What is Mary Jane? Experience Skiing + Riding the local way
October 20, 2022

What is Mary Jane? Experience Skiing + Riding the local way

Unlike most things, Mary Jane Mountain at Winter Park Resort only gets better with age. The terrain is perfect for bumps and skiing or riding through the trees--it's a real spectacle.

Mining, logging, and railroad work brought people to the area in the late 1800s. Then Mary Jane turned a sheep trail into a destination by providing what her clients wanted. She became a well-known madam and local lady of the evening. Her business acumen led to more customers and Winter Park's transformation from grazing land to playground.

Mary Jane lived in Arrow, a town situated 3-4 miles up the old railroad bed. The parcel of land on which Mary Jane's residence sat was previously known as the Mary Jane Placer. It is unclear whether she bought this piece of property with her earnings or if it was gifted to her by a grateful client. In 1975, she enlarged Winter Park Resort by 18 trails (350 acres) 80%. The 1986 capital improvement plan gave Winter Park/Mary Jane $9 million dollars to spend. With this influx of cash, the ski resort was able to add an extra 20 trails (200 acres). Some of these new trails were located in The Chutes area and quickly became popular among skiers for their steep slopes.

The 1990s brought more goodies to "the Lady," with the installation of the Sunnyside lift on the backside of the mountain, opening up even more terrain and breathtaking vistas of Parry Peak and the continental divide. The Club Car restaurant at the bottom was expanded by 50 percent, snowmaking was enhanced, allowing skiers/riders to enjoy Mary Jane's charms earlier in the season.

In 2007, the Panoramic lift opened on Jane, becoming North America’s highest six-passenger, high-speed chairlift. This allowed access to 100 acres of graded terrain on Parsenn Bowl as well as easier access to Vazquez Cirque. The Eagle Wind lift was opened the year before in 2006 and it provides skiers/riders with some of the best tree-skiing experiences in the country today.

The most distinctive aspect of Mary Jane, though, is that it has a devoted following of many thousands of people who adore it and have formed a passionate bond that spans generations. While Mary Jane was once a notorious courtesan, her name has remained as one of the greatest mountain retreats in the United States.

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