Mountain Musings: The lowdown on Winter Park trail names
Ryan Summerlin March 22, 2013
Every time I hop off the Prospector Lift at Winter Park Resort, the Tweedle trails – Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum – catch my eye.
They’re off the Looking Glass lift, and there isn’t anything particularly notable about them. The Tweedles get my attention for one simple reason: the curiosity sparked by wondering why two trails are named after rotund twins in a children’s book. Who comes up with the names of some of our favorite trails? And since we’re on the subject, what is the process of naming trails, lifts, and terrain parks at Winter Park Resort?
Certain trail names are common enough, I’m sure we could find a Village Way or Parkway at any given resort. However, a fair number of Winter Park runs are named after historical individuals from the Fraser Valley – winterparkresort.com has a section dedicated to histories of important individuals after which certain trails have been named. On winterparkresort.com, I learned that Winter Park was home to the fathers of the original snow grooming devices, George Underwood and Steve Bradley, along with several Colorado Ski Hall of Famers: Bob Balch, Steve Bradley, George E. Cranmer, George Engle and Allan Phipps.
In total, there are 14 Historical Trails at Winter Park Resort. Historical Trails can be found all over the mountain; you’ll see signs posted on the namesakes’ runs with a brief description of how they contributed to the ski area. Want a fun spring skiing challenge? Find and ski all 14 Historical Trails before lunch.
∞ Allan Phipps
∞ Bradley’s Bash
∞ Jack Kendrick
∞ Over N’ Underwood
∞ Sorensen Park (can’t skip it, even if it’s for beginners)
∞ Mulligan’s Mile
∞ Mt. Maury (tip: this is not a trail)
∞ Retta’s Run
∞ Bill Wilson’s Way
∞ Mary Jane Trail
While this entire article could be completely dedicated to the rich history of individuals that contributed to making Winter Park what it is today, the variety of other naming themes at Winter Park Resort carry their own interesting histories.
Getting back to the Tweedles, a section of Winter Park Resort incorporates names from the book Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (Carroll, Lewis 1871). Winter Park named many trails off the Panoramic Lift after Colorado flowers. A majority of lifts, runs and terrain parks have cowboy or railroad influences pronouncing Grand County’s early heritage. Beginner lifts and trails are marked with an Outer Space theme, and the backside of Parsenn Bowl bears Native American names.
So, who is behind choosing trail, lift and park themes at Winter Park Resort? Doug Laraby, planning director at Winter Park Resort, explained that when it comes down to it, cultivating ideas for names is a team effort. Marketing, Operations, key decision-makers and many more work together to put the final monikers on our favorite runs.
A good example of the collaboration in practice is the Eagle Wind expansion. In 2006, Winter Park needed a theme for the backside of the Parsenn Bowl area. Laraby and the crew teamed up with a Forest Service Archeologist, and decided on a Native American theme. They brought on a member of the Northern Arapaho tribe in Wyoming, and the resulting lift and trail names are the outcome of that teamwork. Some trails, such as Black Coal, Left Hand, and Little Raven are named after important Arapaho tribe members and leaders. Others, like Thunderbird and Eagle Wind, arrived at their namesake based on Native American legends.
There you have it, an extremely shortened version on how Winter Park Resort names its trails, lifts and parks. For much more detail about the history of Winter Park Resort, visit their website, or pick up a copy of What’s in a Name at Winter Park and Mary Jane Resort? by Frank Pilkington and Bob “Woody” Woodbury (cont. ed.)(2009).