I'm going to be in Aspen with my wife's extended family for the last week of the year (12/26-1/3) and started planning to extend it for a week on the front range via an epic pass from 1/3-1/10. I got a taste of skiing with a small crew again last March in Aspen when a guy I know casually here on the east coast showed up in Aspen at the same time as us with his crew and we all had a blast skiing together. He's a good skier with similar terrain tastes and abilities to mine but unfortunately he has work commitments that would keep him from skiing the first week of January.
Knowing that my group would whittle down I asked about 8 people and ended up with three likely committed to going. The other three are my best friend from high school who went with me to Park City in the 80's for three years of incredible ski bumming and another high school friend (who would bring his college age son along on this trip) who came out to Park City with us for our second year but didn't quite get as into it as my other friend. Both of these guys have done minimal skiing since then but I suspect my first friend would pick it back up much quicker. I floated the idea of starting our week with a group 1/2 day lesson at A-basin to avoid VR lesson pricing.
I was pushing for the Summit Value pass but these guys wanted to keep the cost down by going with the Keystone/AB pass. I've been to AB and know I would enjoy it again for a week and I suspect that Keystone would be fun too so I pulled the trigger on that one Labor day weekend. The other guys haven't bought anything yet and are making noise about maybe not going due to work, family, blah, blah, blah. I'm committed to going with or without a crew so some of the decisions I'm contemplating are the following that I'd like anyone's.02 on:
--Keep the Keystone/AB pass and buy a couple of days at Copper via Liftopia. This option keeps my cost down to below what the Summit Value pass costs and I could probably put off buying Copper passes until the last minute if my crew decides to come.
--Upgrade from the Key/AB to Summit. I'd still ski with my friends at Key/AB if they make it but I'd also ski a few days without them at Breck. I suspect I might enjoy Copper as much if not more then Breck but if I'm flying solo I may want to stay in Breck at the Bivvi or Fireside Inn and therefore want to primarily ski Breck.
About me: I consider myself and advanced to expert level skier who likes all terrain but at just north of 50 years old I don't feel compelled to hit all gnar all the time. If it's a powder day I'll spend all day hiking the bowls and then later on hit the trees but if it isn't I can appreciate a good cruiser if for no other reason than to cool off after hiking and skiing a bowl. I also like bumps but usually don't hit them all day long either. I had long periods away from skiing as I went minimally through my kids early growth years and for most of the past decade or so I've been snowboarding exclusively as I found it much more enjoyable on our local cruiser only hills (kids are snowboarders). It was just last year when I finally upgraded my ski gear and skied more than I snowboarded.
It's also worth mentioning that I'll have free access to an SUV that I only need to buy gas for so travel between resorts isn't an issue. If anyone has any opinions about the hostel style lodging at Breck mentioned above or about who to request for a ski instructor at AB (or other resort mentioned). I think I'd still try to get an advanced lesson just for me if I'm going solo since I'm several generations behind the technology curve since I last skied a lot. I don't expect crowds to be an issue on the first week after the New Years holiday but if there's anything I should be aware of on that front please let me know.