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Trip report - Winter Park, 17th -26th Dec

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Here is a little trip report from me for those of you who are interested!

First off, I had an awesome time. I have definitely been bitten with the skiing bug, I have already started to make plans for the next trip which will hopefully be in Feb to maybe Val Thorens or somewhere else in France (the purse strings won’t stretch to the US unfortunately).

As for the mountain driving/hiring a car scenario, we did hire a car and I am really glad we did. It gave us a lot of flexibility and we were able to take a day off skiing and go to Denver as well as Fraser/Granby/Grand Lake and Sol Vista. We ended up with a Nissan Xterra (or at least I think that’s what it was called). Thank you for the advice on that one…

We arrived on 17th Dec in the evening and picked up the car and started out on I70, shame it was dark really as it would have been nice to see the scenery (because the trip over Berthoud pass was quite stunning). There had been no snow for a while and the road was quite clear, I70 was completely clear and dry so no problems on that one. The ploughing is top notch over there, compared to home at least anyways!

The only bad part about the trip was me being ill for the first few days. I don’t think I appreciated how the altitude would affect me. I had a rotten headache and I couldn’t sleep properly, and on top of that I had a bad cold/runny nose/cough. Not a good start to the trip. We managed to get hold of some drugs and I had plenty of water for the next day – we had nothing planned on that day luckily, we were just going to take it easy and it was a good job we did.

The first day on the slopes we had a salomon learn to ski package arranged, it was a 4.5 hr lesson with max group size of 6 I think – check this…. We were the only 2 people in the class so we effectively had a full day private lesson/lift ticket and rental for $240 – bargain…!!! (I guess a benefit of going early in the season maybe?)

By the end of the first day we were able to do a few of the gentle green slopes around discovery park (I was a fair bit better than my husband, much to his disgust…haha) and I was advised to take a higher level lesson for the next day. My poor husband is fairly tall and struggled with his balance a bit, although he did improve a fair bit towards the end of the holiday. I managed to fall off the lift on the first go… not good. I never fell over once while skiing, just off the darn lift!!! Not fair… and there was a photographer standing right in front of me too…

The next day on the slopes…. Boy was it cold!!! The first day was not too bad, the sun was shining and I didn’t feel cold at all but the next day… wow. It was snowing a fair bit and I think it was about 10 degrees F (this is much colder than I have ever experienced haha) My hands and feet felt like they were going to drop off. I guess this is part of the learning curve, always have some hand/feet warmers just in case!

We rented skis from the winter park rental place at the bottom, and then from the hotel (I’m not sure if we could have found them cheaper somewhere else though, $30 a day seemed pretty steep to me???) The boots were much more comfortable than the ones before, and the assistants were very helpful, measuring your feet etc.

We would get up early and hit the slopes by 9am, I think the resort was fairly quiet? There were rarely and queues for the lifts and the slopes seemed quite empty. Or at least that was what the ski instructors were saying? Maybe the recession/credit crunch is having an impact?

In terms of trails, I was able to ski the blues and one blue/black by the end of the trip (I was quite chuffed with myself after that, one of the instructors told me I was quite advanced to be managing that and parallel turns after only a few hours of skiing) It opened up the mountain a little bit and I managed to make it to Mary Jane a few times (although some of the trails up there are pretty hairy!!) My favourites were Cranmer, Larry Sale, Edelweiss, Jabberwocky. My poor husband stayed on the easier trails though, hopefully by next time he will have built up his confidence a little.

Another highlight of the trip – we went out on the ski-doos and seen a moose!!! We took a trip up to the continental divide and seen it up in the woods. Fantastic experience that was.

I guess I haven’t got much more to add to this other than I can recommend Winter Park for anyone thinking of learning to ski, there is plenty of kind terrain to learn on and the ski school was very good.

I can’t wait to get back to Colorado, will definitely be back at some point, the only trouble is, I won’t be able to decide if we should return to WP or try another of the resorts!!
post #2 of 10
Vicky,

Great report and glad you had a good trip. It sounds like you're a natural.

We ski Winter Park and Copper Mountain frequently, and we really enjoy both. If you come back to Colorado in the future, you might consider Copper as well. Great for beginner/intermediates, easy access on I-70 with other resorts nearby if you want to try a different mountain.

Enjoy the season.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that, I think it would be fun to try another mountain, although I will have to get more savvy about the lift tickets, we were forking out $92 a day for them. I'm sure there must be a cheaper way haha.

Copper sounds good, the terrain sounds like it would be right up our street!
post #4 of 10
Good read

We're heading there at the end of Jan - can't wait!

I know this is a bit late, but I found (thanks to this great site ) something called the 'eduproject'. It's a voucher book you can buy at King Soopers to get discounted lift tickets etc, as well as savings on a whole load of other things....

My parents have just got back from skiing in France and they said it's massively more expensive now there is a parity between the pound/euro Best way to save money would be to book an all-inclusive late-deal, so you don't have to spend much over there!

Joe
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Tango - you'll have a great time out there (I am very jealous!).

I was told when we got there (sadly, the day after we got back from Denver) that you can get cheap lift tickets at the grocery stores out there. Never mind, I'll bear it in mind for next time.

I think from hearing the experiences of people, it is not that much more expensive to go out to the US skiing (and I think it is less crowded?) the whole exchange rate thing is not good.

You will have an awesome time.
post #6 of 10
Sounds like a sweet trip.

We learned to board @ WP. I love that place.
post #7 of 10
Vicky, so glad you had fun at my fave resort! Try not to gloat too much to your poor husband

Come back soon!
post #8 of 10
Quote:
First off, I had an awesome time. I have definitely been bitten with the skiing bug


Quote:
shame it was dark really as it would have been nice to see the scenery (because the trip over Berthoud pass was quite stunning)
Yes, I enjoy it everytime, esp. at sunrise.

Quote:
I don’t think I appreciated how the altitude would affect me. I had a rotten headache and I couldn’t sleep properly, and on top of that I had a bad cold/runny nose/cough.
Classic signs but you took the right approach.

Quote:
The first day on the slopes we had a Salomon learn to ski package arranged, it was a 4.5 hr lesson with max group size of 6 I think – check this…. We were the only 2 people in the class so we effectively had a full day private lesson/lift ticket and rental for $240 – bargain…!!! (I guess a benefit of going early in the season maybe?
Yes, you got a bonus. It was slow and then we got utterly slammed with business.

Quote:
Not fair… and there was a photographer standing right in front of me too…
Captain Freedom is a nice guy. He wouldn't take a picture of you fallen down.

Quote:
The next day on the slopes…. Boy was it cold!!! The first day was not too bad, the sun was shining and I didn’t feel cold at all but the next day… wow. It was snowing a fair bit and I think it was about 10 degrees F (this is much colder than I have ever experienced haha) My hands and feet felt like they were going to drop off. I guess this is part of the learning curve, always have some hand/feet warmers just in case!
Yes, it was cold. I think the high was 0 F (-17 C )

Quote:
Another highlight of the trip – we went out on the ski-doos and seen a moose!!! We took a trip up to the continental divide and seen it up in the woods. Fantastic experience that was.
They are impressive - but dangerous. There is one that likes to stay around the Safeway in Fraser.

Quote:
I guess I haven’t got much more to add to this other than I can recommend Winter Park for anyone thinking of learning to ski, there is plenty of kind terrain to learn on and the ski school was very good.
post #9 of 10
Hi Vicky!

Thanks so much for posting this. It's a pleasure to read. I'm delighted you had such a good time and that you've joined the skiing fraternity.

As for the altitude problems, well ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by hitherandthither
And finally, something important about health that isn’t about training. In my opinion, the biggest challenge you’ll face physically comes from the fact that you’ll be taking a long plane trip and coming up to over a mile high to sleep and skiing at up to 12,000 feet (sorry, I don’t have the Winter Park stats). That’s a LOT for your body to take: jet lag, altitude and dehydration all together. There’s a really good thread about altitude on the Fitness forum. As an amateur, all I can say is: go easy on the booze (especially on the plane coming over) keep hydrated and make sure you get enough sleep. And if you find yourself suddenly developing “flu-like symptoms” – headache, vomiting – watch out! It could be altitude sickness.
It's cool (of course) that you have progressed quicker than your other half but perhaps you could persuade him to do a bit of work before your next trip. Guys in general tend to approach physical tasks with an emphasis on explosive strength but, as you rightly say, balance is indispensable for skiing (and strength, if it leads to rigidity, can actually be a handicap). If he were to do some exercises to enhance balance (wobble boards, one leg activities, etc.) it might help a lot (and not just for skiing).

If you're planning a trip to France, you won't be quite so high (although Val Thorens is pretty high up by European standards). The scenery is great and the snow on piste should be fantastic (it's really good now and should only get better). Also, it's unlikely to be as cold as Colorado. On the other hand, I doubt you'll find a ski school that is as good as the ones in the U.S. and be prepared for a much less friendly and helpful atmosphere. If you want trip advice, I'll do my best, but if you don't own Where to Ski and Snowboard you should get a copy. It's by far the best guide.
post #10 of 10
Vicky, just got round to reading this. Glad you had a good trip. At least the temperatures prepared you for this week round here. brrrrrr. It's cold (and grim) ooop north!
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Ski Training and Pro Forums › Beginner Zone › Trip report - Winter Park, 17th -26th Dec