Recreation Choice information

Skiing vs. Snowboarding vs. Non-ski Recreation- an important decision to be made by each attendee, for the entire festival trip

Each festival attendee will choose ONE of three recreation choices we offer, when registering.  These are:


The festival provides only ONE of the three activities offered.  The festival does not offer any “combination” of these recreation choices.  The recreation a person chooses with the festival, when registering, is the only recreation that will be provided during your trip.  A person who chooses to ski/snowboard, could always pay with their own money, for other Winter Park Resort non-ski activities they wish to engage in.  We would advise that a person should not want to choose the non-ski recreation choice, and then later wish to ski, paying for lift tickets, equipment rentals, and lessons, with their own money, due to cost and required self-scheduling.

Please read about each of these three activities below:

Non-Ski Activities

The festival offers 6 vouchers to be redeemed, however desired, among select non-ski activities at Winter Park Resort.  You and your music director have access to view a full description of these activities.  In summary, a person can redeem their 6 vouchers as follows:

  • 1 voucher for 1 hour of tubing. Downhill tubing on banked/curved lanes just above resort base, and not on the ski mountain. There is a covered conveyor to transport a person back to the top of the lanes after each short tubing run. Winter clothing is highly recommended.  The resort limits the number of persons having access to the tubing lanes within each hour, to ensure a person can tube many times in the hour, without overcrowding issues.  Non-reserved “walk-ups” can probably be accommodated prior to the “top of each hour” during operating hours.  Advanced hourly reservations may be required for peak mid-day hours.  Unlike the ski slopes, this is one recreation choice completely weather dependent, and could possibly not be available if unusually higher temperatures were to exist prior, or during your group’s trip to Winter Park.  The banked curves require a firm snow pack for safety purposes, and the tubing hill could close if these warmer conditions exist.  If you are relying upon tubing as your sole activity for the non-ski activities, please consider the chance of the tubing hill not being available during your trip!
  • 1 voucher for a scenic “Gondola” ride. This is a ride (enclosed gondola with a 10 person capacity per gondola car), not wearing skis, to the top of the Winter Park ski territory, and back down. There are specific time periods during each day a person can go up, and back down- usually between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm.  At the top, a person can relax or dine at the Lodge at Sunspot, enjoying the beautiful scenery towards the continental divide and valley below.  Clear, non-snow days will offer the best views.  Winter clothing is highly recommended.
  • 1 voucher for a $15 redemptive value meal ticket at any Winter Park Resort operated eating location (such as the Lodge at Sunspot mentioned above)
  • 3 vouchers for a 1-2 hour Snow Cat tour within a heated, 13 passenger track vehicle touring several ski trails on the mountain. Reservations must be made in advance, after you receive your vouchers in Winter Park. In past years, the Snowcat tours originated from the top of the mountain, which the tour included a Gondola ride up the mountain to access the tour, and back down after the tour.  So, we always suggest for a non-skier not redeem for a Scenic Gondola ride, when they would get it included with a Snowcat tour.  We believe this will still be the case in 2022.
  • 2 vouchers for a 2-3 hour snowshoe tour. This tour begins at the ski base, up a chairlift, and back down forest trails viewing possible wildlife, learning about the National Park & WP Resort, going down snow chutes and slides, engaging in group snowball play, all with plenty of photo opportunities along the way.  Winter clothing is strongly recommended. Reservations must be made in advance, after you receive your vouchers in Winter Park.

Each person choosing non-ski activities will receive fully printed and verbal instructions by a member of the festival staff, all about the non-ski activities and reservation procedures.

More thoughts about non-ski activities:  The non-ski activities we offer are a substitute for persons unwilling or unable to ski.  These activities do not offer an amount of recreational time equivalent to the amount of recreation time available to a skier or boarder.

Non- ski activities have a higher likelihood of not being available, unlike skiing.  Tubing can be affected by inadequate amounts of snow or warmer temperatures at the resort base. This is very unlikely, but we recently had a festival day in which tubing was unavailable due to higher day time temperatures, causing unsafe, collapsing snow banks.  Snow Cat tours and the Gondola rides could become unavailable due to any unpredictable mechanical failures.  These examples of non-ski activities not being available are rare, but could exist!  In this unlikely event, a person will have to choose any of the other available non-ski activities.   After a person’s arrival at the Winter Park Resort reveals any/some non-ski activities are unavailable, and that person wishes to ski instead, this decision will have to be made BEFORE redeeming or reserving for any other non-ski activities.  Why? All 6 unused non-ski vouchers have to be exchanged for a necessary ski lift card, used for skiing or boarding.  Having said this, it is very difficult for a person that registered for non-ski activities, and after they arrive at the Winter Park Resort, choose to ski or snowboard instead, because that person may not be able to rent ski/board equipment, and receive lessons with their group.


The festival provides the following, to any person choosing to ski:

  • a ski lift card good for up to 3 consecutive festival days your group is in Winter Park. This ski lift card will access any of the resort’s 26 lifts within any of the Winter Park Resort’s seven ski territories.
  • “Sport Package” boots, skis, poles, and helmet rental for up to 3 consecutive days your group is in Winter Park. Sport Package rentals are designed for beginners and the most typical type of skier.  A person has the choice to upgrade to a specific type of high-performance ski equipment, if desired, with an upgrade charge owing to the ski rental shop directly.  A person can indicate this choice on their online registration.  High performance ski equipment is not necessarily a better choice of equipment for beginners or moderately experienced skiers. Similar to how a high-speed performance automobile is not necessarily more beneficial for typical roadways with a beginner or average driver.
  • a beginner (or refresher) ski lesson. Safety, loading/unloading lifts, and basic ski skills will be instructed.

According to various websites, about 10 million people ski in the US each year. Why? The freedom experienced with motion and gravity is exhilarating and exciting! We estimate that over 148,000 students have learned to ski at our festival over the past years. Skiing is enjoyed by people of all ages, size, level of coordination and physical strength. It’s so enjoyable, most consider it addicting.  Skiing has a relatively short learning curve to master the fundamentals. After the beginner lesson we provide for beginners, students and adults should easily be able to ski beginner slopes with their other group members on their first day.  There are around 36 different beginner trails alone at Winter Park Resort. With a little skiing experience, persons should begin to feel comfortable with their skill level, and begin to advance to more intermediate ski trails, if desired. Using a trail map phone app as a guide, a skier can load one lift and ski several miles down, from the top of the Winter Park territory, to the resort base on beginner trails only.

The majority of all festival attendees choose skiing as their recreation choice. Our festival attendees can get as much from skiing as they wish.  There are students that will ski every moment available to them, non-stop! While for others, ski a trail, and relax between ski runs with friends.  Some students may not ski but one run on a particular day and spend the remainder of their time hanging out with friends at the base, mid-mountain, or mountain summit facilities.  It’s you and your friends’ decision on how much time you spend skiing, each day, or during the entire festival.

If a person is still unsure whether they should ski, or choose the non-ski recreation activities, here is our perspective why we think persons should choose skiing:

Tubing lasts about 20+ seconds each run.  Yes, one non-ski voucher is good for an entire hour of tubing, and you could use all 6 non-ski vouchers for 6 hours of tubing.  But skiing offers just as much downhill thrill as tubing, with way more variety than the same tubing lanes, over and over.  And with skiing, you can have an entire 3 days of skiing adventure, rather than just hours.

If a person skis, their ski lift card will allow them to enter any ski lift, as many times as they wish, anywhere on the mountain.  The non-ski vouchers can be used on the one Gondola lift only.

A 1-2 hour snow cat tour does offer the comfort of a heated cab, but if you’re dressed properly, you will have multiple days of the same scenic adventure, on about 10 times the number of trails when skiing!

Skiing offers much more recreational value than the non-ski activities.  However, skiing does require a person to fully commit to learning how to ski, not give up if frustrated, be dressed properly, and expect some physical exertion associated with it.  In our opinion, if 3-year-old children, elderly persons, and persons with slight to the severest of physical disabilities can enjoy skiing, any physically healthy teenage student, with a proper attitude can too!

On the other hand, if a person has any physical or emotional limitations, or any other potential for not giving it a fair try, they need to select the non-skier activities choice. Otherwise, they would not be able to recreate for the remainder of their trip.  Once a ski card is used to gain access to a ski lift (as done within a ski lesson), it cannot be exchanged for non-ski vouchers afterwards. Therefore, a person choosing to ski, must fully commit to learning, in order to receive the full recreational benefit this festival trip offers.  Although we mention physical limitations above, Winter Park Resort is the NATIONAL Sports Center for the Disabled, and can accommodate any person with almost any physical disability for skiing. Arrangements must be made months in advance due to availability.  Have your director contact the festival office for details.


The festival provides to any person choosing to snowboard:

  • a ski lift card good for up to 3 consecutive festival days your group is in Winter Park. This ski lift card will access any of the resort’s 26 lifts within any of the Winter Park Resort’s seven ski territories.
  • Boots, board, and helmet rental for up to 3 consecutive days your group is in Winter Park. If you have you own boarding equipment, and is permissible with your director to bring, you can use your own.  Indicate this on your registration.
  • a beginner (or refresher) snowboard lesson. Safety, loading/unloading lifts, and basic boarding skills will be instructed.

Snowboarding is an enjoyable sport loved by many. It began as a ski alternative for skiers with regular and convenient access to mountain slopes, that became skilled skiers years before. But most snowboarders will admit: Snowboarding is much more challenging to master.  As a matter of fact, many persons even question its enjoyment in relation to its difficulty. Even ski rental shops carry less snowboard inventory once held because of its declining popularity. It takes much longer than 2-3 days to get a decent hang of it. Just because a person is great on a skateboard, or thinks it looks easy, doesn’t mean boarding will be easy for them to learn. For a beginner, even having received a snowboard lesson, they will likely be down, more than up, for well over 2-3 days.

Why do we mention this topic? Years of festival experience! Our advice: if a person has never skied before- please do not consider learning to snowboard on this trip (if your director allows). Those who have never skied, lack “skiing skill” toward: downhill control, various snow terrains, trail levels, turning & stopping in the snow, and loading/unloading lifts. These unfamiliar mountain skills with any snowboard beginner, along with exhaustively falling every few moments, will generally create frustration overload and disappointment.  Compare this to beginner skiers who: take a 2-4 hour lesson, can begin skiing beginner trails with friends immediately, improving to intermediate level trails, and experiencing the entire mountain with all its various ski territories.

The festival staff sees way too many first-time snowboarders, who are unhappy with their choice to snowboard because the other members of their groups are having a great time skiing, and they are not. We experience this year after year. And here is the problem: the never skied/beginner snowboarder already received their included snowboard lesson, and they cannot switch to skiing, without receiving another required (2nd not included) beginner ski lesson. Those costs about $100 out of the person’s own pocket! And, does the entire music group have time within their already tight schedule, for one person to hassle with exchanging snowboard equipment for ski equipment at a remote rental shop?

Our 2nd advice: If a person has skied before, come and have fun again skiing with your friends, rather than learning to snowboard on this trip. If a person has skied previously, and feels they must learn to snowboard, we welcome them to do so (if your director allows). Hopefully, a person won’t be offended if his/her friends want to ski the mountain, and not wait around for him/her to learn to snowboard. Again, our years of festival experience have shown us that a student who chooses to ski, and not snowboard, ends up having a much more enjoyable experience.


(Skiing & Snowboarding)

As a director, “Have you never skied before? Are you worried about your students who have never skied?” About 90% of our festival attendees haven’t either! We figure over 148,000 music students have learned to ski at the Winter Park Ski-Music Festival. After receiving lessons, students will be skiing the mountain with their friends on the first day, and likely addicted to this amazing outdoor experience.

  • Beginners must be at least 12 years old to receive our included lesson. Parents of younger skiers must arrange for lessons targeted toward their child’s age, at their own expense.
  • Beginner ski and snowboard lessons are REQUIRED for all group members that have not skied or boarded before, or those group members that have not been instructed on mountain safety, ski lift usage/safety and beginning ski or snowboard techniques. Directors should consult with students who are not registered online to take a lesson, to determine whether the student indeed has previous experience.
  • Anyone who does not feel secure about their previous skiing abilities is strongly recommended to register online for the beginner lesson as a refresher. A person should be quickly recognized if they possess skills that will advance them to another level of the instruction. Or, they can continue with their friends’ ski lesson for moral support.
  • Ski lessons are usually 2- 3 ½ hours, depending on the person’s abilities.
  • Instructors will teach groups of about 15-20 persons each.
  • Each person receiving a ski or snowboard lesson will need a ski lift card provided from the festival. Ski lift cards will be used to gain access to the lifts used for “on the mountain” instruction as a part of the ski or snowboard lesson.
  • Person’s receiving ski lessons must not only have boots, skis, helmet, and poles (all included with a rental), but also adequate clothing/accessories. An instructor will not allow any beginner to enter lessons unless they are properly dressed for the weather and have gloves and eye protection (sunglasses or goggles).
  • Lastly, each person should have a positive attitude, and commitment toward learning to ski or board. If not, instead select the non-ski activities.  Each person within our festival staff can tell a story of when they have once encouraged a last-minute hesitant student to go ahead and take a lesson. The story will end with the same student thanking them afterwards because the student had the greatest time of their life after they learned how to ski. We now have returning directors that will require all students to take ski lessons, and ski as their recreation, because these directors have experienced the same with previous trips.

Entering the Ski Lessons

The festival staff will be there to instruct beginners- but beginners should not expect to wear skis into the ski lesson. They will carry poles and skis.

Winter Park Resort Ski Instructor will meet beginner skiers very near where the festival staff meets the entire group at the resort ski base.  Each director can share the location map available to them.  The ski instructors will take over from here!

Ski lessons can last anywhere from 2- 3 ½ hours.

After Ski Lessons

Ski school instructors may divide a music group into smaller groups of a particular size, say 15-20 beginners, for more effective and efficient instruction. All music group members may not all have the same instructor (especially with larger music groups). The instructors of these smaller ski lesson groups may conclude their lesson at differing times. As a result, there may not be a definitive lesson end time for your entire music group, depending on the learned skills of the beginner group. Also, there may not be the same lesson end location for all music group members, since instructors may take beginners on different ski trails, and release beginners at different locations on the mountain, depending on the beginners’ abilities.

Each music group director is encouraged to establish meeting instructions for beginners after the lesson. This can be meeting as a group after the lesson, not meeting until the end of the day, requiring check-ins with adults, or text/phone communications.  The festival staff, during the safety talk will ask what the plan is, to make sure every beginner knows.

Meeting Times at Resort & Schedule

Meeting Times at the resort

After skiing, when a group plans to meet anytime during, or at the end of the day, all persons must PLAN ahead for the amount of time necessary to finish going up the lifts, skiing down the mountain, and traveling/walking to the meeting site.

PROBLEM EXAMPLES:   Planning a time to meet at the buses with a simple “end of the day” could still allow for group members to enter any ski lift at 3:55, anywhere on the mountain, lasting as long as 12 minutes on the upward lift.  Then take another hour, or 1.5 hours before reaching the base, depending on each person’s skiing level.  Some group members could arrive no sooner than 6:00 pm.

SUGGESTION:  Set a time for your group to be AT the meeting area, condo, bus parking, or shuttle bus pick-up.  Again, any specific meeting arrangements require all group members to PLAN ahead for ski lift travel, skiing down the mountain, locker time, and traveling/walking to the meeting site location.

Day #1 at the Resort- meet your schedule!

At least 35+ days before attending the festival, each music director will be able to view their group’s Trip Info report, specific to your group, providing dates, times, and locations for:

  • 1st meet festival staff at resort (whether at bus parking or at resort base)
  • Equipment rentals
  • Ticketing and safety talk
  • Beginner lessons

If you are a group member reading this, and your director has not yet discussed this information with your group prior to the festival, please ask them to read/share all this information and details with you and all your group members!  Take a picture of location maps you will have available to you before and after registering online at www.wpsmf.com/startgate.

Why? Your group will be one of many groups scheduled that day for all festival components.  Typically the festival has groups scheduled back to back with rental shops, ticketing and lessons.  If your group is arriving late for one of the scheduled components, it can be an unfortunate chain of missed scheduled events for the remainder of the day, or even for the following day.  For example, a group that arrives at rentals 15 minutes late for some unpredictable reason, might then miss a scheduled ticketing time window, and then miss the last beginner lesson time window of the day, causing your group who expected to ski all day on their arrival, miss out on recreation altogether, with maybe fitting somewhere in a schedule openings late the following day.  Groups who are late, will not alter the schedules of groups who are not.  All members of your group need to be aware of the scheduled events and be a focused part of keeping the entire group on time, and where they need to be.  If your bus needs to forfeit a scheduled restroom stop, or a breakfast stop along the trip to Winter Park, go along with what your director believes to be necessary to make up for lost travel time.  If the director reads the instructions for everyone to arrive at the resort fully dressed to ski, with boots being worn when unloading the bus, make it happen. If your director informs beginners to quickly go rent a locker and meet for lessons in the next 15 minutes, look at your watch, and be on time.  Use your map picture of where your group should be and help direct your other group members who don’t have one.  Be a responsible part of the team, helping your director and your entire group your first day at the resort meet your schedule.

Suggested Clothing & Accessories

The festival staff wants all festival attendees to understand that purchasing expensive ski or winter clothes is not necessary to be warm and recreate comfortably. However, appropriate clothing is essential for protection from the cold and moisture of skiing, snowboarding and some of the non-ski activities. Spring skiing weather is very unpredictable in which the temperature can either be warm or cold on various days, and even both within the same day. Here are some clothing tips to help you prepare.

Winter Park Temperature and Weather

While the months of March and April are during the spring- it can still get really cold when compared to other area climates. The average maximum temperature during the month of April is 38°f while the average minimum temperature is 20°f. These are only averages- so the temperature can certainly be colder or warmer. We believe that a person should prepare for temperatures no colder than 10° below 0, or no warmer than 50°f while recreating based on our experience. Usually, a colder clear morning is the result of high barometric pressure which immediately leads to a warmer sunny day. Winter snowstorms can also bring in cold temperatures that usually remain the same temperature throughout the day. One aspect of weather is wind-chill and snow. While a winter storm may not bring in the coldest temperatures- the wind and snow’s moisture can obviously amplify the feeling of coldness, or wind-chill. Another point to consider is the temperature at the ski resort base, versus the temperature at the mountain summit.  A person dressed for a comfortable temperature at the ski base, might be under-dressed for higher mountain trails.

Preface to Clothing Suggestions

We should not suggest the same winter apparel for everyone. Fact: Persons endure cold weather differently than others.  You know the persons that are never cold, and those never warm-enough, right?   Our festival staff sees students wearing multiple layers of heavy warm clothing to be comfortable.  We also see students comfortably skiing on cold days with lighter weight clothing being worn.   If you are from Colorado, or from a comparable wintry weather region, you should know what amount or type of clothing should be worn on a March or April, sunny/cloudy morning, and day.  But also think about Winter Park’s higher elevation compared to your hometown.  And think about the wind-chill at the mountain summits. On the flip side, if you are from a warmer climate, you may not know what amount of clothing is required to keep you warm early in the morning at 20 degrees, or exactly how cold your hands and ears will feel at that colder temperature for multiple hours.  In this latter case, its best to read carefully about what type of winter clothing to bring.

Also, the recreation activity a person will be engaging makes a huge difference in what clothing should be worn.  The information we provide below is aimed primarily at those persons who will ski or snowboard.  The weather isn’t different for them, but they could be exposed to the elements longer than those persons not recreating or enjoying the non-ski activities.  Skiers and snowboarders would likely be higher on the mountain for longer durations, more likely to fall in the snow, or further from a building to warm up immediately.

So a person has to use their own judgement when viewing what we suggest for warm comfortable clothing.

What to Wear:

Dress in layers to control your warmth.  We recommend dressing in “layers” of clothing. While early mornings and late afternoons are typically colder than during the day- removing or adding various layers of clothing as necessary throughout the day will allow a skier to adjust their temperature comfort. Clothing removed can be stored in a rented locker at the ski base, kept in a light weight backpack being worn while skiing, or securely tied around the body if preferred. Please consider bringing from home the amount of clothing needed for the coldest scenario of skiing. If your arrival in Winter Park reveals your skiing time is forecasted for warmer temperatures- just leave those unnecessary layers at your place of overnight lodging.

Base Layers. Long or “body” underwear (top and bottom) is highly recommended to be worn as your base layer of clothing. Do your own research about traditional and newer blends of long underwear fabric. Since the goal of body underwear is to keep you dry and warm (wicking away moisture and insulating body heat)- we subscribe to not wearing cotton or cotton blends next to your body. While inexpensive cotton absorbs moisture, it also retains it, causing some skiers to have a cold and wet feeling against their skin. On the other hand, wearing wool is better for keeping in warmth and breathing the moisture out. But wool products are more expensive and not desired by some individuals because it gets too warm for an under layer of clothing.  Wool can cause perspiration for some. Some good “middle of the road” body underwear fabrics to consider for price and performance are polyester, polypropylene, or polyester/wool blends.

Socks.  Socks of medium or heavier weight wool blend (not necessarily “all wool”) are great because they can keep your feet and toes warm while breathing any moisture created.  When receiving your ski boots and skis from the ski equipment provider, it is important that you wear the same weight of socks that you plan to wear when skiing to ensure proper boot fit each day.

Outer Layers

  • Upper clothing layers. Heavy cotton shirts (such as sweatshirts), turtlenecks, warm fleece sweaters, or wool or wool blend sweaters worn over the upper body underwear are great as an upper body inner clothing layer for colder temperatures, or as an outer layer for warmer temperatures. The only suggestion for these types of upper wear, is that they be as water or moisture proof as possible if being worn as an outer layer. “Moisture or waterproof” will be repeated throughout the remainder of this topic since snow can be gathered on clothing when snow is falling and when a person falls in the snow. Besides snow being cold itself, when melting from your own body temperature or by the sun, it can be uncomfortably cold when reaching your skin. We believe that fleece and wool blends are superior to cotton in repelling moisture. But cotton garments can be easily “scotch guarded” if needed to repel moisture.
  • Wearing a warm moisture proof jacket for an upper body outer layer during warmer days is great. Even school letter jackets work great. Any type of outer jacket with zipper or buttoned pockets is better so that items such as trail maps, lip balm, sunscreen, phone, ID, money, lift cards and gloves can be easily stored and accessible.
  • A well-insulated, moisture repellent coat is nearly essential on colder days. These do not have to be expensive ski coats. Just bring a warm coat that will keep your upper body warm in the coldest of temperatures. Since this coat would be an outer garment- make sure it is water repellent or has been “scotch guarded”. Long coats (knee length) are not recommended for skiing as they may interfere with your ability to fully maneuver your skis and ski poles.
  • Lower body clothing (worn over long underwear). This clothing should be moisture repellent, such as water repellent athletic type pants, scotch guarded denim jeans, or even ski pants. But any of these will require proper amounts of long underwear under them on cold days. Think about bigger sizes to accommodate the amount of base layer long underwear being worn under them. On a warm day, or during mid-day, a person could remove some of the long underwear to adjust their temperature if needed. Also, the bells of pants or jeans must be large enough to fit outside of the ski boot being worn! Only two things go in a ski boot- feet and socks! Do not tuck any clothing into boots. Tucking pants inside your already tight-fitting boot will create additional “tightness” and discomfort with how it is tucked/creased within a tight-fitting boot.  Tucking lower body clothing into a boot will allow cold and wet snow to get inside your ski boot!  If the bell of a pant will fit over a gallon container (paint can or milk jug) it will fit over a ski boot.  If a person wants to use scotch guarded denim jeans, and cannot fit over a boot, at a minimum, make sure the jean leg is large enough that it can be raised upward along the leg, just below the knee, so the pant leg will above the boot.
  • Insulated and moisture repellent ski pants or bibs (with warm coat) or one-piece ski suits probably offer the very best of comfort to a skier. Colder temperatures may still require body underwear to be worn under these. These items are certainly not necessary to purchase! Usually, they can be borrowed, found at secondhand clothing shops, found in clearance sales at major sporting goods retailers during the months of January through March, or purchased online.  Do an internet search for places that will rent these from your area. Please do not worry about the style!  Just bring something comfortable to wear, while keeping you warm.

Gloves or mittens.  It is essential that everyone bring a pair of insulated, and waterproof gloves or mittens for colder temperatures. These do not have to be expensive ski gloves. If your hands and fingers are prone to being cold, wearing insulated mittens can keep your fingers warmers by being next to one another. Or, wearing a lightweight pair of wool blend gloves under another pair of outer waterproof gloves may provide more comfort for you.  Gloves or mittens are so important, if you are a beginner skier/boarder taking a lesson, the instructors will not accept a person without these.

Head Protection.  For skiers and snowboarders, a helmet is included with every person’s ski equipment rental.  Helmets are worn by nearly all skiers and snowboarders these days.  In addition to providing protection to a person’s head, it keeps a person’s head and ears warm, instead of having to wear a hat or head band.

For those persons not skiing or snowboarding, a warm wool hat or a head band to cover one’s head and ears is essential during most temperatures, and strongly recommended. Head and ear cover may not seem unimportant, but without these, colder weather can cause extreme discomfort.  80% of body heat loss is reported to exit the body from a person’s head.

For really cold days, temperature discomfort to the face can be avoided if using a scarf or ski mask that protects the nose, cheeks, mouth, chin, and neck.  These type of weather days are less common during March and April, but could be present.

Boots or Shoes.  Your rental ski boots will be used for skiing or snowboarding only. Ski boots are purposely very rigid boots, lacking a flexible sole, and not exactly comfortable to walk far with. Chances are when you are not skiing, a person will not want to wear ski boots for extended walks.  When not skiing during your stay, any form of warm and somewhat moisture proof boots, leather shoes, or even sneakers can be worn.  We recommend any of these with a traction type sole. Smooth soled dress shoes or dress boots lack traction on iced or slick surfaces. High heel shoes or boots are not as effective as flat soles in regard to stability. Higher top shoes or boots may allow less snow in the shoe when walking through deep freshly fallen snow. Canvas, low-cut, open toed, sandal-like or slip-on shoes are not advisable due to their lack of protection against moisture and cold temperature.

Sunglasses or Goggles.  Sunglasses or tinted ski goggles for eye protection are essential! Having these with UV protection is even better since there is 50% more UV at 10,000 feet elevations than at sea level. The sun’s glare off the snow will burn unprotected eyes. Sunglasses or goggles also protect eyes from snow, wind and even frostbite.  Ski goggles with anti-fog lens are desired by many and can be found online.  Persons using sunglasses may desire to have a cord attached, to prevent their loss during falls.

Lips, ears, nose and any exposed skin.  This suggestion isn’t about clothing, but about protection.  As with eye protection, any exposed skin (ears, lips, nose, anything uncovered) needs protection from the sun. Persons who normally burn, will burn because of the increased UV at the high elevation, and reflection of the sun from the snow.  Use maximum SPF rated lotions, sprays, gels as sunscreen or sunblock.

Clothing final thoughts:

  • While spring months are warmer when compared to January and February, it can still be extremely cold in Winter Park, even in March and April. So plan for the worst, and bring enough, or the proper type of clothing that will keep you warm and comfortable.
  • Don’t worry about making a fashion statement when skiing Winter Park! Bring and wear any type of clothing we are suggesting here, regardless of style. As a matter of fact, local skiers dress in whatever makes them comfortable. Matching ski clothing components, expensive ski suits and costly name brand apparel are NOT the norm with locals and frequent skiers.
  • We suggest not spending money for ski clothing when a person could probably borrow everything needed or find at a 2nd hand store. If needed, look online for items that cannot be found elsewhere.  Waterproof athletic pants can be found online for $15.  Waterproof insulated ski pants $20-$30.  Ski gloves start at $15.   Ski goggles start at $10.
  • It is advisable to dress in layers, wearing as many undergarments or outer garments as you need (that can be removed as needed), as long as you have a moisture repellent outer shell at all times to keep you and your under garments from getting wet.
  • Absolutely bring warm gloves, head/ear protection for non-skiers, and eye protection. As a matter of fact, you will not be allowed to enter ski lessons without gloves or mittens, or not wearing a helmet or hat/scarf for head protection.
  • If your group will be receiving ski rental equipment the evening prior to skiing/lessons, be sure and wear the same thickness of socks during rentals, that will be worn the next day skiing, for proper boot fit.
  • There is no need to bring any slim fitting outer shell pants or jeans for skiing, especially if their ankle opening cannot be raised up to your knee. They cannot be worn inside your boots for comfort reasons.  Bring lower body outer garments that will fit outside of the boots (about the size of a gallon container).
  • Your group’s planned schedule will most likely not allow any time for you to purchase any type of clothing or accessories after your arrival, and prior to the scheduled rentals/beginner lessons! It is imperative to gather these at home and bring with you, rather than trying to purchase these after you arrive. Plus, it will be so much more economical to purchase these at a local, less expensive discount retailer, or even online.

Please don’t be that person to arrive without adequate clothing (thin, or non-water repellent cotton sweatpants or jeans, usually with no insulating under garments), gloves, and/or eye protection. Without these, you will not want to recreate with any activity.  Due to the time it takes to go and purchase these items (at 2-3 x times the normal price)- you will probably be forced to take lessons with another group, or even on another day.  Trying to purchase items you failed to bring for the trip is a hassle you will NOT want to experience on your first ski day in Winter Park!

Ski/Snowboard Equipment Rentals

The schuduled ski and snowboard equipment rental time for a music group must a top priority for any music group!  Please read within your group’s Trip Info report within WPSMF Online, all the details about your scheduled rentals and scheduled fitting time.  Also see further below for contacting your assigned rental shop prior to your arrival.

A music director will have all equipment rental instructions provided within their group’s Trip Info report and should be shared with all group members prior to the trip.  Rentals can be received without wearing full ski attire if a group is receiving equipment rentals the day prior to skiing. If a group is receiving rentals, and immediately traveling to the resort, or at the resort already, to ski shortly afterwards, it is best to have most ski clothing on when receiving rentals, so time will not be wasted changing clothes between these events.  Regardless of when your group receives rentals, be sure every skier and snowboarder is wearing the same socks and/or the same weight/thickness of socks being planned to wear while skiing to ensure the same proper boot fit! Improper boot fit can be very uncomfortable and even painful when skiing. If any member’s ski boots do not feel comfortable when being fitted at the ski shop, it will NOT improve afterwards when skiing. If wearing the boot is uncomfortable, or creates even the slightest of pain, tell the shop employee helping you, and get another pair.  All persons must also be able to completely close both boot’s tightening clasps before leaving the ski rental shop!   Uncomfortable, wrong sized, or unclasping boots must be exchanged for another pair BEFORE you leave the ski rental shop to avoid a return trip to the rental shop for an exchange.  Failure to have boots that cannot be worn when entering lessons, or skiing, may lead to an entire day of lost skiing, and/or a person having to receive ski lessons with another music group.

If your group is receiving rentals, and immediately traveling to the resort for their first ski day, it is highly suggested to have members NOT take off their boots, and simply wear their ski or snowboard boots onto the bus, carrying their street shoes with them.  Or at least, bring ski and snowboard boots on the bus with them, and not put within the bus luggage compartments.  Why?  TIME!  If boots are placed under the bus after rentals, and when your group arrives at the resort, each person will get off the bus with their street shoes being worn, put on their ski or snowboard boots in the wet snow, go back on to the bus to put away their street shoes, and unload the bus once again. For motor coaches with 55 persons, it is chaos, and can add an additional 30-45 minutes to a resort unload!  Does your schedule allow for this amount of additional time?

If a member of your group registered online to receive high performance ski equipment, they will pay the rental shop directly for that upgrade.  It is estimated at $10-20/day + tax, and price may vary with each assigned rental shop.

All ski or snowboard rentals will include a helmet.

Damaged or lost rental equipment is the responsibility of the person and/or parent of the equipment user.

Prior to arriving at arriving at a ski equipment rental shop:

If your Trip Info report instructs you to contact your assigned rental shop 2 hours prior to your arrival, this must be done!  The contact number to call is listed within the same “rentals” section of the Trip Info report. If instructed, the rental shop will ask where your group is currently located, so they can count on your exact arrival time*.  

*Rental shop staffs, ticketing staff and ski school instructors have all planned for your music group as scheduled with the festival.  Additional employees have been gathered to handle groups of any size.  There are many moving parts and persons behind your scheduling.  Please DO NOT assume your late arrival, or failure to contact the rental shop does not matter.      

In the event, after your “2 hour prior” call, there are any travel delays, the rental shop must be contacted again, to determine whether they can accomodate your group, or not.  And, the festival staff must be contacted, to also determine whther other scheduled events (parking, bus unloads, ticketing, beginner lessons) can be provided. 

If your group’s Trip Info report instructs your your group to arrive at rental shop “dressed to ski”, this is because all 1st day recreation events have been scheduled for this, and no additional 30-60 minutes for adjustment.      

Rental returns

Rental return location is usually the same location a group receives thier rentals.  There my be some circumstances the festival schedules an alternate return location.  Rental returns have some flexibility with a specific return time, but a group must allow enough time to do so in an organized and instructed method.  If a group is instructed on their Trip Info report, to return rentals in a particular way, this must be followed.  Many rental shops require each renter to return the rental equipment rented to them, each individual at a time, in an organized manner, ensuring each piece of rental equipment is being returned by the the renter.  There is NO just dropping off equipment at the shop.  If this procedure is instructed on the Trip Info report, and it is not followed by a group, the group will be responsible for financial penalties imposed by the rental shop, which could be in excess of $10 per renter.  When individually registering for the festival, students, parents of minor students, and adults will have agreed to be financially responsible for lost or damaged rental equipment.     

Resort Ski Lift Operating Hours

Weekdays: 9:00AM – 4:00PM

Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 8:30AM – 4:00PM

The Winter Park Ski Resort has randomly moved lift hours forward an hour (during the later festival weeks) in the past.  This allows for more morning thawing time of frozen snowpack for safer skiing conditions.  And with late season longer days, more afternoon skiing time.  These operational hour changes usually have a very short notice.  We will contact each group if there are such lift time changes.

 Available Daily Locker Rentals

Daily Locker Rentals

Public automated lockers are available to rent at the Winter Park Ski Resort ski base.  Two locations are at the Balcony House and West Portal buildings.  Three different sized lockers can be rented:

(prices listed below are 2022-2023 ski season rates, and will be revised for 2023-2024 season when known)

  • Small 10.5″ x 16.5″ x 14″ (pictures show to hold one backpack and/or pair of shoes) $10 for that day
  • Medium 13.5″ x 16.5″ x 17.5″ (picture shows to hold two backpacks and/or 2 pairs of shoes) $15 for that day
  • Large 17″ x 25.5″ x 22.5″ (picture shows to hold three backpacks and/or multiple pairs of shoes) $20 for that day

When we say “daily rentals”, we mean that day, and not 24 hours.  Items being stored within the daily lockers are safe until around 6:00 pm (if you chose a 1 day rental), then cleaned out before the next morning, with any left items in the locker being sent to the Lost and Found.   

The festival staff believes the small locker can be shared with multiple persons, since we see students placing 2-3+ pairs of shoes and a few personal belongings within them.  Small sized lockers will not accommodate a pair of ski boots. None of these daily locker sizes will accommodate a pair of skis/poles.

The daily locker rentals are typically used by group members:

    • receiving their ski equipment rentals at the resort ski rental shop and need a place to store the shoes being worn to the rental shop. This is usually for their first ski day, since their boots can be worn to ski, the remaining days.
    • In need of a place to store personal belongings, or extra clothing, rather than having to walk to their parked bus to retrieve them.

These daily automated lockers can be rented through nearby automated kiosks. A kiosk will accept bills of various denominations, as well as a debit/credit card.  A person can choose the number of days to have the same locker.   These lockers are easy to share among multiple persons, since a multiple digit code is provided, and if shared, can be used by more than one person to access the locker for the duration of its rental, as many times as needed.

Large Lockers for overnight storage of ski equipment

Large lockers can also be rented within the West Portal building (lower level) for persons desiring to store their ski equipment (boots, skis and poles) overnight.  These are typically used by group members who have received their ski equipment rentals form a non-resort ski shop, and do not wish to take ski equipment back and forth between their overnight lodging, each day, via their bus.

Renting these larger lockers can be done through the Lost and Found attendant in the lower level of the West Portal building.  These lockers can accommodate skis, poles, and ski boots for up to 4 people, if arranged properly within the locker.

The cost and rental duration of these large lockers is as follows:

(prices listed below are 2022-2023 ski season rates, and will be revised for the 2023-2024 season when known)

    • $25 for a daily storage. Reservations made in the morning are valid through 6 pm of the same day.
    • $40 for an overnight storage. Reservations made in the evening are valid through 6pm of the following day.

Reservations made in the morning, through the next day at 6pm would pay $50 ($25 x 2), which includes 2 days and 1 night.  Or $75 ($25 x 3) for 3 days and 2 nights.

Remember, this cost can be shared between multiple persons, and isn’t necessarily the cost for one person!

Advanced reservations are recommended and are based on availability.  Contact the Lost and Found at (970) 726-5514 extension 1784. 

Safety Laws, Rules & Tips

Resort Rules and Tips for Skiers and Snowboarders

Group members will experience an awesome adventure if they have never skied before! And previous skiers can expect wonderful spring skiing at Winter Park Resort.

Every group member MUST read and understand the following information:

KNOW THE CODE. IT’S YOUR RESPOSIBILITY as prepared by the National Ski Area Association:

  • 1. Always stay in control.
  • 2. People ahead of you have the right of way. You must avoid them.
  • 3. Stop in a safe place for you and others.
  • 4. Whenever starting downhill or merging, look uphill and yield.
  • 5. Use devices to help prevent runaway equipment.
  • 6. Observe signs and warnings, and keep off closed trails.
  • 7. Know how to use the lifts safely. Do not disembark from lift except at a designated area.
  • 8. Persons involved in a collision that cause injury, requires you to provide your name to ski area employee before leaving vicinity
  • 9. Violations may result in fines up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment


The Ski Safety Act of 1979 became law in Colorado on July 1, 1979. Highlights of the Act are listed here:

  • Do not board a lift unless you feel confident that you have sufficient physical dexterity, ability and knowledge to use the lift safely. Please follow the instructions of the lift operators.
  • Do not throw or expel any object from a lift while you are riding on the lift.
  • Your skis must be equipped with a strap or other device capable of stopping your skis if they become unattached while skiing.
  • Each skier solely has the responsibility for knowing the range of his own ability to negotiate any ski slope or trail and to ski within the limits of such ability.
  • It is your responsibility to maintain control of your speed and course at all times and to maintain a proper lookout so as to be able to avoid objects and other skiers. Careless and reckless skiers will have their skiing privileges revoked.
  • It is unlawful for you to ride a lift or to use any ski slope or trail when your ability to do so is impaired by the consumption of alcohol or any drug.
  • If you are involved in a collision with another skier that results in injury, it is unlawful for you to leave the vicinity of the collision before you have left your name and current address with a member of the Ski Patrol.
  • It is unlawful for you to ski on any slope, land or trail that has been posted CLOSED. Closed trails and slopes will be marked. Roped off areas also designate that area as being closed.
  • It is your obligation and responsibility to heed all posted information and other warnings, and refrain from acting in a manner which may cause or contribute to your injury or the injury of any other skier or person. Please read and heed all posted information and warnings.

WPSMF Tips for Winter Skiing and Snowboarding

  • If possible- get in physical shape prior to skiing. Don’t try to ski yourself into shape.
  • While lessons are only required for beginners- any skiers/snowboarders with previous ski experience are encouraged to receive beginner ski lessons to further reinforce their fundamental skiing/snowboarding techniques along with use of ski equipment and ski lift skills.
  •  Skiing and snowboarding require a mental and physical presence. A slower warm-up run prepares both for the day ahead.
  • The key to successful skiing/snowboarding is CONTROL. To have it- you must be aware of your technique, the terrain and skiers/snowboarders around you. The Ski Area Patrol has the right and will take your ski lift card away from you if a skier is caught skiing out of control, or chance being fined.
  •  Be aware of the snow conditions and how they can change. As snow conditions turn firm (early morning hard frozen snow or refreeze toward end of day) – the snow terrain gets hard and fast.
  •  DRINK PLENTY OF WATER! Physical exertion, temperature and altitude can cause dehydration- even if you do not feel thirsty.
  •  Don’t go to the slopes loaded down with extra personal belongings. Carrying skis and poles is enough! Money, sunscreen and lip balm should be carried in a secure pocket, or in a backpack.
  • A good sunblock or sunscreen (30 SPF minimum) and lip balm are absolutely necessary. 45+ SPF is recommended. Sunburn is immediate with the snow glare, wind, and altitude. This is not only for your comfort and appearance, but for your musical performance! Bring from home, since there will no time to purchase on your 1st day of recreation.  Whether persons are wearing make-up or not, they should always wear sunblock or sunscreen!
  •  We strongly recommend your lift card be placed in a pocket that does not contain often retrieved items. This virtually eliminates misplacing it.
  • Sunglasses or tinted ski goggles are absolutely necessary! The sun’s glare off the snow will burn your eyes if unprotected. Sunglasses or goggles also protect eyes from snow and wind.
  •  Prearrange a meeting place and time in case someone gets separated from your skiing group. Look at a ski trail map and see how one simple turn at a trail intersection can lead to an entirely different destination. Without a prearranged meeting place/time- you may not find your skiing group again for the day within the ski area’s 3,060 acres. Of course cell phone communication is possible- but many cell phone company providers have weak cell signals on the mountain and should be tested prior to relying of this method of communication.
  • NEVER SKI ALONE. Please ski with at least one group member that skis at your level of skiing.
  • DO NOT BE THAT “SHOW OFF” SKIER THAT IS JUST ASKING FOR INJURY TO YOU OR OTHERS!! This is the most common reason for skiing injures. Furthermore- snow skiers and snowboarders are not exempt from laws that protect other visitors of the ski area. Criminal prosecution and civil suits can be brought against persons who ski or snowboard in a manner causing injury or harm to others.
    • Green= Easiest (beginner)
    • Blue= More difficult (intermediate)
    • Blue/Black= More difficult (advanced intermediate)
    • Black= most difficult (expert only)
  • If you find yourself on a slope that exceeds your ability level- always leave your skis/snowboard on and slowly sidestep down the slope.
  • Do not come to a stop in high ski traffic areas, within the main ski path or ski trail, and/or immediately beyond a trail’s blind curve or blind descent. Be sure that you are visible by all skiers and in a location that other skiers can safely avoid possible bodily impact. Look behind you first to make sure that other skiers are not immediately behind wherever you stop.
  • STOP SKIING WHEN YOU FEEL FATIGUED. A few moments rest, taken frequently, will make your day much more fun! Please don’t make that last run of the day if you are tired!!!!
  • Check the chalkboards at the bottom and top of lifts for any messages from the ski patrol. Also, emergency messages to your group may be left on these chalkboards since the ski patrol has telephone contact with the attendants at each lift.
  • In case of an emergency, a group member can be paged at any mid-mountain warming houses/restaurants. If any problem should arise, contact any ski resort employee. This can be a lift attendant, ski patrol, warming house/restaurant employee or the Ski Area Information in the BALCONY HOUSE at the Winter Park base. These employees can help you.
  • In the unlikely event that you need medical attention on the slopes, lay down and leave skis on, place your skis in a vertical upright crossed position uphill from you and ask any nearby skier to assist you by going to the nearest emergency phone on the trails (marked on trail maps in RED) or the nearest lift/warming hut/ski base and call the ski patrol. You can then be assisted to the medical clinic located at the base of the slopes.
  • With 166 ski runs to choose and 23 lifts, we offer this suggestion: Let mid mountain warming hut/restaurants be your base of operation. Skiers do not need to ski to the base each run and to take a lift back to the top of the mountain. There are plenty of lifts and trails accessible from mid mountain, with shorter lift waiting lines than at the ski base. Also, during the spring, the snow conditions are usually better, higher on the mountain. There are numerous beginner and intermediate slopes at the upper levels with well-marked trails. Keep your trail maps with you and take the time to read them before you take a new lift.
  • SKIING THROUGH TREES AND GLADES IS NOT PERMITTED! While trails through trees may exist and being skied upon by others- skiing is allowed only on marked/groomed trails. Not only does the danger include impacting with a tree but falling within the tree wells that surround trees. In other words, the unpacked snow immediately surrounding a tree can be over 10 feet deep, which a skier can easily sink within and not be seen, or climb out before suffocating.  Watch this video for more information.
  • ALL SKIERS MUST READ AND FOLLOW ALL POSTED SIGNS AT THE SKI AREA, AND TRAIL MAP INFORMATION, BEFORE SKIING. Signs and trail maps show all Terrain Zone markings, Trail Markings, Service markings and Lift information! For example- Skiing is not permitted outside of the Ski area boundaries, on closed trails and on unmarked trails. There are SLOW Skiing areas that must be obeyed. Skiing is not permitted through unmarked trails and through trees due to snow depths and above ground/below snow objects. Some ski lift destinations will not have an appropriate trail level to ski down from, based on your skiing ability or skill level. Trail Maps can be viewed through phone apps for the Winter Park Resort prior to or upon your arrival.

Optional Resort Meal Vouchers

A meal voucher costing $18 each, with a redeemable value of $20 is offered through the festival.  Ski Area Meal vouchers are an option for directors to purchase for the entire group for as many days or meals they wish. Meal vouchers are not included within festival packages. Some directors purchase these discounted meal vouchers to ensure that each group member has the opportunity to receive a meal at the ski area if a student has spent “meal money” on other items or was not given money from their parents. These vouchers allow festival attendees to redeem voucher for a meal purchases at the Winter Park Resort operated food service areas located at the ski area base, mid-mountain eating locations or at mountain summit locations. Careful- there are privately owned and franchised restaurants within the ski resort base “Village” that will not accept these meal vouchers. Ask before ordering!

If a meal purchase cost less than the redeemable amount, no change will be given. Add more to the ticket!   If a meal purchased cost over the redeemable amount, the individual must pay the difference.  Some meals could cost more than $20. Meals with a soft drink will likely always exceed $20 in cost. Cups and water dispensers are available at nearly all resort food service locations.  Water, not caffeinated soft drinks, should be consumed anyway, to help improve hydration, for avoiding altitude sickness.

Recreation Changes

After Arriving in Winter Park

While highly discouraged, and possibly not allowed by a group director, a person could change their recreation choice after arriving in Winter Park, if the following conditions are met:

  • The group director approves the recreation change!
  • If a person originally chose to ski or snowboard, and wishes to change their recreation to the non-skier activities, this must be done prior to receiving equipment rentals, prior to entering lessons, and before any attempt to enter a ski lift entrance.
  • If a person originally chose the non-ski recreation, and wishes to change to skiing, the equipment rentals must be received during their group’s scheduled equipment rentals, and must enter ski lessons during their group’s scheduled lesson time. Please understand that the ski rental shop will not have the person’s equipment needs, typically forwarded to the shop with online registration data. Both rental equipment and lessons are subject to availability.

What’s involved with a recreation change?

A recreation change between skiing and snowboarding does not require any exchange of a ski lift card.  Ski lift cards are the same for both choices.  This will only affect rentals and scheduled lessons.

To accommodate any recreation changes involving non-ski activities, exchanges must occur with ski lift cards and non-ski vouchers.  These exchanges are to be initiated with a member of the festival staff on a group’s first arrival to the ski resort.  Either the issued ski lift card to be exchanged must be unused, or all 6 of the issued non-ski vouchers to be exchanges must be unused!  

See You In Winter Park!  

We will be with you the entire festival