Sitting on the 6-passenger chairlift, I couldn’t help but admire the views that kept getting more and more scenic. First it was just glimpses of alpine forest covered in snow, but as the lift climbed higher up the hill, we rose above timberline and jagged mountain peaks appeared. By the time, we unloaded off the lift, we were at a lofty 12,000 feet and as I paused at the top, I had to take it all in.
It truly was a Rocky Mountain High, with views of rugged mountains both near and far in all directions. Chairlifts can have odd names — Eskimo, Cannonball, Super Bee — that seemingly have no rhyme or reason to them. But in this case, the Panoramic Lift at Winter Park is aptly named because the breathtaking views truly are panoramic all 360 degrees around you.
Panoramic is just part of the terrain encompassed by a unique part of Winter Park Ski Resort affectionately referred to by the locals as “The Jane.” Mary Jane was officially opened as an addition to Winter Park Ski Resort in 1975, and is named illustriously after a infamous prostitute who “served” the local mining community in the 1800s.
Little did she know that her name would later spur such a beloved following to a ski area named after her more than 100 years later.
Mary Jane has grown from its modest beginnings of 18 trails and 350 acres to now include two 6-passenger high speed lifts and above timberline bowl skiing up on Parsenn Bowl. But what really inspires such a dedicated, local following is Mary Jane’s famous bumps. The number of groomed trails on Mary Jane can be counted on one hand.
But bump skiing? Well, that’s where you earn you stripes, is on the Jane. As you drive down Highway 40, you gaze upon trail after trail of dimpled white ribbons streaming down the mountainside. To be able to ski the Jane, you have to be a really good skier.
Skiing Derailer, Short Haul, Boiler, you better know what you’re doing. It’s a point of pride among locals of the Front Range to park at the Challenger Lot, and bang bumps. There’s a story that when Intrawest purchased Winter Park Ski Resort, they tried to groom out some of the famous Jane bump runs to make it more accessible for a variety of skiers.
As the story goes, there were such howls of protests from the legions of Jane fans, that they quickly reversed course.
With over 25 ski resorts in Colorado, ski resorts have to find their niche — what makes them special and unique to attract a loyal following.
For Winter Park Ski Resort, the Jane and its moguls fill that niche, making it a special place for skiers far and wide.
As they say, “No Pain, No Jane.”