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Solo Ski Trip and Advanced Lessons

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I guess I have two questions.  First, I am dying to go skiing for spring break but any potential partners for the roadtrip have fallen through.  I'm considering making the 9 1/2 hour drive to Denver from Iowa by myself, skiing two days (maybe Loveland and A-Basin), and then making the drive back again.  Has anyone done a solo ski trip like this before, and do you think it would be worth the hassle?  I'm kind of thinking the solitude in the mountains could be nice, but the long hours in the car make me wary.  Also, I'm a little worried about skiing alone for safety's sake as I like to challenge myself. 

Second, I consider myself a pretty solid skier (typically split my time 50/50 black/double black and handle the blacks pretty easily but approach some doubles with more caution) but I have never received formal instruction.  As such, I feel like even though I can often ski some of the most difficult runs on the mountain (depending on the resort), my technique probably really isn't that great.  I have thought about taking and advanced/expert level lesson for a while now and am wondering if this could be beneficial.  And if so, would my money be better spent on a 1/2 or 1/4 day private lesson or a full day group lesson?  Does anyone know of any really good or really affordable lessons for advanced skiers in the Summit County area?  I would especially be interested in perfecting my bump and powder techniques, which are both competent but not crisp. 

post #2 of 12

only you are going to able to decide if the enjoyment is going to surpass the effort. however, since you are contemplating it, i think you are just trying to finalize it. one should be able to entertain ones self for the amount of time you are planning on spending in the car and on the slopes. with ipods, wifi for your laptop & cellphone, you should be able to connect with someone if you are feeling bored.

 

some of my biggest strides in skiing were made when i was skiing alone. 2 days of skiing by yourself shouldn't be so bad.

 

as for the skiing, there should be enough terrain for your ability at both A-basin & Loveland that you shouldn't have to go off-piste to challenge yourself. there are plenty of lines near a lift or adjacent to a marked run that should interest you. just be smart about it or meet someone on the lift & ski with them.

 

as for the lessons, maybe a summit local can chime in.

 

have fun.

post #3 of 12

I think you would really enjoy an upper level group lesson. They usually run $100 for the whole day.  My last lesson, at Big Sky, turned into a solo lesson as I was the only one in my group.  This is commonly the case for upper level group lessons. The teaching is nice, but the real benefit is that you will ski the perfect terrain for your level, all day long. For example, the chutes off the East Wall at A-Basin are a blast but you probably would not want to ski them alone.  Add the confidence that an instructor inspires and you may have the run of your life.  Also, you might want to consider a day at a bigger resort. I love A-Basin and I hear good things about Loveland but you only have two days and neither resort has any helpful high speed lifts (A-Basin's express gets you out of the base but not to the goods).  Even though lift ticket prices at Copper or Breck or Vail are higher, you will make many more turns for the $ with the help of their high speed lifts. No matter where you choose to go, do yourself a favor and go skiing. Remember, "If you don't do it this year, you will be one year older when you do!"

post #4 of 12
Good advice from JHoback and McMaxwell, Widluk. Sorry to hear that your traveling companions have bugged out, but I suspect you'll have a great time here on your own. You'll find plenty of skiing companions if you want, and the singles lines are often the quickest way to the top anyway. If you haven't driven long distances much, please do be careful to stay alert. I speak from experience, having made annual solo trips from Maine to Colorado and back for many years (and having actually rolled my little pickup truck one time in the middle of the Maine woods in the middle of the night when dozing off....)

As McMaxwell has suggested, there is a very good chance that an upper level lesson will involve only a small group, at most. You never know, but it is not unusual for advanced classes to have only one or two people in them. A private lesson would guarantee that, of course, and you could choose your instructor (if he or she is available), but it would be significantly more expensive. Plus, you might make a new friend or two in the group....

Loveland and Arapahoe Basin are both great ski areas, with plenty of terrain to keep you entertained and challenged for a couple days. But McMaxwell has a point there, too, that you would probably get in a little more skiing on the high-speed lifts at some of the other nearby resorts. Loveland will be the shortest drive from the east, but not by much. Arapahoe Basin is just over Loveland Pass from Loveland, but the road is not always open. If you have to go through the Eisenhower Tunnel to get to Arapahoe Basin, it will actually be quicker to get to Copper Mountain, just 12 miles or so west of Silverthorne on I-70. I assume that you'll be staying somewhere in Summit County anyway (Silverthorne, Dillon, and Frisco are usually cheaper than the resort towns of Keystone, Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain), so Breckenridge, Keystone, and Copper Mountain may all actually be closer to your lodging than Loveland and Arapahoe Basin.

Do come skiing. The snow is excellent, and even the solo drive can become a fun adventure, if you're into it.

Safe travels, and have a great time. Perhaps I'll see you on the slopes.

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #5 of 12

Given gas prices, have you looked into flying and just renting a car for a couple days?  Would save you a lot of transit time, and you're probably looking at $100+ in gas each way just getting to Denver...

 

Also, dunno exactly when your break is, but there will be a lot of Epicski folks in that area from 4/2 to 4/10.  A lot of locals around there all the time, too.

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice everyone.  I think I probably will end up making the solo trip out there, I'm actually starting to look forward to having some time to myself.  It's good to know that upper level lessons are often very small groups, I didn't realize that.  I looked around at prices and I think I'll probably do a half-day upper level lesson at either Winter Park or Loveland, both are very reasonably priced.  Not sure yet what I'll do for my second day.  I've skied Breck, Copper (but not the back bowls yet, it was too stormy the day I was there), Keystone, Vail, Loveland, and Steamboat before.  So, I don't know if I want to stick to something I know (could be fun spending a day at Breck in the peak 7 and 8 bowls and chutes) or check out something new.  I might just go with the flow. 

 

As far as flights, I will be heading out there March 20, so now that it's so close I can't find anything less than about $430 and can probably do gas, lift tickets, and lodging combined for close to that price. 

post #7 of 12

Good topic. I've always been amazed at how flaky flatlanders can be when it comes to skiing. That's why I've come to rely on myself and only myself. I always throw it out there to my friends that they're invited to join me, and they always get interested initially, but usually back out when it comes time to paying deposits and stuff. Due to that incomprehensible phenomenon, I've made MANY a solo trip.

 

There have been many positive aspects to going alone. Here is a list of my experiences...

 

Positive:

  • A little bit of quiet time to yourself.
  • More time to stop and "smell the roses", stopping at random points of interest, taking tons of photos and video.
  • I usually take lessons almost every day I go on ski trips alone, which has helped my skiing improve on every single trip.
  • Lessons helps you meet people easily. Sometimes it's fun to take a morning lesson, then ski the afternoon with your group (if any)
  • It's nice being able to go at your pace. Groups often slow you down in the morning, and keep you from getting first turns. Sometimes it's like herding cats.
  • It's easy and always enjoyable meeting new people. Despite the way people come across on the internet forums (i.e. TGR), in reality, the ski crowd is about the friendliest bunch out there.
  • Without friends or family, it eliminates the potential for any unnecessary drama.
  • You can do whatever you want!

 

Negative:

  • Can prove much more expensive, due to not sharing lodging/car rental costs, and stuff.
  • Sometimes you wish you could share the experience with people you know.
  • The long, lonely drive. It's a LOOOOOOONG drive from San Antonio to Summit. In fact, I'm doing it this weekend....again.

 

Overall, the pro's definitely outweigh the cons in my opinion. Some of my best and most memorable trips have been alone. Also, I'm sure you can link up with some of the folks here. Have a great trip! You won't regret it.

post #8 of 12

OP:  As far as going alone on a ski trip, I've never done that (though I have been on ski vacations with people who didn't ski, so I had stuff to do with them at night).  I usually ski alone, and quite frankly prefer it that way, and think you can get the best, and most, skiing in (most b/c of singles in liftlines).  However, I have never had the experience of being out of town on a ski trip alone, so I don't know how much it sucks once the ski day is over.

 

You could watch TV, DVDs from your iPhone, etc.  You could play angry birds, or watch ski porn.

 

 

If you are asking this question on a forum because you're not sure if this is "OK," or you feel you'll get bored/lonely, don't worry about it (that is, the subjective concept of "going alone" or something)... like I said I think you can have plenty of fun, and not everybody has friends into skiing as much as they are for exactly the same trips costing what they do.

 

 

In conclusion... your nights might suck, but the days should be pretty fun.  All in all, I think that is worth it for the reason you are going (skiing).

post #9 of 12

WP isn't far away from any of the other places you mentioned, at least compared to the drive from Iowa, but it's not worth it to area-hop on such a short time frame, IMHO; you're better off deciding on one place and sticking it out for a few days (except Loveland...nothing there, no lodging, nada)...all of the places you mentioned will be too large to tackle in one day, anyway.  You've got so little time in the Rockies, why spend it driving around when you could be relaxing?!?

 

As Mr Barnes suggested, a group advanced lesson will be useful and probably a heck of a lot more fun than you think (take it from someone who took instruction at WP and Copper for more than a decade).  WP has awesome bumps, as does Breck, but I'm willing to bet you won't go wrong with higher-level instruction at any of the places you've suggested.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by widluk View Post

Thanks for the advice everyone.  I think I probably will end up making the solo trip out there, I'm actually starting to look forward to having some time to myself.  It's good to know that upper level lessons are often very small groups, I didn't realize that.  I looked around at prices and I think I'll probably do a half-day upper level lesson at either Winter Park or Loveland, both are very reasonably priced.  Not sure yet what I'll do for my second day.  I've skied Breck, Copper (but not the back bowls yet, it was too stormy the day I was there), Keystone, Vail, Loveland, and Steamboat before.  So, I don't know if I want to stick to something I know (could be fun spending a day at Breck in the peak 7 and 8 bowls and chutes) or check out something new.  I might just go with the flow. 

 

As far as flights, I will be heading out there March 20, so now that it's so close I can't find anything less than about $430 and can probably do gas, lift tickets, and lodging combined for close to that price. 



 

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilikebeer View Post

WP isn't far away from any of the other places you mentioned, at least compared to the drive from Iowa, but it's not worth it to area-hop on such a short time frame, IMHO; you're better off deciding on one place and sticking it out for a few days (except Loveland...nothing there, no lodging, nada)...all of the places you mentioned will be too large to tackle in one day, anyway.  You've got so little time in the Rockies, why spend it driving around when you could be relaxing?!?

Loveland may not have lodging, but that's not really an issue since it's only like 10 minutes from Silverthorne/Dillon/Frisco area. If he's staying in town, then it's not really farther than any of the other ski areas. Then again, nothing in Summit County is too far from town in my opinion, since I drive 140 miles everyday for work.
 

 

post #11 of 12

The drive on I-80/76 isn't usually too bad.  Watch the weather and be somewhat flexible.  I can normally make Chicago/Aspen in 16-17 hours. 

Once in a blizzard, it was over 24 hours of white knuckle, with over 200 cars off the road.  The plains of Nebraska made the mountains of Colorado look tame. 

post #12 of 12

I ski alone a lot.  It's fun.  (I ski with other people a lot too, and that is fun in a different way.)

 

I've spent a fair amount of time travelling by myself for business over the years, so it feels pretty normal to me.

 

Near Denver, I've been to Loveland and A-Basin and Breck and loved them all.

Loveland has good ski demos at the base shop, though you may not want to spend the money.

There are some cheap-ish motels on the east side of the tunnel if you go to Loveland.  (Georgetown, about 10 minutes away).  Otherwise, check out the Summit county towns mentioned above.

 

Lessons are a good idea.

 

As for the evenings, if you are of drinking age, ask around and find a bar or brewpub with good food and eat at the bar.  I guarantee you will find other skiers to talk to.  (Sitting in your room can be a bit of a drag.)    It can be a hit-or-miss thing to find the right place, so ask around.  A different part of the country, but I was in Vermont by myself last week and was about to give up and buy a pre-made sandwich to eat in the motel room when I stumbled on a great place (the Pine Tree Pub in Sugarbush Village). 

 

 

If you aren't old enough to eat in bars, maybe you can find a diner with a counter.  The key is not to sit at a table by yourself (though I do that sometimes when I feel like reading.)

 

And let me chime in on the long-distance driving warning.  Make sure you can tell when you are getting dopey, and don't be too proud to pull off and take a nap.  (Not on the shoulder though -- really off the road.)

 

 

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