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college student looking for a colorado 3 day weekend getaway

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hey all, 
So I am going back to school in Oklahoma on Tuesday and I am looking at doing a 3 day ski trip to colorado or New Mexico (NOT UTAH, I feel its a bit to far of a flight for a 3 day weekend). 
My level in intermediate, pretty comfortable on all blues at Jay Peak Vermont 
I will fly out Friday afternoon (maybe skip a afternoon class). Ski Saturday and Sunday. Leave Monday late morning.
I have all my own stuff but I am not sure which slope to go to. My mother went to Vail about 25 yrs ago so of course that is my idea. She feels that area might not be good for me due to the class of people who go there (too rich for my blood). The only other place would be breck, A Basin. Could  you guys point me into maybe a different slope or give opinions?
I am 20 and willing to pay the young driver fee but as of now I KNOW enterprise at denver airport will NOT rent cars to 19 yr olds (long story, ended up getting the car through a national business contract). Are there resorts/ hotels that will do airport pickup and even as far as driving you to and from the mountain? 
I am sort of planning a loose $1000 budget for lift ticket, flights, hotel, rental car. Do it sound feasible?
-Ryan

post #2 of 23

You don't say if the trip is solo or with others.  A group can share expenses making a rental car a better $ deal.  Just don't listen to the rental agent about how bad the road conditions are.  They are trying to up sell you to a more expensive rental.  If you have any experience in snow/ice driving, the basic rental has a good chance to make the drive. 

 

Mountain resorts/hotels don't generally do Airport Transportation.  They will refer you to one of the Airport Transportation companies.  You can live without a rental car for a weekend using airport limo services if staying near resorts.

 

There are hotels in Aspen area with transportation from local airport but they will be pricey $$$$.

 

Weekend trip, I'll suggest Keystone, Copper, or Breck.  You can stay near the mountain, use resort shuttle busses to get around resort. Eat in the local establishments.

 

Another possibility, Stay in Leadville, CO.  Cheaper accommodations'.  High altitude. Less transportation options.  The local ski area (Ski Cooper) is small but the conditions are good.  Downside Long slow lifts lead to short lines on weekends.  You can also get to Copper, Keystone, Breck, Vail rather easily.

 

Time your trip to avoid going 'up' Friday Evening or Saturday AM and 'down' on Sunday afternoon.  Just like you, there will be thousands of others on the road.

post #3 of 23
There are a few shuttle companies that can get you up. Peak 1 Express and CME come to mind. I'd suggest Copper Mountain.
post #4 of 23
Or Home James to Winterpark.
Isn't there a hostel there?
post #5 of 23
I'd suggest breck. Never disappoints me and has a wide variety of terrain. $1000 might be tough to accomplish. Maybe $1200
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ali pine View Post
 

You don't say if the trip is solo or with others.  A group can share expenses making a rental car a better $ deal.  Just don't listen to the rental agent about how bad the road conditions are.  They are trying to up sell you to a more expensive rental.  If you have any experience in snow/ice driving, the basic rental has a good chance to make the drive. 

 

Mountain resorts/hotels don't generally do Airport Transportation.  They will refer you to one of the Airport Transportation companies.  You can live without a rental car for a weekend using airport limo services if staying near resorts.

 

There are hotels in Aspen area with transportation from local airport but they will be pricey $$$$.

 

Weekend trip, I'll suggest Keystone, Copper, or Breck.  You can stay near the mountain, use resort shuttle busses to get around resort. Eat in the local establishments.

 

Another possibility, Stay in Leadville, CO.  Cheaper accommodations'.  High altitude. Less transportation options.  The local ski area (Ski Cooper) is small but the conditions are good.  Downside Long slow lifts lead to short lines on weekends.  You can also get to Copper, Keystone, Breck, Vail rather easily.

 

Time your trip to avoid going 'up' Friday Evening or Saturday AM and 'down' on Sunday afternoon.  Just like you, there will be thousands of others on the road.

 

Thank you very much for the informative posts. I worked up in Aspen for 2 weeks (provided power and cooling for Aspen Food and Wine), I feel that area might be way to high class haha.
Since you and another fella said copper, I am going to look into it. I dont mind long and slow as long as lines are not for ever. 
Also due to school, I have to leave friday afternoon (430 flight I found), due to my company class (The company designed a program and the morning class is theirs, which is something I can not miss) and I want the longest time possible so leaving Monday, since  I have off from school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by COSkiGirl View Post

There are a few shuttle companies that can get you up. Peak 1 Express and CME come to mind. I'd suggest Copper Mountain.

Thank you for the mountain suggestion and also the shuttle suggestions are wonderful!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeG37 View Post

I'd suggest breck. Never disappoints me and has a wide variety of terrain. $1000 might be tough to accomplish. Maybe $1200

Looking now, you might be right. My goal is 1k but hey if it is an extra $100 or so oh well.

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 

Since I do not have permission to edit my above post
a quick breakdown
Round trip airfare=$411
Rental car= $395 ($35 a day extra for being 20, and it is a compact car)
Room= $177 (leadville CO, all 3 nights= the same as 1 night on copper mtn)
2 day lift ticket= $178
food= $100 (i travel for work and live on about $25 a day for food)
Gas= about 500 miles for everything and figured $35 in gas)
So a total of $1296. I feel after 10 minutes of looking (you guys really helped me, esp the leadville tip). If I can get a friend to go I can cut about $300 off (rough).  The problem is everyone in my class is from the south really, or doesnt have that kind of dough to do something they never really have done.
My next idea is to drive out to a mountain but that would be like $150 and 1500 miles of driving, but I have a 2012 mustang with michelin pilot sport AS3 (good all seasons but not winters haha). Also that 1500 miles of driving round trip, plus skiing might be a killer.
This isnt looking to feasible haha

post #8 of 23

If you're traveling solo, the shuttle to a motel and then the ski bus is going to be significantly cheaper than a rental car--I'm not sure about Leadville in particular, but at least within Summit County, there are buses (cheap? free? I can't remember now) between the motel zones and the big ski areas. That would make it doable on $1,000, though it'll be tight.

 

With $2 gas, though, finding a friend to do a road trip might be the best bet. Someone to share the driving/cost of a motel room with... if you go some place like Santa Fe or Colorado Springs, that's a great deal for a quick vacation for your buddy, even if he or she doesn't end up skiing. And you should be able to make it work well under your $1,000 budget.

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Tombs View Post
 

Since I do not have permission to edit my above post
a quick breakdown
Round trip airfare=$411
Rental car= $395 ($35 a day extra for being 20, and it is a compact car)
Room= $177 (leadville CO, all 3 nights= the same as 1 night on copper mtn)
2 day lift ticket= $178
food= $100 (i travel for work and live on about $25 a day for food)
Gas= about 500 miles for everything and figured $35 in gas)
So a total of $1296. I feel after 10 minutes of looking (you guys really helped me, esp the leadville tip). If I can get a friend to go I can cut about $300 off (rough).  The problem is everyone in my class is from the south really, or doesnt have that kind of dough to do something they never really have done.
My next idea is to drive out to a mountain but that would be like $150 and 1500 miles of driving, but I have a 2012 mustang with michelin pilot sport AS3 (good all seasons but not winters haha). Also that 1500 miles of driving round trip, plus skiing might be a killer.
This isnt looking to feasible haha

skip the rental car, take one of the airport shuttles mentioned above to/from the Frisco transit center and stay at someplace like the Snowshoe motel in Frisco right next to the free Summit Stage bus...that should save you close to $300.  

 

A compact car might be ok to drive up here 90% of the time, but I wouldn't want to do it in a storm with a lot of snow/ice on I-70 (or to/from Leadville).

post #10 of 23

You've been to Aspen. Did you have any problems with altitude? Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the US with an altitude over 10,000 feet. Sleeping overnight there will cause some people some problems. If you are sensitive to altitude, I would suggest you look at Idaho Springs for cheap accommodations.

 

I like Ski Cooper (Note the difference between Cooper and Copper). I would not fly across the country to ski there unless for the historical aspect- Cooper originally sprang into being in WWII as the practice slope for the 10th mountain. 

 

If your itinerary put you in a position where you really wanted to ski a half day somewhere, you could do worse than give Cooper some money, but the choice only makes sense if you aren't keeping yourself from skiing elsewhere.

 

I really don't think you need to be as concerned with "class."  Vail is not a classy mountain, just an expensive one (for day tickets) that gets mobbed with Denver day skiers.  In Aspen, riding the gondy up Ajax certainly exposes you to folks that just don't seem to be in the same world, but the vibe of skiing Aspen is a bunch of low key locals rather than some rich playground (the rush and famous don't ski and when they do it is absurdly comical). 

 

You can find lodging in Carbondale pretty cheap to ski at Aspen.

post #11 of 23
Second idaho springs as a base. 7,500 ft is a good elevation to start to get acclimated. Argo inn is a cheap, limited frills place that's good on a budget.

Since you're on a budget as well, I'd stay away from all Vail resorts (breck, keystone, Vail, and beaver creek)

Loveland is a good deal, and they have some nice Blues off of lift 2, 3 and 6.

Copper and winter park constantly run promos as well, I'd check their facebook page.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post

skip the rental car, take one of the airport shuttles mentioned above to/from the Frisco transit center and stay at someplace like the Snowshoe motel in Frisco right next to the free Summit Stage bus...that should save you close to $300.  

A compact car might be ok to drive up here 90% of the time, but I wouldn't want to do it in a storm with a lot of snow/ice on I-70 (or to/from Leadville).

This makes sense. You have limited time.
Driving from Leadville to Copper can be unpleasant at this time of year and when you add in gas/travel time, I doubt it's worth it.
I
post #13 of 23

I went to school at Oklahoma (Boomer Sooner) and we always drove to either northern NM (Santa Fe or Taos) or to Monarch or Crested Butte.  A friend's dad had a house at Angle Fire and we went there too but I would not recommend it.  All (except Angle Fire) will keep an intermediate entertained for three days..  When you think about travel time (driving to OKC, waiting for your plane there, flying to Denver, waiting for baggage, waiting for car rental, etc, etc) the 10-12 hour drive isn't that much worse than the plane trip and as cheap as gas is now a heck of a lot cheaper, especially if you travel with a few of your buddies.

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

I went to school at Oklahoma (Boomer Sooner) and we always drove to either northern NM (Santa Fe or Taos) or to Monarch or Crested Butte.  A friend's dad had a house at Angle Fire and we went there too but I would not recommend it.  All (except Angle Fire) will keep an intermediate entertained for three days..  When you think about travel time (driving to OKC, waiting for your plane there, flying to Denver, waiting for baggage, waiting for car rental, etc, etc) the 10-12 hour drive isn't that much worse than the plane trip and as cheap as gas is now a heck of a lot cheaper, especially if you travel with a few of your buddies.
I would fly out of tulsa... 1hr to get there. 1 hr at airport. 2 hrs to denver barring no delays. Toas is about 10 hrs away and idk if my mustang would be the best ski vehicle.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEfree30 View Post

skip the rental car, take one of the airport shuttles mentioned above to/from the Frisco transit center and stay at someplace like the Snowshoe motel in Frisco right next to the free Summit Stage bus...that should save you close to $300.  

A compact car might be ok to drive up here 90% of the time, but I wouldn't want to do it in a storm with a lot of snow/ice on I-70 (or to/from Leadville).
I looked into a shuttle quickly that runs from denver to copper and if my memory serves me correct it was $380. I am out currently but i have to look into those shuttles harder i think
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

You've been to Aspen. Did you have any problems with altitude? Leadville is the highest incorporated city in the US with an altitude over 10,000 feet. Sleeping overnight there will cause some people some problems. If you are sensitive to altitude, I would suggest you look at Idaho Springs for cheap accommodations.

I like Ski Cooper (Note the difference between Cooper and Copper). I would not fly across the country to ski there unless for the historical aspect- Cooper originally sprang into being in WWII as the practice slope for the 10th mountain. 

If your itinerary put you in a position where you really wanted to ski a half day somewhere, you could do worse than give Cooper some money, but the choice only makes sense if you aren't keeping yourself from skiing elsewhere.

I really don't think you need to be as concerned with "class."  Vail is not a classy mountain, just an expensive one (for day tickets) that gets mobbed with Denver day skiers.  In Aspen, riding the gondy up Ajax certainly exposes you to folks that just don't seem to be in the same world, but the vibe of skiing Aspen is a bunch of low key locals rather than some rich playground (the rush and famous don't ski and when they do it is absurdly comical). 

You can find lodging in Carbondale pretty cheap to ski at Aspen.
Stayed in snow mass and worked right in the center of aspen. Carrying cable and working i deff noticed me trying to take deeper breathes. I did fine at night. Maybe 1 bloody nose if that. As for aspen i think i was the fattest person there. EVERYONE excerises all day haha. Thank you for the idaho springs idea. I will have to look there.
I just wish there was a slope 5 hrs away ( would be a decent weekend trip haha)
post #15 of 23


You are getting a lot of advice here, some of which seems pretty far off-base. Idaho Springs is very far from skiing and would guarantee fighting round-trip ski traffic every day, plus would require a car and a lot of gas. Staying in Leadville coming straight from low altitude would give you a 25% chance of developing low-grade high altitude pulmonary edema (a study on this was done by Dr. Charles Houston in the 1960s), which at the very least would make you feel like crap and at the worst would wind you up in the hospital and end your ski trip. Ski Cooper is tiny place, crazy for a Colorado destination ski trip. My suggestion would be to skip the car, take a shuttle from the Denver airport, find a place to stay in Frisco (cheaper than at a ski area per se), buy discount lift passes at Podium Sports on Main Street, Frisco (there are other places, but that is the most central/walkable), and take the Summit Stage bus (free) to Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, or Keystone, as you prefer (the latter two can be skied on the same multi-day lift pass, as they are both owned by Vail Resorts).

post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ryan Tombs View Post
 
I looked into a shuttle quickly that runs from denver to copper and if my memory serves me correct it was $380. I am out currently but i have to look into those shuttles harder i think

 

No, it's much cheaper.  Like $130 RT to DIA door-to-door, or around $100 if you get dropped at the Frisco Bus Transfer Station.   

http://www.summitexpress.com/scheduled-shuttle-service/denver-airport-to-frisco-co-shuttle/

http://www.mountainshuttle.com/airport-shuttle-rates/

 

There are a couple hotels an easy walk from the Frisco Transfer Station that can be had for around $125-150/night, and a few others a bit longer walk, or you could catch a free bus to many others:

 

 

There is everything you could ever need within walking distance of those hotels, and you can catch a free and frequent bus to any of the Summit County ski areas:

http://www.co.summit.co.us/index.aspx?NID=586

 

I'd suggest skiing Copper because it's cheapest, least crowded, and of course the best major resort in Summit County. :D 

post #17 of 23

I didn't see anything in your budget for partying? 

 

:beercheer:

post #18 of 23

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ryan Tombs View Post
 

 My mother went to Vail about 25 yrs ago so of course that is my idea. She feels that area might not be good for me due to the class of people who go there (too rich for my blood).

 

When did the middle class become such snobs?  People at Vail are normal people. There's things to like and not like about the place but people go there to have fun like anywhere else.

post #19 of 23

So I know you said Utah is out due to longer flight time, but you might want to at least consider it.  The advantage is that you could stay in Midvale/Sandy and take the UTA ski bus, eliminating the need for a rental car.  The bus service would give you access to 4 resorts (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude) and costs $9 round trip.  Plus it stops in front of the Extended Stay.

The inconvenience of longer flight time could be offset by the savings.  However, it is staying in suburban SLC versus staying in a mountain town in Colorado.

 

I did a quick search for comparison purposes.  And since I do not know your travel dates, I plugged in 2/6 - 2/9 for the trip.

Here is what I came up with for Utah.


Round trip airfare=$414
Rental car= $0
Room = $174 (Extended Stay Midvale -> $58/night)
2 day lift ticket= $150 - $180
Bus - Sat/Sun = $18

Food= $100 (i travel for work and live on about $25 a day for food)
Gas= $0
So a total of $784

 

That comes out to roughly $500 savings.

post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by NeedToSki View Post
 

So I know you said Utah is out due to longer flight time, but you might want to at least consider it.  The advantage is that you could stay in Midvale/Sandy and take the UTA ski bus, eliminating the need for a rental car.  The bus service would give you access to 4 resorts (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude) and costs $9 round trip.  Plus it stops in front of the Extended Stay.

The inconvenience of longer flight time could be offset by the savings.  However, it is staying in suburban SLC versus staying in a mountain town in Colorado.

 

I did a quick search for comparison purposes.  And since I do not know your travel dates, I plugged in 2/6 - 2/9 for the trip.

Here is what I came up with for Utah.


Round trip airfare=$414
Rental car= $0
Room = $174 (Extended Stay Midvale -> $58/night)
2 day lift ticket= $150 - $180
Bus - Sat/Sun = $18

Food= $100 (i travel for work and live on about $25 a day for food)
Gas= $0
So a total of $784

 

That comes out to roughly $500 savings.

 

Good plan.  How do you get from the airport to and from Midvale?  I've taken a taxi, but I'm sure there is a cheaper way.

post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post
 

 

Good plan.  How do you get from the airport to and from Midvale?  I've taken a taxi, but I'm sure there is a cheaper way.


Good point tball.

 

Midvale is about 15 miles from the airport.  I assumed that the hotels in that area offer a shuttle to/from the airport, but did not check to be sure.  If they don't, then it may require a taxi - with additional costs.

 

Another option could be Trax, as UTA has recently completed the line out to the airport.  Not as convenient as a taxi, but likely a lot cheaper.


Edited by NeedToSki - 1/6/15 at 10:43am
post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 

hey sorry guys... just got back to college. I plan on doing a Friday (late flight due to school) and coming back late monday (i have off, and maybe even ski half day) 1/16/15 to 1/19/15
fitting my time I found the cheapest flight to be $451 (not bad), next I have to look into how much the baggage is (for skis)
found a few hotels/ motels for under $50 gotta do some digging but this might be a WAYY better option. I also stayed with holiday in express parent company for over 60 days this yr (sadly they are missing about 55, as I just looked). If I can correct it and use points... even more savings haha. Thank you all for the help! I am hoping I can get this squared away!

post #23 of 23

You are coming over MLK weekend.  Worst weekend you can pick because resorts will be packed.  If you are doing a weekend and can miss some school on a Monday, I would suggest the weekend or two after.  Your rental car rate in the $300 is because it's MLK weekend and the rental agencies are gouging you.

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