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Help planning on a short ski Trip [Thanksgiving, intermediate, first trip out west]

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 

Hello guys, I need some help planning a short skiing trip to Colorado in thanksgiving weekend.

 

I am an intermediate skiier wokring in Columbus, IN. I regularly go to PerfectNorth here in winter, whenever I get the chance. I have another friend from Phoenix who is getting hang of Snow-boardinbg and we are planning to spend a week at any Colorado Ski resort before we fly off for holidays to our country!

 

I will break it down actually :

 

1. Find a resort, if they open around 23rd November.

 

2. Fly to Denver, on 23rd, and head the place where we will be skiing/boarding.

 

3. Spend next 4-5 days on hill.

 

Does that sound like a good plan?

- What ski slopes might be cost effective for us?  I am not a pro to aim for super tough slopes. In fact any slope with long slopes should be good for us.

- Do they provide a weekly pass or something?

- I wont be having my own gear all. How much will be total cost roughly, with slope pass and ski/boarding gear?

- Do resorts open around 23rd Nov?

- What is a good slope nearby Denver, so I dont have to travel? I am guessing Denver will be best connected for flights!

 

Any other things to look for? I ahve no clue about resorts in Colorado. Its going to be the first time.

 

I appreciate any help. Thanks in advance.

post #2 of 33
Thanksgiving will typically provide limited skiing and conditions can be highly variable from poor to good depending on the current weather. If you search here on Thanksgiving Skiing or Early season skiing you may see many related threads. Here is one: http://www.epicski.com/t/30523/best-thanksgiving-skiing Some of your best options in Colorado are: Loveland, Wolf Creek, Winter Park, Vail/Beaver Creek, Keystone. You may be skiing on man-made snow on a limited number of trails. Vail might present the most non-ski diversions from the above list. Sometimes the skiing can be surprisingly good, but you have to be lucky. Can you book trip at last minute?
post #3 of 33

Canada might be a better bet for late November skiing the way climates have been the past several years.  However we all hope for decent snow coverage Thanksgiving Weekend.  It just hasn't worked out that way at most places in the US lately.   Several US resorts will likely have a couple of very crowded trails open though so it is probably do-able, just far from ideal.

post #4 of 33

Welcome to EpicSki!  Where is home?

 

To get an idea of costs for renting equipment and lift tickets, I suggest you pick a couple places and check out their website.  For instance, Loveland and Winter Park.

 

The advantage of renting at a resort is that you can easily make changes.  Renting at a ski shop off resort can be cheaper, but you have to wait until the end of the day to make a switch.

 

Are you thinking of renting a car?

post #5 of 33
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, really appreciate your quick and useful replies. I am getting a good idea about the trip and doing more research around. 

 

Looks like, I need to make it a last minute trip depending on how good/bad weather is for skiing and which place. Personally, I would not mind if its artificial snow. I ski here at Perfect North in Indiana and they have artificial snow almost whole season. Beggers cant be chosers :) 

 

Also Canada would need Visa and flights would be expensive so that out of question. 

 

I am slowly more inclined towards Utah or Alta-Snowbird. We are least bothered about the resort and night life. All we care about is skiing so pretty much anywhere is good for us. I just checked the trail map of Alta-Snowbird and I jumped out of my skin. Absolutely stunning slopes and length. Our mountain here in Indiana is like 1/20th of that :). On the toughest and highest slope, I do 6 mins per complete run (Lift time + downhill). 

-------------

Anyways, yes, I will be renting a car. Me and my friend will fly down to the nearby big airport and rent a car and hit the skiing area. That way it doesnt matter if the slopes are at 2-3 hours distance from airport. We will stay there for at least 5 days (2 days skiing-1 day break - 2 days skiing). Thats the plan so far. Will keep checking all the nice info on this forum.

post #6 of 33

One big difference between SLC and Denver is the driving distance from the airport to great ski resorts.  You drive farther and sleep at a higher altitude in CO.  It's less than an hour from the SLC airport to Alta/Snowbird, Solitude/Brighton, or Park City.  Easy to stay in a relatively cheap motel in the city and then do the short drive to the ski resort of the day.

 

Check out the EpicSki resort pages for the places listed so far.  Some have great info you won't find elsewhere.  For instance, there is a Snowbird review that explains why it isn't the best place for an intermediate.  Alta yes, Snowbird no . . . at least for a few trip.  Alta happens to be my favorite in Utah.  I liked it as an intermediate long ago and love it as an advanced skier.

post #7 of 33

Those of you who ski the big mountains out west, what is very early season like?  Here in New England, it's often an experts-only situation.  An open ski area will have one or two WRODS (white ribbons of death), suitable only for die-hards who can handle the awful conditions and negotiate the overcrowded trails.  Sometimes the mountain will post signs saying "experts only."  I assume that this never ever occurs out west, but maybe it does around Thanksgiving if there has been no big storm and the mountains are open only because they have snow-making on some of their trails.

 

The OP is an intermediate skier and it sounds like his buddy is a beginner or intermediate snowboarder.  If these two make their reservations at the last minute and base their choice on internet reports of open terrain, and if there hasn't been a real storm yet, what will they be dealing with exactly?  

post #8 of 33

Early season (Nov.) is a total crap shoot. The PNW gets pretty big dumps of snow, so we can go from zero to hero in a weekend, but coverage is generally not optimal, particularly off piste. Some years are fine, others nothing until early Dec.

 

OP, the snowmaking thing... many areas have only limited (if any in many cases) coverage. It's not like out east in that regard. 

post #9 of 33

If you are set on going at Thanksgiving, book your flights on Southwest. Then you can change without penalty if conditions look bleak. 

I would probably reserve a car and hold off on hotels until you get closer to your departure. 

 

While I wouldn't normally recommend Snowbird for either of you, they do have an outstanding early season deal for $99/ppdo that includes lift tickets.

Your boarder friend won't be allowed on  Alta.

post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

Those of you who ski the big mountains out west, what is very early season like?  

The Cottonwood Canyon resorts opened early (mid-November) last year and I skied Brighton, Snowbird and Alta (opening days at the latter two).

 

Brighton--Pretty good on the center of the mountain, mainly greens and blues. Great Western and Millicent not open.

 

Snowbird--Only Gadzoom and Mid-Gad open, and Gadzoom got very crowded. The first Saturday they opened the Tram for Regulator only, then more gradually.

 

Alta--Had the most open terrain and lifts and was the best, even the traverse to High Rustler was open although I think it was somewhat bony (didn't try it.)

 

Sun Valley--Typically opens Thanksgiving with one route down each side of the mountain on man-made snow. Not always though.

post #11 of 33

November is less about where you want to ski and more about where the weather has blessed or cursed. Mammoth and the Tahoe area resorts are often in pretty good shape by Thanksgiving as well. In fact, the elaborate snowmaking systems these resorts have often give them the ability to have more than just a couple of ribbons open.

 

That said, if you can wait until closer to your trip to throw down the gauntlet, you'll be able to decide if CA, CO, OR, UT or WA are your best bet.

 

For instance, this photo is opening day 2012 at Kirkwood (11/16/12).

 

And this is opening day 2012 at Vail (11/18/12).

post #12 of 33

Thanksgiving is also the busiest travel week of the year and last minute flights can be prohibitively expensive,  if available at all.

I'd just pick one ski gateway city on Southwest and if it doesn't look good, cancel.   There's no penalty and your flight credit is good for one year from your original booking date.

post #13 of 33

Is there any way you can delay your trip for a week?  The week after Thanksgiving is much better than the week before here in Colorado, and probably everywhere else too.   The combo of more ski areas opening up on Thanksgiving, and all the areas opening up as much terrain as possible for the busy T-day weekend means one week makes a big difference in the terrain available.

 

Even if you can't delay, if you fly into Denver you'll find some decent intermediate skiing between Vail, Summit, Winter Park and Steamboat.  Just make the call on where to go at the last minute.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidFeet View Post

Those of you who ski the big mountains out west, what is very early season like?  Here in New England, it's often an experts-only situation.  An open ski area will have one or two WRODS (white ribbons of death), suitable only for die-hards who can handle the awful conditions and negotiate the overcrowded trails.  Sometimes the mountain will post signs saying "experts only."  I assume that this never ever occurs out west, but maybe it does around Thanksgiving if there has been no big storm and the mountains are open only because they have snow-making on some of their trails.

 

The OP is an intermediate skier and it sounds like his buddy is a beginner or intermediate snowboarder.  If these two make their reservations at the last minute and base their choice on internet reports of open terrain, and if there hasn't been a real storm yet, what will they be dealing with exactly?  

 

 

I'm far from a WROD expert, but here in Colorado it's usually only horrible through the first week or 10 days of November.  By mid-November enough additional runs and ski areas usually open up that the traffic is spread around a bit.  It's mid-Oct through the first week of November when there are only 1-4 runs open in the entire state that it's a cluster, so I avoid it altogether. 

 

The altitude really helps with snowmaking in Colorado, allowing an early Oct start to snowmaking at the high elevation areas, and pretty nice surface conditions until it's skied off.  Here are a couple videos showing the early season conditions at Copper Mountain as an example.

 

This first fun video shows the conditions at Copper on opening day Nov 4th, 2012 which are pretty typical, and 90 year old local Frank Day's birthday celebration.  He skis 100+ days/year at Copper!

 

 

The other side of Copper is closed for the US Ski Team's speed training center from Nov 1 to Dec 10th.  On Nov 1st they open a full-length downhill training course.  Some lucky Copper pass holders got to ski the course at an open house the day before when this video was shot.  Take a look at how nice this snow is for Halloween.  It really shows the power of the high-altitude snowmaking with the bare nearby mountains:

 

 

Of course it can and often does dump early season, but all that snow making guarantees decent early season conditions even if it doesn't.


Edited by tball - 7/3/13 at 1:36pm
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kavathe View Post

Hey guys, really appreciate your quick and useful replies. I am getting a good idea about the trip and doing more research around. 


Also Canada would need Visa and flights would be expensive so that out of question. 

Just to clarify, you don't need a visa for Canada, rather a passport (passport card will suffice if crossing the border by vehicle).

So you could fly to Seattle and drive to Whistler or Sun Peaks, maybe Mt Baker as well. Or you could fly to Spokane and drive to Red Mt, Whitewater and Schweitzer (north Idaho). Again, it varies year to year but we are usually skiing by Thanksgiving in the PNW, without man-made snow.
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post


Just to clarify, you don't need a visa for Canada, rather a passport (passport card will suffice if crossing the border by vehicle).

 

Jay's not a US citizen.

post #16 of 33

I would consult Tony Crocker's web site first http://www.bestsnow.net/

 

and this thread http://www.epicski.com/t/30523/best-thanksgiving-skiing

 

before you drop your hard earned money

 

Last season Northstar was the best bet in the Tahoe region until Squaw got High camp open (I hit em both still not great but i live near em)

 

So if you can wait to pull the trigger till snows on the ground you may just get lucky smile.gif

post #17 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by near nyquist View Post

I would consult Tony Crocker's web site first http://www.bestsnow.net/

 

 

Tony has a ton of great info. 

 

Also take a look at the snowfall history data for yourself for the areas you are considering at onthesnow.   Here's Copper in 2012, for example, both base depth and new snow.  You can see it was a terrible November with only 8 inches of snow the entire month. Every ski area is going to have a November like that occasionally, so snowmaking matters.  If you click through to the other years you can see Nov 2012 was as bad as it gets.

 

http://www.onthesnow.com/colorado/copper-mountain-resort/historical-snowfall.html?&y=2012&q=snow

http://www.onthesnow.com/colorado/copper-mountain-resort/historical-snowfall.html?&y=2012&q=base

 

Since it's the fourth of July, and we all need to see some snow.... here's another early season video from Copper last year.  It'sJulia Mancuso training Super G on the only November power day last year, Nov 10th.  You can hear how nice the snow is... looks like fun, and awesome skiing:

 

post #18 of 33
I am a big fan of SLC based resorts and I would rather have you look at Solitude Brighton over Alta Snowbird for your current circumstances As a former Midwesterner now living in Phoenix I guarantee you will be impressed with the terrain and those resorts have plenty of intermed. runs and fair prices.
post #19 of 33
Quote:

Thanksgiving is also the busiest travel week of the year and last minute flights can be prohibitively expensive,  if available at all.

I'd just pick one ski gateway city on Southwest and if it doesn't look good, cancel.

+1

Quote:
Is there any way you can delay your trip for a week?

Better yet, 2 or 3 weeks.  Between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a dead period in the travel business.  Last minute deals abound and you can  choose someplace that has snow on the ground. 

 

I've written a lot of articles on early season, but that means December 1-3 weeks before Christmas, not November.   Even then it's a relatively short list and some places at the top of that list are unsuitable in this case due to ability level (Snowbird), snowboarding (Alta) and out of the country (Whistler).  Maybe Targhee?  The Sierra with its high volatility can be good, but it's just as likely a complete wipeout like 2 years ago.  As far as Colorado is concerned, a review of the past 2 early seasons is Exhibit A of the risk involved.

 

I'm an addicted skier (202 ski days since I retired Sept. 2010) and I actually take many of my non-ski vacations in November, as it's that unreliable.  If I ski in November it's somewhere I can drive to at the last minute based upon recent snowfall.  Unless you have money to burn, advance committed $ for November skiing is a really bad idea.  Think about December through April and where you might want to ski during those months before spending any $ on November.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 7/7/13 at 4:52pm
post #20 of 33

One option for the Thanksgiving time frame in Colorado is to stay in Summit County; Dillon, Frisco, Silverthorn. Lots of motels and condos plus eating establishments.

From Summit County you can ski A-Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, or Copper in less than half an hour drive and Vail is only an hour's drive.

Keystone, Breckenridge and Vail can all be skied on the same lift ticket if you buy that option.

Since this is your first trip to Colorado Summit County gives you tons of options. You wouldn't have to rent a car because there is a shuttle from DIA for $65 and free shuttle busses in summit county.

A car does give you flexibility on your schedule though. If your going to rent a vehicle go for a 4 wheel drive if you can it really helps if the weather is dicey; bad weather for driving equals good for skiing.

The locals complain about the snow conditions in November but you'll find them as good or better than anything in the midwest at any time of year.

post #21 of 33
Quote:
The locals complain about the snow conditions in November but you'll find them as good or better than anything in the midwest at any time of year.

The relevant comparison is not to the Midwest but to Summit County (or wherever the O.P. wants to go) in a different month.  To add insult to injury Thanksgiving is a  peak travel time and he'll get no bargains.  He'll get a better deal in December pre-Christmas or in January.  And I really want to know where all of these people chomping to ski in November are in April when Summit County is in full operation, often with fresh powder, reduced crowds and late season deals abound.  It's no accident that knowledgeable skiers like Uncle Louie choose to spend April in Summit County.

Quote:
Those of you who ski the big mountains out west, what is very early season like?  Here in New England, it's often an experts-only situation.

Usually the other way around.  Very little true expert terrain in the West has snowmaking.  Expert terrain needs typically at least a 4 foot and for some places 6-8 feet of natural coverage.  In the Pacific Northwest you'll often get that before Christmas, and in the Sierra and Utah a fair amount of the time.  At the other extreme,  if you really want to ski the steep stuff in Crested Butte or Taos and reserve your trip ahead, I wouldn't book for any earlier than February.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 7/7/13 at 9:30pm
post #22 of 33

Actually, the "experts only" situation I mentioned for NE's November WRODs reflects not the trail rating but the presence of bumps, ice, rocks and mud, and moving obstacles on those crowded open trails.  It's a jungle out there.

 

The OP is getting some good advice in this thread.  

post #23 of 33
Quote:
Actually, the "experts only" situation I mentioned for NE's November WRODs reflects not the trail rating but the presence of bumps, ice, rocks and mud, and moving obstacles on those crowded open trails.  It's a jungle out there.

The jungle occurs with the intersection of limited terrain and high demand, which is the reason I avoid Thanksgiving.   Christmas week in bad seasons like 2011-12 is even worse.  In that year I drove to Mammoth to test demo boots on Dec. 15-16.  There were 400 acres of manmade intermediate skiing, about 75% packed powder and no crowds midweek during what's a quiet period even when the snow is great.  Details here: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=9889

As I predicted in that report the holidays were awful. I stayed away but read enough reports online.  It warmed up so they couldn't make snow, and the crowds brought out the "bumps, ice, rocks and mud, and moving obstacles."

post #24 of 33

Why Thanksgiving? It really isn't a good time for ski vacations. I would not recommend scheduling a trip in advance to anywhere in Colorado for Thanksgiving- I just don't see it worth the money.

 

Wolf Creek can sometimes be insanely good early season, but it can also not even be open- a ton of snow, but no real snowmaking capability. Wolf Creek also has very limited blue cruiser terrain- It only has 3 LOW intermediate blue cruiser runs- everything else labeled intermediate is short, ungroomed, or has very minimal pitch sections. I would not recommend it for somebody looking or the typical bread and butter long groomed intermediate cruiser terrain- great tree skiing and technical steep sections (but limited sustained pitches), some decent beginner stuff, very little true intermediate groomed slopes (but some pretty good ungroomed blue runs).

 

Loveland is the safest bet in Colorado for early season. But still, your typical Thanksgiving ski vacation is 90% of the cost, 10% of the terrain that you would get in the heart of the season.

 

If it is about the time off at Thanksgiving, Spring Break is almost surely better. Even in a crap year, there will be more of the mountain open in late March/early April than Thanksgiving.  

post #25 of 33
Thread Starter 

Again, thanks for tons of info. At least I know what to look for and where to!

 

The reason for TG is, I am going on vacation starting on TG week and next 5 weeks I am flying to India, probably straight from Denver/UT if I can find tickets. Also, my wife is flying to India in TG week so basically I wont feel bad about taking out some time alone for myself :).

 

Later, getting leaves for a week would be impossible after exhausting everything in TG + December.

So basically TG week is what I have for this trip, very well knowing it might not be the best time from snow/money/deals/travel point of view.

------------------------

So now, Loveland, Wolf Creek, Veil and UT are on top of my list.  The main issue will be selecting CO or UT first. Cause flight tickets are most important. Then I can change my destination even after landing. Rent an AWD from airport and just hit the slope, stay at any nearby decent motel.

 

UT might have more snow but it might be tougher for especially my friend. He might enjoy, longer, less steeper runs and groomed runs to get better.

Is that assumption about UT, correct?

As the "Tachedub" suggested, I will look more info on Solitude as well. Oh, my friend is coming from Phoenix, btw :)

 

Once I decide state, rest will be of lesser concern cause I can make changes at last minute.

----------------------

Edit - I just looked at trail map of Solitude and I really liked it a lot. It does have Loooooong "blue" trails and plenty of then and also connected with Express lifts. Statistically it has 61% Beginner and Intermediate Terrain. Similar with Brighton. Also, they had been opening in mid-novemeber so most like they will be open in TG. That sounds good to me and thse two have shot up in ranking on my Radar :)


Edited by Jay Kavathe - 7/9/13 at 6:53am
post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay Kavathe View Post

Again, thanks for tons of info. At least I know what to look for and where to!

 

The reason for TG is, I am going on vacation starting on TG week and next 5 weeks I am flying to India, probably straight from Denver/UT if I can find tickets. Also, my wife is flying to India in TG week so basically I wont feel bad about taking out some time alone for myself :).

 

Later, getting leaves for a week would be impossible after exhausting everything in TG + December.

So basically TG week is what I have for this trip, very well knowing it might not be the best time from snow/money/deals/travel point of view.

------------------------

So now, Loveland, Wolf Creek, Veil and UT are on top of my list.  The main issue will be selecting CO or UT first. Cause flight tickets are most important. Then I can change my destination even after landing. Rent an AWD from airport and just hit the slope, stay at any nearby decent motel.

 

UT might have more snow but it might be tougher for especially my friend. He might enjoy, longer, less steeper runs and groomed runs to get better.

Is that assumption about UT, correct?

As the "Tachedub" suggested, I will look more info on Solitude as well. Oh, my friend is coming from Phoenix, btw :)

 

Once I decide state, rest will be of lesser concern cause I can make changes at last minute.

----------------------

Edit - I just looked at trail map of Solitude and I really liked it a lot. It does have Loooooong "blue" trails and plenty of then and also connected with Express lifts. Statistically it has 61% Beginner and Intermediate Terrain. Similar with Brighton. Also, they had been opening in mid-novemeber so most like they will be open in TG. That sounds good to me and thse two have shot up in ranking on my Radar :)

Assuming there is snow, you and your friend could have a very good time at Solitude and/or Brighton.  Note that a few of the long groomers at Solitude are relatively steep.  But you don't have to do them first. smile.gif  Brighton has a couple of terrain parks, one easier and the other for more experienced folks.  They have night skiing too, but not sure when that usually starts.  Also a good ski/board school that's quite reasonable.

 

Brighton and Solitude have some snowmaking.  Loveland typically is the first to start making snow.  Started in early Oct in 2012.

 

I doubt 4WD would be necessary in Utah at Thanksgiving.  Best to make a reservation for a car that can be changed or cancelled without penalty.

 

Either way, have fun!

post #27 of 33

If you are convinced to head out to the continental West for a Thanksgiving ski trip, are you prepared to take the expense of that trip to ski 4 open runs with thousands of other people?

 

Loveland is usually the most consistent bet for early season terrain in Colorado- they have extensive (for Colorado) snowmaking, and the elevation allows them to start making snow earlier than most other places. Arapahoe Basin and Loveland race to be the first to open, but Abay's snowmaking infrastructure is smaller and limits the amount of terrain they can open without natural snow.

 

Without significant help with mother Nature, Loveland will generally have open 2 -3 runs off of Chair 1, 1 run on chair 6, and 1 run on Chair 2 by Thanksgiving.  This has been the case the last 2 years. In a normal year, they can open more terrain under those lifts, but it is a good year if Chair 4 opens, and a GREAT year if chair 8 is open at Thanksgiving.

 

Sounds generally sparse, right? Well, Loveland is usually in the best shape at Thanksgiving- the only time other areas have more terrain open is when there is heavy early season snow, which is not terribly common.

 

Saying that you are not worried about conditions because you will choose where to go when you get there sounds good, but is forgetting that all of the resorts within the same drive from the airport will largely be in the same weather pattern and won't be markedly different.  This especially goes for flying into DIA and choosing between Loveland/Summit/Vail/WP.

 

You mentioned Wolf Creek being on your list, but again, I wouldn't recommend going to Wolf at all. It doesn't match well with what terrain you want (long intermediate slopes), and Thanksgiving could be a crap shoot- about 3 years in 10 Wolf is open by Halloween, about 1 year in ten it hasn't gotten enough snow to open until January. Storm cycles at Wolf can be so heavy that the mountain can and does open with snow from one storm, but if it doesn't come, there is no backup plan.

 

I'm not experienced enough with Utah to say whether early season is reliably better there, but I suspect it is the same tradeoff- the areas that get a lot of snow have less invested in snowmaking, early season snow is volatile, and if the snow doesn't come they can't open terrain.

post #28 of 33

If the only option you have is to come at Thanksgiving, I'd pick Colorado over Utah.  All of the Utah resorts (close to SLC) are in the Wasatch range meaning they all have more or less the same weather patterns.  In addition, the resorts in the Canyons have a greater amount of steep terrain, meaning that it takes much more snowfall to open terrain that doesn't have snowmaking on it than most of the resorts in Colorado.

 

If you come to Colorado, you won't have an issue getting last-minute resort reservations -- they just aren't full on Turkey Day.  There can be substantial differences in early season snowfall and terrain openings between Summit, Grand, Routt, and Pitkin (Loveland/A-Basin/Copper/Breck/Vail/Beaver Creek, Winter Park, Steamboat, and Aspen) so you have a bit more chance on weather within a 5 hour drive of the airport.  Also, Summit is much higher in elevation than Utah which generally means greater snow preservation (which can be an issue early season) and likely cooler temperatures for snowmaking.

 

Even if there isn't a lot of natural snow, there will be a fair amount of groomers open at T-Day.  Breck will have 10-15 runs open, Copper 4-5 (but greater vert than Breck).  By T-Day, if there is little natural snowfall, you will generally find better and more terrain at Breck and Copper than at Loveland and A-Basin.

 

So, if you are going to put your money on red and roll the dice, I'd suggest Colorado.

 

Mike

post #29 of 33
Totally off your radar, but ski areas in the PNW are consistently open by Thanksgiving or often mid-November (Mt. Baker, Stevens and Crystal, as well as the three Mt Hood areas). We don't need no stinkin' snowmaking. Also, there are usually many trails open, if not the whole area, so I've not experienced this WROD of which others speak.
post #30 of 33

For your first trip to CO, I wouldn't recommend:

 

Loveland. Cold and exposed. Wind can wreck havoc on the place. 

A Basin. ******* See Above *******

Wolf Creek. A "feast or famine" ski area for early season snowfall. Terrain is a real snoozer. Also a long ass drive from DIA. 

Steamboat. A bit expensive and far from airport. The premier tree terrain isn't open, so it's just not worth it. 

 

Honestly, I'd recommend Breck to you. Awesome town, close to Den, lodging deals are everywhere, cool mountain, and the ability to head over to Copper or Vail for a change up. All these mountains can get you some long runs, even in early season. 

 

It's a vacation right? No reason to end up in a sleepy town 20 miles from the slopes with 2 bars in between. Breck is a good time. 

 

I wouldn't worry about finding the "ideal" mountain too much. My western trips started at PCMR, which is 2nd tier for Utah, but my mind was still blown. Enjoy! 

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