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Early season trip tip: November 22-24

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hello all,

 

I'm new to this skiing forum, but I'm not new to forums in general. The local resort by me in Minnesota, Afton Alps, was bought by the group that owns Vail, Breck, etc so I sprung for the full Epic pass this year. Looking forward to taking a few trips.

 

I have to be in Colorado on November 22nd for work, so I'm planning on hitting up the local mountains that Friday afternoon, Saturday, 11/23, and Sunday, 11/24. I'm planning on getting a cheap place to stay in the Frisco area so I can be relatively close to the resorts.

 

Any recommendations on places to hit early in the season? I know it's still a little early, but I'm curious to hear people's feedback. I'm pretty advanced and enjoy everything from backcountry to terrain park. Not too much hiking though...

 

My pass works at the following in Colorado: 

 

Vail

Beaver Creek

Breckenridge

Keystone

Arapahoe Basin

Eldora

 

I believe they will all be open that weekend, so I'm curious to hear the typical best spots for early season...which I'm assuming relies heavily on snow fall.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 24

The good news is it's starting out as a great year.  The bad news is that's a really early trip.  Just don't have any expectations for expert runs being open.  It's remotely possible, but don't count on it.  There should be lots of blue and green runs open for you.

 

Here's some general advice on the areas:  Skip Eldora.  Come back and ski A-basin in April and May.   That leaves Vail, BC, Breck and Keystone.  

 

Since most folks will save their 10 days at Vail/BC for better conditions, I'd focus on those two since everyone else will be at Breck and Keystone. That's assuming you are not planning other trips that will use all your Vail/BC days.  There are reasonable accommodations in Avon.

 

All that said, just watch the terrain reports for the next couple weeks and go to the best skiing.

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post
 

The good news is it's starting out as a great year.  The bad news is that's a really early trip.  Just don't have any expectations for expert runs being open.  It's remotely possible, but don't count on it.  There should be lots of blue and green runs open for you.

 

Here's some general advice on the areas:  Skip Eldora.  Come back and ski A-basin in April and May.   That leaves Vail, BC, Breck and Keystone.  

 

Since most folks will save their 10 days at Vail/BC for better conditions, I'd focus on those two since everyone else will be at Breck and Keystone. That's assuming you are not planning other trips that will use all your Vail/BC days.  There are reasonable accommodations in Avon.

 

All that said, just watch the terrain reports for the next couple weeks and go to the best skiing.


Ah good point about the 10 passes. I actually got the full pass with no black-out dates, so no limitations for me. I'm not expecting anything spectacular, but I'm sure that early season skiing in Colorado when compared to early season "skiing" in Minnesota is spectacular. I couldn't pass up a quick trip when my flight is paid for by work and my pass is already paid for.

 

I'll keep an eye on the snow reports though...just looking forward to getting back out there!

post #4 of 24

Staying in Frisco gives you the flexibility to make a last minute call based on conditions and how much terrain each resort has open.

 

We are currently getting some help from mother nature, but in terms of runs that they open with just man made, I would be inclined to favor Keystone and Vail over Breck.  

 

Keystone has a very good terrain park, although I am not sure of when they open what and Spring Dipper is not a bad early season top to bottom run that has a bit of variety on it as it winds down the mountain.

 

Vail had the guns going (as well as some team practice off chair 6) as I drove by yesterday and it is possible that a decent amount of terrain could be open by the 22nd.

 

I would consider Breck only if they get some natural (non man made) terrain open (unless you really feel like you are ready to see a new area by Sunday).  Most of the man made stuff at Breck is pretty flat (but they do tend to open a few fun early season blue bump runs pretty quickly if they get the snow).

 

Beaver Creek does not open until Nov 27.

post #5 of 24

Northwoods area at Vail often has the best early season conditions.   Could also be a mob scene.

post #6 of 24

FYI, this is a fantastic year to get some early season turns.   Here's a recent picture of Copper (it's between Vail and Breck/Keystone) just for reference:
 

*

Source: https://www.facebook.com/CopperMtn

 

That's about as good as I've ever seen it for the first week of November.   It's usually just a couple white strips.   I'm often riding the bike path to Vail the first couple weeks of Nov, and up to Thanksgiving in a bad snow year.  No way this year as it's covered with snow.  It's a great start to the season.

 

Track the number of acres open and look at which runs.  A-basin has almost twice the number of acres open as Keystone now (110 vs. 65acres):

 

http://www.keystoneresort.com/ski-and-snowboard/terrain-status.aspx

http://www.arapahoebasin.com/ABasin/snow-conditions/default.aspx


Edited by tball - 11/5/13 at 9:43am
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

This is all awesome news...plus I'm sure that the worst day of skiing out west beats most of the best days of skiing in Minnesota lol. I think (trying not to jinx) that Colorado is due after a couple less than ideal seasons. Looks like things are off to a great start and hopefully will be even better when I make it out again later in the year.

post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 

Booked my hotel in Frisco yesterday...can't wait!

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 

Leaving today, can't wait!

 

So who has the best condition as of now?

 

Breckenridge

Keystone

Arapahoe Basin

 

Looks like Breck has a decent amount open, and Keystone doesn't have much.

post #10 of 24

I haven't been to A-B this season or KS this week, but Breck skied nice Monday.  KS has more interesting (and longer) groomers open than Breck, but Breck has more un-groomed stuff open.  Coverage on the groomers is very good at both resorts while the un-groomed at Breck has decent early season coverage with some thin spots that you need to watch out for.  

 

I was told (and saw the tracks) that Breck allowed hiking to the far south side of Horseshoe bowl for a few hours one afternoon and ski patrol was doing some blasting, cross cutting and even skied a few lines (more in the center of the bowl) on Monday.  The last big storm was pretty windy, so coverage up there seemed to vary a lot depending on exposure/aspect.

 

It is snowing now, so there could be more terrain openings coming. 

post #11 of 24

I think I'd put my money on Vail's opening tomorrow,  over any of the other Epic resorts.  Get to chair 11 ASAP and hit Snag Park.  Later see if you can take the cat walk over to 14 and hike up to Rogers Run.  

post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post
 

I haven't been to A-B this season or KS this week, but Breck skied nice Monday.  KS has more interesting (and longer) groomers open than Breck, but Breck has more un-groomed stuff open.  Coverage on the groomers is very good at both resorts while the un-groomed at Breck has decent early season coverage with some thin spots that you need to watch out for.  

 

I was told (and saw the tracks) that Breck allowed hiking to the far south side of Horseshoe bowl for a few hours one afternoon and ski patrol was doing some blasting, cross cutting and even skied a few lines (more in the center of the bowl) on Monday.  The last big storm was pretty windy, so coverage up there seemed to vary a lot depending on exposure/aspect.

 

It is snowing now, so there could be more terrain openings coming. 

Cool, thank you very much for the info. From the snow reports, it looked like Breck had more open than Keystone, but its good to know that Keystone has some longer groomers. Right now the plan is to meet up with a local buddy tomorrow afternoon at Breck. Hopefully the bowl is open for us to hit.

 

I may need to check on Keystone and/or A Basin on Saturday or Sunday since I went to Breck last season and have been to the other two.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

I think I'd put my money on Vail's opening tomorrow,  over any of the other Epic resorts.  Get to chair 11 ASAP and hit Snag Park.  Later see if you can take the cat walk over to 14 and hike up to Rogers Run.  

Hmm, may need to check Vail out on Saturday, assuming they open. It'll just be me on Saturday I think, and I'm down to wake up early.

 

Speaking of, if anyone will be out on Saturday or Sunday that is an advanced skier, I wouldn't mind skiing with a local.

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

I think I'd put my money on Vail's opening tomorrow,  over any of the other Epic resorts.  Get to chair 11 ASAP and hit Snag Park.  Later see if you can take the cat walk over to 14 and hike up to Rogers Run.  

That is good advice (although I haven't seen official word as to what will be open)- I would have been looking to do that if I didn't have plans to ski Copper with a friend today, a full training day on Saturday and plans to ski with my daughter Sunday. 

post #14 of 24

Keep an eye on each area's Facebook page.  Lots of folks complaining about 20-30 min lines at Breck, but Breck is planning on opening up a bunch this weekend.   Lots of variables choosing where to ski this weekend.  The first snow of the year fell in Denver overnight.  Skiing is going to be on everybody's minds, so it will likely be crowded this weekend.  

 

Definatly go with @SHREDHEAD plan for Vail tomorrow.  Get there early and move fast! 

post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post
 

Keep an eye on each area's Facebook page.  Lots of folks complaining about 20-30 min lines at Breck, but Breck is planning on opening up a bunch this weekend.   Lots of variables choosing where to ski this weekend.  The first snow of the year fell in Denver overnight.  Skiing is going to be on everybody's minds, so it will likely be crowded this weekend.  

 

Definatly go with @SHREDHEAD plan for Vail tomorrow.  Get there early and move fast! 

:( The primary purpose of my trip is for an onsite presentation for work tomorrow morning in Alamosa, so I won't be making it to Breck to meet my buddy until the afternoon at the earliest. Perhaps I'll give Vail a shot on Saturday...very early. Good call on the FB pages too.

post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

I think I'd put my money on Vail's opening tomorrow,  over any of the other Epic resorts.  Get to chair 11 ASAP and hit Snag Park.  Later see if you can take the cat walk over to 14 and hike up to Rogers Run.  

 

Surprisingly week opening at Vail today.  Neither 11 or 14 are tuning?!?!

 

So, maybe the OP can catch them tomorrow...  who knows.  This opening terrain business is a crap shoot.   Breck and Copper both opened a bunch more today.  A-basin has been doing some directed skiing recently and seems close to opening more.   I'm not sure where I'd roll the dice for this weekend if I were the OP.  Lots of homework and reading the tea leaves needed.

post #17 of 24

I thought they'd turn 11 for sure, I was told there's plenty of coverage.  Saving it for the weekend or lawsuit fallout? 

I didn't think, nor care if 14 ran, it pretty lame.  But the hike from there up to of 10 is an opening day SOP on good years.  

post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Just got on the gondola at Breck, so pumped! Driving here from Alamosa wasnt fun, but glad I made it today for a few runs.
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Well Breck seemed pretty good today, and they are opening peak 9 tomorrow. Still trying to decide where to hit tomorrow...probably saving keystone for Sunday.

Anyone hit Vail today or hear anything?
post #20 of 24

So... were did you end up?   Looks like Breck is the call based on peak 9 opening, but how crowded will it be?  Vail and Keystone don't have much new open.  A-basin is talking about opening more today.  I might put my bets on finding some directed skiing there tomorrow if the weather looks clear.  

 

I wouldn't suggest buying a ticket, but Copper has opened a bunch in the last couple days.  They have way more open than Vail, Keystone and  A-basin, and will be less crowded than Breck.

post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
Just got to Breck, seemed like the best option but we'll see how crowded it gets. Tomorrow I'm planning on Keystone or A basin so I'm a hair closer to the airport.

I'll update later on Breck!
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 

Gorgeous day, Super packed. Saw t bar was running and got excited, but not open to public... Probably next week they said. Open for hiking though.
post #23 of 24

Holy crap that's a lift line.  Did you hike the T-bar?  Sounds like fun.

 

A-basin cams didn't showed the lines were not too bad.   Remember the Bronco game is tomorrow (6:30pm) so traffic could be bad early, who knows this time of year tho. It's not usually too bad.

post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

Holy crap that's a lift line.  Did you hike the T-bar?  Sounds like fun.

A-basin cams didn't showed the lines were not too bad.   Remember the Bronco game is tomorrow (6:30pm) so traffic could be bad early, who knows this time of year tho. It's not usually too bad.
Yea the lines were nuts at peak 8, and no lines at peak 9....but only the bottom of 9 was open and it was all green runs. The line for the Rockies chair moved a bit faster, and lines died down significantly the last hour. Got a ton of laps in then. Overall, pretty good day but the blacks were pretty well skied out by the end of the day.

Hit the park only a couple runs, but the jumps were pretty darn good, as always for Breck.

Elected not to hike...my ski buddies didn't really want to, and I think I would have hiked if I was out here for a few more days. The lines that people were taking down the t bar runs looked pretty good though.

Planning on a quick day at A basin tomorrow...their site says they opened up more today. Thanks for the heads up about the game too, don't want to miss my flight!
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