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Epic Road Trip through CO and UT suggestions and beta request

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

In about two weeks I'll be making a road trip and plan to do some skiing in Colorado and Utah.
I'll be flying to Chicago on Good Friday and will be picking up a truck and driving west during the week after Easter.
I am open to suggestions for lodging, dining, skiing, etc.
I'd also appreciate some beta on parking (you can send a PM so that the whole world doesn't fill up your semi-secret rock star parking.) and ski conditions.
What I've heard recently doesn't sound all that optimal in Colorado. Hopefully, things will improve in a couple weeks. 

 

Here is what I have so far:
Tentative route: 80 west though Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, then down through Denver, 70 west then up to Salt Lake City for more skiing before heading back to Nevada.
I'll have two pairs of skis. (Blizzard Magnum 8.7s and PM Gear Lhasa Pows.)
I have an Epic Pass to take care of Arapahoe Basin, Keystone (if they are still open then), Breckenridge, Vail, and Beaver Creek. I also have a 2 for 1 at Winter Park, a 2 for 1 at Solitude, and free tickets to Sundance (if they are still open then) and Canyons. 
Arapahoe Basin is the only place I mentioned that I haven't skied before so it is on my to do list. If there are good conditions and/or good deals I am open to checking out some other places.

Thanks.

post #2 of 28

Stev,

 

It sounds like a great trip!  As you know, conditions can change for the better or worse quickly in the spring.  Also, please check out the closing dates of the mountains...you may be cutting it close.  I'll send a PM later today regarding some other stuff.

post #3 of 28

Probably not what you are looking for ... but how about heading west on I-90 instead of I-80.  Drive to Bozeman and ski Bridger, then south to Big Sky/Moonlight, then to Targhee, then to Jackson Hole, then down I-15 through Utah.

 

I know this does not work with your Epic pass, but Montana and Wyoming have been getting more consistent snow than Colorado and Utah this year.  However, as quant2325 pointed out, it could all change very quickly into April.

 

Whatever you end up doing, it should be a fun trip.  Enjoy!!


Edited by NeedToSki - 3/29/12 at 8:49am
post #4 of 28

Sounds like you have a plan. I just might lower any expectations of epic conditions - I think a lot of us keep waiting for the winter to turnaround, even a little, and now that it's basically April, it's not looking like it's planning on doing so. Even if the weather turns, the base is going to be way low at a lot of those places (after a foot of snow in UT last week, I was still dodging rocks and bushes in places because of the low base and crazy warm temps).

 

Check closing dates, for sure. Then, since it sounds like you already have the Epic pass, I'd do your summit/eagle county tour, head up to US-40 and do Winter Park, Steamboat and make your way into UT. If you like MTB, consider a stop in Vernal, UT, which is kind of like a mini Fruita right on US-40. US-40 will drop you in Park City, where you can ski if it's worthwhile, or hook up with 80 to SLC/Cottonwoods.

post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies.

I don't have real high expectations for Colorado right now. However, most of this season I have gotten used to the less than stellar conditions in Tahoe/Mammoth. (Yes, they have improved recently and may get even better while I'm out of town.)

I may bring the older of my two pairs of Magnum 8.7s if coverage is a concern. (Some skis are so nice that I buy them twice - I also have two pairs of Lhasa Pows.)
Since I'll be passing through anyway and won't need to shell out cash for lift tickets at many places, I'll make the best of it and it might even be better at times than some of the patch skiing I'll be doing this summer.
If things improve when I arrive I'll be pleasantly surprised. If not, I'm also open to possible detour suggestions or heading to Utah earlier if things are better there. I'll probably ski Canyons one of the days - thanks quant2325!

post #6 of 28

In the past couple of days I've met several people from Denver area -- here in Park City for the better snow.  Which, of course, is ironic, as many of us in Park City are half-heartedly talking about going somewhere else for better snow.  This winter is the dryest in memory, so there really just isn't any better snow on your planned route.

 

Parking at Canyons is a breeze, and free (my home mountain).  There is a gondola ("The Cabriolet") from the parking lot to the base - then walk 30 yards to another gondola that takes you up the mountain.  Conditions are changing by the day.  While you have a free ticket at Canyons, you might be better off on the west side of the mountain (big/little cottonwood canyons) rather than the east side (Canyons, Park City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley).

 

PM if/when you decide to ski Canyons & I'll give you the latest info I have.

post #7 of 28

Keystone closes April 8th and the rest of the Epic resorts are scheduled to close April 15th, except Breck which says they are going to be open two additional weekend (Fri-Sun- a good idea last year had they done it, but a stretch this year, IMO)

 

Easy parking at A-Basin.  Can park at the Breck Gondi for $5 M-Th/$10 Fri-Sun or on airport road for free and take the shuttle.  Free shuttle and parking at BC also while you pay $25 at Vail for Center Village or Lionshead.  Alternatively, the crowds have been dying with the melting snow, so you can park along the Green or Red free city bus route.

 

There is still some fun skiing to be had, but with the warm temps and mostly dry forecast, things could get really thin...unless things change in a really massive way, bring your older skis.

post #8 of 28
We are looking at all time record temps this weekend for March. Then a storm, although may be more of a Front Range event (or a non-event if this season's pattern holds). Then back to very warm.

You could get lucky in a weekly storm track - first one early this week and then near the start of your trip. Probably won't matter much, but hey, it's a road trip. biggrin.gif
post #9 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

We are looking at all time record temps this weekend for March. Then a storm, although may be more of a Front Range event (or a non-event if this season's pattern holds). Then back to very warm.
You could get lucky in a weekly storm track - first one early this week and then near the start of your trip. Probably won't matter much, but hey, it's a road trip. biggrin.gif



I would absolutely not count on conditions getting better. We have one half-assed storm coming through today that seems to be pretty muich a bust based on my (dry) weather in Rifle, CO right now, and then it is back to what it has been for the past month- no snow, mid 60* temps even flirting with 70's on the slopes.

 

Conditions over most of Colorado (for those that are still open- many had to close yesterday, and more close next week) are very raw.

 

Unfortunately, I wouldn't come to the state right now.

 

If you do come, count on getting in your skiing from 10-2.  Ski stuff in full sun at 10:00, once it starts to get sticky, move to shade. Where there is coverage (which is steadily decreasing), hitting the snow at the right time will mean some pretty good corn.

 

post #10 of 28

Forecast of best powder day in Colorado this morning from Joel Gratz (opensnow.com):  December 2012.  Or 2013.

 

I'm on my bike.

 

Mike

post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 

Update - due to circumstances beyond my control my departure has been delayed by 4 days. I'll be flying to Chicago tomorrow (Tues.) and driving west on Thursday. I'll only be able to get 1 to 3 days of skiing in. I'd appreciate some condition updates, comparative current ratings, and suggestions. In CO how do A basin, Breckenridge, Vail, and Beaver Creek compare to each other right now? If you could only ski 1 or 2 which would you recommend? Is UT doing better than CO right now? I may still try to use a free Canyons ticket on my way home. Thanks.

post #12 of 28

Stev, I don't live out west but I have been watching the weather forcasts for Alta. It looks like they could get some snow for a few days later this week (alta.com--mountain report--weather resources--weather links--NOAA). Have a great trip.    Jim

post #13 of 28

Was at Beaver Creek last weekend. Coverage was pretty sketchy - not much was open, and what was had very little snow. Driving past Vail, it was hard to tell which was worse.

post #14 of 28

Look at the weather and delay your trip two more days - the big low coming onshore may keep things snowy for a few days, although you are backwards as Utah will get it first, and if it lingers as currently forecast, Colorado late weekend and into next week.  

 

So if you are leaving tomorrow, I think you probably just drive through CO, find a spot for some spring vibe along the way more towards the western slope for some apres-drive, and bet on Utah if you are talking a couple of days of skiing max and need to hit something late week early weekend.

 

The forecast is somewhat more 'track dependent' for various CO resorts than the Wasatch, and if it is another cutoff low coming across NM the I-70 resorts past the Front Range won't get much unless it is a huge storm that can push impact West over the Continental Divide.  Seems unlikely...although we do get big storms in April for sure...

 

 

post #15 of 28
Thread Starter 

I am rethinking my timing, destinations, etc. based on conditions. Right now my only plan to to plan to be flexible. I'll keep checking back on my way back. I'll be content to break up around a 2000 mile drive with some skiing along the way.

post #16 of 28

 Depending on where you start in Chicago, I-88 will save some mileage?  It's a toll road, but most are here.  If you have an automated toll pass, bring it?

post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stev View Post

I am rethinking my timing, destinations, etc. based on conditions. Right now my only plan to to plan to be flexible. I'll keep checking back on my way back. I'll be content to break up around a 2000 mile drive with some skiing along the way.


GFS for several runs says feet of snow in the Front Range foothills over a 60 hour event.

I'd say BS, but time of year is right and the MJO is back, which has been the only real snow producer in CO this year.

I think it will mostly hit south again, but the GFS got last week's cutoff low about right and while I think the GFS is notoriously unreliable in the midrange for Colorado, sometimes it gets a bead on things for big events. Last epic one was 2003 and it snowed 7 feet in the foothills, and the GFS held the forecast for about 5 days out and nailed it.

So there is your trip stoke for the day biggrin.gif
post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 
Update - after over 15 hours on the road yesterday I decided to break up the drive with some skiing.
I skied A-basin this morning and Breckenridge this afternoon. A-basin had better snow, but less terrain. Breck has worse snow, but more terrain. On my way to Utah next.
post #19 of 28
Thread Starter 
I made it to Utah. Although it sure doesn't seem like Utah snow. I'm using my free ticket at Canyons today.
Even 9990 has snow that feels like mashed potatoes made with yogurt and cream cheese.
I'm already thinking about where to ski tomorrow and how much it will cost.
post #20 of 28

Snowbird is open on Monday.  Alta is not.  Pretty sure Snowbird is offering late season rates since some lifts are already closed for the season.  LCC got a lot more snow the last couple days than PC.

post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 

Sitting in the Park City Starbucks resting my legs. Thinking about Solitude tomorrow. I should be able to share my BOGO with someone.

post #22 of 28

I really wished that I had seen this post yesterday.  I had a Deer Valley ticket that I couldn't give away.  Went up there today for closing day, it was actually not bad.  A few powder stashes in the trees made it worthwhile, and if you wanted to hit the groomers and go fast, well....there was really nobody on the mountain to get in your way.

post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alta Dude View Post

I really wished that I had seen this post yesterday.  I had a Deer Valley ticket that I couldn't give away.  Went up there today for closing day, it was actually not bad.  A few powder stashes in the trees made it worthwhile, and if you wanted to hit the groomers and go fast, well....there was really nobody on the mountain to get in your way.


Thanks for the thought. Deer Valley remains on my to do list.

I went to Solitude and was shown how to do Honeycomb Canyon. Good snow and great terrain there. I also made someone happy when I shared my Descente BOGO voucher with them.
 

 

post #24 of 28

Not a bad day, eh?  It gets even funner past C-Rock.

post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stev View Post

In about two weeks I'll be making a road trip and plan to do some skiing in Colorado and Utah.
I'll be flying to Chicago on Good Friday and will be picking up a truck and driving west during the week after Easter.
I am open to suggestions for lodging, dining, skiing, etc.
I'd also appreciate some beta on parking (you can send a PM so that the whole world doesn't fill up your semi-secret rock star parking.) and ski conditions.
What I've heard recently doesn't sound all that optimal in Colorado. Hopefully, things will improve in a couple weeks. 

 

Here is what I have so far:
Tentative route: 80 west though Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, then down through Denver, 70 west then up to Salt Lake City for more skiing before heading back to Nevada.
I'll have two pairs of skis. (Blizzard Magnum 8.7s and PM Gear Lhasa Pows.)
I have an Epic Pass to take care of Arapahoe Basin, Keystone (if they are still open then), Breckenridge, Vail, and Beaver Creek. I also have a 2 for 1 at Winter Park, a 2 for 1 at Solitude, and free tickets to Sundance (if they are still open then) and Canyons. 
Arapahoe Basin is the only place I mentioned that I haven't skied before so it is on my to do list. If there are good conditions and/or good deals I am open to checking out some other places.

Thanks.


Hey Stev, if you're hanging around until we go to Abasin, we'll be happy to hook up with you. 

We'll be there the second weekend in May..........

 

 

post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BobMc View Post

Not a bad day, eh?  It gets even funner past C-Rock.



Yes. Solitude was on my to do again list and it remains on my to do again (and again) list.

 

post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trekchick View Post


Hey Stev, if you're hanging around until we go to Abasin, we'll be happy to hook up with you. 

We'll be there the second weekend in May..........

 

 


Thanks. I'm back home now. In May I'll probably be skiing closer to home and putting my Mammoth pass to use.

If not Abasin we should hook up for some summer turns. 
 

 

post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 

A belated photo follow-up.

 

I saw this wrestling poster in Nebraska:

IMG2012041200387cr.jpg

I was tempted to return to Nebraska for this event. Notice the name of the sports shop on the upper right.

 

I wonder why no one is lining up to buy gas here:

IMG2012041200389cr.jpg

 

Arapahoe Basin on April 13th:

Abasin2012041300390c.jpg

This was my first time at A-Basin. I'd like to return when there is more snow.

 

Breckenridge on April 13th:

Breckenridge2012041300393c.jpg

Breckenridge2012041300394c.jpg

I've been to Breckenridge a couple of times before. It is definitely better with more snow.

 

Solitude, Honeycomb Canyon on April 15th:

Solitude2012041500399c.jpg

Pow makes everything better.

 

On the road again in western Utah, April 15, 2012:

UT2012041500400c.jpg

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