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Copper to Breck, Vail, A Basin.... ski blitz!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I am thinking about going to Colorado, early March and doing a ski area blitz, skiing as many places as I can in a week. I did some digging and found there are 7 ski areas near (including) Copper:   Copper Mtn to A Basin 23.3 mi, 29 min, Copper Mtn to Keystone   18.5 mi, 24 min, Copper Mtn to Breckenridge 18.6 mi, 28 min, Copper Mtn to Vail, CO  21.3 mi, 26 min, Copper Mtn to Loveland   21.8 mi, 24 min, Copper Mtn to Beaver Creek  30.6 mi, 34 min.

 

I have read that Breck and Vail are not worth it on the weekends, some places charge for parking, etc. I'm looking for tips, input, opinions on trying this, which areas/trails/lifts may be best, or if you have tried a blitz and whether you thought it was worth it. I'd like to ski every one of those areas but wonder if I can even grasp all the terrain available if I only do one day at each. I'm older (62) former Patroller (advanced/expert depending on the day & the hill). I like fast cruisers and the occasional short bump run. I'm open to any suggestions. Thanks.

post #2 of 21

Copper and Beaver Creek on the weekend.  Everyplace else is probably not too bad during the week. 

 

Frisco is kind of in the middle and you could take the bus if you like to the places that charge for parking or where it's a hassle (Breck, Vail).  Parking is easy (especially if you get there early) at Loveland, A-Basin, and Copper. 

 

It could be pretty cool to go to all of them and just make sure you identify some runs you for sure want to get in.  You might also want to prioritize the ski areas and if you discover you really like someplace have the freedom to go back again.  You'll find plenty of "fast cruisers and short bump runs" in Summit County.

post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosrocker51 View Post
 

I'd like to ski every one of those areas but wonder if I can even grasp all the terrain available if I only do one day at each.

 

No, you really can't. If you want to notch your belt with different resorts, that is one thing, but if you want to really experience them, or even get a feel for them, 1 day isn't really going to do it. At least with 2 days, you can much around day one and then try to hit what you want day 2.

 

Skiing mainly groomers, it probably won't be that bad, but skiing mainly groomers makes a lot of these resorts a lot less distinguishable from one another, and with skiing one day at each, you may think you like one over the other when really you missed the "good" runs at one and so dislike it.

 

Winter Park is also within range- it is about an hour from Frisco. If you want bumps, Winter Park is definitely someplace that should be on the radar.

 

Where do you typically ski? If you don't live out West, where do you live, where have you taken trips in the West, and how did you like them?

 

Summit County is busy- very busy. Weekdays a bit less so, but still busier than most mountains in the West. If you ski at a generally uncrowded place, you may be happier elsewhere.

 

People will be able to give you better recommendations if you provide more information about where you like to ski.

 

Do you already have a place to stay picked out, or a city you want to stay in? If you are trying to bag resorts, Frisco or Dillon would be good bases.

 

Early March is generally a good time to do this. Things do get a lot less crowded in late March/April, and the snow gets more prevalent too in most seasons. A typical end of March day is either 40-50* and excellent mashed potatoes, or deep snow with only rare cold but not snowing days.

post #4 of 21
If your goal is to get a taste of each area without trying to really get to know them, I'd stay in Frisco, ski Loveland and A-Basin the first day, Breck the second, Copper the third, Vail the fourth, and then move to the Aspen area for the fifth through seventh days.
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by river-z View Post
 

Copper and Beaver Creek on the weekend.  Everyplace else is probably not too bad during the week. 

 

Frisco is kind of in the middle and you could take the bus if you like to the places that charge for parking or where it's a hassle (Breck, Vail).  Parking is easy (especially if you get there early) at Loveland, A-Basin, and Copper. 

 

It could be pretty cool to go to all of them and just make sure you identify some runs you for sure want to get in.  You might also want to prioritize the ski areas and if you discover you really like someplace have the freedom to go back again.  You'll find plenty of "fast cruisers and short bump runs" in Summit County.

Most of this is pretty accurate but no bus Frisco to Vail or Beaver Creek.  I regularly take the bus from Frisco to Copper and Breck, but usually drive to Keystone and A-Basin as parking is not bad and the bus takes much longer.

 

I am surprised that Anachronism didn't recommend Ski Cooper- it is 33 miles/39 minutes from Copper.  I haven't skied their yet, but might try it this season.

 

Come the first week of March (or last week of Feb) as this will be before the peak Spring Break time. 

 

You are not going to see all of the terrain at each resort in only a day, but if you ski mostly groomers then you can cruise around and hit most of the lifts that serve this type of terrain.  The biggest challenge would be Vail as that is the largest of the Resorts.  I'd be more apt to skip Breck on a weekend than Vail as has more terrain to spread everyone out (although Breck has added Peak 6 this season which might help).

 

Feel free to PM me when you get your dates set- schedule permitting I might be able to join you somewhere for a few hours (or carpool to Vail where I have employee parking) if you are up for it.  

post #6 of 21

You can hit seven resorts in seven days. 

 

Will you be happy? 

 

Depends.

 

I'm a big fan of finding a 'guide' anytime I get to a new area.  Guide means someone familiar with the area, knows terrain, and is willing to have you tag along.  I have skied all the Summit and Eagle county resorts but not well enough to guide anyone at most. 

 

Copper I know.  They have a couple of programs you might be interested in.  First is a daily guided tour of the mountain. It lasts about two hours and will ski mostly 'BLUE' trails.  The tour will give you a chance to see most of the terrain.  You can then explore on your own.  The second program is the 'Over the Hill Gang'.  A bit of bureaucratic program.  They don't have a 'one day' option.  You need to be invited by a member (in advance) for the day you can join a group that will ski the terrain that you might be looking for.  The group skis four days a week.  Members are limited to one invitation so the may be hard to find one.  OHG information -http://www.coppercolorado.com/winter/ski_and_ride_school/adult_seasonal_programs/over_the_hill_gang

 

Beaver Creek has a guided tour - It sticks to GREEN terrain but covers most of the mountain tops and base areas.  This tour lasts 2+ hours depending on group speed.  I don't think I'll bother to take this tour again.

 

I'm sure Vail, Keystone and Breckenridge have similar programs.  I just don't get to visit those areas often. 

 

I'll point you toward Frisco as a base of operations.  The county bus system is an efficient operation. Frisco's bus terminal is located near 'Best Western Lake Dillon and Alpine Inn'  From there you can get to any Summit county resort for free (it's included in the county lodging tax.).  If you drive/park at the resorts you might need to take a shuttle bus to the lifts anyway.  Most lodging is located near a county bus stop but it might be only on Copper or Breckenridge routes.

post #7 of 21

Sounds like a great trip.  I’ve skied all of these areas quite a bit and each have their pros and cons.  My brief opinions on each (focused on cruiser based skiing that the OP prefers)

 

Abasin/Loveland – Both are smaller areas that are nearly all above tree line.  All but one lift is a fixed grip (slow lift).  Lots of cruisers at each just not as much as the other ski areas.  No “resort” so parking is free and right next to lifts.

 

Keystone – Lots of groomers on the front side.  Groomed runs are generally lower intermediate level in terms of steepness.  A few backside groomers are a little steeper.  Good glade skiing in outback.

 

Breck – Lots of lower intermediate groomers like keystone.  Steeper groomers are on peaks 10 and 8. 

 

Copper – Good mix of all types of groomed runs.

 

Vail – biggest ski area of the group.  Lots of groomed runs of all types.  In addition, Vail has a number of open bowls and lightly gladed blues that are groomed.  Research parking options since it’s a little tricky.

 

Beaver – least crowded generally.  BC has a ton of groomers.  Lower elevation can occasionally result in worse snow conditions, especially at arrowhead lift.

 

You can’t go wrong with any of these, enjoy!

post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info. I really appreciate it. I mostly ski Loon, Wildcat & Cannon in New Hampshire, and Sunapee is a nice little area, I like Mt. Snow, Pico, Killington, Stowe, Jay Peak in Vermont. I like steep trails, enjoy ice if I'm on my racing skis, especially like runs that are not too lumpy or have tight bumps.

 

I am older and even when I'm in shape, skiing thru un-groomed snow is not my fave. Powder, yes; groomers, yes; tracked Sierra Cement, noooo...I like Snowbird and Alta and Solitude in Utah. I love Kirkwood, Squaw Valley and Heavenly at Tahoe, and Mt. Rose in Nevada is nice... I do like to ski fast and went 60 MPH on my Volant Genesis 165's at Solitude a few years back.

 

I have not chosen a place to stay yet, but based on driving time & distances, Copper/Frisco area seems more centrally located if I want to try to hit several different areas. I have COPD and high elevations can kick my ass. I can ski all day taking it easy, but end up panting at the side of the trail if it's hard skiing, like a long bump run (like Gunbarrel at Heavenly, sheesh).

 

Any suggestions for places to stay or tips on where & when to go is most welcome...

post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosrocker51 View Post
 

Thanks for the info. I really appreciate it. I mostly ski Loon, Wildcat & Cannon in New Hampshire, and Sunapee is a nice little area, I like Mt. Snow, Pico, Killington, Stowe, Jay Peak in Vermont. I like steep trails, enjoy ice if I'm on my racing skis, especially like runs that are not too lumpy or have tight bumps.

 

I am older and even when I'm in shape, skiing thru un-groomed snow is not my fave. Powder, yes; groomers, yes; tracked Sierra Cement, noooo...I like Snowbird and Alta and Solitude in Utah. I love Kirkwood, Squaw Valley and Heavenly at Tahoe, and Mt. Rose in Nevada is nice... I do like to ski fast and went 60 MPH on my Volant Genesis 165's at Solitude a few years back.

 

I have not chosen a place to stay yet, but based on driving time & distances, Copper/Frisco area seems more centrally located if I want to try to hit several different areas. I have COPD and high elevations can kick my ass. I can ski all day taking it easy, but end up panting at the side of the trail if it's hard skiing, like a long bump run (like Gunbarrel at Heavenly, sheesh).

 

Any suggestions for places to stay or tips on where & when to go is most welcome...

Copper base area is 9700, so even though it is centrally located, if you have COPD I think I'd try something lower. Frisco is more like 9000-9100 ft ... it doesn't sound like much, but it does make a difference. (My premie twin niece/nephew were born in Denver, but home was south of Breck, almost 1000 ft higher than Frisco. According to doctor, they had to stay on oxygen quite a bit longer up in Blue River than they would have had they theoretically lived in Frisco.)

post #10 of 21
Given the altitude issues, have you given thought to other regions?
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Given the altitude issues, have you given thought to other regions?

 

This really was my thought too. I'm not an expert on COPD, but a quick google seems to confirm that high altitude is very contraindicated and could cause heart and kidney problems. Your doctor (who I would definitely consult before spending at week at 9,000+ feet with COPD) may not want you to be sleeping at 9000+ feet, not to mention skiing up past 12,000.

 

If you really wanted to do this trip, It may be more healthy to stay in Avon or Vail (7500 feet) and then driving back into Summit.

 

Or, perhaps do Aspen instead? You can stay in Basalt or Carbondale and be much lower at about 6600 feet. Basalt is a 1/2 hour drive to the Aspen places, and about 45 minutes to Sunlight. If you wanted to bag resorts, you could stay a few nights in Avon for Vail and BC, then drive 1 1/2 hour west for Aspen. Aspen will be MUCH less crowded and offers a lot more of the "steep groomer" type skiing that it seems you favor. Sunlight is a mountain that actually skis similar to Aspen Mountain (Ajax), just with less very and every ounce of pretentiousness stripped away and replaced with duct tape and laid-back vibes.

 

Or go outside the state. Big Sky perhaps? There is certainly enough acreage there to fill up a week. Mt Hood area? I haven't skied either of these places, but am spitballing places that have several ski resorts in proximity yet have lodging that isn't at an elevation that could cause health issues.

 

About half of the people that come ski in Summit County get altitude sickness. The issues for somebody with COPD could be a lot more severe.

post #12 of 21

I do not have COPD and still have issues with altitude in Summit County co. There are a lot of places out west with less altitude issues. 

post #13 of 21
Powder Highway? Utah?
post #14 of 21

Sounds like OP already has plans, but for someone with altitude issues who likes groomers, I would reccomend Sun Valley.

post #15 of 21
But he wants to hit a lot of places and there's not really any place around SV like in Colorado or Utah.
post #16 of 21

My short advice to start the day:

 

For someone who has never been to Colorado or any of those resorts, I would not try to ski that many in one trip. 

The first time you ski a resort you will spend a lot of time just understanding the layout of the mountain, logistics of getting around, trail maps, etc.

 

Plus, its a lot of driving around and there is something to be said about not having to drive every day before and after skiing.  I would narrow the list down so for some of the places you spend more than 1 day.

 

Plus weather, road conditions, and how you feel will all factor into where you want to ski any given day, how long you want to ski each day, or even if you want to take a day off.

 

If you are going for a week I focus on skiing 6 days, and split it across no more than 3-4 places.

 

If you enjoy fast cruiser and short bump runs you will probably most enjoy - Copper, Keystone, Breck, and Vail

post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosrocker51 View Post
 

 when I'm in shape, skiing thru un-groomed snow is not my fave. Powder, yes; groomers, yes; tracked Sierra Cement, noooo...I like Snowbird and Alta and Solitude in Utah. I love Kirkwood, Squaw Valley and Heavenly at Tahoe, and Mt. Rose in Nevada is nice... I do like to ski fast and went 60 MPH on my Volant Genesis 165's at Solitude a few years back.

 

I have not chosen a place to stay yet, but based on driving time & distances, Copper/Frisco area seems more centrally located if I want to try to hit several different areas. I have COPD and high elevations can kick my ass. I can ski all day taking it easy, but end up panting at the side of the trail if it's hard skiing, like a long bump run (like Gunbarrel at Heavenly, sheesh).

 

Any suggestions for places to stay or tips on where & when to go is most welcome...

This changes my take on things quite a bit.

 

Frisco is very central, but at over 9 K, we are not low (and as Seg said, Copper is higher).  Almost anyplace else will be lower including Tahoe, Steamboat and Utah.

 

In terms of resort bagging, Frisco is great, but if you like un-groomed snow, then I would not make the first priority hitting as many resorts as possible.  i.e. I would rather hit Vail a second day if a storm happens to favor them rather than going to a new resort that did not pick up much snow on a particular storm.

post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bosrocker51 View Post
 

I am thinking about going to Colorado, early March and doing a ski area blitz, skiing as many places as I can in a week. I did some digging and found there are 7 ski areas near (including) Copper:   Copper Mtn to A Basin 23.3 mi, 29 min, Copper Mtn to Keystone   18.5 mi, 24 min, Copper Mtn to Breckenridge 18.6 mi, 28 min, Copper Mtn to Vail, CO  21.3 mi, 26 min, Copper Mtn to Loveland   21.8 mi, 24 min, Copper Mtn to Beaver Creek  30.6 mi, 34 min.

 

I have read that Breck and Vail are not worth it on the weekends, some places charge for parking, etc. I'm looking for tips, input, opinions on trying this, which areas/trails/lifts may be best, or if you have tried a blitz and whether you thought it was worth it. I'd like to ski every one of those areas but wonder if I can even grasp all the terrain available if I only do one day at each. I'm older (62) former Patroller (advanced/expert depending on the day & the hill). I like fast cruisers and the occasional short bump run. I'm open to any suggestions. Thanks.


On the general concept of hitting as many different ski areas as possible in a short amount of time - in my opinion, don't do it.  It's good for bragging rights, good for marking off resorts on a checklist - but it's not good for the actual act of skiing.  About three days at a resort is good for exploring what it offers for fast cruisers.  Any less and you'll likely have to skip exploring some of the runs - then what's the point of going to a new resort?

 

Given seven days, I'd break it up into two three-day excursions.  Go to, say, Keystone for three days, take a day off to recover and transfer to a different resort, then do another three days at, say, Aspen.  Aspen is good if you really want to do the multiple-resorts thing since there are four distinct areas with good free shuttle service between them.  Actually, reverse that - assuming you're flying in/out of Denver, go to Aspen first, then finish up with Keystone so you'll have a slightly easier drive back.

 

Just IMO.

post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 

Wow, lots of great posts here. I am not that concerned about the COPD. I keep low pressure oxygen with me if I need it. As long as I don't have to climb or skate too much I;m okay. I acclimate pretty quickly. When I was at Snowbird it didn't bother me and their tramway summits at 11,000 ft..

 

I just made reservations to fly to Denver in early March, so this iS happening! HOWEVER, the blitz has become a bit modified. I will probably only ski 3 or 4 areas, and Vail is one I want to hit, as well as Breck, because my dad skied there. I might ski A Basin or Loveland for a day or 2 each, or Beaver Creek on a weekend. I hear it's not as crowded. With $120 lift tickets I'm not surprised!!

 

Can anyone tell me about renting a car vs. using local shuttles? Getting from Denver to Frisco or other locations by bus/limo?Are they problematic, like slow, difficult hours? Is it even possible to get from Frisco to Vail without it taking an hour by bus? Any suggestions for best ski area or trails to hit on a weekend so I don't feel like I'm in traffic?? We have not decided whether to stay near Copper or elsewhere, so if you have input, please post.

 

BTW I did 4 ski areas in Utah when I was there for a week in 2011 and loved it. I only hit Big & Little Cottonwood Canyon areas, but drove to Park City and would love to his those places and Snowbasin, Sundance...  but... Colorado here I come! I am really looking forward to seeing the Rockies again!

post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 

sorry, regarding busses, MEfree30 mentioned "no bus Frisco to Vail or Beaver Creek.  I regularly take the bus from Frisco to Copper and Breck, but usually drive to Keystone and A-Basin as parking is not bad and the bus takes much longer".

post #21 of 21

A car makes things a lot easier and allows you to ski vail/bc.  If you ski vail/BC, you might want to buy a 4 day epic pass (rates down to $95ish a day)

http://www.vail.com/plan-your-trip/season-passes/season-passes-explorer.aspx  I don't think they will sell the epic much longer so buy right away if you want it.  (the whole idea is they lock you into your trip early)

 

Frisco is probably the best place to stay.

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