As bits and pieces of history and lore are revealed, what began as an innocent settlement of miners, rail yard workers and loggers in the late 1800s, would later mark the "peak" of a woman named Mary Jane and her clever business sense for supply and demand.
A well-known madam and local lady of the evening, Mary Jane's good fortune for services rendered would turn what was once a lonely sheep trail used for grazing into a highly sought-after winter playground.
Mary Jane lived in the town of Arrow, about 3-4 miles up the old railroad bed. The parcel of land that is the base of Mary Jane sits on what was called the Mary Jane Placer. It is unknown whether Mary Jane bought this parcel of land with her earnings or if it was given to her by a grateful client.
In 1975, Mary Jane opened, adding 18 new trails (350 acres) and increasing the size of Winter Park Resort by 80%.
By 1986, Winter Park/Mary Jane enjoyed the benefits of a $9 million dollar capital improvement plan. Mary Jane gained an additional 20 trails (200 acres), which included some of Colorado's steepest trails in The Chutes.
The 90s brought additional favors to "the Lady," with the addition of the Sunnyside lift on the backside of the mountain, opening up even more terrain and spectacular vistas of Parry Peak and the continental divide. At the base, the Club Car restaurant increased capacity by 50% and snowmaking was expanded, enabling skiers/riders to enjoy Mary Jane’s charms even earlier in the season.
A new century brought even more improvements to the Jane, most notably with the opening of the Panoramic lift in 2007, which became North America’s highest six-passenger, high-speed chairlift, and opened up 100 acres of gladed terrain on spectacular Parsenn Bowl, as well as easier access to Vazquez Cirque. One year earlier, the Eagle Wind lift was opened on the back side Parsenn Bowl, providing skiers/riders with some of the best tree-skiing in the country.
What makes Mary Jane most unique, however, are the legions of those who love it, creating a passionate bond that is carried through generations and preserving the mountain’s uncommon charm while it continually improves. And while Mary Jane may have been a lady of ill repute, her namesake continues to be one the finest mountain getaways to be found anywhere in the country.
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New Belgium Brewing, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale and a host of Belgian-inspired beers is100% employee owned. This Colorado Brewer is a bicycle friendly business recognized as one of Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work. New Belgium Brewing is the proud craft beer partner of Winter Park Resort.
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