Winter Wilderness Series
Mary Jane Opening
Mary Jane is Officially Open for the Season!
By: Tyler Macleod
For the avid skiers and snowboarders who call Winter Park home – or perhaps their home away from home – few days create more anticipation and excitement than the official opening of beloved Mary Jane.
When the Winter Park Territory opens in mid-November each season, it’s quickly followed by a steady increase of wonder and murmuring with every passing day.
“Have you heard when the Jane is going to open?” becomes the common question; quickly circulating around town and winding down the switchbacks of Berthoud Pass, where it soon stretches to the Front Range skiers and riders eager for that much-anticipated confirmation.While some seasons Jane can be quick to open for business, others – such as this year – can be a bit of a waiting game.
Old Man Winter has proven to be a little finicky this year, but with some hard work from the Winter Park Resort snowmakers, groomers and patrollers, coupled with a bit of patience and just enough natural snow, skiers and riders finally rejoiced this past weekend as the announcement was finally made that Mary Jane was, in fact, open for the season.
The official opening came on Saturday, December 16, 2017, a day after mountain operations were able to give the Mary Jane trail, the brand new Sober Englishman trail and the Super Gauge Express Lift a few hours of trial runs beneath Friday’s cool temps and sunny skies. The first official chair traveled up the Super Gauge at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning, with cheers bellowing from the surrounding skiers and riders who made it out for the annual ritual.Surely, everyone is still hoping for more snow and more terrain to open – at Mary Jane and the other six territories of Winter Park Resort – but for the time being, skiers and riders from near and far are excited to be back in action on “Jane Side” just in time for the holiday season.
First opened in 1975, Mary Jane has developed one of the ski community’s most devout followings over its 40-plus years of operation. Known for some of the most challenging terrain found anywhere in North America, Mary Jane has built a reputation as a diehard’s paradise – look around in the lift line on any given day, and you’re sure to see dozens of signature “No Pain, No Jane” stickers gracing the helmets, skis and boards of her most dedicated followers. Mary Jane constantly proves to be the rough-around-the-edges, yet still laid back and always inviting sister of Winter Park’s seven territories. With her blue-collar culture, where skiers can park just steps away from the chairlift, it’s no wonder why she has built such a highly regarded reputation in Colorado and beyond. Aside from the adrenaline-inducing terrain she provides, it’s an atmosphere that takes skiers and riders back in time – where it’s not about who has the latest and greatest gear, or who spent the most money on a latte in the lodge, but who’s having the best time with their friends in the serenity of the great outdoors.And for those who may be wary of the un-groomed trails and sometimes waist-high bumps that Mary Jane is known for, fear not. Despite her double-black-diamond persona, Mary Jane is still a lady who is comfortable with the whole family. With a number of groomed blue runs, in addition to the old school flavor of the Galloping Goose Chairlift (which beginners can ride for just $10 a day), the territory is capable of appeasing the whole family. For 2017, there is even the brand new Sober Englishman trail, making it easier than ever for skiers and riders to get from the Winter Park Territory and over to Mary Jane.
So keep your snow dances up, and get ready to break those powder skis out – Mary Jane is officially open for the season!
An East Coast transplant, Tyler grew up just north of Baltimore, Md., where he studied Journalism and New Media at nearby Towson University. He moved to Grand County in the fall of 2011, and aside from a brief stint in Bozeman, Mont., has called the Fraser Valley home ever since. Currently, he is a freelance writer and photographer who spends the majority of his free time snowboarding, cycling, and hanging out at the local skatepark. Tyler recently became an owner-partner of Visit Winter Park Magazine and heads up writing and sales.