- Winter Park lies in the Fraser River Valley, southwest of Rocky Mountain National Park, and is surrounded by thousands of acres of the Arapaho National Forest. The area serves as a portal for three designated wilderness areas. Thirteen peaks rise above the valley floor to more than 12,000 feet. The City of Denver was deeded about ninety acres for a mountain park which is now the base area of Winter Park Resort. Winter Park, and Mary Jane, are becoming destination resorts with the creation of a new base area.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Historic shot of Winter Park Ski area
Recreation - Recreation opportunities abound in the Winter Park area through all seasons. During the warmer months the area supports hiking, biking, backpacking, horseback riding, camping and fishing. During the winter months you can enjoy downhill skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, ice skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.
Climate - Winters are great for those who like lots of snow. Depending on the elevation within the valley, average snowfall since 1975 is around 370 inches per year! Winter daytime temperatures reach average highs of about 25 degrees, with average nighttime lows around 13 degrees. The climatic characteristics make for some of the best skiing in the world.
In the summer, nighttime temperatures average about 45 degrees and day highs average around 70 degrees. Afternoon thunderstorms are typical through July and August.
From the valley floor to the top of the Continental Divide, there are three ecological zones. Pines, aspens, a few spruce and fir trees, willows and underbrush occupy the mountain zone up to 10,000 feet. The subalpine zone from 10,000-11,400 feet is occupied by spruce, fir, a few pines and aspens on south slopes and in areas denuded by fire, avalanches, and timber cutting. The alpine zone starts at timberline, about 11,400 feet, depending on soil type, wind, and weather exposure. High mountain grasses, tundra, lichens and mosses are the principal vegetation, along with a few twisted trees trying to survive Mother Nature's extremes.
Winter Park and the Fraser River Valley are located in north-central Colorado. The area lies about 70 miles northwest of Denver, along U.S. Highway 40.