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Long weekend in Summit County, CO -- where to ski?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

Looking for some advice on the Summit County, CO skiing.

 

Got a trip to Summit County in a week or so.  We fly in Thr night to Denver, will drive a rental SUV to a condo near Keystone.  The plan is to ski Fri, Sat, Sun and a part of Monday, and then drive  back to Denver and fly back to LA late at night.


The crew is four guys.  Three of us have Mammoth season passes, with about five weekends on-snow this season.
I am a so-called "modern intermediate":  2nd year of real skiing (couple times before) with 20+ days on snow last season; can do blues with ease; really enjoy single-black diamonds, groomed or not; but generally shy away from super icy+bumpy steep terrain.  Two other guys are older skiers who can ski just about anything.  They will probably ski with me most of the time, and maybe split off for a couple runs that Mammoth would call double-blacks.  The fourth guy hasn't skied in a while, but was pretty good back in the day. 


We are looking for variety in terain in the ungroomed single-black diamond range (based on Mammoth scale--not sure how it translates to local designations).  We will not be doing any shopping, fine dinning or sight-seeing; we are only looking to ski for as long as our respective bodies will allow, and then have a few (or more) drinks afterwards--you know, your typical get-away-from-girlfriends/wives trip.

 

Our lodging is very close to Keystone, so we plan to start there on Friday.  Current thinking is to hit Breckenridge on Sat, A.Basin on Sun and Copper on Monday.  We are aware that Vail and Beaver Creek are also near-by.  Our plans are based on stats and brochures and some limited not-so-relevent first-person accounts.  I am looking for any real information/suggestions/tips i can get:  best resorts for what we are looking for; individual lift and runs suggestions; tips on staying away from the crowds on Sat and Sun; and so on.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks!

 

Mike

post #2 of 15

I think you will enjoy all the mountains.  Can't go wrong.  Keystone is a good place to start and get used to the altitude.  Breck on Saturday will be a zoo.  Arrive early, park at the gondola and take it to Peak 8.  That will give you access to the blues and easy blacks from the 2 quads and access to the bowls and double black terrain above them.  Sunday will be busy in the morning then quieter in the afternoon as the locals bail out early to try and beat the traffic back to Denver.  Monday will be fine anywhere.

post #3 of 15

Breck on a Saturday is usually very crowded. Sunday there would be better. Try Loveland on Saturday. Its over the pass from Keystone and you'll be amazed at all the vehicles that you'll pass that are headed to a Summit or Eagle County destination.

post #4 of 15

I'd skip Keystone.  Ski Breck on Friday. Copper on Saturday.  Beaver Creek on Sunday.  A-Basin on Monday morning.  Here's the rationale:

 

  • Keystone just doesn't have great terrain, IMO.  It also is in a dry spot, with most of the snow to the west and east.
  • Breck has lots of great terrain, but it is absolutely slammed on weekends.  So, ski it on Friday, when there will be no one there.
  • Copper has naturally divided terrain, meaning that lifts tend to serve only one type of terrain.  You can generally ski onto the A-lift, superBee, Sierra, Blackjack, and Mountain Chief lifts.  No (or minimal) lines means more skiing.
  • Beaver Creek has fantastic terrain, and it is far enough from Denver than it will be relatively less crowded than the Summit County resorts and Vail.  The Beav is a great ski area.
  • A-Basin is an interesting resort, but it is much smaller than the others.  You can get a good feel for it in less than a day.

Mike

post #5 of 15

Copper Mountain is one of my favorites in Summit County.  Mountain is laid out nicely.  Greens on skiers left, blacks on skiers right, blues in between.  Will not be as crowded as the Breck or Keystone.  Have Fun!

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

I'd skip Keystone.  Ski Breck on Friday. Copper on Saturday.  Beaver Creek on Sunday.  A-Basin on Monday morning.  Here's the rationale:

 

  • Keystone just doesn't have great terrain, IMO.  It also is in a dry spot, with most of the snow to the west and east.
  • Breck has lots of great terrain, but it is absolutely slammed on weekends.  So, ski it on Friday, when there will be no one there.
  • Copper has naturally divided terrain, meaning that lifts tend to serve only one type of terrain.  You can generally ski onto the A-lift, superBee, Sierra, Blackjack, and Mountain Chief lifts.  No (or minimal) lines means more skiing.
  • Beaver Creek has fantastic terrain, and it is far enough from Denver than it will be relatively less crowded than the Summit County resorts and Vail.  The Beav is a great ski area.
  • A-Basin is an interesting resort, but it is much smaller than the others.  You can get a good feel for it in less than a day.

Mike


That's a good plan. I second it.

post #7 of 15

Sound's like a decent plan.  I would probably substitute Vail for Breck, but then I haven't been to Breck in a really long time. 

As much as I slam Vail, it's probably the best resort along the front range, or at least it was.  

post #8 of 15

Since you are staying right by Keystone, I would still put it on your list.  Comments about the terrain relative to the other large resorts nearby and lesser snowfall are valid, but it still is a decent resort.  I avoid Vail because I find it a zoo, expensive, and I hate paying $25 to park.  A-Basin is a gem, a ski area not a resort.  But much of the terrain is above treeline and light can be very flat on cloudy, snowy days.  Hit it when the sun is out.   

post #9 of 15

I disagree and say avoid Keystone since every time I have been to visit I have almost died at the bad skiing of others. i.e. last time someone from Texas skiied up on my skis while I was going down a run. It has been since college when I went to Mammoth and if I remember most of the single blacks there where decently challenging. I would plan either Breck or Vail on friday. Then Loveland on Saturday. With Beaver Creek on Sunday and then A-Basin or Copper on Monday.

 

My rational is that you will find that either Vail, Breck or keystone are now zoos on the weekend so I would recommend them on either the Friday or Monday. Also I would recommend lots of Gatorade for the first couple of days while visitng to replace electrolytes in the body. Enjoy your trip.

post #10 of 15

Just for another opinion...

Ski Keystone's Outback area and try their $5 snow cat rides into ungroomed terrain on Fri, try A-Basin on Sat to stay close to accommodations and settle in, ski Beaver Ck on Sunday for a special treat, do Loveland on Mon because it is least expensive and closest to Airport.

post #11 of 15

My thoughts:

 

On Saturday, ski Loveland or Copper.  The former is an under-appreciated treat: very old-school, with the emphasis on the skiing.  There's a ton of terrain and great snow there on most days, though it can be windy and on a stormy day some of the big, open bowls will be closed.  Copper is a great mountain with awesome snow this year, and the naturally-separated terrain pods make it simple to avoid crowds.

 

Breck is really the best on a weekday.  Peak 8 has most of the best terrain, but the gondola dumps tons of people at its base on weekends.  If you must go there on a weekend, stick to Peaks 9 and 10 to avoid the big crowds.

 

Keystone is hit-or-miss.  North Peak and The Outback are great areas, but the zoo that is Dercum Mountain is a lot to wade through at the beginning and end of the day.  I like Keystone, but don't love it, if that makes any sense, because there are a lot of people who ski well beyond their ability there, to the detriment of overall safety.

 

A-Basin is a great resort when there's good snow (this year is a good year for them), and the terrain there is good and challenging.  Like Loveland, it's an area with an emphasis on skiing and little else.  The altitude is the most extreme, and if the weather is acting up a lot of the fun stuff in Montezuma will be closed.  But if it's a good weather day, it's a fun resort - be sure to tap a local to learn the fun hike-to lines.

 

Vail is an awesome mountain on almost any day, with enough spread and lift capacity to overcome the weekend rush.  It's pricey, but worth it for the mountain and its terrain.  Beaver Creek has some awesome steeps, though this year their snow totals have paled compared to Vail, Copper and others.

 

Just my $0.02.

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post


Just for another opinion...



Ski Keystone's Outback area and try their $5 snow cat rides into ungroomed terrain on Fri, try A-Basin on Sat to stay close to accommodations and settle in, ski Beaver Ck on Sunday for a special treat, do Loveland on Mon because it is least expensive and closest to Airport.




 



Of course, you can ride the cat at Copper for free and get much better terrain (Fremont Glades).
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

do Loveland on Mon because it is least expensive and closest to Airport.


This is very good advice.

 

post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 

Great info.  Thank you all so much.

post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post





 

Of course, you can ride the cat at Copper for free and get much better terrain (Fremont Glades).


Ssshhh...don't say that too loudlywink.gif

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