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CO trip this xmas [family with tweens, Snowmass and/or Vail?]

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Dear all,

 

we (2 adults and 2 kids - 9 and 11, blue - easy black skiers) are planning a trip to CO for 2 weeks from ~ 18th of December this year. 

 

The plan currently is either 2 weeks in Snowmass or the first in Vail and the second in Snowmass. We are hoping xmas - new year in Snowmass might be a little better than in the paces closer to Denver - not sure how true this is and have tried to avoid summit county for this reason as well as it seems we could probably do things cheaper there overall. I am very keen to minimise the 'hassle' - stay as close to ski in / out as much as possible, not bother getting a car etc. 

 

Any thoughts on these plans welcome - is this a sensible plan for this time of year? We have considered some of the further away places like Steamboat but I am keen to cover at least a couple of places in the 2 weeks and not have too far to travel in between, 

 

Thanks,

 

P.

post #2 of 20
I would stay in Snowmass the whole two weeks. It's really nice here!
post #3 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

I would stay in Snowmass the whole two weeks. It's really nice here!

What he said!
post #4 of 20

If you stay in Snowmass you will have 3 other resorts to try out with just a quick free shuttle so that seems like it would be the easiest without a car

post #5 of 20

First of all, some reality about Vail at that time of the year.  While it is possible that the back bowls may be open, it's also likely that there will be thin cover and they may not.  That means you could easily wind up being in Vail without the reason that most folk want to ski there:  the vast terrain.

 

That being said, the week before Christmas is low season for Vail.  If you want to ski it, that might be the time to do so.  But you could also rent a car for a day and make a day trip (or two) to Vail and/or Beaver Creek.  It's about an hour and a half to two hours from Snowmass to Vail.  Pretty doable.

 

I'm of the opinion that early season skiing is better at Snowmass.  But then I'm of the opinion that the Aspen areas have the best skiing in Colorado.

 

Mike

post #6 of 20
You should get the Mountain Collective Pass now, while they still have the third free day!
We'll help you out, your family will have a great time!
post #7 of 20

SHREDHEAD KNOWS OF WHAT HE SPEAKS;)

 

ASPEN MTN DEC 2013

post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbfitz View Post
 

Dear all,

 

we (2 adults and 2 kids - 9 and 11, blue - easy black skiers) are planning a trip to CO for 2 weeks from ~ 18th of December this year. 

 

The plan currently is either 2 weeks in Snowmass or the first in Vail and the second in Snowmass. We are hoping xmas - new year in Snowmass might be a little better than in the paces closer to Denver - not sure how true this is and have tried to avoid summit county for this reason as well as it seems we could probably do things cheaper there overall. I am very keen to minimise the 'hassle' - stay as close to ski in / out as much as possible, not bother getting a car etc. 

 

Any thoughts on these plans welcome - is this a sensible plan for this time of year? We have considered some of the further away places like Steamboat but I am keen to cover at least a couple of places in the 2 weeks and not have too far to travel in between, 

 

Thanks,

 

P.

Welcome to EpicSki!  For ideas for Christmas holidays, look under Topics Discussed (right hand column) for the tag (hot link) to a list of relevant threads.  I also added Snowmass, which takes you to the EpicSki resort page.  Scroll to the bottom to see a list of related threads.

 

The Mountain Collective pass won't be available for much longer at the current price.  Typically will be back in early fall.  Only $99 for kids.  Could cover 3 days and then 50% for additional days, no blackout dates.

post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

First of all, some reality about Vail at that time of the year.  While it is possible that the back bowls may be open, it's also likely that there will be thin cover and they may not.  That means you could easily wind up being in Vail without the reason that most folk want to ski there:  the vast terrain.

That being said, the week before Christmas is low season for Vail.  If you want to ski it, that might be the time to do so.  But you could also rent a car for a day and make a day trip (or two) to Vail and/or Beaver Creek.  It's about an hour and a half to two hours from Snowmass to Vail.  Pretty doable.

I'm of the opinion that early season skiing is better at Snowmass.  But then I'm of the opinion that the Aspen areas have the best skiing in Colorado.

Mike

That's not an opinion so much as a fact although I would make a spirited argument that T-Ride has some things going for it but not in December.
post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

SHREDHEAD KNOWS OF WHAT HE SPEAKS;)




^^^
And I'd already gotten two laps by then!

ASPEN MTN DEC 2013
post #11 of 20

Well, somebody has to disagree here :)

 

I love Aspen.  I'm all for Snowmass for the second week, but I think it's crazy to book both weeks until you see where the snow lands.   As mentioned above, the week before christmas is low season.  There is no reason to worry about the hordes from Denver.   We are all too busy with parties, xmas shopping, EOY work stuff, and not skiing much until after the holiday (unless of course it dumps then we re-prioritize!).

 

The combination of early season fickle snow, low season rates, and easy lodging availability means you should keep that first week flexible.  Two weeks in Aspen with average snow would be great, but in a bad year could be miserable.  You'll get bored to tears skiing a handful of runs at each area on man-made snow, while there could be much better snow in Vail, Steamboat, or Summit County you might be missing.  Keep that first week flexible!

post #12 of 20

tballs's advice is spot-on.  I was at Aspen/Snowmass the first week of January this past season and it was great.  I'm fairly sure I would not have been pleased the prior 2 seasons in that early time frame.  Your time frame unfortunately covers the Christmas-to-New-Year's week that I avoid like the plague.  For  that I have to second the vote for Snowmass purely due to the track record of having more manageable crowds, realizing that you are taking some risk with respect to snow.

 

For the earlier week you should be flexible as you'll have no problem scoring last minute lodging. Vail's December record with the Back Bowls is actually fairly good, so most years that should work out for your first week.  The safest mid-December bet among larger resorts driving from Denver is Steamboat.


Edited by Tony Crocker - 6/12/14 at 11:19am
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

 

The combination of early season fickle snow, low season rates, and easy lodging availability means you should keep that first week flexible.  Two weeks in Aspen with average snow would be great, but in a bad year could be miserable.  You'll get bored to tears skiing a handful of runs at each area on man-made snow, while there could be much better snow in Vail, Steamboat, or Summit County you might be missing.  Keep that first week flexible!

 

The problem with that,  is booking flights at Christmas.

Staying flexible would pretty much require him to fly into Denver and rent a car for two weeks.  Which would probably be a lot more than just flying into Aspen.

Once they get here, they won't need a car and that minimizes the hassle.

 

Steamboat has much different weather patterns and can have better early season conditions.  But ever since they introduced the Epic pass, it's rare that Summit Co. has better early season conditions. 

I see a lot of Vail instructors,  bringing their private lessons to Aspen during Christmas break, because our conditions are better.

post #14 of 20

If I had TWO WEEKS to play in Colorado I'd drive my own car for sure!  The cost savings over flying four people and renting a car and flexibility to chase the snow makes anything over about a week worth burning a couple days driving.. heck you burn at least 3/4s of a day each way flying in, dealing with luggage, rental cars, delays, etc.. anyway.  3 days driving versus 1.5 days traveling by air and rental?  No brainer, drive there!

post #15 of 20
There are way too many good places to ski in Colorado over a two week period to commit to just two. Renting a car if possible would be optimal. Telluride, Aspen, Breckinridge, Steamboat, all easy driving from Aspen. All have the possibility of being fabulous.
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks all for some great advice.

We just missed the mountain collective passes but will grab them when they come out next time. One further question - if we base ourselves in Aspen, are any of the other resorts (outside of the immediate aspen / snowmass mountains) close enough for a day trip by car?

Paul
post #17 of 20
Sunlight's 45 min. Beaver Creek 90 min. Vail 105 min. Traffic won't be an issue, but I wouldn't go to Vail after Christmas. Maybe a weekday before.
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by pbfitz View Post

Thanks all for some great advice.

We just missed the mountain collective passes but will grab them when they come out next time. One further question - if we base ourselves in Aspen, are any of the other resorts (outside of the immediate aspen / snowmass mountains) close enough for a day trip by car?

Paul


Next nearest major place is Beaver Creek about two hours.  But it's outside the mountain collective, negating the advantage of that pass product.  If you fly in/out of Aspen I'd stick to those four mtns (Aspen Mtn, Snowmass, Highlands, Buttermilk all within about ten miles and served by free shuttle bus).  As we all know, numerous relocations with young children is not always the best plan.  If you drive to Aspen from Denver you could easily stop for a day or more at Beaver Creek, Vail, Copper, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, all very close to Interstate 70. But none on mountain collective pass.  You can, however, purchase a four pack of tickets for Loveland in the preseason from their website for only around $130.

Aspen does seem to be a fine spot for manageable crowds during the Christmas Holiday period.  Here is my report from a visit there last season at that time (with a fun stop at Loveland):  http://www.epicski.com/a/colorado-road-trip-recap

post #19 of 20
Sunlight is closest to Aspen. But also a small mountain without a the diversity of runs and terrain of Aspen. The trade off however, would be that Sunlight is NEVER crowded, and it really is a great little mountain despite being small. If you get bored, The east ridge of Sunlight is plenty challenging and the views of Mt. Sopris from the top are fabulous.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
if we base ourselves in Aspen, are any of the other resorts (outside of the immediate aspen / snowmass mountains) close enough for a day trip by car? 

It is not necessary to commit to that for the full 2 weeks, only the post Christmas period that is busy.   I appreciate Aspen/Snowmass' virtues but you will be REALLY unhappy if you're there for 2 weeks and it's like 2011-12 or 2012-13.  People have this fear about leaving arrangements to last minute, but BEFORE Christmas you CAN do this (it's not busy anywhere), and it's really essential that early in the season to pick the place that has early snow.  Flying into Denver, you will have lots of choices, and one of them, Steamboat has an excellent early season record, and Vail's is not that far behind.  Even in 2011-12 you could have gone to Wolf Creek and had good snow. 

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