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CO first timer: staying in Dillon

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

Long time reader, first time poster.

First time skiing in CO. I will be staying feb 10 to Feb 15, and skiing the last five of those days (tuesday - saturday). I wanted to stay in Dillon to save some money, but I am concerned about driving up i70 every day to vail. Generally, i am up very early and would plan to leave no later than 7 on the weekdays. Will i be buried in traffic going/coming back to dillon from vail, or breck or copper? My plan is to hang around in town until after dinner and then drive back. Is this a safe thing to do?

Bonus question: vail, breck, or copper, or some combo of the three?

Second bonus: what time should i book my flight home on sat if i want to get a half day at a basin?

Thanks to all who take the time to answer, and good turns to all.

Bill
post #2 of 17
I've never had any problems with traffic driving to or from Vail or copper from the Dillon/Silverthorne area. The bad wrap that 70 gets for traffic comes from weekend afternoons heading back to Denver. Sometimes it's 2 hrs, sometimes it's 5. If you're leaving around noon on Saturday, I would guess that traffic shouldn't be an issue.

Those three resorts are so big there is no way you'll know each of them well in a day, but I still say ski all three. Since it's your first time in CO, might as well see as much of what that area has to offer as possible and not limit yourself.
post #3 of 17

Thumbs Up SEskier. 

We don't go to Vail much, but the traffic issues are generally only going to the mountains SAT/SUN from Floyd Hill outside Denver to the Empire split to Winter Park (Generally, accidents have their impact of course).  Coming back, as stated, is the converse, gets bad from the tunnel to Floyd Hill area.  Leaving at noon on Saturday, likely no issues -- from A Basin back to town is right about 1:30 -- 1:45. 

 

The only issue with going to the resorts from Dillon is the possible problem, relatively rare, of issues w/avalanche control on Vail pass.  Like I said, pretty rare, but have been caught in that, or seen that on the evening news as obviously stopping all travel.  Cannot see any issues on the short drives from Dillon down RTE 9 to Breck or over to Copper on I70. 

 

Also Dillon is a little lower, so instead of sleeping in Breck, which is higher, this may help w/the altitude, though as lots of threads have noted, that altitude sickness issues tends to be totally unpredictable (person to person and even trip to trip).

 

You will get a lot of inputs on the mix of hitting all three places, all as SEskier said all are so large you can't really experience all they have to offer in a day each.  Kind of depends on what you typically like to hit, and level of expertise.  If you are doing this during the week, haven't looked at the dates, all should have reasonable lines, BUT if any of those days are weekend / holiday days Breck will be worst by far for lines.  So as you plan your day by day locations, something to bear in mind. 

post #4 of 17

JMO but if you have never been to CO before and are staying in Dillon then I would confine my skiing to Summit County and just avoid the hassle of Vail.   If you think you would prefer to ski Vail then I would stay in Vail.   You will find plenty to keep you interested in SuCo on your first visit.  Just my two cents and worth exactly what you paid for it.....

post #5 of 17
5 days, 3 BIG mountains?Too many mountains and not enough time! Drop 1 and get to know 2 real well. I'd leave Vail for next time when you can stay closer.

Traffic isn't usually a problem, except when it's actually snowing. Then all cars crawl slowly and your 1/2 hr to Vail will turn into an hour and some!

Flight to leave, the later the better! Without the tunnel work, I've managed to ski till 1 and still made the flight at 5 in years past. I suspect it won't work this winter due to the tunnel work.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post

Flight to leave, the later the better! Without the tunnel work, I've managed to ski till 1 and still made the flight at 5 in years past. I suspect it won't work this winter due to the tunnel work.

 

The tunnel work at Idaho Springs is finished, fwiw. I've cruised through it 2 or 3 times now in luxurious 3-lane comfort. ;)

post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by rachelv View Post
 

 

The tunnel work at Idaho Springs is finished, fwiw. I've cruised through it 2 or 3 times now in luxurious 3-lane comfort. ;)

 Bright, luxurious, 3-lane etc etc...

post #8 of 17

For OP, try priceline on the comfort inn at avon.  shoot for about $60 and you might get it.  next to free bus to beaver creek and only a few miles from vail. will save you commute over vail pass.

post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for your responses. Seems like both avon and dillon will be doable for my budget. That being said: vail or breck? I am a reasonably advanced skier, pretty comfortable on most trails. I can handle most of the obvious lines off of kt22 in squaw, for a point of reference. I am looking for good powder and bowls, nice steeps, trees less so. So, what mountain would you do?
post #10 of 17

Generally speaking, I would say the top of Breck is better for steeps while the bowls at Vail are bigger, so the powder generally lasts a bit longer.  

 

Whether you stay in Dillon or Avon, it doesn't have to be an either or...if you stay in Avon, focus on Vail (and BC if you like steep bump runs...they have some nice glades too, but you said you didn't like trees) with a day at Breck.  If you stay in Dillon, you could do multiple days at Breck with a day or two at Vail (or even BC).  Don't overlook Copper unless you are locked into the Epic pass resorts- not quite as steep as the top of Breck, but the powder tends to last longer.

post #11 of 17

Dillon is a great convenient location.  Short easy drive to Keystone and A-Basin via Rt.6, you can get to Breck using Swan Mountain Road and avoid a lot of traffic, and getting to Copper via I70 is not bad.  Breck has been doing the best for snow so far this season, so that should be on your list.  The upper bowls are not to be missed.  I find Vail to be too much of pain with expensive parking and crowds, but it does have some great terrain.

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks again everyone, booked in dillon. More dumb questions.

What kind of car? Flying into Denver. Do i need chains/suv, or will 4wd do? Is this easily available at the airport?

Gear: good shop recs? Good prices for boards, doesnt have to be top of the line but maybe last years top of the line?

And obviously: where to buy the lift ticket? I am thinking mostly breck, maybe one day at vail though i could just do 4 at breck, and a morning at abasin on the way to the airport. Sounds like maybe a 4 day epic pass and liftopia for the half day? Any other advice would be appreciated for saving a few bucks.

Thanks for your help everyone, i really appreciate it. And of course if anyone is out there that week and wants to show me around for a few runs, the beers are on me. Or if you just want to drink a few beers.
post #13 of 17

A thing on the traffic:

 

The usual I-70 congestion issues are on SAT/SUN to and from Denver, and generally the section east of the tunnel down to C-470

If there is snow though, travel can take much longer to get around in the mountains, and one big wreck will shut-down Vail Pass, or the tunnel, or Loveland Pass.  All bets are off on timely and easy travel in snow.

 

So consider whatever plans you make, and adjust accordingly if there is heavy snow.  This includes staying in Summit County and attempting to get to/from Vail on a heavy snow day.  If you are not familar with I-70 and/or CO mountain driving in the snow, don't bother, just ski one of the Summit County resorts.

 

Skiing A-Bain the day of departure can easily be done, assuming NO SNOW on I-70 east down and through Denver.  On a clear day with dry roads and not a Sat/Sun afternoon. I allow a minimum of 4 hours from the time I want to be pulling out of A-Basin and when my flight departure time from DEN.  (This includes time for quick change and final pack-up of the bags, gas for the rental car, returning the car, checking bags (NOTE the cut-off times for most airlines at DEN is higher than other airports), clear security, and getting to the gate.  For someone who is not familiar with the process, I'll make it more like 5 hours, also sounds like you have drop-off rental skis somewhere.   I only missed a flight once since what is normally about an 1:30-1:45 drive to the airport turned into a 4+ hour trip in a wrap-around storm that socked DEN with about 6" of snow.

post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimH View Post
 

Dillon is a great convenient location.  Short easy drive to Keystone and A-Basin via Rt.6, you can get to Breck using Swan Mountain Road and avoid a lot of traffic, and getting to Copper via I70 is not bad.  Breck has been doing the best for snow so far this season, so that should be on your list.  The upper bowls are not to be missed.  I find Vail to be too much of pain with expensive parking and crowds, but it does have some great terrain.

Really... compared to KT22 or most of Squaw it doesn't have any good terrain.  Compared to Keystone it has great terrain.  If the OP is looking for terrain like KT22 in Summit or Eagle county he's going to be sorely disappointed.  A few things at the Basin and the very upper mountain at Breck and that's about it.  That being said there is fun terrain at all of the ski areas in Summit and Eagle counties and certainly better snow right now so he should have that going for him

post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by billj465 View Post

And obviously: where to buy the lift ticket? I am thinking mostly breck, maybe one day at vail though i could just do 4 at breck, and a morning at abasin on the way to the airport. Sounds like maybe a 4 day epic pass and liftopia for the half day? Any other advice would be appreciated for saving a few bucks.

 

I think a 4 (out of 6?) day lift ticket for Breck may be cheaper if purchased in advance online than the 4 day Epic pass (assuming that pass is still available).  Deals for Breck and Vail are hard to come by, but you can usually find deals for A Basin (and Copper).

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by UGASkiDawg View Post

Really... compared to KT22 or most of Squaw it doesn't have any good terrain.  Compared to Keystone it has great terrain.  If the OP is looking for terrain like KT22 in Summit or Eagle county he's going to be sorely disappointed.  A few things at the Basin and the very upper mountain at Breck and that's about it.  That being said there is fun terrain at all of the ski areas in Summit and Eagle counties and certainly better snow right now so he should have that going for him

That was more as a comparison of ability as opposed to what i am looking for. I can handle moderately advanced terrain, not necessarily ski movie stuff. I am looking for a good colorado equivalent of lift accessible moderately advanced terrain, good steeps and maybe some nice wide open bowls which i hear co is famous for.

Not a pretentious twit, I promise you, it has been a dream to ski co since I was a kid. Simply asking for the best terrain that i can handle.

Thanks for the driving advice re: a basin to airport. That plan is reserved for perfectly clear conditions with an 11am cutoff, otherwise i shall bail.

What kind of car should i get?
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by billj465 View Post

What kind of car should i get?

Are you used to driving in snow?  One strategy is to look for good deals and reserve with no penalty both an economy car and an SUV, perhaps from different companies.  When you know the close-in forecast a day or so before your trip zero in on the appropriate vehicle and forget the other one.  From Denver airport to Dillon is all interstate and a breeze in good weather, but traffic can be bad on weekends and during storms. 

Chances are you're staying in a place in Dillon near the free Summit Stage bus stops.  That is another good way to get around without driving or parking issues.  The most convenient ski areas to Dillon are Copper and Keystone.  You have a choice to make on lift tickets.  Go with Vail resorts like Key, Breck or go for lower cost with non-Vail resorts like Copper, A-Basin and Loveland via liftopia.

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