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Let's talk Colorado - Vail and A-Basin

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I will be in Colorado in mid January.  I know little about the resorts near the Denver area.  From past reading memories, I think A-Basin and Vail may be good samples for me.  I'm comfortable with all terrains, except for the likes of Corbets biggrin.gif.  Mostly I like steeps, and of course deeps.  I will rent skis locally.

 

I ski mostly at Alta, Snowbird, Snow Basin, Deer Valley, Canyons, Squaw, and Kirkwood.

 

Please share your thoughts, ideas, recommendations, and opinions.

 

(sorry this should be in the Resorts, Conditions, and Travel section, but I do not know how to move it there)


Edited by ScaredOfCorbets - 12/15/11 at 9:13pm
post #2 of 16

Vail and Arapahoe Basin are nearly opposites.  Vail is like Snowbasin on steroids; upscale and something for everyone.  A-Basin is like a condensed version of Kirkwood with some great double diamond terrain and many locals.  They would actually make a fun combo giving you a taste of both a mega-resort, and a no-frills hardcore place. They are approximately 50 miles from each other along Interstate 70 about two-three hours west of Denver.

post #3 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

Vail and Arapahoe Basin are nearly opposites.  Vail is like Snowbasin on steroids; upscale and something for everyone.  A-Basin is like a condensed version of Kirkwood with some great double diamond terrain and many locals.  They would actually make a fun combo giving you a taste of both a mega-resort, and a no-frills hardcore place. They are approximately 25 miles from each other along Interstate 70 about 1-2 hours west of Denver.

 

FIFY
 

 

 

post #4 of 16

 

Jamessj pretty much nailed it, and they ARE polar opposites.  The only other advice I might add depends on when you are going, and the weather. 

 

On snowy, poor visibility days, A-Basin is about the last place on earth I'd want to ski if it was my first time to the area.  Most of the exciting terrain is above tree line and completely exposed.  On a bad weather day you'll find yourself spending all day on the lower half, so what's the point really?  On the other hand, on a nice sunny day it's one of my favorite day-trip mountains in the area, and can be a good mountain to avoid crowded weekends.

 

I'm not as familiar with Vail, but if you want large wide open bowls, that's the place to go.  Another good resort (IMO) option that's a bit closer to A-Basin is Breckenridge.  They have some great bowls as well, although the lift access is a bit more awkward.  That being said, I've had the best some of the best runs of my life on Whale's Tail and can't wait to get back.  I can also say that Breck offers some really fun protected terrain if the visibility is bad or it's windy.  One of my best powder days ever was during a storm where the 6-chair and Imperial Express were closed for wind, so I just did laps through the Burn on Peak 10.  Every run was different, I got fresh tracks all day, and I stayed out of the wind.  Vail very well may offer the same options, but I can only speak of what I know. 

 

 

I've been going to that area of CO almost every year for 15 years, and I've always had more fun at Breck since they added that Imperial chair.  But, Vail is, well, it's Vail... it's name carries more weight if that's important to you and you won't have another chance to ski there.  If you're looking to save a little money, find a place to stay in the Dillon/Silverthorne/Frisco area and drive to the mountain du jour each morning.

 

Good luck, and have fund.

 

 

post #5 of 16

Copper is a great choice too especially if skiing on the weekend as it has much smaller crowds and it is also closer than vail

 

If you are willing to drive to vail  I would also consider Beaver Creek instead. I personally like it a lot more. It doesn't have the same wide open bowls that Vail is famous for but the Stone Creek shots have awesome technical and challenging terrain. If you like bumps Beaver Creek can't be beat and the birds of prey downhill course is now open to teh public which is always fun to ski.

post #6 of 16

I skied Vail resorts last Jan. for the first time and I liked Beaver Creek the best. Since it is the farthest from Denver it gets the smallest weekend crowds. At Beaver Creek, head to the Birds of Prey downhill. I can`t remember too many lift or run names but basically near Birds of Prey you are skiing two sides of a valley with two lifts on one side and one on the other side so after each run you have a choice of three different lifts with mostly black diamond skiing.

post #7 of 16

.

 

snow conditions will hopefully improve as your trip is a month out but as of right now there is not much open - 10-46% depending on resort and this could change your plans . abasin really only has open a top to bottom groomer as they don't have huge snowmaking ability and they need natural snow for the steep terrain.  i'm very impressed with keystone's snowmaking this year and they really seem to offer a lot more. a keystone pass can also be used at abasin which is 6 miles up the road, so you could do both on same day.  key is opening some stuff on north peak w/ a nice bump run i was working in all weekend.  breck has their best terrain at the top andp peak 10 closed and i find the bottom of the mountain a little flat and short.  i haven't skied vail or beaver creek yet this year.  i also think loveland is skiing pretty well and is similar to abasin but with more blues.

 

i hope everything i said is irrelevant and we get some major dumps!

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the great advices.  I will make the final decision when I get there, depending on condition at the time.  I was thinking Vail and A-Basin because they were so different.  I will go to A-Basin, because it seems to be low key, definitely will consider Copper and Breck, and may take a trip out to Beaver Creek.  I know I'll be happy with these, just because I like to ski.

post #9 of 16

I do like the variety you can get with the I-70 resorts with each one having something positive about it.  You haven't talked lift tickets or how long you will be staying, but those could influence things a bit.  If there is a chance you will get back out or are staying for a bit, the A-Basin bonus pass is still available for $389- unlimited A-B with a day at Vail OR BC and 4 days that can be split between Breck and Keystone (with isn't the steepest or deepest, but offers nice trees when the snow is good and protection on storm days).

 

Loveland has some short steeps and can get deep also depending on the type of storm.  Storms benefit each of the mountains differently.  Staying in a central location like Frisco let's you wake up in the morning, look at the a.m. reports and decide where to go that day.  That's what I did the past 3 years!

post #10 of 16

I disagree that all of the 'best' stuff is above treeline at A Basin.  The Pali Chair made A Basin a legendary area.  And while it is exposed up top, most of the sick stuff underneath it is somewhat protected by giant trees.  I have spent many a day in my youth doing laps on that chair in dumping snow and poor visibility with no-one around.  To me that is fun - but to each his own.

 

And there is stuff accessible by that lift that you would need a guide to find in a few days so there is plenty to keep you happy.

 

And Vail is a great mountain too.  Not every single session needs to be death defying rock drops and gnar.  Get out in the back bowls and just enjoy the beauty of it and lay down some good lines.

 

When I used to live out there back in the day my pass worked at Vail once a month and I would always go enjoy a day there for sure.

 

I think your plan is very good.

post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post

I do like the variety you can get with the I-70 resorts with each one having something positive about it.  You haven't talked lift tickets or how long you will be staying, but those could influence things a bit.  If there is a chance you will get back out or are staying for a bit, the A-Basin bonus pass is still available for $389- unlimited A-B with a day at Vail OR BC and 4 days that can be split between Breck and Keystone (with isn't the steepest or deepest, but offers nice trees when the snow is good and protection on storm days).

 

Loveland has some short steeps and can get deep also depending on the type of storm.  Storms benefit each of the mountains differently.  Staying in a central location like Frisco let's you wake up in the morning, look at the a.m. reports and decide where to go that day.  That's what I did the past 3 years!

If you get a multi day pass from one of the grocery stores, I believe it does not include Loveland or Copper. It also allows only 1 or 2 days at Vail or BC, depending on how many days you buy. I agree that Frisco is a good place to stay that is centrally located. A-Basin is great if everything is open.
 

 

post #12 of 16

Well Abasin only has a few runs open but it's still fun and not crowded. Beaver Creek has more open than any of the 70 resorts and also isn't too crowded. Breck is awful until they get lake chutes and e-chair open. Copper is fun an not crowded as well. 

post #13 of 16

'...A-Basin bonus pass is still available for $389- unlimited A-B with a day at Vail OR BC and 4 days that can be split between Breck and Keystone...'

 

I wish the Utah passes were that affordable. 

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by swellhunter View Post

I disagree that all of the 'best' stuff is above treeline at A Basin.  The Pali Chair made A Basin a legendary area.  And while it is exposed up top, most of the sick stuff underneath it is somewhat protected by giant trees.  I have spent many a day in my youth doing laps on that chair in dumping snow and poor visibility with no-one around.  To me that is fun - but to each his own.

 

And there is stuff accessible by that lift that you would need a guide to find in a few days so there is plenty to keep you happy.

 

And Vail is a great mountain too.  Not every single session needs to be death defying rock drops and gnar.  Get out in the back bowls and just enjoy the beauty of it and lay down some good lines.

 

When I used to live out there back in the day my pass worked at Vail once a month and I would always go enjoy a day there for sure.

 

I think your plan is very good.


Good points, but if you have options, A-B is still low on my list on a cold windy storm day.  With that said, I skied there during a low wind afternoon 3 years ago with about 8 inches accumulation on our car in 4 hours and it was a blast- but 30+ in just over 24 will tend to do that.

 

post #15 of 16

We were at Keystone yesterday.  The black terrain that was open on Outback and North Peak was very sketchy in places but the blue groomers that were open were in better condition that I had expected.  Also surprising was the lack of crowds (compared to how Keystone normally is Christmas week).  Besides the first trip up the mountain I don't think we waited more than 10 chairs at all and it was way less than that.  Sure there were the silly stupid crowds in the runouts back to the chairs but it really wasn't that awful on the slopes.  

 

All in all it wasn't a bad first ski day of the season for me and sliding on snow is far preferable than a lot of other things I could be doing.

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by mmascolino View Post

We were at Keystone yesterday.  The black terrain that was open on Outback and North Peak was very sketchy in places but the blue groomers that were open were in better condition that I had expected.  Also surprising was the lack of crowds (compared to how Keystone normally is Christmas week).  Besides the first trip up the mountain I don't think we waited more than 10 chairs at all and it was way less than that.  Sure there were the silly stupid crowds in the runouts back to the chairs but it really wasn't that awful on the slopes.  

 

All in all it wasn't a bad first ski day of the season for me and sliding on snow is far preferable than a lot of other things I could be doing.


was looking for that info, thanks...if the winds die down tonight will head up to Keystone.  Middle son wants Keystone instead of Breck, and not much open at A-basin (have local pass so Vail not an optlon this week).
 

 

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