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Old 10-18-2012, 01:06 PM
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Help-need Colorado snow ski trip recomendations

I'm wanting to plan a trip to Colorado in late Jan./Early Feb. to go snow sking. I have family in the Denver area, so would like to fly in and stay with them for a night, then head to a resort for 3-4 nights. Growing up, we always skied in Utah @ Park City. I have only skied Colorado twice in my life. Once @ Winter Park a long time ago (20+ years), and once @ Copper Mountain (10 year ago).

Can anyone recomend a resort/lodge/destination? I would like to plan for a Wed-Sun type of trip. I havn't skied in 8 years, and I am bringing my girlfriend that has never skied before. We are not looking for 5 star accomidations, just something reasonable, preferably ski in/out lodging. I have looked online, but have been affraid to pick something without hearing first hand reviews.

Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:51 PM
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IMO Stay off-slope and get the multi slope pass and hit up a different area every day. My 3 day trip last year I hit A-basin, Keystone and Beaver Creek.

Wasn't much snow so Vail and Breck were crowded.
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:16 PM
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Is the GF going to take ski school or are you going to teach her? Anymore there is no such thing as affordable when talking about a ski trip. Any of the large resorts you're going to pay close to or upwards of $100/day for the lift ticket during peak season (xmas break, new years, presidents weekend, etc.). It's going to be especially expensive if you want ski in, ski out. I'd recommend VRBO.com to look for something that an owner is renting out rather than a resort property management company, you'll save a lot.

As far as places to go in CO, I've been about everywhere (big resorts anyway). Steamboat, Breck, Keystone, A-basin, Copper, Winter Park, Beaver Creek, Vail, Aspen, Snowmass, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands, Crested Butte, and probably others I'm forgetting. I have skied out in Utah too at Park City and Deer Valley.

If you want a ski experience like Utah, as far as the snow, you'll need to stick to the resorts further north. Those are Aspen, Snowmass, Highlands, Buttermilk, and Steamboat.

Steamboat is my all time favorite place to ski. In good weather, it's about a 2 1/2 - 3 hour drive from the Denver airport, less than that from the foothills. While it's not "cheap" to go there, it definitely has it's advantages. The best thing about that place is that it's not on the I-70 corridor. You'll find that all the resorts that are easily accessible are also incredibly busy, have a ton of kids weaving in and out everywhere, tend to have worse snow conditions unless they have a crapton of snow, and are also more expensive. Steamboats snow is famously know as champagne powder because of how light and fluffy it is, and it's really fun and easy to ski in if you get good snow out there.

If you're looking to stay within an hour or two to Denver, your choices are going to be Breck, Keystone, A-basin, Copper, Winter Park, Vail, and Beaver Creek. Of all of those, my favorite resort is Beaver Creek. Lots of trails, very cool base area with shopping and that kind of thing right down there in one spot. Albeit, Vail and Beaver Creek are also ridiculous expensive to do anything at. They also don't really have a "town", it's just more of a ski area and the base area is where the activity is.

If you want a great town, nothing beats Breckenridge IMO. Not sure how old you are, but it doesn't really matter there. They have good pizza places, fun local bars, a couple chain restaurants, the Breckenridge Brewery (awesome micro-brews), and the base area is separate from the town. Breck is probably the most expensive lift ticket there is at $111/day (at least that's what it was when I was there last year), but it does have a lot to offer when it comes to night life, dining, etc. Breck is also a very large resort with 4 different mountains. The lift ticket at Breck will work at Keystone, A-basin, and usually good for a day at Vail/Beaver Creek too if you want to take a day and drive a little further. Keystone is about 20-30 minutes from Breck, and A-basin is another 5-10 minutes up the mountain past Keystone. All are good places to ski, but I wouldn't take a beginner to A-basin, she won't have fun. It's much harder terrain and a very old school resort.

Keystone does have a fun base area as well, but not really a downtown area. The "town" of Keystone is actually Dillon, and its a 10 minute drive away.

For someone going out there for their first time, I'd recommend either Steamboat or Breckenridge. Breck just always has things going on. Steamboat's mountain is better, but the town and base area aren't right next to each other and the nightlife isn't quite like Breck's. Also, if you do go out there check www.liftopia.com occasionally and you'll probably find some deals on lift tickets. www.sitzmark.com also has discounted lift tickets... they're local to me so I use them quite often.

Anything else you're curious about, let me know. When are you going to be out there? I'll be in Steamboat the week of Christmas and Breckenridge for a long weekend starting around January 15th.
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Old 10-18-2012, 02:55 PM
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mzimme,

Thank you for the info. Steamboat and Breck sound like a good place to focus. To answer your question, I'm 41 and my girlfriend just turned 40. I want to make sure she enjoys her first snow experience. I'd like to get her either a full day lesson or two half day lessons. I may even take one with her to make her more comfortable.

The main reason I was wanting something ski in/out is I am not really wanting to rent a car. I want to fly into Denver, have family pic us up at the airport, stay with them one night, then head to a resort. Is there any decent shuttle services to either Breck or Steamboat from Denver? I will rent a car if needed. When I skied @ Copper, we rented a car, and drove in a blinding snow storm the whole way. We stayed in Frisco, and drove to Copper each morning. I'd much rather just take a shuttle to where ever we stay and not have to worry about driving. My aunt that lives in Denver mentioned a "ski train" that ran to the mountains from the city, I looked it up and it seems to be shut down. That would have been perfect for what I wanted. The lift ticket prices are about what I expected. I was budgeting for about $80-$100 a day for lift tickets ea., about $50-$70 a day for ski rentals each, and about $200-$250 a night for lodging. Some of the resorts seem to be offering package deals with discounted lift tickets when booked before the end of Nov. I haven't had a chance to check to see if any deals like that are available @ Steamboat or Breck.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:04 PM
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as mzimme said check out vrbo.com for your condo needs. i use them all the time. the ski train only "went" to winter park. he gave really good ideas for you and your gf. i love steamboat and it doesn't get near as packed with people.

there are shuttles van's that go from the airport to the resorts. http://www.goalpine.com/
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:12 PM
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Colorado Mountain Express (CME) does offer shuttle service. I don't know the specifics, but I see those vans going up and down the mountains a lot.

Also, you might check Breck's website for lodging and ski deals. I know Steamboat usually has a "ski free" promotion if you buy a certain number days worth of lodging they give you lift tickets as well. Right now they're offering early ski season rates for $43/day up until December 14th. (Not sure when you plan to head there). http://www.steamboat.com/tickets-and...unch-pass.aspx

Breckenridge would be more friendly as far as having no car. Everything is very centralized and the base to one of the mountains comes right down into town. If you found lodging anywhere around the base of the mountain, you could walk everywhere in the town as well as have easy access to the slopes. Steamboat is a bit more unfriendly to someone without a car. While there are definitely busses that shuttle you between downtown and the base area, it's not nearly as convenient as Breck's setup.

From what it sounds like, if you end up taking CME to get out there, Breck will be more friendly to you and your lack of a vehicle. Right now on Breck's web site they're offering a "Buy 2 nights and 2 days of lift passes, get the third for $1" deal. That might be worth looking into as you're saving $220 on one days worth of lift tickets alone. http://www.breckenridge.com/

My family has a place in both Steamboat and Breck... we love it at both spots. As a younger guy (29) I enjoy the nightlife of Breckenridge a little more. The mountain definitely offers plenty of different terrain, but I will warn you that peak 8 and peak 9 will be very busy. Peak 9 is the mountain that comes all the way into the town. There are tons of resort shuttles around Breckenridge as well, so if you need to get somewhere else that you can't walk to, you shouldn't have a problem.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:15 PM
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Also, rentals shouldn't cost $75/day unless you're renting demo skis. Check out breeze ski rentals website to give you an idea. Packages usually start more around the $15/day range. Just make sure your gf has comfortable boots... or she'll hate life. haha. I've tought far too many girls how to ski in the past. The ones that do it for more than their first year are the ones that are warm and their feet don't hurt.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ttu View Post
as mzimme said check out vrbo.com for your condo needs. i use them all the time. the ski train only "went" to winter park. he gave really good ideas for you and your gf. i love steamboat and it doesn't get near as packed with people.

there are shuttles van's that go from the airport to the resorts. http://www.goalpine.com/
Thanks, My girlfriend used VRBO.com to rent a house on Lake Austin for a week as a present for my 40th b-day. We were very happy with the service. I did check vrbo for places at Winter Park we I first started this. For example, there were ski in.out condos @ Zephyr Mountain Lodge on there, but when I check Zephyr's website, they had better deals booking direct than going through VRBO, and they offered discounted lift tickets. If I can find a package deal, that would be great.

Thanks for the shuttle info. I'll def check that out.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:24 PM
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might also check out iron horse on vrbo. it is also a ski in condos. the only main problem is the only way to get there at the end of the day is to come in on the mary jane side which can be pretty steep for a beginner.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mzimme View Post
Colorado Mountain Express (CME) does offer shuttle service. I don't know the specifics, but I see those vans going up and down the mountains a lot.

Also, you might check Breck's website for lodging and ski deals. I know Steamboat usually has a "ski free" promotion if you buy a certain number days worth of lodging they give you lift tickets as well. Right now they're offering early ski season rates for $43/day up until December 14th. (Not sure when you plan to head there). http://www.steamboat.com/tickets-and...unch-pass.aspx

Breckenridge would be more friendly as far as having no car. Everything is very centralized and the base to one of the mountains comes right down into town. If you found lodging anywhere around the base of the mountain, you could walk everywhere in the town as well as have easy access to the slopes. Steamboat is a bit more unfriendly to someone without a car. While there are definitely busses that shuttle you between downtown and the base area, it's not nearly as convenient as Breck's setup.

From what it sounds like, if you end up taking CME to get out there, Breck will be more friendly to you and your lack of a vehicle. Right now on Breck's web site they're offering a "Buy 2 nights and 2 days of lift passes, get the third for $1" deal. That might be worth looking into as you're saving $220 on one days worth of lift tickets alone. http://www.breckenridge.com/

My family has a place in both Steamboat and Breck... we love it at both spots. As a younger guy (29) I enjoy the nightlife of Breckenridge a little more. The mountain definitely offers plenty of different terrain, but I will warn you that peak 8 and peak 9 will be very busy. Peak 9 is the mountain that comes all the way into the town. There are tons of resort shuttles around Breckenridge as well, so if you need to get somewhere else that you can't walk to, you shouldn't have a problem.
Thank you so much again for this information. This is stuff you can't find out just searching the net. I knew i could count on the MC family to help me out.

We are planning on going sometime between the last week of Jan. and the first week in Feb. I will look into booking something either @ Breck or Steamboat. From what it sounds like, we would be better off @ Breck, but I want my GF to look at both and see what she thinks. We still like to hit up a bar or three in our old age. lol...
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