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skiing in the front range this weekend with the family - advice on locations?

post #1 of 2
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I know there have been a number of threads on this topic recently so i apologize if this is a bit repetitive - but wanted to hear people's thoughts on what to do this weekend.  I'll be staying in frisco with my family and skiing from fri-mon.  three children, 7, 5, and 3.  the 7 and 5 year old will ski just about anything short of maybe the hike-to terrain on the east wall at a-basin.  the 3 year old is fine on most blue terrain.  likely to put the children in ski school for a couple of the days.  i was planning on staying as high as possible, so skiing copper, a-basin and maybe loveland.  


i took the two older children on the same trip last year, and we spent two days at copper and one at a-basin.  really enjoyed them both, albeit for different reasons.  copper definitely got warmer and more slushy by days end, but had a lot more to do for the first half of the day before things softened up (anything protected at a-basin, like the east wall, was amazing - but a good part of the mountain was pretty grim until around noon).  copper also struck me as a clearly easier option for a family but at a-basin the children really enjoyed the terrain in land of giants, etc., which was at a different level than what they found at copper.  


copper has 20% off on lessons as long as you buy 48 hours in advance, so it would be nice if i could determine in advance where to go (though id rather get the mountain right each day than save the $40 per child).  so i have a few questions about how to approach things -  


1 - given the forecast (i understand it is very possible it changes wholesale over the next couple of days), i have competing thoughts in my head about what to do friday.  while a-basin and loveland are closer to the divide and currently seem a little more likely to do better with the storm, I also would imagine that the continuing snow and clouds for much of friday will make a lot of the neat above treeline / hiking stuff at those resorts either closed or at the very least not optimal from a visibility standpoint.  with the warm temps this week in advance of the storm, am i likely to be far better off picking a place with a little more snow to cover the refrozen base?  or would it need to be something on the order of like 6"+ to really matter, so that the couple extra inches near the divide don't necessarily matter?


2 - is there a material difference to how the snow has held up between a-basin / loveland / copper?


2 - i don't have a great feel for opening / closing of the east wall hiking areas at a-basin - are those something that is usually kept closed after a snowfall of say, 4-6"?  or is it possible they would be open on friday barring the storm hugely outperforming?


3 - I know copper has a great setup for families and certainly appreciated the layout when skiing with the two older children last year.  as far as a-basin and loveland - I have only skied loveland for half a day (and the highest chair was closed due to wind, so didnt get to really any of the above treeline stuff) - I remember there being some great, steep, tree skiing off to the left but not a whole lot else.  is it a good place to consider for a day with the children?  will there be enough interesting things for my three year old to ski?  same question for a-basin.  it was great last year for my older children, but want to make sure my youngest has fun there as well.  


4 - any days at a-basin was planning on putting my youngest in ski school, i thought they were great last year.  thoughts on the ski school at loveland?  or maybe loveland a good place for the family to ski together?  would want to have blue terrain reasonably nearby to steep trees / bumps so that my older children stay interested and have fun.


5 - finally, was also thinking of maybe skiing winter park on monday as we will be staying in denver on monday night before an early morning tuesday flight.  haven't skied there since high school but remember it as being a lot of fun and a great place to ski with a family of modestly mixed abilities.  is it worth going out of the way on the return to denver?  or likely just adds quite a bit of hassle and a much earlier wakeup so not worth leaving the areas more closely located to our hotel?


i was also thinking of breck for this trip but having been unable to find any discounts to a $150 lift ticket - i wouldn't want to ski there all four days - i crossed it off the list as that price seems completely absurd to me.


thanks for all of your help!


post #2 of 2

Breck is skiing really well at the moment.  They seem to have the most snow of the big resorts on the Front Range.


Was just at A-Basin and they are doing really well.  Typical March conditions - frozen AM, soft PM.  The entire East Wall is open, including the Wiley's Staircase and the Snorkel Door.  I didn't bother with those though so I can't comment on the conditions.  The hike through the North Pole gate is open, but it looks like unless you are willing to billy-goat into the North Pole there isn't much to ski.  Post-storm they will bomb the crap out of the wall, and then open it.  They don't usually keep it closed for long. 


Winter Park is great, but I haven't been there this year.  As far as being out of the way, it is as far away from Denver as A-Basin. 


Not sure I have any specific other advice on your questions though - Just my quick report from skiing there last week. 

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