less traveled areas like Monarch-I had a good (and snowy) day there and, from what I saw, there was a lot of decent, non-threatening terrain to sink your skis into.

Mid February ought to be great just about anywhere!
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
The disaster at Keystone was her second day ever on skis. We started the week the day before at Breck. We did one three hour run down Schoolmarm. She was worn out from the first day and she has a real fear of speed and now she wouldn't think of trying it again. I would like to try Copper but it seems that the lodging is much more affordable around WP. We did have good luck skiing some of the smaller resorts around Tahoe. She really liked Mt. Rose and Sierra at Tahoe wasn't bad either.
post #7 of 25
Those are two great Tahoe Places for sure (I love Mt. Rose).
post #8 of 25
Hi,

I would recommend Copper over WP for a beginner. There is much more variety, and you don't have to contend with WP's funky top and bottom - tends to be a lot of walking/using poles.

Ski Cooper (near Leadville) is a smaller area that is not steep, and very uncrowded on weekdays. Just thought I'd mention this one since your wife doesn't seem to need long runs like Schoolmarm just yet. They get good snowfall.

Another smaller area is Sol Vista, near WP (Granby, actually). I've never skied there, but many people I have talked to say how great it is for families, learning, etc.

The advantage of the smaller CO areas is that they will be empty on weekdays, and have close in parking that is free, less expensive tickets and food, and just less pressure all around.

Skip Loveland, it's too popular and close to Denver. There is good beginner terrain, but the lifts are slow and weekends the slopes get crowded. Powderhorn and Sunlight are also good, but then you can't ski the areas closer to Denver.

And if it snows, you'll have powder all day long at the smaller places. It tends to get tracked out much more quickly at the large resorts (usually by 11:00 am).

I'd suggest a few days at one or more of the smaller, less crowded areas, and then maybe one or 2 days at the end of the trip at a larger resort. Just depends on how happy you will be with more limited terrain choices for a more advanced skier.

Hope I was of some help.

Best wishes,
WR
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions on the smaller ski areas. I am definitely going to have to look in to that option more.
post #10 of 25
Good advice on Ski Cooper and Sol Vista ,If it was up to my kids that is the only places we would ski while in Colorado.
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
I have been looking at Sol Vista more and its looks very tempting. I found a pretty good deal on a very nice ski in ski out studio at the base and if we get bored there we can always head over to Winter Park.
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam View Post
Those are two great Tahoe Places for sure (I love Mt. Rose).
I wish the Chutes were open when we were there but the snow cover in March of 2007 was thin at best.
post #13 of 25
Sol Vista and Winter Park are a good choice. If you go there, you can stay in Fraser which is half way in between and still on the free shuttle bus for WP.

Be sure to treat your wife to a spa and meal at Devil's Thumb Ranch. It's a XC ski area with a spectacular lodge and spa very near Sol Vista. She won't care if you take her off the Cirque after that!
post #14 of 25
Don't forget to enjoy the solid red forest while it lasts.
post #15 of 25
I work at Winter Park. I would say that for a first time skier our terrain is as good as anywhere. Bill Wilson's Way and Marmot Flats are great beginner terrain.

If someone has skiied a day or two and can comfortably turn their skiis I would then give the edge to Copper.
post #16 of 25
If it works for you, take her to Sol Vista/Granby Ranch for lessons, then to Winter Park for more interesting terrain. She'll progress faster with what she learns from the Sol Vista ski school. I'm certified in the system they use, and it is the best I've seen.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoftSnowGuy View Post
If it works for you, take her to Sol Vista/Granby Ranch for lessons, then to Winter Park for more interesting terrain. She'll progress faster with what she learns from the Sol Vista ski school. I'm certified in the system they use, and it is the best I've seen.
gee......can we debate that a bit softsnowguy?

which would be better? a pmts lesson from a psia level I cert and a green pmts instructor at solvista or a lesson from a level III pmts cert at winter park?

i tell you i'm willing to do as an experiment. let's have her take a lesson at solvista from a pmts cert and then come take a lesson from me or any of the other full cert (level III psia instructors at winter park. let's let the customer decide which is "the best they have seen"!!!
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by karpiel View Post
Don't forget to enjoy the solid red forest while it lasts.
What's the solid red forest? Explain for an ignorant easterner. Beetlekill?
post #19 of 25
Yes, beetlekill. The red trees are very noticeable in Grand County and at Winter Park. I do see some live trees amongst the dead ones. The Forest Service said this fall that they think the worst is behind us. The dead ones will be around for years.
post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy View Post
gee......can we debate that a bit softsnowguy?

which would be better? a pmts lesson from a psia level I cert and a green pmts instructor at solvista or a lesson from a level III pmts cert at winter park?

i tell you i'm willing to do as an experiment. let's have her take a lesson at solvista from a pmts cert and then come take a lesson from me or any of the other full cert (level III psia instructors at winter park. let's let the customer decide which is "the best they have seen"!!!
Well, I only know what I've seen and been involved in. I've skied and clinic'ed with some great L-III instructors and some who are dreadfully poor teachers--Level III is a guarantee that they've passed a test, not that they're an excellent instructor. And, what's the chance of a low level skier getting an L-III instructor unless they demand one for an expensive private lesson, especially this year with the dearth of the H2-B instructors? I've seen and experienced the rate of progression of beginner, intermediate, and better skiers in both PSIA and PMTS instruction and PMTS is way better. Have you taken PMTS instruction or training? If so, what results did you see? There are some dual-cert L-III instructors I know at Winter Park, Vail, and Beaver Creek, and they've all told me that they teach PMTS exclusively because of the better results.

I stand by my statement. I'm certified in both systems and teach both systems ('cuz my ski school requires PSIA instruction--except when they can't see me). PMTS offers much faster skier advancement without exception in my experience. I teach up to skier level 7.
post #21 of 25
I was at Winter Park today and I swear I saw Rusty rip out several super Phantoms.
post #22 of 25
on Teles??!!
post #23 of 25
He was on 1 tele ski and 1 alpine ski. He is a talented guy.
post #24 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post
I was at Winter Park today and I swear I saw Rusty rip out several super Phantoms.
i merely was trying to scratch an itch in a very personal spot. it's the only way i know to make the pain/burning/redness/ and swelling go away.

and mom.........i'm proud to say i have not yet been on alpine skiis. free the heel free the mind, tele till you're smelly.
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rusty Guy View Post
free the heel free the mind

fix the heel, fix the problem!


(and to answer the original poster, yes, I think WP is great for beginners - I've skiied there with a few people who had never been on snow before, and they progressed well)
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