Park Sessions: Winter Park, Colorado
Filmed by Justin Gunson and Pat Raichur, edited by Gunson
Photos: Aaron Blatt
Words: John Poulin
Once a powder hound catches to the scent of fresh chowder, nothing will get them off the smell. A fresh foot has fallen overnight, so after Tim Eddy finishes his dang oats, we all enjoy a couple of pow park laps through the Railyard, but the scent wafting from a nearby peak is too strong for any of us to ignore. We then mobilize and taste the bump bazaar that is Mary Jane. "No Pain, No Jane," Tucker Andrews' snowboard says. Looking around, it's at this point in time that we all know our week in Winter Park will be most excellent, one filled with pow slashes, park runs, airtime and, oh shit, we lost Blatt.
Winter Park is fun. As broad a term as that is to describe their substantial mass of freestyle terrain, it's what riding there comes down to. Whether you consider yourself a halfpipe rider or not, the 15-footer will have you praising transition. There are a good variety of rails and the jumps are built for snowboarders--no crazy aerial takeoffs--but it's not the kind of mountain that you only ride park at. It's really about the top-to-bottom experience. Second to the parks are the banked snake tracks in the woods scattered around the mountain. These summertime mountain bike tracks are fun as shit to board on. We won't tell you where they are, but they're worth your time to seek out if you want a break from the jump lines. But back to the parks--they manage to carve out every possible transition in their features--from the rail lines to the jumps, creating side hits, tranny finders, and gaps everywhere. The potential for catching air is through the roof.
Boardin'. That's what Winter Park is all about. It's a pretty straightforward place, that's just what you go there for. Maybe the hot tubs, too. But it's a no bullshit kind of place, about the riding first and foremost. Feels like a good mountain town should. Lynch and the folks at Winter Park show us a damn good time: plenty of boardin', beers, and they won't let you leave before trying a plate of Rocky Mountain Oysters. Deep fried bull testicles, those are tasty.
Morning: Get up relatively early for an 8 a.m. breakfast with the crew. Hangovers shaken, or at least curbed, we hit first chair and start lapping in Railyard while everything is pristine Colorado corduroy: predictable under your feet and generally forgiving if you slam. Pretty much the ideal snow for park riding.
Midday: Dark Territory has the bigger jumps. Once we're warmed up, this is a good lap--we can hit Railyard, the pipe, and Dark Territory all in one run. Full spectrum of jibs, jumps, and u-tube. Or you can hit the flyout at the bottom of the pipe.
Afternoon: Start looking at the park with a new set of eyes and find as many side hits as you can or hike the pipe.
Nighttime: Hit the hot tubs at the mountain then head into town for dinner (you can take a free shuttle both ways). Smokin' Moe's is the jam for barbecue--even our group vegetarian finds something on the menu--and The Ditch is the spot for New Mexican grub, beers, and live music.
Winter Park Life
Shop: Powder Tools in Winter Park or Satellite in Boulder
Eats: Coffee And Tea, Smokin' Moe's
Bars: The Ditch
This article is from the December 2013 print issue of TransWorld SNOWboarding. If you like extra papers, reading material for the shitter, holding something tangible in your hands, or are just down with TWSNOW, subscribe and be the first to get it.