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Ski Mary Jane

In January 2016, she turned forty years old, but the Mary Jane Territory hardly looks it. The views are stunning, the bumps challenging and the stories go on and on at the party in C Lot. Everyone has heard the whispers that Mary Jane can make a grown man cry, but everyone wants to say they have skied Mary Jane.

A Little Mary Jane History

A well-known madam of the evening, Mary Jane lived in the town of Arrow, about three or four miles up the old railroad bed. According to legend, Mary Jane acquired the land on which the existing trail now lies as payment from railroad workers and miners for her favors.

A group of Denver ski enthusiasts formed the Colorado Arlberg Club in 1935 and began clearing the first manmade ski trail in the western part of the United States that would become the Mary Jane trail.

Mary Jane opened in 1975 with 18 new trails over 350 acres, increasing the size of Winter Park Resort by 80 percent. By 1986, Mary Jane gained an additional 20 trails on 200 acres, which included some of Colorado’s steepest trails in The Chutes. The 1990s brought the Sunnyside lift on the backside of the mountain, which opened up more terrain and spectacular vistas of Parry Peak and the Continental Divide.

Many of the lifts and ski run names at Mary Jane reflect the local railroad history:

  • Trestle – From the famous loop trestle on Corona Pass
  • Sleeper – Term for crossties along the railroad tracks
  • Arrowhead – Railroad ghost town on Corona Pass
  • Drunken Frenchmen – French-Canadian woodsmen who cut timber by day and drank by night
  • Sterling Way – Railroad engineer who rode to safety on a coal shovel after a winter train wreck on Corona Pass
  • Boiler – Powered the coal-fired train engine

Today, Mary Jane’s reputation has changed from one of a “woman of pleasure” to one of deep powder, deeper bumps and the mystique of being “The Jane.”

Lunch Rock Restaurant

Winter Park Resort has recently built the state-of-the-art Lunch Rock Restaurant, a 16,000 square-foot structure that is more than five times large than the original building that was built in 1985. The new restaurant will be open year-round and feature 150 seats on the expansive heated deck for sun worshipers and 250 seats indoors. At 11,200 feet elevation, the restaurant has amazing views of Parry Peak, James Peak, Parsenn Bowl, the Fraser Valley, and the Continental Divide.

Architects used repurposed wood and pine beetle kill in the construction as a nod to Mary Jane’s rich history. They also incorporated energy and water conservation techniques that made it the winner of the 2015 Golden Eagle Award for Environmental Excellence.

So, what are you waiting for? Mary Jane is waiting, but only for those who have the courage.

Tags: What to Do
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