Check Out The Galloping Goose Lift Winter Park Colorado
Teaching kids to get down the ski slopes is the easy part. Suiting them up in wind- and waterproof coats, hauling them up I-70 in hordes of traffic, renting specialty gear and forking out up to $100 for each one-day lift ticket — that’s when family skiing gets spendy. But with a bit of insider knowledge, you’ll be able to keep a few extra bills in your wallet.
Enter the Galloping Goose, Winter Park Resort’s two-person lift that serves green runs at the bottom of Mary Jane Mountain. For only $10, visitors gain all-day access to the resort’s beginner area, Sorenson Park, and unlimited all-day rides on the Galloping Goose. As always, the really little guys, kids 5 and under, ski free.
During the 2004-2005 season, the resort spent over $2 million expanding its novice terrain. Sorenson Park grew from a meager 4/10 of an acre to five full acres.
Two 125-foot magic carpets, slow-moving conveyer belt lifts that are easy to step on and off, haul bundled youngsters up the hillside. The next step up the learning curve is a 700-foot platter lift, added during the expansion. An improvement on old-school rope tows, platter lifts cut down on the balancing act and make the trip up the mountain easier for beginners.
Not far from Sorenson Park, Mary Jane is a notable Winter Park mountain, repeatedly awarded number one in the country for bump skiing and known for the challenging terrain. Except, of course, for the green runs near the Galloping Goose.
The areas accessed with the $10 pass are learning terrain — adventurous kids and those skiing for awhile would get a little bored. But if you’re just spending a day to teach your children the basics, stick with the Goose.
Remember that nearly 30 percent of the terrain is designated as beginner trails. It provides the beginning skier a lot of green runs from which to choose. Take time to study a map before your visit. Look at the right side of the mountain, from Gemini Express to High Lonesome Express lift; this is almost entirely beginner trails. Winter Park is the prime ski resort for anyone learning to ski. With Winter Park Mountain, Mary Jane, and Vasquez Ridge, many easy runs lead down to the valley. Some of the outstanding features Winter Park offers beginners are as follows:
- Practice lifts near the base
- Easy valley-run
- Beginner’s area
- Wide slopes
- Easy and manageable slope offering, which is easy to achieve
- Practice lifts directly at the feeder lift in the ski resort
You’ll be able to keep enough money in your wallet to buy dinner for the whole family and hang a George Washington somewhere on the walls of Hernando’s Pizza and Pasta Pub. One-dollar bills, posted and signed by diners, wallpaper the insides of this popular local restaurant.
Hernando’s pizza comes in three styles: traditional; Roma, which has sliced fresh tomatoes instead of red sauce; and Simone, which comes piled with garlic in place of the sauce. Choose from a list of specialty pies or invent your own concoction. Hernando’s offers stromboli, Italian sandwiches and classics like lasagna and ravioli, but the big pies come cheap and cheese tends to please everyone.
On the drive home, the kids will likely be asleep before you top Berthoud Pass. Once you hit the highway, keep yourself alert for as little as five cents. The Downieville Conoco, exit 234 off I-70, sells small coffees for a nickel, large for a whopping dime. Drop your change in the plastic jug and be on your way without waiting in line.
Family ski outings aren’t Colorado’s cheapest winter venture, but a few local secrets can ease the expense. As for the road conditions, you’re on your own.
If You Go
The Galloping Goose is scheduled to run every day through March 30 and Friday through Sunday through closing day. If the Goose does shut down, guests can purchase a $10 day ticket to Sorensen Park, the resort’s beginner area.
Winter Park Resort: (970) 726-1564 or www.skiwinterpark.com