The Winter Park Ski Train isn't exactly the speediest way to get to the slopes, but it's a fun one. Which would you rather do on your way to the ski hill -- sit in zero-to-60-to-zero traffic, or have a nice breakfast and read the paper? We'd prefer the latter, and we'd guess you would too. So when the train went kaput last year -- after former owner Anschutz Co. sold the line to a Canadian company -- we were a bit bummed out. No longer.
As we all know by now, much of the economy is in the, er, powder room. But it turns out that even with the mortgage crises, the credit crunches, the layoffs and the Madoffs, skiers are a resilient bunch. Turns out the fancified side of skiing -- the fur-lined boots, the overpriced après, the spa-based lifestyle -- is not what brings us to the hill. In the end, what we're there for is putting skis to slope, and not much else matters.
Let's face it: Getting to Vail is often a pain. The drive to the Colorado resort from Denver International can be snowy, slow and crowded. On the one hand you've got overconfident locals in all-wheel-drives zipping from lane to lane; on the other you've got just-off-the-plane out-of-staters not wanting to crash the rental.
In the doldrums between family-vacation season and ski season, there's still plenty of reason to get outside. If you're a golfer, the times couldn't be better: The sun still shines late into the day, and it's warm enough to hang out in shorts. And if you're a skier, ski-resort golf courses offer a lovely way to ease into the season.