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Trip from Australia to Frisco CO - Advice Sought Pls

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Greetings from Sydney Australia,

 

I'm hoping for a bit of advice. I am travelling to Frisco Colorado with my wife and two children aged 7 & 8. We are arriving late November 2014 and leave just after Christmas. We are considering buying the early release 2013 / 2014 Value Season Pass which gives access to Breck, A Basin and Keystone.  I've down a fair bit of reading about the resorts but was hoping someone maybe able to give some insight into the quality of early season snow at these resorts or better to buy a pass just for Copper?  It's our first time to the area and am very excited.  Kids have never seen snow before!!  Also open to any suggestions in relation to long term equipment rental. Thanks for your help.

post #2 of 18

There will be groomer skiing at all of the resorts mentioned.  Whether we receive enough snow to have much terrain open is anybody's guess.  Generally, you can't count on terrain opening until the 2nd week in December.  Whether that happens next year is unknowable.

 

If you get stuck with not much terrain open, then you may find a single pass (Copper) to be confining.  You might really want a bit more variety in your terrain.  That being said, Copper has more vertical early season than the other resorts.

 

One other thing for you to consider is whether you are interested in lessons for you and the kids.  If so, Breckenridge has an unlimited thursday-sunday lesson pass that is an amazing deal.  YOu have to buy your season pass first.  Here's a link to info on the lesson pass.

 

http://cdn.e2ma.net/userdata/1714358/assets/docs/13-14_Spring_Child_Lesson_Pass_and_Adult_Ski_Club_Information.pdf

 

IMPORTANT:  You need to buy the lesson pass this spring.  Last year they did not allow anyone who did participate in the previous year's program to buy the lesson pass in the fall.  In fact, they initially were going to not allow alumni to buy it either.

 

Personally, I split my time between Breckenridge and Copper.  Copper has far fewer visitors.  Breckenridge has the lesson program.  Makes a choice tough.

 

Mike

post #3 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

There will be groomer skiing at all of the resorts mentioned.  Whether we receive enough snow to have much terrain open is anybody's guess.  Generally, you can't count on terrain opening until the 2nd week in December.  Whether that happens next year is unknowable.

 

If you get stuck with not much terrain open, then you may find a single pass (Copper) to be confining.  You might really want a bit more variety in your terrain.  That being said, Copper has more vertical early season than the other resorts.

 

One other thing for you to consider is whether you are interested in lessons for you and the kids.  If so, Breckenridge has an unlimited thursday-sunday lesson pass that is an amazing deal.  YOu have to buy your season pass first.  Here's a link to info on the lesson pass.

 

http://cdn.e2ma.net/userdata/1714358/assets/docs/13-14_Spring_Child_Lesson_Pass_and_Adult_Ski_Club_Information.pdf

 

IMPORTANT:  You need to buy the lesson pass this spring.  Last year they did not allow anyone who did participate in the previous year's program to buy the lesson pass in the fall.  In fact, they initially were going to not allow alumni to buy it either.

 

Personally, I split my time between Breckenridge and Copper.  Copper has far fewer visitors.  Breckenridge has the lesson program.  Makes a choice tough.

 

Mike

Ditto, keep your options open!   Keystone, loveland have pretty good snow making as well.  But WInterpark almost always gets the most snow out of all the summit resorts, especially early on.    They will be open a week prior to thanksgiving and have a great instructional program.  So there is another option for you, it's about an hour from Frisco, but worth the awesome drive over berthoud pass and the potential for more snow and better coverage.  

post #4 of 18
Mike is right on target. As you will be here for about a month, you may want to plan to ski midweek and have alternate plans for the weekends. There are lots of things to do in Summit County. Lots of museums, the Adventure Park in Frisco (tubing: sliding down a slope in a special inner tube), movies, cross country skiing, and lots more.

If you have to ski on the weekends, you can find affordable skiing nearby at Ski Cooper and Loveland. Both places (and especially Ski Cooper) are less popular with the crowds. Know that Ski Cooper has no snow making so the skiing may trail behind what is available in Summit County. It is a great area for beginners. Leadville (near Ski Cooper) is also a fun place to visit on weekends. It is a historic mining town (it was almost the capitol of Colorado) with interesting shops, museums and activities.

The lesson deal at Breck is great. My GF has had the season lesson pass two years going and has made advances in leaps and bounds in her skiing.
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

Mike is right on target. As you will be here for about a month, you may want to plan to ski midweek and have alternate plans for the weekends. There are lots of things to do in Summit County. Lots of museums, the Adventure Park in Frisco (tubing: sliding down a slope in a special inner tube), movies, cross country skiing, and lots more.

If you have to ski on the weekends, you can find affordable skiing nearby at Ski Cooper and Loveland. Both places (and especially Ski Cooper) are less popular with the crowds. Know that Ski Cooper has no snow making so the skiing may trail behind what is available in Summit County. It is a great area for beginners. Leadville (near Ski Cooper) is also a fun place to visit on weekends. It is a historic mining town (it was almost the capitol of Colorado) with interesting shops, museums and activities.

The lesson deal at Breck is great. My GF has had the season lesson pass two years going and has made advances in leaps and bounds in her skiing.

Not to be an ass , but the op poster also need to know that Cooper, *(not copper) is well...   the entire mtn is beginner and kinda sucks, but leadville is cool.  

post #6 of 18
Ski Cooper does not suck. It does offer a different experience than the mega resorts. Many people enjoy Ski Cooper because it has very few visitors, easy terrain (difficult to get over your head by mistake), low cost and friendly employees. You park at the base for free and on a powder day the fresh lasts all day long.

There are non-beginner runs at Ski Cooper; it isn't just a beginner area. It would be perfect for kids that have never seen snow (so presumably are never-ever skiers).

pdiddy, Just because something isn't your cup of tea, doesn't mean it sucks.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post

Ski Cooper does not suck. It does offer a different experience than the mega resorts. Many people enjoy Ski Cooper because it has very few visitors, easy terrain (difficult to get over your head by mistake), low cost and friendly employees. You park at the base for free and on a powder day the fresh lasts all day long.

There are non-beginner runs at Ski Cooper; it isn't just a beginner area. It would be perfect for kids that have never seen snow (so presumably are never-ever skiers).

pdiddy, Just because something isn't your cup of tea, doesn't mean it sucks.

Well,,, okay, but there is a reason it has low low numbers.... 

post #8 of 18
Quote:
Well,,, okay, but there is a reason it has low low numbers....

Yes. It isn't big and flashy. It has about 1000 feet of vertical drop, slow chairs and wide open slopes and trails. 2 chairs, a platter lift and a magic carpet. Small and comfortable.

Ski Cooper is a throw back to the good old days. The lodge is decorated in 10th Mountain Division gear, the bar is quant and cozy. The food is excellent and moderately priced. Its the kind of place you can ski without having to be constantly looking over your shoulder.

I enjoyed a fun powder day there last Saturday when our DH race was cancelled. We skied until the final bell in 6 - 8 inches of fresh and slightly chopped up powder. The next day most of the slopes were beautifully groomed and all of them were soft and uncrowded.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post


Yes. It isn't big and flashy. It has about 1000 feet of vertical drop, slow chairs and wide open slopes and trails. 2 chairs, a platter lift and a magic carpet. Small and comfortable.

Ski Cooper is a throw back to the good old days. The lodge is decorated in 10th Mountain Division gear, the bar is quant and cozy. The food is excellent and moderately priced. Its the kind of place you can ski without having to be constantly looking over your shoulder.

I enjoyed a fun powder day there last Saturday when our DH race was cancelled. We skied until the final bell in 6 - 8 inches of fresh and slightly chopped up powder. The next day most of the slopes were beautifully groomed and all of them were soft and uncrowded.

Yes, I have been there.......     And I would never direct anyone towards that resort unless it was located in somewhere other than ski country.    

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by muzb View Post

We are arriving late November 2014 and leave just after Christmas. We are considering buying the early release 2013 / 2014 Value Season Pass which gives access to Breck, A Basin and Keystone. 

 

Welcome to Epic!

 

Copper did a very good job with early season snow making this year BUT the first things they opened were intermediate NOT beginner terrain.  I can't recall if they first opened beginner terrain before or after Thanksgiving (late November), but this is important for you to find out.  I might consider contacting all the resorts (Copper, Loveland, Breck, A-Basin and Keystone) directly to see when they actually opened their beginners areas this year and when they plan to next.

 

Also, when are you arriving?  Nov 2014 like you posted or Nov 2013?  Assuming you posted correctly, the 2013-14 pass that is now on sale will not be good in Nov-Dec 2014...if you meant to say your are arriving Nov 2013, then indeed that is a viable option.  A new, less expensive option for next year is the A-Basin/Keystone pass for under $300 for adults.  Keystone has also had the unlimited lessons in the past and early season can be a good time with few students and the best instructors looking for work.

 

From Frisco, Copper and Breck are the easiest to get to on the free bus, but A-Basin, Loveland have the best free parking (with Keystone in the middle for both).  Loveland has a pretty affordable lesson/season pass package and is about 20 minutes back towards Denver by car, but no free bus from Frisco.

 

Winter Park might be a great resort, but is not as accessible to Frisco compared to Copper, Breck, Keystone, A-Basin, Loveland, Vail or even Beaver Creek.  

 

There are several places that do pretty affordable season rental programs including Breezes and possibly Virgin Island.  The best prices tend to be before the season starts with some sales on it around Labor Day (early September).  If you could organize boots, I have some older ex-rental skis in my garage that would likely work for 7-8 yo never evers.  PM me if interested.

post #11 of 18

Is the snowcat skiing at Cooper too easy? I've always wondered if it was worth the trip there.

post #12 of 18
Cooper's cat skiing is not challenging, just like the ski area itself is not challenging for an expert, but I hear nothing but good things about it from friends that have gone, and the smiles from those returning in the cat to the lodge at the end of the day.

Monarch has a nice cat service. It can be challenging under the right conditions. Average steep with some rock bands. I enjoyed the trip I did there on their last day of operation one spring. Everything from knee deep powder to heavy sun crust. A top day in my skiing life.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

Great advice.  Thank you all for your tips and advice. Can't wait to get there!!

post #14 of 18

Hi, we are Aussie family that has skied Breckenridge and surrounds 3 years over the last 5 or so.   I just saw your post as I was about to post about going to Mammoth.  This year we are trying late spring skiing to fit in with our school hols.

 

November is early, so you may want to go where there is snowmaking as other posters have suggested.

 

We rented a condo all times, the last one just out of Breckenridge because after 2 visits we decided Breck was the place for us, with the easiest access.  Kids were 4, 5 and 7 when we first skied, 8, 10 and 12 when we last skied.    Peak 9 can get busy Xmas to NY but other than that just is really empty compared to Australian and NZ ski resorts.  Peak 9 also has lovely easy kids runs, wide open and not very steep, in fact parts you will need to tow them toward the bottom if they aren't going fast.   You can also just do the top part of the greens avoiding beginners at the bottom.   Lovely cafe at the middle level of peak 9 for kids.  Note that the Mascots - forgot their name... and the tree skiing will probably be not open in November for the kids... last time we were there in early mid December and there was no snow in the kids areas.  Ah, I have remember Riperoo Forest, best kept out of by adults, narrow icy paths not made for long skis.  Lol.  Plenty of groomed snow on the runs though.

 

We usually fly into Denver and overnight at one of the hotels that has car hire.   We get an airport shuttle to the hotel.  We overnight to help with jet lag and also with acclimitisation.    Next day pick up our big Escalade or whatever either at our hotel or by walking down the street to wherever it is.  Lots of the hotels there have car hire.   Drive up to Summit County and grocery shop and organise the skis and ski passes that day.  As an out of towner you are going to have to get your photo done and pass made etc.  I book waaaaay in advance to get a good deal on car hire and we get the monster trucks so that can just chuck all the gear in the back.   I use vroomvroomvroom.com to book with no credit car / no obligation, if I find something better I take it.   But the earlier you book the better.  Going home we just drive straight to the airport and then either onto a connecting flight home or take a day at Manhattan Beach at the Marriott to just break the journey or airport hotel.  Also allows a bit of leeway if there are winter storms and flight delays.

 

We don't bother with ski in ski out accommodation up there as it is so easy to access the ski resorts and park. Also early in the season some may be walk out , walk in.   Even if you pay for the parking it isn't too expensive.  Free parking at Breck is a little out of town but serviced by a shuttle. I like the car park at Peak 9 under the child car centre, ski down to Maggies from the car park or walk up the stairs to the the other cafe/lift, too easy.   And you can ski to the car any time you  like to get the lunches or other gear, no locker required.   Keystone you have to take a Gondola up the mountain which can make coordinating the whole family if someone doesn't ski difficult.   Suggest you get some US mobile phones while you are there.  Your Aussie ones might work with a simm card.    Makes it easy to coordinate stuff.

 

Breck is great as it is easy to get to Frisco and Copper, buses run to Keystone, and are free, but you might have to change.  Breck and Silverthorne both have community centres with fitness and swimming.  Breck has ice skating and a nice touristy shopping district, old Western style main street and plaster painting for Mum / Kids / even Dad for a day off.  Just do it in time to get it fired and collect before you fly out.

 

  We don't bother to eat out in any of the places there, lines are often too long, food is expensive and we are too tired after skiing, we just visit the grocery store and eat in.  We also make our lunches and take them along, wraps and mandarins is the usual fare.     If you take your own tea/coffee or hot choc sachet hot water is rather inexpensive to purchase at the ski resorts.   5 people skiing one month means we like to eat healthy and watch the budget.  Take your own tea from Aus if you are a dedicated tea drinker, after 25 years in the USA working I still find it hard to find good black tea!

 

Silverthorne is a satellite town and has an outlet Mall - don't forget to visit their customer service and get the free discounts card from them before you shop then ask before you buy what the offers are.   The US loves their discounts.    Also has movies, fast food and some restaurants.

 

One thing to take into account for the amount of time you are there is the altitude.  Visit your Dr and get some medicines like diuretics to take if anyone gets altitude sickness.   You will be out of breath for a few days, and some won't adjust at all if they are unlucky.  Also take into account that you will fatigue of skiing each and every day.  If there is a lesson and season pass deal that sounds like a fantastic idea, but I try not to worry about ski lift costs as they are what they are.   Better to ski where it suits you and I try and make up the costs other places.

 

Take very good moisturisers - the air is so dry you will all end up with itchy skin.  Lots of condo's will have humidifiers for you to run.  The upside is that the snow is dry, and you never have a problem getting your boots or woollens dry overnight, the water just gets sucked right out of them by the air. : - ) ,  As an Aussie ski Mum I nearly died the first time when I arrived and there was no drying room, how was I going to get six peoples stuff dry each night.

 

Get some Naselate or similar from your Dr, good for bloody and dry noses due to the thin air as well.  It's an ointment used after nose surgery.   In Summit you can only find aloe verae ointment or saline wash - sinusitus is a big deal up there with the cold dry air, but never seen Naselate and it is a good product.   A GP friend put me onto it.

 

Re gear hire, go in and talk to the outfitters where you decide to stay, I once got a demo deal, unlimited hire up to 4 days at a time for $200 bucks for the season,  for the adults and they comped the kids!!!  I said, do I have to take the ski's out of the car when I rehire every 4 days and they just said, nah, don't bother, just don't keep them over a month.   Next time I just went in and negotiated and got a similar deal with a different outfitter.

 

I use VRBO.com to hire condo's in the area, I have never been dissapointed.   Again it is so easy to drive up there and park that staying out of the resort is not a problem.   I like having space, washer/dryer and kitchen along with wifi and tv's and space to spread out in several bedrooms.   Most owners will discount for longer stays and include the cleaning.

 

If you don't want to drive or hire car, I would suggest getting a transfer up from Denver to Breckenridge, stay in a condo on the shuttle route.   You should be able to shop in town using the shuttles and also get around Summit Country.  But it will be more time consuming that if you have a car and as mentioned before someitmes you have to change busses at the exchanges.   Our nanny used the buses one year to go from Breck to Silverthorne to Keystone for night skiing and other days out and found it ok.   If your kids don't like to carry their own skis you could look at putting them in ski lockers at the resort, if you are skiing them same place the next day.

post #15 of 18

I can't emphasise enough that your kids if they have never skied before may become very very tired with the skiing.  So look at the days you are there take our the transit days.  We found when the kids were little they can do 2 or 3 days in a row and then need 2 days off.   You will too.  My kids don't do ski school as they have all skied since they were little, but being on the snow with smallish children is intense, keeping them moving in the right direction, not stopped in the middle of the path to the terrain park, loading and unloading the lift when they aren't tall enough to get on or off themselves!  Bathroom visits and the removal of all the gear.    Also to keep in mind that tubing and horse sleigh rides are all great ideas but also come at a price.    You will not do them every day in conjunction with skiing if you are on any type of moderate budget.  

 

I would look at the lift/lesson deal for your lot, it will make a lot of sense and if you decide to ski Copper one or two days, just buy the passes.  We have skied all the other places around Summit but with the young kids keep coming back to Breckenridge, I am an intermediate Mummy skier (have to have enough health and energy at the end of the day to look after the family)  My husband is the double black diamond, first to last lift duke it out take no prisoners skier.   He meets us for lunch. : - ) .

 

I assume since you post says Frisco that is where you are staying.  I am pretty sure the buses stop in Frisco as an interchange.    It is a very easy drive from Frisco to Copper and Breckenridge and into Silverthorne for entertainment.    My children really enjoyed the swimming pools as an off day activity.

post #16 of 18

@aussieskimum :  Welcome to EpicSki!  Great advice, but the original question is from a year ago.  However, I'm sure there are others who will be planning similar family ski vacations from your part of the world.

post #17 of 18

Sorry about that, he posted in his question Nov 2014.  But maybe that was a typo.

post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by aussieskimum View Post
 

Sorry about that, he posted in his question Nov 2014.  But maybe that was a typo.

Oh, I see what you mean.  The first post was dated by the system on 3/15/2013.

 

In any case, your info will likely be helpful to others as part of the EpicSki archives.

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