Winter Park Resort is known as “Colorado’s Favorite”. Located only 67 miles northwest of Denver and 90 miles west of Denver International Airport (DIA), it’s the closest major ski resort to DIA. Winter Park has the most annual snowfall of any major resort in Colorado and typically receives over 30 feet of snow annually. During the 2010-2011 ski season, they received 378 inches of the fluffy white stuff!
The mountain is divided into two sections: Winter Park and Mary Jane. With over 25 chairlifts (including gondolas and two high-speed six-pack lifts), there’s lots of uphill capacity for skiers to enjoy Winter Park’s 3,000 plus acres.
For bump lovers, no mountain compares to Mary Jane. With over 70 trails, Mary Jane’s Volkswagen-sized bumps will test even the best bump skier’s limits.
There’s also snowmobiling and ice skating for those who want an alternative to skiing. If you don’t feel like driving to Winter Park, the Home James Airport Shuttle provides luxury vans from DIA to Winter Park so you don’t have to rent a car.
For others who like the slow, relaxed pace of train travel, Amtrak service is available daily from Chicago, Denver, Salt Lake City, Sacramento, and San Francisco. Sleeper cars are available, and the Sightseer Lounge Car is a great way to sit back and enjoy beautiful views from their large, panoramic windows.
Winter Park is a year-round resort, and there’s a ton of activities to enjoy during the summer. The resort is home to Colorado’s longest Alpine Slide and has over 600 miles of mountain biking trails – it’s been named “Mountain Bike Capital USA”. There’s also scenic chairlift rides, mini and disc golf, human mazes, climbing walls, a T-Bar Mini Zipline for children, and mineral panning at Mary Jane.
One another important fact to note is that Winter Park Resort is only 37 miles to the west entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park.
With all of these activities, you’ll be so tired that you’ll want to stay slopeside! There’s nothing better than skiing back to your doorstep after a long day on the slopes! Here are two slopeside lodging options at Winter Park, whether you are visiting in the winter or the summer.
Zephyr Mountain Lodge
The Zephyr Mountain Lodge is a ski-in, ski-out condo just steps from the Zephyr chairlift (100 feet to be exact) offering guests the closest lodging option to Winter Park’s lifts.
It is also steps from The Village, Winter Park’s pedestrian village, which opened during the 2008-2009 ski season. The Village has a retail promenade with various restaurants and cafes along with shops, ski shops, and boutiques. So, if you don’t feel like cooking, you can choose from a variety of restaurants, including The Cheeky Monk, Lime, and Goody’s.
Accommodations at Zephyr’s luxury condos range from one to three-bedroom units and sleep from four to eight people. Each bedroom has a bathroom. All units have beautiful views. The Mountain side units have a view of the Village area while guests staying in the Divide side units have a view of the Continental Divide.
Amenities include a full kitchen (for those who do want to cook), a gas fireplace, flat screen TVs with cable, free hi-speed internet in every room, private porches, and shared washer/dryers. Rooms are handicap accessible.
Private ski lockers are available, and you can leave your car either in a heated, underground parking garage (daily charge) or at a free, offsite parking lot. A car won’t be necessary during your stay as you can hop on the private shuttle if you choose to visit downtown Winter Park, which is two miles away.
After a day of skiing Mary Jane’s bumps, guests have their choice of four outdoor hot tubs to soak in. If you still have energy after the day’s activities, there’s a state-of-the-art fitness gym.
Base Village Loft
For upscale accommodations, the Base Village Loft is your best choice. Located in the Village at Winter Park, all of the lofts have three bedrooms and three bathrooms with the exception of one four-bedroom loft.
The two-level lofts are furnished with high-end furnishings, including a state-of-art gourmet kitchen and a large dining room which seats up to ten people. As the properties are only a few years old, they come complete with new dining room tables, chairs, and bar stools. There are granite countertops in the kitchen, bar, and bathrooms.
Accommodations include a king-sized bed in the master bedroom complete with a jetted tub, iHome, and rocking chairs on its spacious outdoor patio. The second bedroom has a queen-sized bed. For the kids, there are bunk beds in the third bedroom. With the queen pull-out sofa bed in the living room, the lofts are capable of sleeping up to ten people.
Lofts have three or four flat screen TVs, a gas fireplace, and a free, private garage. There’s also high-speed internet, two DVD players, and a surround sound system in the living room, and games and books.
There are two spacious private balconies (including a gas grill) and washer and dryers in each unit. Guests have access to outdoor hot tubs at Founders Pointe/Fraser Crossing, a two minute walk.
Depending on where the loft is situated, it is no more than a three-minute walk to the lifts.
For large groups, the four-bedroom / 3 ½ bathroom loft is the only four-bedroom property in the Village. It sleeps up to 12 people comfortably. There are king-sized beds in the master and second bedroom, a queen-sized bed in the third bedroom, and two sets of bunk beds in the fourth bedroom as well as a queen pull-out bed. Professionally decorated, the loft has five flat screen TVs, two gas fireplaces, two living areas, vaulted ceilings, an i-pod compatible sound system throughout the loft, and a game room overlooking the ice-skating pond.
If You Go
For info about Winter Park Resort like snow totals and lift ticket prices, visit www.winterparkresort.com.
The Zephyr Mountain Lodge is located at 201 Zephyr Way in Winter Park. Call (970) 726-8400 for more information or visit their website at www.zephyrmountainlodge.com.
Base Village Loft reservations are handled by the Winter Park Lodging Company. Contact them at (877) 808-7640 or online at www.winterparklodgingcompany.com.
Linda Steinmuller is a freelance travel writer and copywriter from Brooklyn, New York, who loves the outdoors and skiing, and visits Colorado frequently.
Special thanks to the Winter Park Lodging Company for providing photos of the Lofts at the Village and the Zephyr Mountain Lodge!
Photo of the Zephyr Mountain Lodge by Scott Hefel.