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Winter Park Ski Area

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1940. U.S. 40, 7 miles north of Berthoud Pass

Denver parks manager George Cranmer planned and implemented this Denver Mountain Park. The U.S. Forest Service and ski enthusiasts began laying out runs as early as 1933. A year later the D&RG constructed a depot and began transporting skiers. Rope tows were installed in 1939 by WPA and CCC workers with contributions of additional labor, money, and materials from volunteers organized by George Cranmer. Officially dedicated in 1940, it has become a large, high-tech, popular winter sports complex, emphasizing family and handicapped skiing. The success of Winter Park has led to the creation of an ancillary ski area, Mary Jane (named for Mary Jane Creek), and the smaller ski areas of Idlewild and Silver Creek.

Balcony House ( GA05.1; 1955) is a two-story warming house with a large sunny-side balcony at the base of the ski runs and several additions. It became a prototype for the solar-oriented warming houses now standard in Colorado ski areas. D&RG caboose no. 1448 ( GA05.2; Burnham Shops, Denver, 1945) was put on display in 1989, two years after the D&RG replaced cabooses with ET's (end-of-train devices). Parked at the base of Winter Park ski runs next to a new, hightech lift, this bright yellow steel caboose houses an information booth and mini-museum.

The entrance to this winter sports haven is near the west portal of the Moffat Tunnel ( GA05.3), whose buttresses give it a sphinxlike aura. The tunnel's east portal is on the other side of the Continental Divide in Gilpin County ( GL23).

Writing Credits

Author: 
Thomas J. Noel
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Citation

Thomas J. Noel, "Winter Park Ski Area", [Winter Park, Colorado], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/CO-01-GA05.

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