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Northern Rockies

This Colorado Resort is Getting Twice as Extreme This Winter

Steep chutes and remote backcountry-like terrain give expert skiers a reason to explore the state’s original destination resort.

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It isn’t often that a ski resort has the chance to literally double its expert terrain in one fell swoop, but that’s what Winter Park skiers have to look forward to this coming winter.

There are two new terrain pods on tap: Jelly Roll, so named for its rolling pitch and tendency to collect light, fluffy snow, was part of the original Cirque expansion in the late ’90s; and several new steep trails in Mary Jane’s Chutes region.

Winter Park expanded terrain
The two new terrain pods will change the landscape at the circa-1940s ski area known for its thigh-busting glades on the Mary Jane side. Photo: Courtesy of Alterra Mountain Company

Jelly Roll was open until around 2009 when its remote location caused it to drop down on the priority list for mountain ops to maintain.  This season, thanks to added staff, Winter Park will be able to patrol the areas and keep them maintained for skiers looking for a safe backcountry-esque ski experience. 

“With added resources, we’re able to reward some of our most devoted guests looking for a backcountry experience, in an inbound, patrolled environment,” says Jen Miller, the public relations and communications manager for Winter Park Resort.

Jelly Roll sits beyond the Alphabet Chutes in The Cirque Territory, and is an area that tends to hold snow longer—and keep it softer—because it’s protected from direct sunlight. The steep and rolling terrain offers plenty of play in a single run and includes Shadow Chute, which sits in the shadow of a cliff band and offers skiers freshies even long after the last snowfall.

Level Up: How to Ski Steep Terrain Like a Pro

Typically, in January and February there is a lot of shade, so the snow stays softer longer,” says Miller. “Because it’s so far out, it takes more ski patrol more time to get out to the terrain, check it and prepare it to safely open it to the public. We’ve added staff and other resources this season specifically to open that terrain.”

In addition, the resort will be opening controlled avalanche chutes in the Chutes area in the Mary Jane Territory. The new terrain provides what the resort is calling “adventurous access” to the Powder Field area between the Chutes and Trestle. The Powder Field lives up to the hype—and its name—with powder stashes, pillow lines, and natural kickers, and drops. 

In addition to expanding their terrain this season, Winter Park will be revamping its grooming and snowmaking operations to get the slopes groomed earlier and more often and to take advantage of prime snowmaking conditions. Parking is also getting a much-needed upgrade, with an added 350 park spots at the G-Lot and Mary Jane Road. Skiers can check in on parking availability via the new, real-time parking feature on the Winter Park Resort app

The resort is also upping its game after the traditional ski day winds down. This season will feature tubing after dark as well as guided sunset skiing and night ice skating. And while some of the ski area’s biggest plans, including a gondola connecting the town of Winter Park to the resort base, are still under review, these upgrades are meaningful and will have an immediate impact on skiers this winter.