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Moving to Northern Colorado, which pass to get?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hey all,

I'm moving to Northern Colorado this summer for a year--the job is in Greeley, but I'm thinking of moving to Fort Collins, because it seems more my speed.

 

I'm thinking of getting Winter Park's Rocky Mountain Pass which includes unlimited skiing at Copper, and a couple of days at Steamboat and Crested Butte.  The price goes up in a few days.

 

Is this pass a good idea for me given that Fort Collins is further from  these resorts than Denver?  I'd also be considering the Epic Pass, but those resorts seem to require more driving from Fort Collins.

 

Also, I'm planning on purchasing a Subaru out in Colorado.  It seems like Colorado Subaru dealers might often have season pass deals for Winter Park:

http://www.subaru.com/content/static/winter-park/

 

Foes anyone know anything about this?  I'm thinking they may run a similar special each fall--in which case I'd just wait to buy a car until then.

 

Thanks!

post #2 of 23

Winter park and Copper are both great.  

 

I think you'll have less traffic going to Winter Park than into Summit county even though the Google maps drive times are "the same" for Winter park and A-basin (and only about 15-30m more to hit Keystone or Breck).

 

 

How many days are you planning to ski, and how are you planning to spend them?  (Weekends? Day trips? Overnights?)  You may want to get both an Epic pass and the RMSP+.

post #3 of 23

Get the RMSP+,  which includes a few days at both CB and Steamboat for long weekends.   There won't be any traffic over Cameron Pass, which is one the nicest backcountry areas in the state.

 

Fort Fun>Greeley

 

Great MTBing up at Horsetooth.

post #4 of 23
I'm a touch north of Fort Collins. Fort Collins is a nice town with lots of stuff to do -- especially if you like beer.

The RMSP+ is one of the passes I have. Copper is rapidly climbing my list of favorite areas.

Let me know if you need anything when you get here.
post #5 of 23
RMSP+. Copper and WP are so complementary...very different terrain and to some extent snow maximums. WP offers the option to avoid Eisenhower Tunnel and Copper offers a lot of terrain lacking at WP especially if you can ski weekdays or other times when tunnel traffic is not bad. Better priced as well, and you get Steamboat days for free right now.

The downside of RMSP IMO is no A-Basin for extended spring skiing if that matters to you, which it will wink.gif.
post #6 of 23

I lived in or near Fort Fun for over 20 years.

 

Regarding driving:

 

1. You avoid traffic going over Cameron Pass, and the drive is prettier, but it does take longer, especially if you live on the east side of FC, which you probably will if you work in Greeley.

 

2. More comments on the Cameron Pass route: There is a dirt road though the ranch country in North Park. It starts a few miles west of Gould from Hwy 14 and goes down to Rand on Hwy 125. You don't have to go all the way up to Walden. It shortens the trip but should be approached with caution. There are many ranch roads in there, and it's easy to get lost. I used it often, but I knew what I was getting into. If you get into trouble, there may not be another vehicle for hours. I had a 4x4 Suburban in an era of cheaper gas, and yes, I did pull people back onto the road. And helped them install chains. And literally led them from wherever they were to the nearest highway. Remember that -30F is common at night at high altitudes. Be prepared.

 

3. You can avoid the traffic by having a place in WP for the winter. Drive up Friday night after work. Drive home Sunday after dinner.

 

4. For Steamboat, you go over Cameron Pass from FC. And Rabbit Ears. Pay attention to road reports. When they say it's bad, it usually is. This also applies to I-25, I-70 and Hwy 40.

 

The RMSP+ used to also include a few days at Whistler. I don't know if that is still true. Whistler is a long drive, but it's open late in the spring.

 

If you ski WP/MJ, you will learn to ski bumps, if you don't have that skill already.

 

The whitewater kayaking on the Cache la Poudre River is quite good. There is plenty of single track mountain biking to be found around FC, Red Feather and WP. There is hike-to summer skiing in Rocky Mountain National Park and on Cameron Pass, if the weather is cooperative.

 

If you're in the backcountry in the summer, be very careful with fire. The place is a tinder box, and they've had some very ugly fires recently. Beetle kill has decimated the pine forests. It's probably much drier than where you live now.


Edited by jhcooley - 4/12/14 at 3:37pm
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies all!

 

So it seems like the consensus is that Fort Collins is definitely a better place to live, and worth the drive vs living in Greeley?  I'm a late twenties single male, if that matters at all.  I'm thinking of living fairly close to the center of town in Fort Collins, which will make for a longer commute

 

It also seems like it's consensus that Cameron Pass/Route 34 will save me time driving versus driving south on I-25 to Denver and West on I-70)  even though google maps says Route 34 is 3 hrs 6 mins (123 miles) vs I-25/I70's estimated time of 2 hrs. 13 mins (127 miles).  Would you alll say that driving on Cameron Pass/Route 34 is always shorter time-wise, or only at high traffic times (weekend mornings and weekend afternoons, I'm imagining).  Regarding the hazards of driving in the snow, I plan on purchasing a Subaru because my Mazda 3 just isn't cut out for the mountains.  In a storm, is I-70 better maintained?  I imagine because Route 34 through summit county isn't well traveled it might not be well maintained--would all recommend taking I-70 in that circumstance?  Or could a subaru likely handle anything that I might find on Route 34?

 

To answer some of the questions posed below, I'm going to be working a M-F 9-5, so I'm likely mostly skiing weekends.  This is a bit problematic because I also don't have much money--there's no way I can afford a place in the mountains.  I know there's a hostel in Winter Park--any other ideas for cheap places to stay?  I'm good at making friends, so maybe I'll meet some cool people who let me crash at their mountain homes...I can only hope.  For all you all who have lived in Fort Collins, is it worth it to try to make a day trip to the mountains, or am I wise to make weekend trips?

 

Are Copper and Winter Park likely to have long lift lines on weekends?  I was also thinking of a pass at Loveland.  Is Loveland less crowded on weekends?  In all likelihood, I'm not going to buy more than one pass due to financial limitations.  Will pass prices continue to go up as we get closer to ski season, or is the $70 increase in a few days the only bump?  I may hold off on buying a pass--maybe I'll end up being friends with folks who ski at Vail, for example.  Holding off might be worth it...

 

I'll answer individual posts below if I haven't already:

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by Magi View Post
 

Winter park and Copper are both great.  

 

I think you'll have less traffic going to Winter Park than into Summit county even though the Google maps drive times are "the same" for Winter park and A-basin (and only about 15-30m more to hit Keystone or Breck).

 

 

How many days are you planning to ski, and how are you planning to spend them?  (Weekends? Day trips? Overnights?)  You may want to get both an Epic pass and the RMSP+.

 

I'll be mostly skiing weekends, maybe a vacation week or a little extra somewhere in there.  I'd be lucky to hit 15 days, even though I'd love to ski more like 30.  If I could find an inexpensive way to spend weekends in the mountains, I would happily go up for a bunch of weekends.  As I said above, buying both passes may be cost prohibitive.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

Get the RMSP+,  which includes a few days at both CB and Steamboat for long weekends.   There won't be any traffic over Cameron Pass, which is one the nicest backcountry areas in the state.

 

Fort Fun>Greeley

 

Great MTBing up at Horsetooth.

Thanks!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drahtguy View Post

I'm a touch north of Fort Collins. Fort Collins is a nice town with lots of stuff to do -- especially if you like beer.

The RMSP+ is one of the passes I have. Copper is rapidly climbing my list of favorite areas.

Let me know if you need anything when you get here.

I really appreciate that--thanks!  What do you like about Copper so much?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

RMSP+. Copper and WP are so complementary...very different terrain and to some extent snow maximums. WP offers the option to avoid Eisenhower Tunnel and Copper offers a lot of terrain lacking at WP especially if you can ski weekdays or other times when tunnel traffic is not bad. Better priced as well, and you get Steamboat days for free right now.

The downside of RMSP IMO is no A-Basin for extended spring skiing if that matters to you, which it will wink.gif.

 

Awesome!  Thanks.I won't be able to ski many weekdays at all--what terrain does Copper have that WP lacks?  I should mention I skied WP two days last year.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jhcooley View Post
 

I lived in or near Fort Fun for over 20 years.

 

Regarding driving:

 

1. You avoid traffic going over Cameron Pass, and the drive is prettier, but it does take longer, especially if you live on the east side of FC, which you probably will if you work in Greeley.

 

2. More comments on the Cameron Pass route: There is a dirt road though the ranch country in North Park. It starts a few miles west of Gould from Hwy 14 and goes down to Rand on Hwy 125. You don't have to go all the way up to Walden. It shortens the trip but should be approached with caution. There are many ranch roads in there, and it's easy to get lost. I used it often, but I knew what I was getting into. If you get into trouble, there may not be another vehicle for hours. I had a 4x4 Suburban in an era of cheaper gas, and yes, I did pull people back onto the road. And helped them install chains. And literally led them from wherever they were to the nearest highway. Remember that -30F is common at night at high altitudes. Be prepared.

 

3. You can avoid the traffic by having a place in WP for the winter. Drive up Friday night after work. Drive home Sunday after dinner.

 

4. For Steamboat, you go over Cameron Pass from FC. And Rabbit Ears. Pay attention to road reports. When they say it's bad, it usually is. This also applies to I-25, I-70 and Hwy 40.

 

The RMSP+ used to also include a few days at Whistler. I don't know if that is still true. Whistler is a long drive, but it's open late in the spring.

 

If you ski WP/MJ, you will learn to ski bumps, if you don't have that skill already.

 

The whitewater kayaking on the Cache la Poudre River is quite good. There is plenty of single track mountain biking to be found around FC, Red Feather and WP. There is hike-to summer skiing in Rocky Mountain National Park and on Cameron Pass, if the weather is cooperative.

 

If you're in the backcountry in the summer, be very careful with fire. The place is a tinder box, and they've had some very ugly fires recently. Beetle kill has decimated the pine forests. It's probably much drier than where you live now.

Thanks for all of that in-depth information!!

post #8 of 23
Copper has extensive bowl terrain that WP lacks...it is a much more alpine experience in that regard and great for graduating to more off-piste skiing. WP is quite a bit more diverse in cut trail runs as Copper's frontside is largely graduated pitch runs west to east (and much longer than WP). One could say you start skiing in WP and slowly graduate to Copper, unless bumps are your thing, in which case you just stay with Jane.

As for being single and living in Greeley over Ft. Collins....that is sort of a comparison between cattle and girls. wink.gif
post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by NayBreak View Post

The downside of RMSP IMO is no A-Basin for extended spring skiing if that matters to you, which it will wink.gif.

 

Having just bought my RMSP+ today, I plan to fix that with an A-Basin spring pass.

post #10 of 23
^^^^Yep, me too. Even better is to buy next year's season pass. That gets you Spring this year and next for $279 IIRC, so you save $79 over buying two consecutive Spring passes (although betting on next Spring being good) and you have a full time A-Basin pass to boot.
post #11 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by folkfan View Post
 

 

~~It also seems like it's consensus that Cameron Pass/Route 34 will save me time driving versus driving south on I-25 to Denver and West on I-70) even though google maps says Route 34 is 3 hrs 6 mins (123 miles) vs I-25/I70's estimated time of 2 hrs. 13 mins (127 miles). Would you alll say that driving on Cameron Pass/Route 34 is always shorter time-wise, or only at high traffic times (weekend mornings and weekend afternoons, I'm imagining).

 

I don't see any such consensus. Cameron Pass will usually take longer than going down I-25 and up I-70. It's prettier, but much slower.

 

Also, you'll be driving up Route 14, not Route 34. Route 34 goes through Loveland, Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park to Granby. The part through the National Park is closed in the winter. It will have 20-30 feet of snow on it. A Subie ain't gonna do it. Route 14 goes west out of Fort Collins over Cameron Pass and is well maintained in the winter.

post #12 of 23
I-25, I-70, US40 to WP will almost always be quickest. I would take Cameron to Steamboat on the really busy weekends.
Drive up early Saturday, stay at the Rabbit Ears Motel, drive back late Sunday.
Watch out for speed traps south of Walden.
post #13 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by folkfan View Post
 

So it seems like the consensus is that Fort Collins is definitely a better place to live, and worth the drive vs living in Greeley?  I'm a late twenties single male, if that matters at all.  I'm thinking of living fairly close to the center of town in Fort Collins, which will make for a longer commute

 

Here's what I'd do if I were in your shoes with the benefit of what I know now as a CO native skiing here for 30+ years:

 

  • Live in Fort Collins where you can walk to downtown.
  • Buy one of the epic passes.
  • Sign up for Breck's unlimited lesson program
  • Find a place to sleep in Breck on Sat nights, maybe something like this or a seasonal room for rent.

 

I just bought my RMSP+ pass for next year, but you're not me.  You're single and in your twenties.  More important than the best skiing is finding people to ski and drive with, making ski friends, and having fun.   Living in Fort Collins and spending weekends in Breck would be a blast for a couple years.  Do it while you can... and welcome to Colorado!

post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

Here's what I'd do if I were in your shoes with the benefit of what I know now as a CO native skiing here for 30+ years:
  • Live in Fort Collins where you can walk to downtown.
  • Buy one of the epic passes.
  • Sign up for Breck's unlimited lesson program
  • Find a place to sleep in Breck on Sat nights, maybe something like this or a seasonal room for rent.

I just bought my RMSP+ pass for next year, but you're not me.  You're single and in your twenties.  More important than the best skiing is finding people to ski and drive with, making ski friends, and having fun.   Living in Fort Collins and spending weekends in Breck would be a blast for a couple years.  Do it while you can... and welcome to Colorado!

Interesting!! That ski club looks great! And that Breckenridge deal on lessons is fabulous too.

Does Breckenridge have a younger vibe than WP and copper? I could get the RMSP and still stay with that ski club on Breckenridge....
post #15 of 23

The town of Breck has a much younger vibe than WP and Copper.  It's a full-fledged great ski town, and probably one of the youngest vibes anywhere.  WP and Copper, while big ski areas, are smaller villages, more suitable to families vacationing.  The nearby town of Winter Park and Frisco are really where the locals live, but not nearly as fun as Breck for someone in their late 20's... I'd guess :-)

 

The really question I think you should be asking is who will you ski with not, where will you ski?   Between the unlimited lessons at Breck and the ski club/house at Breck you'd always have ski buddies.  The unlimited lessons include line-cutting privileges, eliminating one of the biggest drawbacks to Breck.

post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

The town of Breck has a much younger vibe than WP and Copper.  It's a full-fledged great ski town, and probably one of the youngest vibes anywhere.  WP and Copper, while big ski areas, are smaller villages, more suitable to families vacationing.  The nearby town of Winter Park and Frisco are really where the locals live, but not nearly as fun as Breck for someone in their late 20's... I'd guess :-)

The really question I think you should be asking is who will you ski with not, where will you ski?   Between the unlimited lessons at Breck and the ski club/house at Breck you'd always have ski buddies.  The unlimited lessons include line-cutting privileges, eliminating one of the biggest drawbacks to Breck.

Intriguing! I'd like to get a sense of the vibe of the ski club once I get out to colorado. It looks like they have lots of events. If it has a good vibe, which it seems like it would, it seems like an absolutely fantastic set-up. So for now I'll hold off on the RMSP and see what happens with the ski dlub.

The plus of the RMSP is that there's a meetup group with almost 200 members in Ft Collins for people who want to carpool and ski together. Figuring out where to stay would likely be a trip by trip determination.

Does Breckenridge have wide open groomers? That was something I loved about WP. I think the run I loved there was a blue called Mary Jane. Does Breck have runs like that?

Matt
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

The town of Breck has a much younger vibe than WP and Copper.  It's a full-fledged great ski town, and probably one of the youngest vibes anywhere.  WP and Copper, while big ski areas, are smaller villages, more suitable to families vacationing.  The nearby town of Winter Park and Frisco are really where the locals live, but not nearly as fun as Breck for someone in their late 20's... I'd guess :-)

The really question I think you should be asking is who will you ski with not, where will you ski?   Between the unlimited lessons at Breck and the ski club/house at Breck you'd always have ski buddies.  The unlimited lessons include line-cutting privileges, eliminating one of the biggest drawbacks to Breck.

I totally agree with the Epic Pass for single and in your 20's. No singles scene at WP/Copper. You won't have trouble finding great blue runs here smile.gif
post #18 of 23
I would try to decide whether you are wanting to get serious about the sport & build skills or whether you are more interested in the apres/social/party aspect. Those don't have to be competing priorities, but often are depending on the crowd you are with.

As a beginning or intermediate skier, you should maximize your time with sticks on the snow in a comfortable environment and avoid traffic & liftlines, i.e. the I-70/epic resorts cluster****. That said, I would recommend either Loveland's 3 class pass OR a snowy range, wy pass which has a $99 steamboat add-on for 6 days & includes 3 days at sunlight & 3 @ monarch. There is also a cheap lesson add-on. Snowy range will be much easier to get to on the weekend from Ft. Collins than summit/eagle counties & steamboat is relatively close. You could pick up a loveland or copper 4 pack in addition to the snowy range pass. You will be tired of skiing snowy range after 1 season, but you will maximize your time on the slopes and progress more than trying to keep up with a big group on more challenging terrain. That is not skill development, that is survival skiing. You will meet people to ski with at your skill level wherever you go; not just at a huge resort.
Edited by Helmut Skidmark - 4/15/14 at 7:06am
post #19 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helmut Skidmark View Post

I would recommend ... a snowy range, wy pass...

And at Snowy Range, in the lodge they play BOTH kinds of music: Country AND Western!  :D

 

(Well, it is Wyoming. What did you expect?)

post #20 of 23
...and you get to ski with lots of drunk Nebraskans wearing red cornhusker gear, skiing in a tuck, and yelling "BANZAI!!!" If that doesn't make you want to become a better skier, I don't know what will. smile.gif

I realize snowy range is an outside-the-box suggestion, but if i lived in fort collins, i would get a pass there just because it is cheap and offers an alternative to the front range, even if you only use it for those times during the season when the I- 70 corridor is just too crowded. And I am not an anti-summit/eagle county person by any means.
post #21 of 23

WP/MJ is not just cut runs and bumps. The best skiing there (IMHO) is in the trees.

post #22 of 23

No way I'd do Snowy Range.  It's just too small, and it's still a long drive.  And... where do you want to go out on the weekends, Laramie or Breckenridge?  I lived in and around Boulder for many years and only skied Eldora maybe a dozen times, and it's a much better and closer area, respectively.  It's worth the drive for the great skiing Colorado offers.

 

Personally I think chasing a group of better skiers around challenging terrain is a fantastic way to improve your skiing.  If you do the season lesson pass at Breck, you'll be matched with compatible skiers anyway.

post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

Personally I think chasing a group of better skiers around challenging terrain is a fantastic way to improve your skiing.

X2. I think it is the best way to transition from piste to off-piste preference, and then comes the motivation for higher level lessons, ski selection, boots....

How many "Perfecting Parallel" classes can you take? A lot.
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