Winter Park Day 2: The Mogul Queen, Kitty Cat on the Slopes & Bumper Funnies

Hadley and Bode have been to plenty of ski schools over the years but none quite like the one at Winter Park. As we dragged out gear from our condo to the mountain, we encountered a mirage in the white wonderland: The resort’s complimentary wagon service, which has several stations around the resort for parents to haul kids and their gear.

We snagged one up and raced over to check the kids into ski school. As we filled out Hadley’s form, she complained, “Why can’t you put my name down as ‘Kitty Cat’ for once?”

It likely would have been a first for Winter Park’s ski school.

One gleaming thing that sets them apart from the others is that all kids are outfitted with a FLAIK device around their calves. This GPS tracking device not only follows their whereabouts (awesome in case they got separated) but at the end of the day, we were given a report card and a URL we later accessed that tracked their on-mountain location, skier stats, and runs skied.


Though Bode finally caught onto skiing at the end of last season we have been tiptoeing around him, waiting for him to fall off the “I love skiing” precipice.

At the end of the day, I hesitatingly asked him, “How was ski school? Thumbs down or thumbs up?”

“Thumbs up. And all my fingers, too!!!!!”

I’ll count that as a win.

Private Amber

I’ve only  had a couple of private ski lessons and I can’t recommend them enough. I spent most of my skiing existence never improving and it wasn’t until I took a class a couple of years ago that I realized I had to make some major adjustments since converting to parabolic (shaped) skis.  I have wanted to take a moguls class to learn how to better navigate those blasted bumps. I almost had a chance a couple of years ago until 1.5 feet of snow flew and our mogul lesson turned into a powder one. Whoa was me. ;)

But since turning 40, I’ve resolved to throw caution to the wind by tackling my fears. And big, daunting bumps of snow are on that list.

Jamie and I met our instructor Chris at the Private Lesson Center next to the Zephyr Express chairlift. He listened to our request and mapped out the plan for the day. “Let’s start on some easier runs so I can help you work on your form and we’ll then move onto the bumps.”

It was the perfect strategy. Chris is a 22-year veteran of Winter Park and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone more knowledgeable about the resort and skiing than him. On the slopes, he broke down our form, built it up again and had us skiing smoothly and with confidence. When it was time to hit the moguls, he had me follow in his tracks as he pushed me to my limit but still respected my boundaries.

We won’t mention that the only time I fell was when I stood perched above the mogul field and hadn’t even started yet.

When we rested on the  chairlift, he entertained us with stories of the resort, deepening our love for the area. We lunched on delicious fare at the Lodge at Sunspot with panoramic views of the Continental Divide. To say it was a great day is an understatement.

But most importantly by the end of the ski class, I’ve never skied moguls better.

Before and after class

On the other hand, walking with my sore muscles? An entirely different story.

Bowling, Movies and Food, Oh My!

Bowling isn’t on my must-do list when I am in the mountains but trust me on this one: The new Foundry Cinema & Bowl  is THE place to hang out in Winter Park. This is no ordinary bowling alley with pinball, foosball, billiards, shuffleboard, ultra-hip Restoration Hardware décor, Old Shell gas pumps, a circuitous train, flat screens, three luxurious movie theaters and even a glowing pink sink in the women’s restroom that has become a destination unto itself.
The Foundry has an on-site restaurant so you can eat while you play or view movies (must-tries include their wood-fired pizza, Kobe Beef Sliders and the rosemary-crusted cashews). It offers 8 certified USBC Spec Brunswick Lanes with cutting-edge technology. We were blown away when it automatically set-up the bumpers whenever my kids got up to bowl and changed back for the adults.

Though our scores would have been much higher if they had just stayed in place.

It has been a while since we bowled and Jamie was bombing out (though for his street cred I’d like to insert he later got his groove back). On the scoreboard, each of our names was represented by the first letter.  We were about four frames into our first game and “J” was trailing Bode “B,” Hadley “H”, and Amber “A” by a lot.

Our helpful waiter came by, looked at the kids and said, “You know ‘J’ can put the bumpers up. It will really help his game.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him “J” was actually my husband.

Needless to say I tipped him extra that night.


Stay tuned for Winter Park Day 3: A Family That Skis Together, Plays Forever.

In case you missed it: Winter Park Day 1: Tubing Cruising for a Bruising. Thanks to Winter Park for hosting!

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