National Geographic calls nearby Fraser a "Best Secret Ski Town"
Best For: Adventurous families with a taste for top-of-the-world skiing
Fraser is an anomaly in the resort-packed northern half of Colorado—a humble, affordable town in the shadow of a premier ski area. Somehow managing to skirt the popular radar, this railroad town of 910 maintains the air of a funky, back-of-beyond Western hamlet even though it’s only 70 miles from Denver. You don’t come here for the nightlife scene, unless you count the illuminated tubing hill on the slopes behind town. But there’s a great pizza shop, saloon, bowling alley/movie theater/bar, and a ski shop, Joe’s Backcountry Repair, that will hand-tune your planks. You can also still take the train here, with a small Amtrak station right in town.
Five miles up the road, its runs visible from town, is Winter Park Resort, a complex, sprawling ski area with 3,081 acres of terrain, 3,060 feet of vertical, and 25 lifts. The two primary mountains, Winter Park, for beginners, and Mary Jane, for the experts, are like two different ski areas. There are several other distinct zones, many with high-speed chairs, that disperse the weekend rush of skiers well. Mary Jane is famous for its bump runs, but the larger resort is dominated by groomers and wilder blue runs, with some scenic, above-timberline options that can make intermediates feel like mountaineers. Intrawest, which runs the resort for its owner, the City of Denver, has given it its usual mega-resort, condo-explosion treatment, but it hasn’t diminished the eclectic charm of Fraser (or its sibling, the town of Winter Park) nor the adventurous, family-friendly feel of the mountain itself.
Ask a Local
Eric Mowry has lived in Fraser since 2000 and owns Epic Mountain Sports in the town of Winter Park.
“Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa”
Best Après Spot
“Deno’s Mountain Bistro”
Best Off-the-Slopes Activity
“Bowling at the Foundry”
Favorite Local Run
“The trees off Drunken Frenchman”
Original article here.