Top 10 Tips for International Visitors
Not only is Winter Park, CO a great place to spend your vacation or Holiday’s. We’ve also carefully put together a list of our Top 10 Tips for our International guests that are looking for a little more information to help make your stay that much better.
#1: Body Clock Adjustment
The time difference between Winter Park and Europe is -7 or -10 hours. If we take a look at the earliest arrival time for a flight from London as an example, we’re looking at 3:43PM, which is 10:43PM body time. You can then bank on at least 4 hours total to go through immigration and customs plus your ride to Winter Park, either via Homes James Transportation or rental car. This puts you in Winter Park around 3:00AM body time, and with anything from 18-24 hours total travel time door-to-door.
Some people find adjusting 1 hour to daylight savings time hard enough, let alone 7 hours. If your circumstances permit (and your working day is a big factor), try going to bed much later for the few days before you depart. Even a couple of hours later will help if that’s all you can manage. That way, when you arrive, you only have 5 hours to adjust, as opposed to 7.
#2: Fly Direct If You Can
I’m a big believer in trying to minimize the time taken in traveling from home base to destination. After all, this is your vacation, time is precious, and traveling is stressful enough as it is, so the shorter the journey, the better your state of mind and body when arriving. Flight itineraries with a connection leave notoriously early in the morning, necessitating a ridiculously early wake-up call just to make sure you get to the airport in plenty of time.
Then, with the hassle of a connection, not only do you partake in a domestic flight – and you’ll notice the difference I can assure you – but total travel time is at least 4 hours more, often longer. With BA, United and BMI/Continental offering direct flights to/from Denver, you’re looking at less than 10 hours out and less than 9 hours going back. That makes for a more civilized departure time, a relaxing flight, and a decent mid-afternoon to early evening arrival time.
This is a judgement call and depends on your particular circumstances, number of people in party, confidence (or not) in driving in winter conditions, location of accommodation, desire for total freedom and flexibility, budget, etc. Home James Transportation offers door-to-door transfers from the airport to your unit. For a couple or 3 people staying in town, this might make more sense. For the 2015-16 season, adult round-trip rate is $140.00, kids 2-11 $70.00. Home James also offers special charter services.
Assuming you are confident about the drive (and you never know what conditions you’re going to get) and there are sufficient numbers in your group to justify it, a rental car might save you money, as well as give you that extra flexibility. 4WD or AWD is a must though and you’ll be paying at least $420.00+ plus gas (and insurance if you go that route) for a 1-week rental.
#4: Rental Equipment
It used to be fashionable (and perhaps “prestigious”) to have your own skis, poles and boots and haul them around with you on every ski vacation. For most people, one ski vacation is all you get in a year. With the advances in technology occurring almost at an annual rate, as well as the additional (and oversized) bag fees most airlines are charging, it makes much more sense to rent in the resort where you’re staying. You’ll get the most up-to-date equipment and the option to change it at any time during your stay.
Beavers Sport Shop is located on Main Street and by tapping into their best available discounts, it will cost you less than you expect.
#5: Get Fit!
Maybe this should read “get as fit as you can”, because everyone is likely to have a different definition of what it means to be fit. And while not everyone needs to be told to get in shape, there are a couple of things to bear in mind while skiing at Winter Park Resort. Firstly, the obvious: altitude. The base of Winter Park and the top of the mountain are a good deal higher than most European resorts.
People used to living at sea level can be “breathless” in Denver – the Mile High City – at 5,280 feet. The town of Winter Park is at an altitude of 9,052 feet, and the summit is at 12,060, more than 2 miles above sea level. In medical speak, the percentage saturation of hemoglobin with oxygen determines the content of oxygen in our blood. After the body reaches 7,000 feet above sea level, the saturation of oxyhemoglobin begins to plummet. In layman’s terms, to becomes increasingly difficult to breathe! Add the physical exertion of skiing all day and it’s easy to see why being fit – both anaerobically and aerobically – will lessen the effects of altitude. Check out the page entitled “On Mountain Health & Safety” for some more tips.
#6: Websites to check out ahead of time
A little research ahead of time can definitely help with your travel planning and give you some ideas on things to do and see while you’re here. The best ones are:
- www.winterparkguide.com: pick up the print version of the Guest Guide when you arrive, but this site will give you info on the free bus schedule, articles, videos, maps, activities and more.
- www.playwinterpark.com: this is the Winter Park & Fraser Valley Chamber of Commerce website. Every business member has a listing. Check out the Events section also for things going on during your stay.
- www.opensnow.com/location/winterpark: this has the best, most accurate predictions for winter weather and snowfall (next 6 days) of all the weather-related websites.
- www.cotrip.org: if you’re driving to and from Denver International Airport, you might want to glance at this website for the latest road conditions and closures, and adjust your driving time accordingly. A drive to/from DIA might take 1 hour 45 minutes, or double that.
- staywinterpark.com: of course – you’re here already, but take a look at our Guide to Winter Park section: everything featured here is because we want to feature it, rather than we have to include it! You’ll see some personal recommendations and find out about things that no-one else has written about. Of course, we want you to book through us as well, and our best discounts go to those who stay the longest!
#7: Tap into our knowledge
At check-in, or anytime during your stay, don’t hesitate to ask our front desk staff for information and recommendations. They can give you the latest coupons on dining and activities, recommend our favorite places to eat, the best times to partake in other winter (and summer) activities and anything else going on in the valley that’s a “Don’t Miss”.
#8: Ski Tips by Ski Tops
Staywinterpark is a member of the Ski Tour Operators Association which has produced a very useful list of tips for travelers to the mountains. It covers some more high altitude tips, advice on air transportation and transfers, lodging, clothing, rental equipment, rental cars, and insurance.
#9: Tips & Safety
Likewise, the Winter Park Resort has its own section on tips and safety on their website, including first timer advice, high country safety, allowed on-mountain devices, etc. Well worth having a quick read.
#10: Social Media
The quickest way to keep in touch with the most current events and happenings these days seems to be via the various social media tools out there. For many people, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and others, are indispensable portals to the latest and greatest in whatever field they’re interested in. StayWinterPark has its own Blog and recently we’ve covered such subjects as 15 Ways to Save Money on your Ski Vacation and Denver International Airport which will give you many more tips than the 10 outlined in this article.
Hopefully this will help you – our international guests – with your winter vacation planning, and if you need more assistance or information, contact us at any time. We look forward to hearing from you.