Trail Ridge Road is now open to visitors from June through mid-October, the 48-mile route between Estes Park to the east and the Town of Grand Lake to the west, takes in some of the finest scenery in Rocky Mountain National Park. It can take a long time to clear the road, it can take up to 42 days to get the road ready for visitors. Eleven miles of the route travel above the tree line, this is the longest and highest paved road in the United States. The route has been dubbed an All-American Road — a designation given by the US Department of Transportation defining Trail Ridge Road as a unique roadway that is considered a tourist destination. Estimates on how long you’ll need to enjoy the Trail Ridge Road vary somewhere between 2 and 4 hours i just depends on you. To avoid the worst of the traffic from wildlife consider setting out for the drive early in the morning or later in the afternoon. While driving you’ll climb over 4,000 feet during the first few minutes of the ride. The scenery plays like a moving geological exhibit. The high tundra area is suggestive of landscapes you’d see in Alaska or Canada. Despite the barren feel of the terrain, colorful alpine plants blanket the rugged ground in the summer months like colorful carpets tossed out to dry in the sun. We suggest to take advantage of the many pullouts along the road, where you can stop to look at views that change as rapidly as the altitude. But, think twice before wandering off for a hike: rangers don’t recommend hiking at altitude until you’ve adjusted to the thin air. Don’t mistake the altitude and make sure you stay hydrated to avoid elevation sickness. Book a stay with us and start your adventure in Winter Park.

Memorial Day is much more than just a three-day weekend and a chance to get the year’s first sunburn. Memorial Day a day to remember those who have fallen to let Americans enjoy their freedom. A little bit of history on how Memorial Day became a day that Americans celebrate it was originally known as “decoration day.” Decoration Day for the practice of decorating graves with flowers, wreaths, and flags. Federal Decoration Day, was established in 1888, allowed Civil War veterans, many of whom were drawing a government paycheck, to honor their fallen comrades without being docked a day’s pay. In 1967 the Federal government declared “decoration day” as Memorial day and has been celebrated ever since. In 2000, Congress established a National Moment of Remembrance, which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3pm in an act of national unity. Memorial Day was originally celebrated on the 30th of May, but is now celebrated the last Monday in the month of May. At Stay Winter Park, we would like to extend our gratitude to our veterans and active duty military members. Since we honor our veterans and active duty members we offer a great deal to those people for this weekend. Come on out to Winter Park and get a great weekend of rest and relaxation.

Golf season in the mountains – it’s that time of year again to enjoy golfing at one of the four great Grand County golf courses. Winter Park, Colorado is an optimal location for golf season for its close proximity to all of the courses. Whether you want to practice your swing or play a round, there are options for golfers of all abilities in and around Winter Park.

Pole Creek Golf Course

The Pole Creek Golf Course is located minutes from Winter Park. This course is Grand County’s only 27-hole, public course. Pole Creek features three 36-par, 9-hole courses suitable for every skill level – Ranch, Ridge and Meadow. The 7,107-yard course features lush fields, significant elevation changes, two ponds and five lakes. There are also a variety of wildflowers and even wildlife to be seen. Amenities include the clubhouse restaurant, Bistro 28, a pro shop and rentals. Improve your game by using the practice facilities (putting green, driving range and chipping green) or taking group or private lessons. Appropriate golf attire is required.

Pole Creek Golf Club won the 2015 Caggys Award for the Reader’s Choice as one of the best mountain courses.

Grand Elk Golf

Grand Elk Golf features an award-winning, 18-hole course with low lying vegetation and rolling terrain designed by Craig Stadler and Tripp Davis. The creative and challenging course was inspired by some of the inland courses of the British Isles and is suitable for all players from juniors to seniors. Amenities include a golf shop, the Grand Elk Grille, serving “golf casual” food, and practice facilities with target greens, short-game practice area and putting green. There is also a pool and hot tub. Rentals, including GolfBoards, and lessons are available. Appropriate golf attire is required.

Granby Ranch Golf Course

Granby Ranch has an award-winning, 18-hole course suitable for golfers of all skill levels. The par-72 course has spectacular mountain views, rolling terrain and strategically placed sand traps, lakes and ponds to make for an exciting game. The Granby Ranch Golf Course amenities include a range, putting and chipping green, pro shop and the Granby Ranch Golf Academy. Players can work with a PGA-certified club fitter for lessons, clinics and camps. Rentals are available on-site and appropriate golf attire is required. No metal spikes allowed.

The Granby Ranch Golf Course is a favorite of locals and visitors for its friendly vibe and Rocky Mountain views.

Grand Lake Golf Course

The Grand Lake Golf Course is the farthest from Winter Park but still less than an hour’s drive away. This 18-hole, public course borders Rocky Mountain National Park and has rolling fairways surrounded by lodgepole pines, aspens and native flora. End a day of golfing at the clubhouse restaurant, Sly Fox or keep practicing at the putting green and driving range. Additional amenities include a pro shop, rentals and lessons. Appropriate golf attire is required.

An additional recreational option when you are done with your round of golf is to visit Rocky Mountain National Park and downtown Grand Lake – the western gateway to the Rockies.

Book the Perfect Lodging for Your Golf Getaway

Play at one or all of these golf courses near Winter Park surrounded by sweeping mountain views and fresh air. Prepare for a unique mountain golf experience in Grand County by booking your accommodations with StayWinterPark. For stunning views and a ninth tee-box right outside your window, consider 492 Golf Course Circle, a private home located in The Fairways at Pole Creek. Or browse through our other vacation rentals to find the perfect lodging for your Winter Park golf outing!

Check out the lodging specials, book online or call us – we’re here to help make your getaway a memorable one.

Winter Park CO – In the Top 10 Authentic Small Towns List.

Journalist Steve Winston is a travel writer for the World Property Journal and spent some time in the Grand County area over the summer and named two towns in Grand County to his Top 10 lists.

The number one ranking went to Grand Lake which is 40 minute drive from Winter Park.
The Grand Lake area offers great year round activities including ATV rentals, boating on one of the 3 lakes (Grand Lake, Lake Granby and Shadow Mountain Resevior), fishing, golfing, horse back rides, hunting, nordic skiing, snowmobile rentals. This town is at the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park – a great treasure to visit! The quaint downtown area has an authentic “boardwalk” instead of concert sidewalks to access the shops, restaurants and live theater.

Winter Park CO was number five on Steve Winston’s list of the Top 10 Mountain Towns in America.
The numberous activities available within a close proximity to the downtown area were a highlight. These activities include: cross country skiing, hot air ballooning, alpine skiing, ice skating, mountain biking, hiking, fishing and zip lining.
A secondary reason was the breath taking views from the 12,000 foot peaks you drive through to get to the Winter Park area.

Now that it is December, Staywinterpark offers great lodging in the downtown Winter Park and surrounding areas for guests to enjoy the many activities listed above and it’s not too late to play for the upcoming holiday break.
Staywinterpark offers affordable lodging for a getaway, check out our specials and activity packages. You can also sign up for our newsletter to keep in touch with us for the most up to date deals and special events in the Winter Park area!

To read the entire article Grand County towns make Top 10 ‘authentic’ list by Steve Winston at this link.

The new Lunch Rock restaurant at the Winter Park Resort is the newest exciting addition to the resort.
This brand new 16,000 square foot restaurant is atop the Mary Jane area and offers a state-of-the-art building with much to offer for the 75th anniversary of the Winter Park Resort.

For generations the area known as Lunch Rocky at the top of Mary Jane has been a place for gathering, respite and unparalleled beauty. Beginning for the 2014-2015 ski season it will also be home to one of the newest on-mountain amenities in the country, the Lunch Rock restaurant, where historic legacy and the promise of a spectacular future meet under the watchful eye of the Continental Divide.

Lunch Rock restaurant is a 16,000 square foot marvel of architecture at over 11,000 feet in elevation that embraces its past. An expansive 150-seat deck is perfect for the sun worshippers who have flocked to Lunch Rock for years, while a new state-of-the-art 250-seat indoor restaurant and 28-seat bar brings comfort and convenience. The building offers great amenities that include spacious restrooms, retail area for stocking up on provisions and hydration stations. The biggest attraction – breath-taking views of iconic Parry Peak, James Peak, Parsenn Bowl, the Fraser Valley and the Continental Divide.

Guests can utilize five different lifts to reach this gem. Constructed with a combination of steel, wood and stone, the feel of a cozy mountain lodge is apparent. Environmentally friendly construction included repurposed wood, pine beetle kill and energy and water conservation techniques adhere to the strict eco-friendliness that Winter Park Resort has always held paramount to any on-mountain construction project.

The project began on April 21, before the Winter Park 2013-2014 ski season even ended, with the demolitions of the previous Lunch Rock building, which had stood for more than 25 years. The new facility will be open in November for the start of the new ski season and will be a spot that can be enjoyed year-round, becoming the perfect venue for not only dining and relaxing, but also weddings, retreats and group functions.

Check out the Lunch Rock photo gallery for a complete overview of the steps of construction.

Staywinterpark. would like you to join in a rousing game that is sure to spark your creative juices and inspire you to pack your bags and head to Mary Jane Mountain where you can potentially win a Winter Park Season Pass when you submit a video to us.

According to Wikipedia, the phrase “word association” refers to a “common word game involving an exchange of words that are associated together”… “ in response to a given word, done spontaneously as a game, creative technique, or in a psychiatric evaluation.”

All psychiatric evaluations aside, let’s play a round with a phrase that conjures up plenty of opportunity (especially here in sunny Colorado) for responses that are associated with fun, recreation and some good insightful laughter.  But don’t jump to conclusions; you may be surprised at how the associated phrases fit into each category.

Ready? Here we go! The noun phrase we are playing with today is…..MARY JANE.

Here are some expected first responses and likely 2nd generation replies:

  1. Mary Jane Mountain at Winter Park Resort
    • NOW OPEN!
    • Home of Big Bumps & Spectacular Tree Skiing
    • Lessons & Rentals available
    • Laid back, welcome atmosphere
    • FREE PARKING
    • Authentic Colorado skiing experience
    • Close to many Staywinterpark. Winter Park lodging options including Base Camp on Jane Creek
  2. Mary Jane styles shoes
    • Classic American shoe style for girls
    • Closed toe shoe with one or more straps across the instep
  3. Mary Jane Watson
    • Guiding light in Peter Parker’s life
    • Marvel comic character first mentioned in #15 Amazing Spider-Man circa 1964
  4. Mary Jane aka marijuana, pot
    • Amendment 64 Legalizes recreational marijuana use in Colorado
    • Colorado becomes first state to mix politics and pot
    • Ski towns supported Colorado’s legalization at a rate of 70-90%

But buyer beware! While you may be guiding superheroes around the Winter Park slopes or enjoying an après-ski party sporting an attractive pair of Mary Jane shoes, you are NOT allowed to smoke any Mary Jane/pot/reefer/weed/whatever-the-kids-are-calling-it-these-days on the slopes, chair lifts or restaurant decks. Most ski areas are on federal land and purchasing, consuming and possessing the green herb is considered ILLEGAL.

Know the laws. Know some of the best tree skiing is on Mary Jane Mountain. Know that Staywinterpark. cares about your safety and wants you to enjoy all the recreational opportunities Colorado ski towns have to offer without incidence.

Depending on where you are, if you’re still “dreaming of a White Christmas”, then a Colorado Christmas vacation in Winter Park is a good way to go. Although I have been in Colorado for 22 years, I was born and bred in England, and the prospect of a White Christmas there during my childhood was a fascination, although it hardly ever came to fruition.

The Weather Outlook website, as of today, states that “It’s expected to be too mild for snow”, pretty much everywhere in the UK on Christmas Day. While we’re still 13 days away from Christmas Day, weather forecasters are loathe to predict conditions this far out. However, the longer-range forecast from Snowforecast.com states “The next storm arrives mid to late next week with another shot of snow for Colorado resort areas. Either way, the pattern stays pretty busy across the west and this is expected to be good for snow pack and conditions as frequent storms keep the snow coming right through the Christmas holiday period.” So, there’s a good chance for a White Christmas in Winter Park.

Historically, Winter Park has a great record for average seasonal snowfall, currently at 327 inches per season. This compares very favorably with Aspen at 300 inches, Copper with 279 and even Vail’s 8-year average of 297 inches.

And how are conditions right now? Well, as of today, there are 96 trails open at Winter Park Resort, served by 19 open lifts, which is pretty darned good for this time of the season. The resort has received an official 74.5 inches of snow so far and Snowforecast predicts 4-8 inches Friday-Saturday, although OpenSnow is less optimistic with 0-4 inches in its forecast. The very cold temperatures have meant that the snow that has fallen has stayed put and skiing conditions are fabulous with blue skies and sunshine to round everything off.

So, if you’re toying with the idea of getting away for a traditional Colorado Christmas vacation, then conditions in Winter Park are great, over two thirds of the mountain is open with likely more trails being opened over the next 2 weeks and snow is in the forecast for the Christmas Holidays. Furthermore, Staywinterpark still has some pockets of availability over the Holidays in our 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom units, and we’re now accepting 2-night stays if you just want to get away for a short sharp burst of enjoyment! Give us a call or book online.

I’ve never liked politics. I might be going too far by saying that I hate it, but really I have no time for it. I went online to the Urban Dictionary for some definitions of “Politician” and laughed louder than I had done in many days. I get particularly annoyed however when it interferes in my own life to such an extent that it takes something away from it – aside from taxes. And so it is with the government shutdown.

Tourism is all about people taking time off to relax, have fun in a destination of choice and spend their hard-earned income on anything that gives them enjoyment and pleasure. We’re in the tourism industry and we become victims when politics intervenes to the extent that businesses involved in tourism take a direct hit and when vacations are effectively terminated. I’m not talking about the up-coming ski season necessarily – and I’m sure there may be side-effects of not just the current shutdown but increasing uncertainty as we approach the debt-ceiling deadline – but of how my own long-planned family vacation with another family on a houseboat in Lake Powell has been canceled.

America’s 401 national parks received 715,000 daily visits in October 2012, and contributed $76 million to local economies during each of those days according to the National Park Service (NPS).  Under the government shutdown, more than 21,000 members of the NPS were furloughed without pay. Domestic (me) and international travelers and the businesses that depend on them will tell you that bipartisan bickering in the two houses of Congress has had a direct and instantaneous effect on their lives.

American Pulitzer Prize-winning author Wallace Stegner wrote: “National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst.” And now, due to political wrangling and obstinacy, they,the people that work there and the vacationers who want to visit are being hardest hit. Actually, I do hate politics.

Moving on, as you probably know, thanks to the passage of Amendment 64, adults age 21 and up can begin to legally purchase pot beginning in January. Amendment 64 was passed by approximately 55 per cent of Colorado voters overall in 2012, but enjoyed an approval rate of 70-90 percent in the state’s ski towns.

Colorado actually became the first state in the U.S. to adopt rules for retail marijuana shops in the state. Colorado adult residents may possess up to an ounce of recreational marijuana, but adult tourists are only allowed to purchase up to a quarter of an ounce. Most mountain towns in Colorado have approved sales of recreational marijuana – excluding Vail and a few others which have imposed bans of some sort on recreational marijuana businesses.

Why is all this relevant, I hear you ask. Well, looking at it purely from a business angle (and just to let you know I don’t partake, in case you were wondering), it’s entirely conceivable that Colorado (hopefully excluding Vail but including Winter Park) may make out at Utah’s expense! I guess the proof will be in the smoking, but it certainly lends a new definition to Rocky Mountain High! Thank you John Denver. He knew what he was singing about.

There are a lot of people here in the valley who have been getting very excited recently. “Why?” I hear you all ask at once. Well, it’s all the rain we’ve been having almost daily for the last 2+ months – buckets of it, mostly in the afternoons, but of the monsoonal variety that pretty much brings most summer outdoor activities to a screeching halt. Rain – combined with noticeably lower temperatures in the morning – and now during the day. And because the ski season is a little over 2 months away, these “lot of people” are full of optimism for a heavy snow year. Makes sense, doesn’t it? After the experience of two winters ago followed by a very mediocre season last year, it’s bound to make a few people “very excited” and start talking about a banner snow year as if a wet summer automatically translates into one.

So – who do we normally turn to at this time of the year to give us some guidance? Yes – the Groundhog of course. Sorry – I’m being facetious. Right now, Punxsutawney Phil is currently sleeping in his terrarium which is built into the Punxsutawney library and was described by one visitor as “a chubby, snoring heap” which actually might describe 68.8% of us, seeing as the Flegal et al research study deemed this percentage of U.S. adults as overweight or obese.

Anyway – I’m getting off topic. When trying to get an indication of what sort of winter we might get, many people rush to the stores this time of year to snag their copy of some light-hearted reading called The Farmers’ Almanac. I’ve never quite understood – is it an Almanac written by Farmers (for everyone) or an Almanac written (by someone) for Farmers? Either way – there’s huge debate as to whether its weather prediction – always a major feature – is accurate or not. The publishers of course claim an 80 to 85% accuracy rate. However, independent studies that retrospectively compare the weather with the predictions “have not shown them more accurate than chance”. There you go – toss a coin. Furthermore, part of the problem is the way in which the country is split up into regions. Colorado is one of 10 states in the North Central US – the weather could be totally different all season in Winter Park compared to – say – the town in Kansas where Dorothy came from (wherever that is).

I can’t leave it there however. Let’s at least see what they say. “Piercing cold with Normal Snowfall”. Brilliant. Online you can see a forecast through November 7th. You’ll need to buy a copy if you want even more long range weather forecasts. Save your money – I have the answers for you right here, and they’re not from the FA.

I’m going to make you wait however, because I want to let you know what the esteemed Dr. Jim Steenburgh has to say. Apparently, he is “obsessed with skiing deep powder and improving our ability to forecast and understand the atmosphere. His credibility and experience are second to none”. I won’t give you the link for his 561-word assessment, but basically he said “We Have No Idea”. Great. Thank you. According to him, we’ll have a “La Nada” year for snow – neither El Nino or La Nina. So we’re no further forward. But there’s still hope.

According to Joel Gratz – my favored source for accurate “nearer the time” snow forecasts – he heard that the mushroom crop in western Colorado is doing very well this summer, and that seems to precede a very good winter. Hmmmmm – I’ve heard before how mushrooms can influence one’s sense of perception and judgment.

But here it is – the news you’ve all been waiting for – apparently an invasive weed up on Berthoud Pass is – like – 3 feet high this year – or is it 7 feet – and that usually means we’re going to get a ton of snow (dude). Yes – the most reliable forecast I’ve heard so far, and coming from someone who apparently claimed an official sighting of the Loch Ness Monster in Scotland AND the Yeti in Nepal in less than 24 hours. You heard it here first folks!

The latest update for the fire ban is that due to the continued extreme fire danger and extended weahter forecast, Rocky Mountain National Park officials have announced a ban on all fires within the park. Campfires including charcoal briquette fires are not permitted anywhere within the park.

At 1pm on Tuesday, June 12th, the Grand County Sheriff’s office and county commissioners implemented a fire ban.
The fire ban is a ban on outdoor fires that include the sale and use of personal fireworks (although at this time commerical professional fireworks displays are allowed). Use of charcoal or gas grills on private property such as home decks is allowed, but the use of charcoal grills on public property is prohibited. Other use that is prohibited are: use of fire pits of any kind on private property (chimineas, wrought iron fire pits and backyard fire pits), burning of fence rows, irrigation ditches, fields, wildlands, trash and debris. It also strongly discourages smoking outside except within enclosed motor vehicles, building or developed picnic grounds or campgrounds.
The restrictions do not restrict the use of fire rings and pits at supervised, developed and established campground in Grand County including Rocky Mountain National Park. The public will be informed if there will be changes to a total ban in campground areas.
Penalties for violations of the fire ban in Grand County start at $100 per violation with court fines up to $1,000.