With snow still on my mind (and on my lawn) I'm still thinking of riding, of course, and where I ride: Winter Park. For my family, this ski resort has become somewhat of a home away from home (thrice removed, if you count our main residence). For instance, we've spent 10 of the past 12 Saturdays skiing and riding the resort. The husband spent every single weekend but two since last Thanksgiving training and teaching--over twenty days for the season. Yeah. He's that good.
It's a 67 year old resort, well enough off the beaten track of I70 to keep many of the tourists at bay. It's more local and it feels safer--locals have much better mountain ettiquete than tourists. WP/MJ is a solid mountain, with slopes to please beginners to experts and several terrain parks dedicated to differing abilities. It offers world-class skiing, especially on the Mary Jane side, and their National Sports Center for the Disabled is likely the best in the country. I've never heard of anyone having a bad day in their regular ski/board school either (we know the director--nice guy). The husband teaches skiing with an alternate program called the Eskimo Ski Club. The green/blue/black rankings for ski slopes? Invented by that sixty-year old ski club, the oldest in the country.
But mostly, WP has something for the whole family, as we discovered Thursday when we all rode and skiied the mountain, just the four of us, laughing most of the day. We hit the terrain park for a few hours (a short day for short-legged people) and whatever challenge we put to the kids, they took with a shrug and a quick drop-in. Ride the hills next to the jumps to get a feel for approach? Yup. Try a rail or two ? Yup. A steep blue slope? No problem.
And suddenly, after weeks of lessons, it became not about mastering what they could not do, but about making the most of what they could do. It became not about achievement, but fun. We sat on the lift and watched awesome jumps over on the pro terrain park. We took the bunny hill and realized our kids were well past it. We rode 7 new inches of snow and my son looked at me and said, "You always talk about that floaty feeling you get on powder, Mom. Now I get it." I saw more than one adult beginner snowboarder watch him enviously--his form is excellent.
The youngest by three years, my daughter could keep up for once (skis are faster than boards). My husband and I were suitably impressed by each other's abilites. But most of all, we all had fun. Together. And that's what Winter Park is to me. Pure, unadulterated, powdery, cold fun.