or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Breckenridge, Vail or elsewhere? [arr Denver Dec 21 from Australia]
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Breckenridge, Vail or elsewhere? [arr Denver Dec 21 from Australia]

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 

Hiya, my husband and I are heading over from Australia for our first White Christmas. We fly into Denver on the 21st of December. Can anyone tell me which resort would be likely to have the best snow that time of year?

 

Thanks :)

post #2 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrib View Post
 

Hiya, my husband and I are heading over from Australia for our first White Christmas. We fly into Denver on the 21st of December. Can anyone tell me which resort would be likely to have the best snow that time of year?

 

Thanks :)


Welcome to EpicSki!  Would help to know a little more about your vacation.  How many ski days, a week or more?  What type of terrain do you like most?

post #3 of 49
Thread Starter 

We have 9 nights. I'm an experienced skier, love tree skiing :) My husband however is a beginner so would need terrain to suit us both.

post #4 of 49

The fact that you're coming during Christmas break means it will be very crowded. While I'd love to recommend Breckenridge, that's probably the worst place to be, along with Vail. As a general rule of thumb, the further you get away from Denver, the better. Have you actually booked tickets yet? If not, you can find some other options for places to ski that won't be as crowded. 

 

To answer your question, while it's hard to answer what places will have the best snow ahead of time, the places that will have the least amount of coverage are likely to be

 

Arapahoe Basin (Not much beginner terrain, the difficult stuff takes a long time to fill in)

Crested Butte  (Same as above but with more beginner terrain)

Keystone (Not much beginner terrain, gets less snow than its neighbors)

 

Breck and Vail do usually have quite a bit of terrain open....but I can't stress enough how crowded it will be!!! If you have your heart set on skiing there, I'd recommend getting a lesson, although you won't be able to do a group lesson (with each other) since you're at different levels.

 

If I were you, I'd play it safe and ski Copper. It will be less crowded that the other resorts and should have more than enough variety to keep both of you happy.


Edited by skiNEwhere - 9/21/15 at 9:58pm
post #5 of 49

Best snow is to some extent a lottery but if Colorado has been respectably hit by early season storms most places should be ok. Key question is how far you are willing to travel from Denver?  Copper isn't a bad shout, of the Vail resorts, Beaver Creek is probably the pick for lower crowds as it's furthest from metro Denver, Beyond that Aspen seems to handle holiday crowds well.  Accomodation costs likely to be high everywhere over holidays unless you get more creative e.g. stay in Dillon/Frisco for Copper, Eagle for BC, Carbondale or Glenwood for Aspen etc.

post #6 of 49

I reccomend Aspen.

post #7 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Miles View Post

I reccomend Aspen.

Mmmm California
post #8 of 49
Aspen would be a less crowded option though. OP have you bought any airline tix yet?
post #9 of 49

If the OP has not purchased tickets yet, I would highly recommend Alta, especially with the great ambience if you stay at one of their base lodges like Alta's Rustler Lodge.  Alta has one of the country's greatest amounts of snowfalls each year.  Alta is great for experts and beginners.  The box canyon in which Alta resides is very scenic - yet the mountain is only half an hour from the airport. 

post #10 of 49

Did I read "TREES"??  welcome to Steamboat  :D.  Least crowded of the resorts in this area and over the past several years, we have had great snow during that time.  However, the snow will be what it will be,  no guarantees!  

post #11 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marathoner View Post
 

If the OP has not purchased tickets yet, I would highly recommend Alta, especially with the great ambience if you stay at one of their base lodges like Alta's Rustler Lodge.  Alta has one of the country's greatest amounts of snowfalls each year.  Alta is great for experts and beginners.  The box canyon in which Alta resides is very scenic - yet the mountain is only half an hour from the airport. 


While Alta is my favorite, especially staying at Alta Lodge, for a Christmas ski vacation that would not be my first choice.  Would rather go somewhere with more snow scenery, which I think is more likely in Colorado.  Plus I think Denver is more fun than SLC as a city to visit when traveling from Australia.  Staying in Denver for the first couple days to get over get jet lag and adjusting to the high altitude would be a good idea.  I would also consider going to Bozeman to ski Bridger, Big Sky, and spend a day in Yellowstone National Park.

post #12 of 49

Which bit of "we fly into Denver of 21st December" are respondents failing to understand? Classic Epic advice of "well I wouldn't start from here" type directions.

post #13 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
 

Which bit of "we fly into Denver of 21st December" are respondents failing to understand? Classic Epic advice of "well I wouldn't start from here" type directions.


No need to fuss.  Some of the comments may be useful to lurkers or others in the future.  Just move on if you don't have anything to contribute.

post #14 of 49

I have contributed some on point advice - I don't however consider it that welcoming to new members that decisions should be second guessed or just ignored on some speculative basis. And really - some lurker is going to find a gem in a thread ostensably about near to Denver resorts that turns them on to Alta?

post #15 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
 

I have contributed some on point advice - I don't however consider it that welcoming to new members that decisions should be second guessed or just ignored on some speculative basis. And really - some lurker is going to find a gem in a thread ostensably about near to Denver resorts that turns them on to Alta?

 

 

But, Stowe is still the best!  :D

post #16 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
 

Which bit of "we fly into Denver of 21st December" are respondents failing to understand? Classic Epic advice of "well I wouldn't start from here" type directions.

 

We are simply trying to help the OP here.  Breck and Vail are going to be very busy and I think the collective decision is that this is not ideal for the OP.  Breck has a great town and would be a good base for their trip.  Unfortunately, the lower lifts at the base of Breck is absolutely insane during the holidays and since the OP's husband is a beginner, he wouldn't be able to stay above it all on the upper half.

 

Personally, I would not drive 4 hours from Denver to Aspen or Steamboat in the winter and would fly.  I drove from Breck to Denver in a snow storm last year and it took me 4 hours and scared the heck out of me.  And if you are willing to fly to Aspen, then SLC is just as convenient which is why I suggested Alta. 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

While Alta is my favorite, especially staying at Alta Lodge, for a Christmas ski vacation that would not be my first choice.  Would rather go somewhere with more snow scenery, which I think is more likely in Colorado.  Plus I think Denver is more fun than SLC as a city to visit when traveling from Australia.  .

 

I'm not sure if I understand what you mean by snow scenery.  I simply think the top of all the major resorts (Jackson Hole, Breck, Alta/Snowbird) are beautiful in their own way.  I don't think one is particularly better than the other.

 

That said, there is no real après ski scene at Alta.  But driving to Park City a couple days during that week would be good for the OP to experience variety.  In fact, the OP could stay in Park City and ski at Deer Valley & Park City a few days during their trip in order to get some additional variety in their trip since Alta and Park City are less than an hour apart.

post #17 of 49

Now that the OP has been frightened away from this thread, never to return.  

 

With a December 21 arrival date, you are arriving at the busiest time of the year.   Based on your description of what you are looking for, it seems like Snowmass would be a great fit for you.

Yes, it is a 4 hour drive but there are shuttles if you don't want to drive. The drive in good weather is beautiful and you could stop in Glenwood Springs and a few other places along the way.

 

Snowmass has a great ski school and a huge variety of terrain for every level.

 

Realistically, Utah is too far to drive and Bridger Bowl, Big Sky are hours away.   If you have questions, please feel free to PM me, I will be happy to assist you.

post #18 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post
 

Now that the OP has been frightened away from this thread, never to return.  

 

Based on your description of what you are looking for, it seems like Snowmass would be a great fit for you.

 

Yes, Snowmass/Aspen is the right choice of venue out of Denver.  Hopefully, the OP is well off financially.

 

When reading these threads, it reminds me that we should be grateful that we have so many available ski options of such high quality. 

post #19 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Miles View Post
 

I reccomend Aspen.

 

I live in Breckenridge and the advice to avoid it due to crowds is sage. For the OP, upper lift skiing and trees would be good, but beginner hubby would be stuck in lift lines and exposed to crowded slopes. Aspen tends to be less busy and has skiing for all abilities and the cache of Aspen to boot.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by skiNEwhere View Post


Mmmm California

 

The OP said ski, not surf. Sorry Cali, I hope you get dumped on early and often this year

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marathoner View Post
 

If the OP has not purchased tickets yet, I would highly recommend Alta, especially with the great ambience if you stay at one of their base lodges like Alta's Rustler Lodge.  Alta has one of the country's greatest amounts of snowfalls each year.  Alta is great for experts and beginners.  The box canyon in which Alta resides is very scenic - yet the mountain is only half an hour from the airport. 

 

A grand place to go but a long drive from Denver.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post
 

Did I read "TREES"??  welcome to Steamboat  :D.  Least crowded of the resorts in this area and over the past several years, we have had great snow during that time.  However, the snow will be what it will be,  no guarantees!  

 

This is probably the best solution to both skiers, if the snow is there. 

 

Unfortunately, Summit County (Keystone, Breck, A-Basin and Copper as well as near by Loveland) are the best bets for snow early season.

 

As I just mentioned Loveland, it has open bowl skiing, tree skiing and plenty of beginner to intermediate terrain. It is a cool, family owned operation with tradition and character going for it as well as lower cost lessons and lift tickets than the corporate offerings. Accomodations would be either in Georgetown (between Denver and the ski area) which is a quaint old mining town or in Summit County which runs the gamut from cheap bargain motels to superior lodging. Dining is also all over the board in Summit along with alternate activities like snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, sleigh rides and nightly entertainment.

 

Keystone has lines and congestion as bad as Breck if not worse. Especially on Christmas holiday week. I'd rather stay inside than try to ski there during holiday.

post #20 of 49

The first time I ever skied in the US was at Breck at New Year - guess what I had a great time probably because I hadn't been preconditioned by lots of people whining about how crowds would be insane. And when you are skiing for 8 or 9 days on the trot then maximising no of lifts per hour is less of a concern anyway.  I don't think Vail is unskiable over that period either, although advoiding the structural pinchpoints at peak times is advisable.

 

Having said that I think there are better options for crowd management as I articulated.  The attitude towards driving rather depends on what your overall expectations are - again I think it's different for a long haul tourist staying a while compared to the get in and out domestic long weekender.  If you view it as part of the holiday then it can be enjoyable and if you've been on a trans pacific flight plus one connection maybe you just want to be doing something different.  That said I70 can be a nightmare if  you hit it with bad timing or in a full on storm so you need to be mentally prepared for that.

post #21 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marathoner View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

While Alta is my favorite, especially staying at Alta Lodge, for a Christmas ski vacation that would not be my first choice.  Would rather go somewhere with more snow scenery, which I think is more likely in Colorado.  Plus I think Denver is more fun than SLC as a city to visit when traveling from Australia.  .

 

I'm not sure if I understand what you mean by snow scenery.  I simply think the top of all the major resorts (Jackson Hole, Breck, Alta/Snowbird) are beautiful in their own way.  I don't think one is particularly better than the other.

 

That said, there is no real après ski scene at Alta.  But driving to Park City a couple days during that week would be good for the OP to experience variety.  In fact, the OP could stay in Park City and ski at Deer Valley & Park City a few days during their trip in order to get some additional variety in their trip since Alta and Park City are less than an hour apart.

The OP is looking for a "White Christmas" for the first time.  Her beginner husband is not likely to fly around the world and then ski non-stop for the entire vacation.  Personally, I would rather be driving around in the Colorado mountains than simply between Alta and Park City.  Not going to be any snow on the ground in SLC.  Just my two cents.

post #22 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marathoner View Post
 

 

Yes, Snowmass/Aspen is the right choice of venue out of Denver.  Hopefully, the OP is well off financially.

 

When reading these threads, it reminds me that we should be grateful that we have so many available ski options of such high quality. 

 

With appropriate planning, Snowmass/Aspen can be done at costs that are similar to Vail for a much better experience.  I think people make assumptions about Aspen/Snowmass. There is a huge spectrum of lodging and restaurants but it can be done reasonably.

post #23 of 49

To be honest if I was the OP I'd buy the Epic local pass now and look at fitting my days in around that.  Stay in Avon first and get a few days in at Vail/BC then move to Frisco/Dillon and sample Breck, Keystone and A Basin.  I'd just accept that the latter 3 would be very busy on any powder days and bluebird days.  But I'd have sampled snowy Colorado, stayed in a couple of places, sampled some microbrews and generally had a good time. 

post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
 

To be honest if I was the OP I'd buy the Epic local pass now and look at fitting my days in around that.  Stay in Avon first and get a few days in at Vail/BC then move to Frisco/Dillon and sample Breck, Keystone and A Basin.  I'd just accept that the latter 3 would be very busy on any powder days and bluebird days.  But I'd have sampled snowy Colorado, stayed in a couple of places, sampled some microbrews and generally had a good time. 

 

This is a good suggestion.  The one issue with this approach is that Steamboat and Aspen would be out of scope and they are worth skiing.

post #25 of 49

One thing to consider is altitude.  Having skied a bit in Aus/NZ, I know this isn't typically a consideration there as the resort bases are at such low elevations.  I've taken the family on a few ski vacations in the US, and for us the base elevation starts becoming a factor at around 7500-8000 feet.  Nothing particularly bad, just some additional fatigue and maybe the odd headache for the first couple of days.  But the base at Copper is 9700 feet, so you should probably budget a couple of days for getting used to that (although I'll admit I haven't stayed there).  For reference, Thredbo base is at 4500 feet.

 

This factor may be further reason to consider Steamboat (6900 feet) and Snowmass (8100 feet).

post #26 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post
 

 

With appropriate planning, Snowmass/Aspen can be done at costs that are similar to Vail for a much better experience.  I think people make assumptions about Aspen/Snowmass. There is a huge spectrum of lodging and restaurants but it can be done reasonably.

 

I've stayed in Basalt for my extended ski racing weekends. It is a nice community and the motel I used, The Aspenault, is nice, if basic, has a spa next to the creek and is walking distance to their restaurant alley.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
 

To be honest if I was the OP I'd buy the Epic local pass now and look at fitting my days in around that.  Stay in Avon first and get a few days in at Vail/BC then move to Frisco/Dillon and sample Breck, Keystone and A Basin.  I'd just accept that the latter 3 would be very busy on any powder days and bluebird days.  But I'd have sampled snowy Colorado, stayed in a couple of places, sampled some microbrews and generally had a good time. 

 

You have to purchase the Local pass in person the first time. You can get the full Epic pass without being present. Busy is a perceived thing. Many people think Breck is stupid busy and sometimes it is. Careful attention to avoiding the lower lifts removes a lot of that except of course for powder days, but then just avoid T-Bar, 6-Chair and Imperial. Even then, the lines aren't that bad for the quality of the goods. I will admit, I'm speaking from a local's perspective and I seem to manage to avoid the long lines and still enjoy myself.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm View Post
 

One thing to consider is altitude.  Having skied a bit in Aus/NZ, I know this isn't typically a consideration there as the resort bases are at such low elevations.  I've taken the family on a few ski vacations in the US, and for us the base elevation starts becoming a factor at around 7500-8000 feet.  Nothing particularly bad, just some additional fatigue and maybe the odd headache for the first couple of days.  But the base at Copper is 9700 feet, so you should probably budget a couple of days for getting used to that (although I'll admit I haven't stayed there).  For reference, Thredbo base is at 4500 feet.

 

This factor may be further reason to consider Steamboat (6900 feet) and Snowmass (8100 feet).

 

Spending a night in Denver can help ameliorate the effects of altitude. Also the slogan 'ski high, sleep low' can help. Breck and Copper are 600 - 800 feet higher than Frisco, Silverthorne and Dillon. Check with your doctor about prescription drugs you can use to help as well. Remember to drink plenty of non-alcholic and non-caffeine fluids, rest and take it slow (at least to start) until you find your comfort zone.

post #27 of 49

Yup can I second the warning on altitude. Breck is high 9,600 feet and a significant number of visitors will have some altitude sickness issues. I know I was one, headaches nausea and great difficulty sleeping. Relieved immediately when I went down to 5,000 feet on medical advice. 

 

Beaver Creek would be my choice to avoid the crowds driving up from Denver. Snowmass or Aspen should be OK as well. All three have skiing to suite both partners. 

post #28 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by MastersRacer View Post
 

 

You have to purchase the Local pass in person the first time.

I don't think this is true anymore.  I checked the site and couldn't find a mention of needing to be there in person.

post #29 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by skiNEwhere View Post
 

The fact that you're coming during Christmas break means it will be very crowded. While I'd love to recommend Breckenridge, that's probably the worst place to be, along with Vail. As a general rule of thumb, the further you get away from Denver, the better. Have you actually booked tickets yet? If not, you can find some other options for places to ski that won't be as crowded. 

 

To answer your question, while it's hard to answer what places will have the best snow ahead of time, the places that will have the least amount of coverage are likely to be

 

Arapahoe Basin (Not much beginner terrain, the difficult stuff takes a long time to fill in)

Crested Butte  (Same as above but with more beginner terrain)

Keystone (Not much beginner terrain, gets less snow than its neighbors)

 

Breck and Vail do usually have quite a bit of terrain open....but I can't stress enough how crowded it will be!!! If you have your heart set on skiing there, I'd recommend getting a lesson, although you won't be able to do a group lesson (with each other) since you're at different levels.

 

If I were you, I'd play it safe and ski Copper. It will be less crowded that the other resorts and should have more than enough variety to keep both of you happy.


 Not necessarily, I go out there the Xmas NY weeks, and that first week is not all that crowded. Only gets crowded on Dec 26 and on. Will be flying in on the 19th for 2 weeks. Staying in Avon, outside of BC. Rented car from Hertz but not from the Airport. rented from one of the downtown locations. Much cheaper. Got a small SUV for the 2 weeks for under $500 total.

post #30 of 49

I go to Vail/BC whenever we go out to CO and is always during the Xmas/NY weeks because that's when I can get off from work. Have always rented a car/suv. But one should not rent at DIA, much cheaper to rent from a downtown location. This year, renting from Hetz, downtown location, for a small SUV for 2 weeks. I prepaid which got me a rate of under $500 for both weeks.  I always start out doing a couple of days of lessons at BC to get acclimated to the altitude and brush off some rust. This year we are staying in Avon instead of West Vail. So not sure about parking and shuttles to lionshead. Once you get there, there's free shuttles that will take you back and forth to various spots in Vail. As usual, have purchased the Epic Season Pass. Hoping to get around to trying Breck, but BC and Vail are just so big and fun to explore. Do like having the vehicle to get around in that the shuttles only go to certain spots. But to the OP, I think either/or Vail would fill both your needs. Take it from me, nothing helps better than getting a few days of lessons from the guys/gals at BC ski school.

 

As to crowds, I've never seen a lot of crowds until the 26th, which is nice when your group lessons on the 24th and 25th because they turn into nearly private lessons. Last time I was there, on the 25th, my group had me and 1 other person  From the 26th on is when it gets really ridiculously crowded. and where if at vail move more over towards the Golden Peak area and try to stay away from Mid-Vail. 

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 › Breckenridge, Vail or elsewhere? [arr Denver Dec 21 from Australia]