Winter Park, Colorado: Rank 18 West, 1997

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Many loyal Denver skiers think Winter Park, up from No. 26 last year, is the best resort in Colorado. It gets high marks for its wide cruisers, whack-me moguls and generous elbow room. Winter Park is split into two areas, each with a distinct identity: Mary Jane is the land of steeps and bumps; Winter Park proper is Gentleville. This season, skilled skiers and boarders will have even more to chew on with the opening of Vasquez Cirque, 435 acres of off-piste splendor. "Winter Park is my favorite resort for value and friendliness," says one reader. The nightlife is definitely not for the disco-till-you-drop crowd, but there are a number of good restaurants (The Last Waltz) and bars (The Slope) that are fun and relatively affordable.

What's New The Vasquez Cirque; increased parking; a beginner halfpipe.
A Good Deal Three nights/two days, lift tickets, an on-mountain breakfast buffet, shaped-ski demo and a carve clinic, Nov. 8-Dec. 19, $214, Central Reservation properties;(800) 729-5813.
Medals Gold Snow Quality, Terrain, Challenge, Weather;Silver Grooming, Value, Service, Lodging.
High/Low Rank Snow Quality (9); Après-Ski (49).
Don't Miss Mary Jane's Upper Arrowhead Loop, one of the best ego-stroking bump runs anywhere.
Reader Remarks "Awesome bumps. Very friendly and helpful staff." "Parking and base services need to be improved. Too far from civilization."