Apres Ski in Winter Park

Winter Park Base Village

It wasn’t so long ago that the resort of Winter Park comprised a couple of ski services buildings and the lift terminal, but that has changed with the development of a new base village. Many of the buildings in the village make reference to the resort’s railroad roots.

The world famous Moffat Tunnel (the longest railroad tunnel in the world at the time of its construction) is located less than 100 yards from the chairlifts. Trains can be seen and heard chugging in and out of the tunnel frequently throughout the day.

Stretching from the top of the cabriolet to the Zephyr Express, the village is comprised of roughly a dozen buildings containing retail shops, restaurants, and lodging properties. The village is modest in size and still something of a work in progress, but has enough to keep most people occupied for the entirety of their stay. Apart from all the restaurants and hotels, the village is home to the Mountain Adventure Center. Be sure to stop in and demo the latest equipment from top ski manufacturers like Salomon and Völkl.

Winter Park Restaurants & Bars

Every Friday and Saturday night, the Zephyr Express Quad transforms into a gondola to whisk hungry diners to the Lodge at Sunspot. Located over 2 miles above sea level with breathtaking views of the Continental Divide, the Lodge at Sunspot offers continental cuisine with a Colorado flair. Specialties include locally procured elk, buffalo, steak and trout.

The Cheeky Monk is an outstanding Belgian restaurant in the heart of the pedestrian village. The restaurant specializes in European and American fare from fondue to “Monk and Cheese.” We highly recommend trying one of the over a dozen varieties of Belgian beer and a basket of the Cheeky Monk’s gourmet French fries (slathered in a tasty Belgian Waffle-esque batter). Open for lunch and dinner, the Cheeky Monk is a must for anyone who visits Winter Park.

Doc’s Roadhouse, at the north end of the Zephyr Mountain Lodge, features casual dining and pub grub in a relaxed atmosphere. Be sure to try Doc’s tasty Armadillo Eggs (a.k.a. jalapeno poppers).

The Five Mountain Tavern is located in the Vintage Hotel near the bottom of the cabriolet and entrance to the resort. The tavern’s famous hamburgers are widely regarded as the best burger in town, but the real draw is not the beef, but the bar. Grab a seat at the “Churchill Bar” to see where Winston Churchill allegedly put out his cigar.

Lime is a tex-mex cantina specializing in tacos and margaritas. Happy Hour drink specials are popular for après-ski and live entertainment keeps things lively on weekend nights.

Located near the top of the cabriolet (and the bottom of the village), The Back Bowl Soup Company offers warm and hearty fare at reasonable prices. Soups and Sandwiches highlight a menu which includes an extensive selection of wines and beers.

Town of Winter Park

A short five minute drive from the Winter Park Resort base village leads to the town of Winter Park. A hopping ski town with a youthful vibe, Winter Park has long been a favorite amongst college students, but a wide variety of restaurants and bars are available to suit all budgets and tastes.

We recommend hitting up Hernando’s Pizza and Pasta Pub. Locals will tell you, there’s no better place to grab a slice and unwind with friends. Lines can be lengthy mid-winter, so calling ahead is recommended. Oh…and be sure to leave a signed dollar bill on the wall on your way out. While only the owner knows for sure how many George Washingtons line the walls, ceilings and tables, Ultimate-Ski’s highy scientific study (asking 8 locals and averaging their answers) led us to believe the amount to be over $15,000!

Winter Park Apres-Ski

Nightlife is informal and friendly. For apres ski, the Derailer Bar at the base of Winter Park has a sun deck, and The Kickapoo Tavern located in the adjacent Zephyr Mountain Lodge offers two levels of outdoor decks for après ski.

Downtown Winter Park (a 5 min. drive from the resort) is home to over 50 restaurants and bars to choose from and there is even an après-ski trail taking in 19 of the 50 or so bars, kicking off at the The Club Car and ending at The Crooked Creek Saloon in nearby Fraser. Wildcreek Restaurant offers live music and is popular on weekends with both locals and visitors or check out Hernandos with its dollar-covered walls, or the Crooked Creek Saloon, but it’s very difficult to find a place to dance. So, if you’re seeking more hustle and bustle with funky live music in authentic Western bars, head for nearby Fraser.

On the legal side, you must be 21 years old to drink alcohol, and you cannot walk the street with an open container of alcohol. Children can accompany their parents in restaurants but not in bars or clubs which, by the way, shut at 2:00 am.

Winter Park Activities

Winter Park is first and foremost a ski area and there is not a great deal for non-skiers apart from other winter sports activities – snowmobiling, snowshoeing, hot-springs tours, and tubing at Fraser. The Tubing Hill, open daily, must be the best fun for all ages!

The Tour Center offers guided backcountry snowshoeing and snowcat tours. You can also take a snowcat up to The Lodge at Sunspot or Snoasis for lunch. Snowcat tours are one of the most popular options for non-skiers. A few stores are located at the base of the resort but a wider selection of options is available in town, including jewelry, sporting goods, gifts, and art.

Nonskiers will enjoy a trip to the nearby Devil’s Thumb Ranch (http://www.devilsthumbranch.com). The ultra high-end resort offers cross-country skiing, a wide array of spa treatments, snowshoeing, skjoring (cross country skiing, but with a dog pulling you), horseback riding, sleigh rides and ice skating.

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