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cheapest places to ski in colorado or utah?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Greetings. I'm very new to skiing, but my friend and I have decided that we'd like to take a weekend ski trip.

We are from Chicago, so we'll need to fly somewhere, we were thinking Colorado or Utah, but I suppose we're open to other places. Unfortunately, we're on a budget, so we're looking for some inexpensive places. Any suggestions or recommendations of where to go would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
post #2 of 21

look at flying into Denver. I-70 west into the mountains is the main corridor to some of colorado's most popular resorts. Since you are a beginner, I would try to aim for a medium or large resort because they'll have a good variety of beginner terrain. Hit the grocery stores in Denver to purchase discount coupon books. You'll always find cheap gear rentals and discounted tickets in the books.

 

Hit google maps for ski resorts: Colorado. Google the various resorts on there and you'll find what you're looking for. It's hard to find a bad resort in Colorado because the competition is good and the weak sisters usually don't last long.

 

It's hard to beat Winter Park for distance from Denver, variety of terrain, lift ticket prices, lodging prices. If you're looking for just a weekend lodging, you could get a cheap hotel in Denver and drive to the hill every day (1.5 hours) or hit vrbo.com and rent something for a weekend. You can get some good prices on there by booking fill-in dates on the calendar.

post #3 of 21

Check out Powderhorn.com  A full day lift ticket is $56

 

Powderhorn presently has some of the best snow conditions in the state.

 

It's in western Colorado so you would need to fly into Grand Junction, which will cost more than a flight to Denver.

 

Or if you fly into Denver check out SkiCooper.com.  Full day ticket is $44.  You can stay in Leadville where motels are reasonable. The Timberline motel is within walking distance of all of the bars and restaurants. Clean, but not fancy.  Also from Leadville Copper Mountain and Vail are close, although the snow there now is pretty skimpy.

 

 

post #4 of 21

Holy crap!  Wintepark as a budget spot?  With $90 lift tickets?  Come on guys. Even with discount tickets you're lucky to get under $80 a day.  If you flew into Denver Loveland would be the most budget minded ski area.  I think lift tickets are around $60 a day there.  You could stay in Idaho Springs for true dirt baggin', though I suspect there are reasonable lodging options.

 

In all honesty though, you are going to get more bang for your buck in Utah.  Cheap lodging can be had in Salt Lake City or more preferably Sandy.  There are generally discount tickets sold at most of the ski shops.  Not hard to stay around $60 a day unless you have to ride the Bird or Alta.  Ogden would be another option for inexpensive lodging, Powder Mountain and Snowbasin are about 30 minutes or less from Ogden.

post #5 of 21

I forgot to mention that the two cheap ski areas that I mentioned, Ski Cooper and Powderhorn, have little or no nightlife. If you go to Ski Cooper you will want to stay in Leadville, which has bars and restaurants but little nightlife, you might find a band playing if you are lucky. Any real nightlife would be in Vail (30 miles) Powderhorn has zero; the closest being Mesa (8 miles) that might have a bar/restaurant open or Palisade (25 miles) with a brewery and distillery and a few bars or restaurants, or Grand Junction (40 miles).

 

Be sure to check the snow conditions before you go.

post #6 of 21

Check out Expedia, Travelocity  for any ski deals, and then also look at the websites for Breck, Winter Park, Steamboat and the UT ski resorts. They might have discount lift/lodging packages. Also look at the airlines websites to see if they are offering any fly in all inclusive vacation packages. There are quite a few deals being offered at the moment.

post #7 of 21

WP  has some good cheap lodging in Fraser at the Rocky Mountain Inn and Hostel and at the YMCA in Tabernash. And you'd be in a mountain town, not a city suburb. Depending on the level of skiing, can do one cheap day at Sol Vista ski area. 

 

Loveland off site tix are $53

 

Monarch is another CO option but harder to get to. (fly into CO Springs)

 

NM has some good inexpensive ski areas

Red River

Pajarito (in Los Alamos)

Sipapu

Santa Fe

 

Together, they make a real option and you can stay in a cheap motel at any one of those places.

post #8 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post

Holy crap!  Wintepark as a budget spot?  With $90 lift tickets?  Come on guys. Even with discount tickets you're lucky to get under $80 a day.  If you flew into Denver Loveland would be the most budget minded ski area.  I think lift tickets are around $60 a day there.  You could stay in Idaho Springs for true dirt baggin', though I suspect there are reasonable lodging options.



That's true if you're piecing it together, but big resorts like WP tend to have good packages.

 

I did a package at Copper years ago (2004) that came out to just over $500 for 3 day lift tickets (Super Bee tickets, nonetheless) and four nights slopeside lodging--for 2 people. That breaks down to about $63 per night with free skiing. That's cheaper than any other trip I've taken, no matter what the respective cost of lift tickets.

 

My best advice is to determine a few places that you want to ski based on skiing/conditions/whatever else is important. Then check the web and also call to find out about packages. That package I got at Copper wasn't advertised anywhere and I would have never gotten it if I hadn't called.

 

If you can't find a good package, Utah is definitely the way to go for cheap lodging and lift tickets. You can find discount lift tickets for nearly every major resort at ski and sport shops all over the Wasatch Front and find a ~$50 per night hotel with ease. The only issue is that you won't be slopeside and will need to figure out transportation.

post #9 of 21

If I'm flying across the country and am a beginner skier, I'm not skiing loveland on a weekend with the I-70 crowd. 

post #10 of 21

check out a Colorado gems card and/or look for an area that offer a beginner rental/lesson/lift ticket package

post #11 of 21

If this friend is a ski buddy type of friend (same gender) you can check out the Rocky Mountain Chalet and Hostel on the free shuttle to Winter Park for $28 a night. I believe it includes kitchen privileges and it's accross the street from Safeway. Can't beat that for cheap, even if you can't find a deal on lift tickets. And it is a really nice place not grungy.

post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the responses guys. Some great info here.

 

post #13 of 21

Check out craigslist for lift tickets. Overall, I'd suggest going to Utah over Colorado. Canyon Sports has discount lift tickets. It has been a slow start to the season in both places. Loveland is a solid option and will blow anything away you can ski within a 12 hour drive of Chicago. Plus it is one of the cheaper places to ski.   

post #14 of 21

Costco in Superior has 3 lift tickets (one person) for $99 for Eldora if you're near Boulder.

 

Loveland has discount tickets from time to time.

post #15 of 21

I'd go to Monarch, about a 3 1/2 hour drive from Denver, Salida is a really fun town with a lot of nightlife for an out of the way place, lift tickets are cheap and it is a good place for a beginner.

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post

Holy crap!  Wintepark as a budget spot?  With $90 lift tickets?  Come on guys. Even with discount tickets you're lucky to get under $80 a day.  If you flew into Denver Loveland would be the most budget minded ski area.  I think lift tickets are around $60 a day there.  You could stay in Idaho Springs for true dirt baggin', though I suspect there are reasonable lodging options.

 

In all honesty though, you are going to get more bang for your buck in Utah.  Cheap lodging can be had in Salt Lake City or more preferably Sandy.  There are generally discount tickets sold at most of the ski shops.  Not hard to stay around $60 a day unless you have to ride the Bird or Alta.  Ogden would be another option for inexpensive lodging, Powder Mountain and Snowbasin are about 30 minutes or less from Ogden.


 

Was thinking the same thing....lol  although don't they have the bogo tickets if you fill up at a Shell?

post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by killclimbz View Post

In all honesty though, you are going to get more bang for your buck in Utah.  Cheap lodging can be had in Salt Lake City or more preferably Sandy.  There are generally discount tickets sold at most of the ski shops.  Not hard to stay around $60 a day unless you have to ride the Bird or Alta.  Ogden would be another option for inexpensive lodging, Powder Mountain and Snowbasin are about 30 minutes or less from Ogden.



I'll second the idea of Snowbasin and Pow Mow.  You can stay in Ogden or Layton at reasonable rates and be at either ski area in about 30 minutes and with the exception of the up hill climb to Pow Mow its an easy drive.  You can also find really nice condos in Eden for very reasonable prices.  They won't be as cheap as some of the hotel options in town but when you factor in the ability to eat meals at home the cost probably comes close to evening out.

post #18 of 21

I did a lot of number crunching for a trip this year. Winter Park vs SLC, and it is actually closer than you might think. SLC won out, it was slightly cheaper, but more importantly, it was the Denver Spring break the week we were set to go, so that made the decision easy.

post #19 of 21

Spring break is the entire month of March for everywhere.  Denver Spring break doesn't have much to do with crowding on the slopes.  Not entirely sure where you decided to go, but Utah, or Colorado, there will be plenty of spring breakers there if you are going in March.

post #20 of 21

we went this same week to UT 2 years ago and it was very quiet. So Denver folks don't head up to WP during the week of their Spring Break?

post #21 of 21

Get a $10 Gems Card (http://www.coloradoski.com/colorado-gems-card), and get two-for-one weekday tickets at Loveland, plus a free weekday at Ski Cooper in February.  Cooper is a great place for beginners;  if you're a first-timer, you can get a lesson-bunny hill lift ticket-rental package for $50, or if you're an early-intermediate you can get a lesson/rental/full ticket for $75.

 

Loveland is great, but not if you're a first-timer IMO.

 

Both of these places have close-in parking so you can brown-bag your lunches;  Loveland has a microwave (as does A-Basin).

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