Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Birthday Mary Jane

This past weekend we splurged and took a little ski vacation to Winter Park with my sister Phyllis and Mike. Ginger owns a swanky vacation condo right at the main base area, and agreed to let us use it for half of the normal rental fee -- since that is what she normally collects after the management company takes their slice anyways. So it was a deal. Still a fairly pricey deal, but it is just sooo luxurious.

We got up there late Friday afternoon, and it was snowing like mad. So we cooked dinner (fondue and steaks - yum!) and settled in for the evening with a board game. We did take a peek out at the hot tubs - which sit nearly directly underneath the main base lift. Course, it was snowing so hard it isn't like we could actually see the base.

Since we aren't really big skiers anyways (note, I found a lift ticket on my ski parka from the 2000-2001 ski season), the skiing was secondary to the just getting away and having fun bit. Phyllis had found a 2-for-1 lift ticket deal, but the tickets were only good on Sunday. So we'd decided we would play on Saturday and, if we felt like it, ski on Sunday or just take off for home.

Saturday it was still snowing like mad. Breakfast about 9 am; finally decided we probably ought to leave the condo at some point about 11 am. Oh, the decadence of not having any ranchey things to tug us out of our pj's! (Phyl and Mike have 35 acres and a herd of 40ish Alpaca so we have lots of stories we can commiserate with.)

The weekend was "Mary Jane's BDay Celebration". Mary Jane is an associate ski area with Winter Park -- really they are the same area, but there are two bases, and the Mary Jane terrain is much steeper than Winter Park - so they do retain different characters though they run as one entity. Well, I'd never known that Mary Jane was a historical figure. A business woman who ran a brothel, she had owned the land which she sold to the ski area in the early part of this century. Anyways - we'd seen the fliers about all the activities in honor of the weekend, one which we were excited about was the snow sculpture contest. Cool! We figured we could walk around and look at those on our play-day. I inquired at the front desk where they were, and she said that they were mostly over at Mary Jane. OK, so we hopped in the car to drive to that base. Only, we did kind of forget the part about what a nightmare it is to try and park at a ski area. We marvelled at how far along the roads cars were lined up. Finally getting to the base, it was a mad house. So we waived over a parking attendant to get the scoop. HUH. Seems, first of all, that the parking attendants hadn't been briefed on the scoop. At all.

"Snow Golf? We have that here today?"
"Um, yes. So says the flier."
"Cool! It's probably here somewhere." Scans the throngs of people inexplicably still filtering onto the mountain at that late hour. And yet, doesn't see any sign of snow golf or costume contest in the immediate area.
"OK, what about the snow sculptures."
"OH - those are at the base of each lift."
"What? So you have to be skiing to see them?"
"Uh, yeah, probably."

Eh - what a bust. But heck, it's not like we had a busy agenda for the day.

So we headed down into town to walk a bit. We'd also seen that as part of the BDay festivities the stores were to get involved with "Mary Jane On Parade". Not really knowing what that meant, we asked the first shop keeper. Apparently shops get a life sized cutout of "Mary Jane" and dress them up. Customers can vote on their favorite ones.

"But we didn't do it this year."
"You didn't? Isn't it a big deal?"
"Well, we did it last year but didn't win."

And the next store:
"Oh, are they doing that again this year?"

And the next:
"Here's the flier for this year's festivities" (posted on the wall next to their register.
"Um, that's not the flier... That's the entry form for merchants to sign up to participate."
"It is? Oh, yeah, I guess so. Haha!"

We did, finally, find a Mary Jane entry, and thus unanimously voted for it as our favorite.

But we had a good time for an hour or so shopping. Even though they were close to each other, the snow was coming down so hard we still had to brush off before going into the next store. Eventually we purchased a deck of cards and headed back to the comfort of the condo for more games.

Ginger has owned the condo for something like 10 years, but there has been an explosion of development just in the past few as they added more retail and eatery spots in what used to be the parking lot. We toodled around the Village a little bit.

In the evening there was a parade on Main Street at 6 pm. So we stopped in town and found a covered spot from which to view it.

It was a fun little parade. We decided that like the Rose Bowl Parade this one had a decoration requirement -- that being tons of snow piled on your flatbed trailer. The ski patrol had the most impressive float, I thought. A full semi flatbed with several snow mobiles, skiers, toboggans, etc. We did laugh at the Forest Service float which had Smokey the Bear and posters about preventing forest fires -- and how they had a fake campfire with live flames on board not all that far from their propane tank...

Had dinner at a charming local saloon, then home to try and figure out whether we could order PPV. Gave that up when it soon became obvious that the only PPV they still offered was either X rated or Sports. Went to bed still unsure of the skiing prognosis for the next day. "Get up and check the weather" was the decision.

Well, at a lovely early hour of 4 am the snow plows were out doing their thing, 3 inches from our window. For a very long time. Have I mentioned it had been snowing since we arrived?

6:30 rolled around and, though I couldn't see much sans contacts, I thought I could see a cloud shape. Which meant the rest of the sky must have been clear. So - skiing it was.

We really had a great time! Took more runs than I'd thought to kinda get our ski legs back, but we took it easy. But you sure couldn't argue with the snow!

The morning started off sunny, but the clouds kept building and by noon time it'd started snowing again.

You might think this was a dramatic shot of Mike falling. It wasn't. It was supposed to be a shot of him so nonchalantly resting in the snow, but he decided to roll over just as I pulled out the camera! Anyways, the weather wasn't getting any nicer, so we quit about 1:30, had lunch in the lobby of the building and then each took off our respective directions home. It was a really fun time.



Blogger Dean said...

I LUUUUUURRUUVVVVEEEEEE the pics ( Especially the last one!) and the story. So colorful ! he he
Thank you for posting them so fast!
You do the right thing, I'm glad I don't have to harass you.

It's so beautiful up there. Me jealous!

1/26/09, 6:25 PM  
Blogger Birdie said...

Winter Park/Mary Jane is my favorite ski spot. Steep but not overwhelming, and the crowds are smaller than in Summit County. This is where I learned how much I really like to go fast. I made it up to blue/black slopes before I had children. It's been downhill since then (heh), but I haven't skied in years.

I loved seeing the pictures. There are so many more establishments there now. Way back (80s), there was almost nothing but snow.

1/28/09, 2:26 PM  
Blogger Monica said...

Hi Bridie! Yes, Winter Park has changed alot even just in the past few years. Still a great area to ski tho.

1/28/09, 2:43 PM  

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