New ski trail unsavory to some |

New ski trail unsavory to some

The trail under construction.
Carl Frey/Winter Park Resort |

Winter Park Resort’s newest trail finally has a moniker, with “Sober Englishman” being selected after a resort-wide employee naming contest. But it’s not the name drawing attention, rather it’s the backlash from some people opposed to the trail itself.

“One of the best trails ever has been destroyed,” wrote Kyle Robinson on the Sky-Hi News Facebook page in response to the news.

“Sober Englishman,” earning its name because it crosses Mary Jane Territory’s iconic “Drunken Frenchman,” is a half-mile long intermediate run that will link the top of the Zephyr Express lift to “Mary Jane Trail.”

“This is not good news,” wrote Katie Shenk. “Effectively destroying Frenchman trees and the bumps on Frenchman because of all the people who will ‘try’ it out. If you can’t figure out how to get to the Jane, you should be skiing elsewhere.”

Cindy Norling Atherton agreed, suggesting it should be renamed.

“It should be called its original name, Do or Die. I’d think the name alone would deter a lot of beginners from taking it that most likely have no business skiing at the Jane,” Atherton wrote.

The trail will be 20 feet wide enabling it to be maintained by snowcat and will feature an 8 to 10 percent pitch, making it easier than ever for guests to access Mary Jane from The Lodge at Sunspot.

But the resort views the recent criticism as a positive, and that the positives with the new trail far outweigh the impacts.

“Anytime you enact change on something as sacrosanct as Mary Jane, a reaction is completely understandable,” said Steve Hurlbert, spokesperson for Winter Park Resort.

Drunken Frenchman is one of the resort’s most iconic trails and “it’s never been, and never will be our intent to arbitrarily ruin something historic,” according to Hurlbert.

Hurlbert explained that the new trail will terminate at the top of Gandy Dancer and there will be a minimally invasive cut less than one-third of the way down Frenchman. The majority of the run will remain completely untouched.

The new trail is the first at Winter Park since 2011 and the first at Mary Jane since the Panoramic Express lift and corresponding Parsenn Bowl Territory trail complex were opened in 2007.

Derek Graven, who works in Winter Park’s security department as a Security Officer, beat out 177 other submissions to come up with the name, which will be featured on trail maps and on-mountain signage. After this winter season, Graven will receive the authentic trail sign to keep as a reminder of the name’s permanent entrance into Winter Park lore.

“That’s exactly what that mountain needs is more gapers on the Jane,” wrote Ben Schemel. “Well. I had my fun there.”

Winter Park Resort will open for the 2017-18 season on Nov. 15.

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