or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Steamboat, Feb 2016. Advice needed
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Steamboat, Feb 2016. Advice needed

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Well, I just can't resist and decided to get the Max Pass www.themaxpass.com. It hits the places I frequent in the east and I can break even or better with no problem. So, now all I have to do is add a week in the west and I can count those as FREE ski days! So, I pretty much decided on a trip to Steamboat mostly because I've been to Copper, Big Sky and WP and never had a chance to get to Steamboat. Another reason is it will be my wife and I, along with a couple who are just barely in the "advanced skier" category and have never skied anywhere but New England, so I figured it's a good place for them to enjoy a nice town and hopefully learn to ski some powder.

Unfortunately we're stuck with President's week because of my wife's job, so I'm a bit concerned with crowds. Big Sky would likely be a good spot to escape that problem, but I think our friends would be happier with the "ambiance" in Steamboat. My question is mostly about getting there. We are planning to fly on Delta because we have a $500 voucher we need to use. I was under the impression that Delta does fly to Hayden, but so far the Delta website will not show any fares for either HDN or EGE in 2016. I have no idea if these will pop up later, or when. However, DEN and Grand Junction are both bookable right now, but still pricey, so I guess we'll wait a while and hope for a sale. I was wondering if there is any reason not to consider flying into GJT? It's apparently only 10 miles more than DEN and I would presume it avoids the travel chaos associated with I-70 although flying in on Sat. afternoon and returning home Sun. morning should mitigate that somewhat if I can book the right flights. It also looks like a good large SUV is cheaper in GJT as well.

We're also considering breaking up the week with 4 days at Steamboat and 2 at Copper (on Max Pass). That way we're closer to DEN for a return home on Sunday morning.

Any suggestions on travel and/or itinerary? I checked Finndog's Unofficial Guide and there was no mention of flying into either GJT or EGE, so wondering if there is a reason for that, aside from price (and of course, the fact that I can't even determine if Delta will fly there in 2016)?

....and BTW - if anyone has an entirely different, even more brilliant suggestion for my use of the Max Pass, let me have it!
post #2 of 24

Many of the seasonal flight won't get loaded into the system until late summer.  I'd wait and try to fly right into HDN.

post #3 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

Many of the seasonal flight won't get loaded into the system until late summer.  I'd wait and try to fly right into HDN.

 

Ditto.  Delta flies into HDN via Minneapolis and ATL.  Hold off on flights until later in the summer when they become available.  I've never flown into Eagle or GJ, however I have considered it before because the drive is much easier than going to Denver... no passes, no traffic.  You would need to rent a car from either Eagle or GJ as I don't believe any of our taxi services go to those airports.

post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info. I didn't realize it was typical for "seasonal" flights to be released much later in some airline's schedules. I typically book a ski trip in the fall, so I guess that's why I missed that fact. Just purchased the Max Passes today, so it's officially ON, but I'll have to be patient on the airfare. Still considering flying into an alternate airport beside HDN on one end (or both) however in order to get in one extra "free" ski day since the pass only gives 5 days at any resort and it might be nice for our friends to see another resort. Considering skiing 4 at Steamboat and 2 at Copper (or possibly Winter Park) with a travel/sightseeing day midweek in which case r/t via HDN might not be the best bet.
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by carvemeister View Post

Thanks for the info. I didn't realize it was typical for "seasonal" flights to be released much later in some airline's schedules. I typically book a ski trip in the fall, so I guess that's why I missed that fact. Just purchased the Max Passes today, so it's officially ON, but I'll have to be patient on the airfare. Still considering flying into an alternate airport beside HDN on one end (or both) however in order to get in one extra "free" ski day since the pass only gives 5 days at any resort and it might be nice for our friends to see another resort. Considering skiing 4 at Steamboat and 2 at Copper (or possibly Winter Park) with a travel/sightseeing day midweek in which case r/t via HDN might not be the best bet.

you can also go EWR to ATL (Atlanta) on Delta into HDN. its a good flight.  

 

Copper is a great idea!  I really enjoy copper and its a good mix with Steamboat.  

post #6 of 24

I've been flying Delta from Minneapolis to Hayden for years and unfortunately it's getting more difficult all the time.  Several years ago Delta changed equipment on this route from the Airbus to regional jets.  The capacity is much smaller and there are a lot of skiers in Minneapolis meaning fares from Minneapolis to Hayden are a lot higher than they used to be.  One flight per day leaves Minneapolis just before lunch and arrives Hayden about 2pm, spends an hour on the ground and then returns.  On Delta, going through Atlanta might make sense.

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks Finndog. However, I hate going to Newark and the long term parking (last I recall) was a real pain in the ass. Coming from eastern L.I. I have to drive past 3 airports to get there, so I almost never see any advantage. But I guess the more relevant questions I had were, if we're also going to ski Copper (likely) and therefore will need to rent an SUV anyhow, does it really make sense to fly to Hayden? Is the drive from Denver that much of a problem as long as the flight timings are good? I'm also still wondering if there are any pros or cons to flying into GJT vs DEN?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by carvemeister View Post

Thanks for the info. I didn't realize it was typical for "seasonal" flights to be released much later in some airline's schedules. I typically book a ski trip in the fall, so I guess that's why I missed that fact. Just purchased the Max Passes today, so it's officially ON, but I'll have to be patient on the airfare. Still considering flying into an alternate airport beside HDN on one end (or both) however in order to get in one extra "free" ski day since the pass only gives 5 days at any resort and it might be nice for our friends to see another resort. Considering skiing 4 at Steamboat and 2 at Copper (or possibly Winter Park) with a travel/sightseeing day midweek in which case r/t via HDN might not be the best bet.
you can also go EWR to ATL (Atlanta) on Delta into HDN. its a good flight.  

Copper is a great idea!  I really enjoy copper and its a good mix with Steamboat.  
post #8 of 24
i would say to check into flights departing From jfk or LGA to atl and then to hdn. given that you are skiing in summit, yes you will need a suv (or I'll drive you Ironically, I was just speaking with a person who owns a management co in steamboat and I was suggesting that there be a steamboat / copper shuttle). Ok, so also given that the flights into HDN are expensive I would look at both options (HDN & DEN) with the suv rental. However, when flying into HDN you could look at renting a suv on a per day basis right from the base area and not have to keep it for your entire stay. the Grand has a car rental co on site.
post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by carvemeister View Post

But I guess the more relevant questions I had were, if we're also going to ski Copper (likely) and therefore will need to rent an SUV anyhow, does it really make sense to fly to Hayden? Is the drive from Denver that much of a problem as long as the flight timings are good? I'm also still wondering if there are any pros or cons to flying into GJT vs DEN?

Yes I would still recommend flying to HDN even if you rent a car, especially since you said you'd be flying out on a Sunday. Personally I give the convenience of the regional airports a $200 premium... meaning when I'm flying, I'll happily pay $200 more for the HDN flight over Denver (obviously with a family, the economics are a little different). Driving I70 can be a nightmare, especially heading east to Denver on a Sunday. You can always use HDN on one end of the trip (I would recommend for the return flight, then you don't need to schedule around I70 traffic and if you do get cancelled/delayed, you're still in ski country!). I've done many one way car rentals SB to Denver and vice versa and haven't found any noticeable price difference vs roundtrip. You probably won't find huge rate differences on flights for EGE vs HDN, but if you plan on doing Copper, EGE on one end and HDN on the other would make a lot of sense.

Whatever you decide, wait until the flights are loaded later in the summer... don't pull the trigger on flghts until you can price out HDN/EGE. Denver has some of the lowest rates in the country (especially out of JFK/LGA), so you're not going to save anything by booking the flights now.

And FYI @Finndog, that Avis in the Grand just closed a few weeks ago frown.gif. Now it's just Enterprise or the car dealerships for in-town rentals. Enterprise has a $9.99/day weekend rate (100 miles/day)... pretty smokin' deal if you just need a car for tooling around town.
post #10 of 24

Thanks again for the great info @tam ! I know Enterprise used to have smokin' one way rentals to/from DIA as well.  Are the closing up and leaving Steamboat or just moving to another location?  I think they had a location on the west side on Downhill drive?

 
2251 Downhill Dr, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
(970) 879-7442

 

 I am sure they would shuttle you to/from your hotel.  FWIW Steamboat Motors has some good car rental deals as well

post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
 

Thanks again for the great info @tam ! I know Enterprise used to have smokin' one way rentals to/from DIA as well.  Are the closing up and leaving Steamboat or just moving to another location?  I think they had a location on the west side on Downhill drive?

 
2251 Downhill Dr, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
(970) 879-7442

 

 I am sure they would shuttle you to/from your hotel.  FWIW Steamboat Motors has some good car rental deals as well

It's my understanding that Avis is only going to be operated out of their airport location from now on, no in-town locations... I had to get a ride to the airport last Friday to pick up a weekend rental.

 

Yes Enterprise is that Downhill Dr location, but of course they have the whole "we'll pick up you" deal (not sure if that applies to the airport however, I know there are lots of legal restrictions for that stuff)... super friendly staff, they even gave me a nice big GMC Acadia on the $9.99 deal when I had only reserved a little rollerskate Chevy Cruze type of car.

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by tam View Post
 

It's my understanding that Avis is only going to be operated out of their airport location from now on, no in-town locations... I had to get a ride to the airport last Friday to pick up a weekend rental.

 

Yes Enterprise is that Downhill Dr location, but of course they have the whole "we'll pick up you" deal (not sure if that applies to the airport however, I know there are lots of legal restrictions for that stuff)... super friendly staff, they even gave me a nice big GMC Acadia on the $9.99 deal when I had only reserved a little rollerskate Chevy Cruze type of car.

 

It does not apply to the airport!  You have to rent from the airport location or have SME/Go-Alpine shuttle you.  I do know that Steamboat motors will pick you up at Hayden and take you back to town to complete the rental.  Not sure how they get around the rules but I used to use them. Not sure if they take you back.  Call for details...  

post #13 of 24

I skied with my two young kids at Steamboat on Feb 20-24th spring break this year using Intrawest Passport (Bought MaxPass for next season too; from NYC area).  First time in Colorado and great experience there.  Read Finndog's comprehensive guide and it is very helpful.  Thanks, Finndog!

 

Flew to Denver on Feb 20 when it was near 70s in Denver area.  Steamboat was in mid 30s in the mountain.  It cooled down and snowed in the upper mountain for the next 2 days.  Loved the snow condition there (did not get enough champaign power though).  Skied almost all the trails except chutes.  Not crowded at all except terrain park area at the gondola base area.  Kids loved the superpipe which stayed pretty much empty all the time.  Highly recommend Steamboat.

 

Went to Winter Park next and skied on Feb 25/26.  Loved the mountain but not the town. Who cares?  You need a place to sleep in.  But Steamboat town is way better.  The view from Parsenn Bowl at WP at 12060ft above sea is surreal and unbeatable (the only thing Steamboat does not have).  Liked tree skiing in both places.  Really resented some WP lifts without restraint bars.  I think Steamboat has also 2 lifts without restraint bars.  Be extra careful on them if you have kids and/or are from east coast.

 

Great experience at both Steamboat and WP.  Steamboat beats WP in every way except the view from peak (maybe also the Cirque).  Strongly suggest you visit both with Max Pass.

 

We will go there again this upcoming Christmas.  Contemplating making Steamboat and Big Sky in one trip.  I know the driving would be too much between Big Sky and Steamboat.  Maybe two separate trips.

 

Happy skiing!

post #14 of 24

Drove Steamboat to Big Sky in March, and it was just  over 9 hours, including a stop for lunch in Jackson. The autobahnish speed limit on I 80 in Wyoming certainly helps. Admitttedly, it was clear the entire trip....a Monday.

post #15 of 24
Thanks, Lonepine. How would you compare Big Sky and Steamboat? All I know is Big Sky is big and its lone peak is super steep.
post #16 of 24
Unfortunately we had poor conditions. Thin cover, spring conditions. Lots of skree damage to skis.That said, I would love to revisit in better conditions, as the area is massive...much more acreage than Steamboat. The base area offers very little , so dinners involve a 5 mile drive each way.
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

i would say to check into flights departing From jfk or LGA to atl and then to hdn. given that you are skiing in summit, yes you will need a suv (or I'll drive you Ironically, I was just speaking with a person who owns a management co in steamboat and I was suggesting that there be a steamboat / copper shuttle). Ok, so also given that the flights into HDN are expensive I would look at both options (HDN & DEN) with the suv rental. However, when flying into HDN you could look at renting a suv on a per day basis right from the base area and not have to keep it for your entire stay. the Grand has a car rental co on site.


Hey, thanks for the lift offer! We're 4 adults though who usually travel with a lot of crap and multiple skis. You'd need a pretty big suv to shlepp us anywhere. I'm sure we'll be renting a vehicle. I spent all afternoon analyzing all the possible options which isn't easy when I don't yet know where we're flying to/from. Nevertheless I found out quite a bit. #1 is that there does not seem to be any way, or any availability for a 1-way rental that involves Enterprise in Steamboat. There are no options to pickup or drop off between Steamboat and any of the 4 airports (EGE, HDN, DEN, GJT). Enterprise has 1-way options ONLY off-airport to the following 3 locations: Avon, Glenwood Springs, or Silverthorn. Vehicle types are extremely limited and at least $160/day. So there seems to be no sense involving Steamboat Enterprise in anything at all.

In checking all other rental/aiport combos, I found the following: R/T Full Size SUV (or even Premium SUV which is cheaper in some cases) for 8 days is a Total of $720 @ DEN; $603 @ GJT and $530 @ EGE - and that one is a Premium SUV. All prices through Costco travel which includes 1 extra driver FREE. SWEET!! So, the EGE R/T is a sick, killer deal. Too bad I can't book a flight there yet. I'd hate to find out the cheapest flights going there are $800 for the Holiday week.

Going further, I found that the absolute optimal itinerary for us, since we plan to ski Copper and Steamboat, would surely be EGE on one end and HDN on the other as Tam already pointed out. And whooda thunk I could have found a 1-way rental from EGE to HDN for 8 Days in a PREMIUM SUV (via Costco/Budget Car Rental) for a TOTAL of $678! (BTW, the Inverse was $1,052 and most other 1-way airport combos were more than that, up to ~$1,600). So, what the hell, I reserved a $678 "Premium SUV" for EGE-HDN, for no charge. I took a shot at putting in a noon arrival at EGE and hopefully, if we're late picking it up, it won't be a problem. Now, I just have to wait for the flight schedules and hope they're not too whacked out. Airfare prices this year remain very high so far.

Looks like we'll probably ski 2 days at Copper (maybe 3), then take a travel/sightseeing day off and head to The Boat for ~ 3-4 days of skiing. I already had hotels on hold for 8 days at each location since I found fairly good prices and wanted to lock them in with no commitments. I'll pare down the days (hopefully that won't be a problem) after we find airfare. Seems like as much of a plan as I can muster at this point.
Edited by carvemeister - 4/24/15 at 6:44am
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunj99 View Post

I skied with my two young kids at Steamboat on Feb 20-24th spring break this year using Intrawest Passport (Bought MaxPass for next season too; from NYC area).  First time in Colorado and great experience there.  Read Finndog's comprehensive guide and it is very helpful.  Thanks, Finndog!

Flew to Denver on Feb 20 when it was near 70s in Denver area.  Steamboat was in mid 30s in the mountain.  It cooled down and snowed in the upper mountain for the next 2 days.  Loved the snow condition there (did not get enough champaign power though).  Skied almost all the trails except chutes.  Not crowded at all except terrain park area at the gondola base area.  Kids loved the superpipe which stayed pretty much empty all the time.  Highly recommend Steamboat.

Went to Winter Park next and skied on Feb 25/26.  Loved the mountain but not the town. Who cares?  You need a place to sleep in.  But Steamboat town is way better.  The view from Parsenn Bowl at WP at 12060ft above sea is surreal and unbeatable (the only thing Steamboat does not have).  Liked tree skiing in both places.  Really resented some WP lifts without restraint bars.  I think Steamboat has also 2 lifts without restraint bars.  Be extra careful on them if you have kids and/or are from east coast.

Great experience at both Steamboat and WP.  Steamboat beats WP in every way except the view from peak (maybe also the Cirque).  Strongly suggest you visit both with Max Pass.

We will go there again this upcoming Christmas.  Contemplating making Steamboat and Big Sky in one trip.  I know the driving would be too much between Big Sky and Steamboat.  Maybe two separate trips.

Happy skiing!

No kids with us. They're in their 20's and ski us into the ground now anyhow. I was at Winter Park 2 years ago for a week, and was very surprised how big it was and how much better than expected it was. Mary Jane was awesome. Loved skiing the bumps there! And overall the tree skiing surprised me as well. I agree on the "town" too. Pretty dull. In fact, pretty much no fun at all from what I could tell and inconvenient as well. That is one reason we decided to go to Steamboat with our Max Passes and our never-skied-the west-before friends. Of all places on the Max Pass, Steamboat seemed like it should be the best combo of town and mountain (although it's one of the few places I've never been to) for our Upper Intermediate / Lower Advanced / possibly scared of powder, friends. I'm very used to the lack of safety bars, but surely our friend's wife will be a bit freaked out! So, we'll combine Steamboat with Copper, stay in Frisco for a few nights, and it should be great!
Edited by carvemeister - 4/24/15 at 6:47am
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunj99 View Post

Thanks, Lonepine. How would you compare Big Sky and Steamboat? All I know is Big Sky is big and its lone peak is super steep.

Big Sky is insane. It's sick. It's immense. It's gnarly. It also has some great groomers and moderate tree skiing. Actually, it pretty much blew my mind how vast and big it skis. And that's not even counting Moonlight Basin on the backside where you will likely have the entire place to yourselves on a knee deep powder day. There really isn't a town there however. But plenty of good eating, and condos, homes, etc. scattered around.

Beautiful scenery all around and just a fantastic place to ski for almost anyone, IMO. Great snow & No crowds. I can't ask for any more than that. I was there 3 years ago for just a week, but it has rocketed right to my top 5 in North America. And if you want steeps, holy crap, they're here too. Scariest thing I ever did was ski The Big Couloir in a complete whiteout. Although I think it may have been scarier if I could see what was below me. Either way, I did it pretty ugly, but that's now done and I don't ever have to do it again unless I lose my mind. Have I ever been to Steamboat? No. But I'm pretty certain I can say they're on opposite sides of the terrain/adventure spectrum. Personally, my knee hurts these days. I got my ass kicked at Silverton 2 months ago, and I'm really looking forward next year to Steamboat, tree skiing, fast groomers, and some champagne powder! cool.gif
post #20 of 24

I had the Intrawest pass last season and got a great bang for the buck out of it. Actually worked out to 34 dollars a day for lift tickets. We did Steamboat, Tremblant and Stratton last year. This year I bought the MAX pass as well. I'm doing Tremblant, Brighton, Big Sky, Killington, Pico, Loon and Sugarloaf, plus a few day trips to Stratton.

 

Ever think about flying into Salt Lake for a Brighton, Steamboat trip? I'm doing Brighton-Big Sky in 2016.

 

We flew into Denver to drive 2 Steamboat twice now and I don't think I could ever get my wife to do that again. A crawl both to and from Steamboat on I-70.

post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
Never occurred to me to fly to SLC. Skiing Brighton isn't a bad idea either for 2 days, I guess. But I can't imagine it's worth driving an extra 150 miles vs. flying into DEN. Unless we really wanted to ski Brighton for some reason vs. Copper or Winter Park, it seems like trying to fly into EGE, HDN, or GJT is a far safer bet to plan ahead for. Unless of course weather factors cause a flight problem an we can't get into a smaller airport. Not sure how frequent that is at those three airports, but I guess the same weather would also prevent us from driving from SLC to Steamboat in that case. In addition, I just checked and a 1-way rental HDN-SLC or vice-versa is vastly more expensive than almost any other rental I mentioned above. So, I'll stick with the EGE-HDN plan for now and hope it's affordable.

Worst case scenario: Is driving from DEN to Steamboat really that horrific if we were heading up on a Saturday afternoon? I thought Friday evening or very early Sat. am were the peak times. I know it's ugly in peak traffic, I've done it, but I've also had some great drives at other times. I drive 330 miles regularly, 1-way, from eastern Long Island to Killington. That can suck, but usually only at the absolute worst travel times.

And then heading from Frisco to DEN on a Sunday morning - how bad can it be at that hour?
post #22 of 24

I haven't read every reply in this thread so forgive me for regurgitating any info. Flying into GJT would be a pretty much trafficless experience. Junction to Rifle via I-70 Rifle to Meeker, Meeker to Craig, Craig to Steamboat. And no nasty mountain passed to traverse. I've never been to Denver via Steamboat so it's hard for me to say what to expect going that direction, but coming from GJT I know would be a hassle free experience. Albeit potentially more expensive airfare.

post #23 of 24

the Rabbit ears pass isn't that bad unless its storming and you don't have 4/AWD. 

post #24 of 24

We drove from DEN to Steamboat on a weekend afternoon.  Traffic on I-70 was excellent westbound, because everyone was already on resort by then. I-70 Eastbound traffic at that time was getting busier.  You'll be going opposite to traffic in the afternoon so it'll be fine.  Weather conditions, however, might make for slow going if it's snowing heavily and/or icy.

 

We did Rabbit Ears Pass in the dark, while snowing, and it was fine.  Just go slow.  Think I saw 5 vehicles the entire time, it was basically empty, so I took my time and went easy.  No real cliffs to fall off of (unlike Loveland Pass, holy crap!) so it was alright.

 

Make sure you stop in Silverthorne before heading north toward Steamboat.  Have a quick pee/drink break, grab some chow, etc.  After that, it's really empty with long stretches of.......well.......country, and that's about it.  Silverthorne is your last "real" stop of civilization until you arrive in Steamboat.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Steamboat, Feb 2016. Advice needed