If you go/ A closer look at Winter Park, Colo.

  • Article by: BILL HAMMOND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 4, 2000 - 10:00 PM

One of Colorado's oldest ski areas, Winter Park opened in 1940 and has enjoyed strong popularity ever since thanks to its 67-mile proximity to Denver, prodigious snowfall and widely varied and challenging terrain.

A series of improvements, on the mountain and off, has made it a continual favorite of skiers and snowboarders. More Coloradans ski there than anywhere else.

Rail service includes Amtrak and a Denver-based ski train that shuttles between the city and the Vasquez Mountains in which Winter Park is located.

Upper Midwesterners can go by rail, too, but they'll first need to drive to Osceola, Iowa, and pick up Amtrak there. Parking is free at the Osceola depot.

The best prices are through packages available from Winter Park Resort's central reservations, which quoted the following rates for round-trip rail to Winter Park, lift tickets and slopeside lodging in the impressive new Zephyr Mountain Lodge.

For two adults traveling between Jan. 2 and Feb. 15 (excepting Martin Luther King weekend), round-trip rail from Osceola, four days of lift tickets and four days of lodging would total $1,061. Ask for the Free 4 All package when inquiring.

Winter Park mountain statistics

  • Phone: Call 1-800-729-5813.for Winter Park central reservations, which can answer most questions about the resort, lodging, air and rail travel.

  • Web address: http://www.skiwinterpark.com.

  • Number of runs and lifts: 134 trails, 22 lifts.

  • Elevation: Summit is 12,060 feet; vertical drop is 2,610 feet.

  • Skiable acres: 2,886.

    Bill Hammond can be contacted at bhammond@startribune.com

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