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Getting to Snowmass

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I am taking my family of 5 to Snowmass from the East Coast in mid March.  I'm trying to decide between flying nonstop to Denver and driving 4 hours versus flying to Eagle and driving 1 hour.  The flight to Eagle stops in Denver or somewhere in the Midwest.

 

The flight to Denver is much quicker and cheaper and it's on Southwest which seems pretty reliable.  My concern is that a storm could make the Denver to Snowmass drive a huge nightmare. And I-70 could be closed.  But on the other hand such a storm might close out Eagle Airport, correct? (I've never been there.)

 

I don't mind driving a little extra to avoid indirect flights.  Especially in the winter.

 

So what's the bigger risk from a storm: inability to drive from Denver to Snowmass or inability to fly from Denver to Eagle?

 

Thanks

 

 

Yes I noticed "Getting" is misspelled but can't figure out how to correct mistakes in the title.  And I'm a stickler for spelling!

post #2 of 16

Driving could be a huge nightmare, but is unlikely. I have driven it many times and have never seen the road closed, although I drove over Vail Pass just before it closed one time. Never needed chains since the days of RWD and driving over Loveland Pass.

 

If you are driving on a weekend, beware of heavy traffic on I-70, particularly monrings and afternoon. Traffic can back up to standstill, especially if the road is snowy.

 

Another altternative is flying into Aspen. Some possibilty of delays or closure, but they will get you there sooner or later.

 

Van shuttles are available, but pricey for 5 people. A rental van or SUV big enogh for five people, baggage and gear may also be pricey.

post #3 of 16

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/40848/esa-aspensnowmass-logistics-costs

 

I typed my opinion on flying into Aspen a couple of years ago in this thread, it says I can't open it without an Admin?

If they can't open it, I'll give you the skinny later?

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks Shredhead and Bill.  I couldn't open that link either.

post #5 of 16
Hey hirustler. We go to Vail every year and have flown into both Denver and Eagle, over the years we've setled on always flying to Denver. I've also flown to Aspen.

Problem is that in a storm they cancel the connecting flights, so you're stuck in Denver. The drive is usually fine. I've had some drives over Vail Pass that are a little hairy and slow, but always have gotten through.

Eagle is a nice airport and does avoid Vail Pass on the drive, but you're still driving a ways to Aspen. Flying into Aspen is extremely convenient, but it is a pretty small airport and probably closes even more often than Eagle.

So all in all we have opted to fly to Denver, rent and drive.
post #6 of 16

if you fly into Aspen (ASE) you probably can get by without a rental car, which would at least defray some of 

the money spent on the flight.

post #7 of 16

I have also used all three airports to reach aspen.  I recommend flying to Denver due to generally lower costs and more reliability.  Flying to Aspen/Eagle is clearly better but only when you get there as planned.  Flight delays can cause missed connections and weather can cancel flights.  These flight issues can cancel a whole trip.  With Denver and a car, you almost always get there as planned.  In the rare instance where i70 is closed for an extended period, you can always ski somewhere else the 1st day and make it to Aspen on day two.

 

Unless you are really adverse to driving in snow, I recommend driving from Denver.

post #8 of 16

Fly  into Aspen (ASE) and avoid the long drive and the cost of a rental car. Chances of the airport in Aspen closing because of weather in mid March is slim. You can take a shutttle van to Snowmass and will not need a car once your'e there. I would only drive from Denver if the cost to fly Southwest and rent a car is substantially cheaper than flying into Aspen.

post #9 of 16

^^

That's generally what I recommend, especially if your staying at one of the nicer places that will pick you up at the airport.  Where are you staying?

 

I would only fly into EGE if it was a direct and cost about the same as DEN.   It doesn't make any sense to me to pay a premium, connect in Denver and still need to rent a car,  just to avoid two mountain passes?

 

Flying into Denver on Southwest can be significantly cheaper when you take into account baggage fee's for a large family.  Driving from Denver isn't that bad, but you might want to do it in daylight if you haven't done it before?  I like mini vans more than SUV's?

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the advice everyone! The direct on Southwest to Denver is substanitally cheaper than the indirect to Eagle, ie about $150 per ticket cheaper, times 5 tickets.  And flying to Aspen from Hartford or Boston is probably twice as expensive as from Denver, a difference that easily outweighs the cost of a rental car.  Last year that route was priced around $800-$900.  Furthermore, I don't mind driving in snow.  I live in New England.  I also like knowing I won't get stuck in some airport.

 

So I think I'll fly direct to Denver and drive 4 hours.  They are daytime drives, so the scenery is good and the risk a little lower.  As long as the kids behave...

 

Thanks again.

post #11 of 16
I think that's a good decision, Hirustler, and it's the way I'd go if I were you. I'll add just one thought: if you can, try to avoid driving up into the mountains from Denver on a Friday afternoon or evening, or a Saturday morning, and try to avoid driving back to Denver on a Sunday afternoon. At those times, it's not the weather or the driving conditions that will get you--it's just the traffic. And if the weather happens to be sub-optimal, it can get much worse in a hurry.

Have a great time!

Best regards,
Bob
post #12 of 16
+1 on the Friday evening or even worse early Saturday morning drive. We get in on Friday's and once had to stay in an inexpensive motel due to storm and drive Saturday morning. It was like being on Rte 128 in rush hour for a long time.

The drive is very nice. The Glenwood Canyon is beautiful.
post #13 of 16

I went to Aspen two years back, we got good airfare pricing to Grand Junction Colorado (west of Aspen) and drove to Basalt (near Snowmass). Took around 90 minutes as I recall. Something to consider. No traffic and pretty scenic on that part of I70.

 

I drove that 4 hour stretch from Denver to Aspen years back. After flying for 3 hours and then driving to Aspen for 4 hours, I was toast. Not the ideal way to start a vacation.

post #14 of 16

If you fly into Eagle County you will actually be flying into Gypsum not Eagle (a little know fact). It will be more like a 1.5-2 hour drive up to Aspen. We have a property in Gypsum and I have done that drive many times. You will have to drive through Glenwood Canyon ( a slow go), poke your way through Glenwood Springs, then up the Roaring Fork Valley. I have never flown into Aspen, but was just relating that the airport in Eagle County is more than 1 hour from Aspen. Hope that helps.

 

I would fly directly into Aspen if I were you. Aspen is my all time favorite place to ski-miss my annual Classic 4 Pass. Have fun!! 

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Furball View Post

I went to Aspen two years back, we got good airfare pricing to Grand Junction Colorado (west of Aspen) and drove to Basalt (near Snowmass). Took around 90 minutes as I recall. Something to consider. No traffic and pretty scenic on that part of I70.

 

I drove that 4 hour stretch from Denver to Aspen years back. After flying for 3 hours and then driving to Aspen for 4 hours, I was toast. Not the ideal way to start a vacation.

What about that?  I found flights to Grand Junction Regional cheaper than flying to denver.  IS Grand Junction Airport likely to be closed by a storm? I like this option because it is 80 miles nearer from aspen than Denver.

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

What about that?  I found flights to Grand Junction Regional cheaper than flying to denver.  IS Grand Junction Airport likely to be closed by a storm? I like this option because it is 80 miles nearer from aspen than Denver.

 

No, it's very unlikely.  Many of the directs to ASE divert to GJT if the weather is really bad in Aspen. It's close to I-70 and generally a very easy drive to Aspen.

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