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Colorado through Utah Road Trip 4/4-4/12 Input Request

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I’m planning on taking a road trip to Colorado through Utah during my late spring break from 4/4-4/12. The miracle March we have been hoping for hasn’t materialized and has been closer to a miserable March. The passes I have will allow me to choose from 12 different Colorado resorts without having to buy a lift ticket. Even if conditions are not optimal, with more snow and higher elevations I am hoping to get much better skiing than Tahoe.

I would appreciate any beta on conditions, food, and reasonable accommodations (nothing fancy, just clean and quiet.) along with suggestions/recommendations.

Here are my passes, free choices (and limited experience):
Boreal – Copper Mountain (skied there once in 2010. Really liked the upper mountain and separated terrain.)
Epic Local – Arapahoe Basin (skied there once in spring 2012, low snow, but was impressed with the potential there.) Keystone (skied there once in 2003, wasn’t all that impressed, but willing to give it another try.) Breckenridge (skied there 3 different times, really liked the upper mountain.) Vail (skied there two different times. First time a spring powder day and the second time a mid-winter hardpack day.) Beaver Creek (skied there 2 different times. Had fun and appreciated the schwank-ness) (Also can ski Park City and/or Canyons on the way to/from CO.)
Mountain Collective – Aspen/Aspen Highlands/Buttermilk/Snowmass (skied all 4 resorts in one day in December 2013 on a previous road trip. Had fun sampling all four, but Snowmass and Highlands really stood out.) (Also can ski Alta/Snowbird for half price since I already used my two days there in January.)
Sierra at Tahoe – Crested Butte (Haven’t skied there before, on my to-do list.) Monarch (Haven’t skied there before, on my to-do list.) (Also can ski Snowbasin on the way to/from CO.)

Here is my tentative plan (subject to change based on conditions and suggestions.):
Fri. 4/3, drive to UT
Sat. 4/4, ski a morning half-day at Brian Head. (Are there any discount tickets for Brian Head?) Drive to Gunnison, CO
Sun. 4/5, ski Crested Butte
Mon. 4/6, ski Monarch. Drive to Summit County
Tues. 4/7, Wed. 4/8, Thurs. 4/9 ski Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, Copper, Vail and/or Beaver Creek. After skiing on Thurs., drive to Glenwood Springs.
Fri. 4/10 and Sat. 4/11 ski Aspen, Aspen Highlands and/or Snowmass. After skiing on Sat. drive to UT
Sun. 4/12 ski Snowbasin, Park City, Canyons and/or Alta/Snowbird, Drive home.

Thanks ahead of time for any and all input.
post #2 of 23

May or may not be of interest . . . the Alta Demo Day is April 11.  A collection of demo tents at the Wildcat base for free demos.

 

Have you been following the Utah weather thread?

post #3 of 23

Sounds like a fun road trip!  A week ago I finished a Crested Butte/Alta/Snowbird/Snowbasin road trip.   Fun, fun, fun.

 

Here are my random thoughts:

 

  • Days Inn in Gunnison was cheap, nice and had a good breakfast.
  • Maybe swap CB/Monarch days depending on the weather.   It would be a bit more driving, but you want to hit CB on a good day (warm and soft, or fresh) to enjoy the steeps.  Monarch will be more tolerable if you happen to hit a crappy refrozen day, as it generally has much better snow conditions and doesn't have the extreme steeps like CB.
  • Consider staying in Salida after skiing Monarch then skiing your first Summit day from there.  It's a cool town and should be a bit less expensive.
  • Follow the Colorado weather thread to decide where to ski each day around Summit County.  In general elevation is your friend, so favor A-basin, Copper and Breck.  Go to Vail on a colder, cloudy day when the lower elevation south facing back bowls might soften while the higher elevation resorts stay firm.  Sklp Keystone.  Be aware of terrain closures at Copper and Beaver Creek after April 1 and make sure there is enough terrain open of interest to you.
  • Stop for quick bite at the Hot Tomato in Fruita on the CO/UT border for yummy pizza slices or stromboli just off I-70.
  • Skip Snowbasin unless it snows a bunch.  It's low and faces east and was already a mess a week ago.  Alta and Snowbird will be MUCH better.
  • If you mountain bike and have room, consider bringing your bike and going for a world class ride in Fruita or Moab when driving between CO and UT.  If you do, staying in Green River or Fruita works nicely.  With the long days, you can ski and bike in the same day, or if it's a crappy day you could skip skiing and just bike.

 

Have fun and drive safely!

post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

May or may not be of interest . . . the Alta Demo Day is April 11.  A collection of demo tents at the Wildcat base for free demos.



 



Have you been following the Utah weather thread?


 



Thanks for the heads up.

I also just subscribed to the Utah weather thread.
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

Sounds like a fun road trip!  A week ago I finished a Crested Butte/Alta/Snowbird/Snowbasin road trip.   Fun, fun, fun.



 



Here are my random thoughts:



 




  • Days Inn in Gunnison was cheap, nice and had a good breakfast.

  • Maybe swap CB/Monarch days depending on the weather.   It would be a bit more driving, but you want to hit CB on a good day (warm and soft, or fresh) to enjoy the steeps.  Monarch will be more tolerable if you happen to hit a crappy refrozen day, as it generally has much better snow conditions and doesn't have the extreme steeps like CB.

  • Consider staying in Salida after skiing Monarch then skiing your first Summit day from there.  It's a cool town and should be a bit less expensive.

  • Follow the Colorado weather thread to decide where to ski each day around Summit County.  In general elevation is your friend, so favor A-basin, Copper and Breck.  Go to Vail on a colder, cloudy day when the lower elevation south facing back bowls might soften while the higher elevation resorts stay firm.  Sklp Keystone.  Be aware of terrain closures at Copper and Beaver Creek after April 1 and make sure there is enough terrain open of interest to you.

  • Stop for quick bite at the Hot Tomato in Fruita on the CO/UT border for yummy pizza slices or stromboli just off I-70.

  • Skip Snowbasin unless it snows a bunch.  It's low and faces east and was already a mess a week ago.  Alta and Snowbird will be MUCH better.

  • If you mountain bike and have room, consider bringing your bike and going for a world class ride in Fruita or Moab when driving between CO and UT.  If you do, staying in Green River or Fruita works nicely.  With the long days, you can ski and bike in the same day, or if it's a crappy day you could skip skiing and just bike.



 



Have fun and drive safely!


 



Thanks for the tips. Great to hear about your recent experience.
post #6 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stev View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

May or may not be of interest . . . the Alta Demo Day is April 11.  A collection of demo tents at the Wildcat base for free demos.

 

 

 

Have you been following the Utah weather thread?

 



Thanks for the heads up.

I also just subscribed to the Utah weather thread.


If you decide to ski Alta/Snowbird, I'll be there.  My ski buddy and I are doing drive staring in Denver.  Using the MCP at Aspen for a few days in late March before heading to Alta Lodge to meet up with friends.  Definitely going to be skiing at Alta Demo Day and April 12, the last day for Supreme.

post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
A thread bump for some more detailed information/suggestions/recommendations.

I made lodging reservations in Gunnison, Avon and Aspen. I'm open to ideas for food, etc. in these towns as well as in/near the ski resorts mentioned in my first post.

Thanks again.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stev View Post

A thread bump for some more detailed information/suggestions/recommendations.

I made lodging reservations in Gunnison, Avon and Aspen. I'm open to ideas for food, etc. in these towns as well as in/near the ski resorts mentioned in my first post.

Thanks again.

 

Where you staying in Aspen?  Depending on the weather, Apres at Sky Bar, Ajax Tavern or Mezalluna.  Dine in the bar at La Hostria, Campo or Elaina.

post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

 

Where you staying in Aspen?  Depending on the weather, Apres at Sky Bar, Ajax Tavern or Mezalluna.  Dine in the bar at La Hostria, Campo or Elaina.

 



I'll be staying at Tyrolean Lodge.
post #10 of 23

Over the last two months I've driven across the country from VA to CO, UT, CA, WY and back to CO.  One thing about all the mild western weather is that it has taken snowy roads out of the equation for long driving days.  Best snow by far is in CO, but my time in UT was at PCMR and Canyons and reports indicate Alta//Bird have better condition than those two.  FYI,can get nice suite at Quality Inn & Suites in Glenwood Springs for about $45 including taxes off priceline "express deals" if you lock in on it two days in advance.  I also used priceline for cheap motels along interstates and major roads in NV.  Good powder skiing at A-Basin on 3/25, but spring conditions returning this weekend.  In that case I have found no rush to get to slopes before about 11am anywhere in Summit County until things soften-up, then on warm afternoons spring bumps can be fun everywhere including Keystone.  Lower terrain in Vail and Beaver Creek is getting pretty dirty at this point.  Over the last month Breck has had the best conditions in Summit County and it is still plenty white there.

post #11 of 23

It's been really warm.  My experiences:

 

I just returned from a week in Crested Butte.  Icy mornings, slushy afternoons except for two days where it happened to snow a couple of inches the night before.  All of the extreme terrain and most of the black runs are closed.  The resort itself will close on April 5th.

 

We go to Copper each weekend in February for our daughters' multi-week program and also went a little in early March this year.  Copper has enough base to withstand a little more warmth than CB does, but you'll need to stay high.

 

You'd probably do best at A-Basin because of its elevation.

 

The roads probably won't be a factor.  Yesterday we went from CB to Denver, dry as a bone the whole way.  It might snow a little this Thursday according to the reports, but by that time the roads will have a lot of retained heat.

 

-WJG

post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'm on my way. I made it to Cedar City, UT. Plan to ski a morning half day at Brian Head before driving to Gunnison, CO. Any suggestions for better places to fill up with gas in CO and/or food stores along the way?
post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 

Brian Head
post #14 of 23

There is a Sinclair station in Silverthorne that was selling gas for $2.10. on Thursday morning 4/2.  I drove from there to Virginia on the 2nd and 3rd and the only place I saw cheaper gas was for 2.09 in Kansas City.

post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stev View Post

Plan to ski a morning half day at Brian Head before driving to Gunnison, CO. Any suggestions for better places to fill up with gas in CO and/or food stores along the way?

Multiple Sinclairs in Grand Junctions are $2.07 according to GasBuddy which is a useful App to have on your phone for long road trip to unfamiliar places.

 

Many of the excellent and expensive restaurants in Aspen have a bar menu that gives you a better deal if you sit in the bar, even at a table in the bar.

 

While I don't have as many options on free lift tickets, I do have two for any Vail-operated and two for Aspen areas that are looking like they will go to waste. I did find cheap flights to Denver when I looked a couple of weeks ago, but my wife thinks me getting away without her for one 22-day ski trip was enough and that I should skip CO this year.

post #16 of 23

Have fun at CB today.  Looks like there is a bit of good terrain open off the North Face lift, but the High Lift is closed.  At least you'll get a taste of the steeps.   Nice and warm, so hopefully fun spring skiing.  I'm really curious how the snow has held up, and would love to see pics if you take any.   34" base is barely enough for that stuff, so be careful scouting your lines the first lap or two.

 

Also, the Teocalli Tamale is awesome for an early solo dinner after skiing in the town of CB.  Kinda like a Chipotle, but better and they have awesome tamales too.  I always like to eat there and walk around town a bit before retreating to my cheap hotel Gunnison.   Have fun!

post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Crested Butte is a great mountain! High Lift was open today too.
Just had a burrito at Teocalli Tamale. Delicious
post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 
post #19 of 23

Thanks for the pics!   Here they are larger (I know it's hard to make them large on a phone).   Coverage looks much better than I expected for a 34" base.  Great to hear they opened the High Lift for closing day!

 

 

Still planning on Monarch tomorrow?  I bet you have the whole mountain to yourself!  

post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Yes, Monarch on Monday.
post #21 of 23

Nice trip you have going on!  Monarch is a fun place, one of the more scenic areas in CO. 

How did you like Brian Head?  worth a stop or is it pretty flat?

post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bustedknee View Post

Nice trip you have going on!  Monarch is a fun place, one of the more scenic areas in CO. 



How did you like Brian Head?  worth a stop or is it pretty flat?


 



Looking forward to Monarch today.
I'm glad that I stopped at Brian Head. Beautiful views. Nothing very steep inbounds. (After skiing Crested Butte yesterday it is hard to call many other mountains steep.) The sidecountry has great potential with more snow and it is a steeper too. Brian Head is like two small resorts put together. One peak is mostly beginner/lower intermediate. The other is intermediate/advanced. It has a friendly vibe. It is on my to-do again list now.
post #23 of 23
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