While Coloradans may have lost the Front Range’s only Alpine slide with the shuttering of Golden’s Heritage Square last year, our mountainous state is still home to several summertime alpine rides that just require a bit more driving to area ski resorts. Since the 1970s, ski towns have been using the slides to attract visitors to their slopes when they are covered in green instead of white.
Enter Colorado’s longest alpine slide, measuring 3,030 feet long in Winter Park, Colorado.
“It has a vertical drop of 615 feet. It’s a pretty good ride if you want to go as fast as you can,” explains Steve Hurlbert, director of public relations for the Winter Park Resort.
To access the slide, visitors take the Arrow chairlift from the base of the mountain, which is already 9,000 feet above sea level, and keep going up. You can see the entire run of the slide as you ride the Arrow, watching others zoom underneath in their yellow tobaggons with mile-wide smiles.
Hurlbert says one of the cool things about Winter Park’s alpine slide is it’s not only for taking in thrills but for those who simply want to enjoy stunning mountain views. The two-person sled ride features two lanes, one for the speed demons and one for the rest of us.
“If you’re really bombing down it, you can get up to 25 to 30 miles per hour,” he says.
Built in 1983, the slide was the first summer activity available to Winter Park visitors outside of skiing. Today the resort is also home to a mini-golf course, a climbing wall, a human maze and an array of downhill mountain bike paths that you (and of course your bike) can access via any chairlift.
“In the early to mid 1980s, it just kind of became clear that to be a fully functional resort, you have to have summertime activities. In the summertime, It’s almost better than the winter now,” he says. “It’s become a generational thing that people love. When you open the alpine slide, it’s a big deal.”
Hurlbert says regardless of how much of an adrenaline junkie you may be, if you’re five years old or younger, you’re going to have to ride with an adult.
The cost for one ride is $20 for people six and older and $15 for children five and under. It’s certainly more affordable than the $100-plus individual ski ticket, not including equipment.
“Everything’s much cheaper during summertime across the board,” Hurlbert says.
And if you’re lucky, you might even get to know some of the area wildlife.
“Last summer a kid was coming down the alpine slide and coming around the corner, and there was a bull moose standing on the outside of the alpine slide,” Hurlbert says.
For visitors who want to experience all of the summer fun, Hurlbert recommends Winter Park’s unlimited adventure pass, which gives you access to most activities except the mountain bike park and human maze. That all-day pass runs $47 when purchased online for ages six and older, and $15 for children 5 and under.