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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Family Skiing Discussions › 1st trip to Denver [family of beginners/intermediates from Chicago, Jan. 16-19]
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1st trip to Denver [family of beginners/intermediates from Chicago, Jan. 16-19]

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

Please Help !

 

Finally getting to Denver for the first time, and have  no idea where to start.   I am taking my family, 4 kids, age range of 16-26 and my parents in there 60's.  We are all beginner to intermediate level.  Just looking to enjoy ourselves on the hill.  I would like something affordable and was looking into copper mountain, but I thought it would be cool to experience taking a gondola to the top. So I thought the splurge might be worth it.  We would like to rent a place with ski in/out access since we will only be staying 3 nights.  Jan 16-19th 2016.   I've been looking into keystone and was going to see if I could find something at Breckenridge that might be affordable.  We will be renting a car.   Any insight would be fantastic !  

 

Thanks for all your help.

 

Sue

 

Mod note: moved to Family Skiing

post #2 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by siouxsie50 View Post
 

Please Help !

 

Finally getting to Denver for the first time, and have  no idea where to start.   I am taking my family, 4 kids, age range of 16-26 and my parents in there 60's.  We are all beginner to intermediate level.  Just looking to enjoy ourselves on the hill.  I would like something affordable and was looking into copper mountain, but I thought it would be cool to experience taking a gondola to the top. So I thought the splurge might be worth it.  We would like to rent a place with ski in/out access since we will only be staying 3 nights.  Jan 16-19th 2016.   I've been looking into keystone and was going to see if I could find something at Breckenridge that might be affordable.  We will be renting a car.   Any insight would be fantastic !  

 

Thanks for all your help.

 

Sue


Welcome to EpicSki!  That's the holiday weekend, right?  Would help to know how often your family has skied.  A few years at a small mountain in the flatlands or only a few days total.

 

If you are coming from a low elevation, have you all slept at over 7000 ft before?

 

Hope you don't mind, moved your thread to Family Skiing since you are all beginners and intermediates.

post #3 of 32

Copper will be much less crowded than any Epic Pass resort that weekend and if you just want to ride the gondola you can have dinner at the top of Keystone and ride the gondola...both of them........ up and back.  The skiing will be much better at Copper than Keystone for 2 main reasons

 

1. Copper is a much better mountain than Keystone for basically all levels of skiers

2.  It's much less crowded

post #4 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by UGASkiDawg View Post
 

Copper will be much less crowded than any Epic Pass resort that weekend and if you just want to ride the gondola you can have dinner at the top of Keystone and ride the gondola...both of them........ up and back.  The skiing will be much better at Copper than Keystone for 2 main reasons

 

1. Copper is a much better mountain than Keystone for basically all levels of skiers

2.  It's much less crowded


Isn't it also the case that Copper has terrain for green/blue skiers that is more or less separate from any black trails?

post #5 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Isn't it also the case that Copper has terrain for green/blue skiers that is more or less separate from any black trails?

 

 

Yes generally the greens are seperate from the blues and the blues are seperate from the blacks with a few exceptions.  Basically the mountain gets harder from west to east

post #6 of 32

Also take note that at Copper you can take a chairlift up to the saddle of the mountain and then ski down on a green run all the way to the bottom.  It's not a gondola, but you get the high-altitude, almost-the-top-of-the-mountain experience where you can look over the other side and then ski back down really easily.  

 

It's one of the best parts about Copper for beginners because there aren't a lot of places where you can ski all the way down a green run after looking over the other side at the top.

post #7 of 32

Another suggestion: Steamboat. Great intermediate terrain, a gondola, a cute (albeit small) "main street" area downtown, and should be less crowded than Breck or Keystone.

post #8 of 32

Telluride instead of Denver, otherwise go to Copper.

post #9 of 32

Snowmass has ton's of ski in/out beginner/intermediate terrain, serviced by an empty gondola.

Affordable might be a stretch.

post #10 of 32

Are you from ND Siouxsie?   Love me some fighting sioux hockey...

 

I would recommend Copper for you.   I don't think a gondola ride is worth the crowds and extra $$ you'll need to spend to get it.   Copper is really fun and has a ton of great green and blue terrain that stays really empty many days.  The crowds there are very spread out as they have 3 separate base areas, one for black trails, once for blue trials and one for green trails.   Check out the trail map and you'll see what I mean.

post #11 of 32

I would suggest looking into the ski pass as soon as you can.  You might be able to find a good deal on a multi day pass now - 2 or 4 pack.  Since it's the holiday weekend, go ahead and reserve your accommodations also.  Copper sounds great for your family.

post #12 of 32

Not sure if she is from ND.  I think maybe a banshee?

 

If you decide on Copper then you might want to consider making reservations by 11/9.  Will the rates go up after that date?  No clue, but if you are looking for true ski in and out the sooner the better.  I know someone that wanted that for the entire week you are talking about and it was in the $$$$$ range last season.  There are very good accommodations within a very short walk.  They have a good onsite bus service also.

 

Crowds?  Agree with previous responses.  Busy probably but not as bad as other places.  Sat. and Sun will probably be busy.  Mon. not so much.   

post #13 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thank you all. Yes it is the holiday weekend and I'm wondering if I should take advantage of the night skiing at keystone since we will only be there a couple of days. We are from Chicago and most of us have been skiing for years but unfortunately not on any great mountain. Which is why I'm wondering if we should stick to the green hills.
post #14 of 32

If you're there for a few days you'll get tired of the green hills soon enough.  but anyplace you go in CO is going to have plenty of terrain to step up to next as intermediates.

post #15 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by siouxsie50 View Post
 

Please Help !

 

Finally getting to Denver for the first time, and have  no idea where to start.   I am taking my family, 4 kids, age range of 16-26 and my parents in there 60's.  We are all beginner to intermediate level.  Just looking to enjoy ourselves on the hill.  I would like something affordable and was looking into copper mountain, but I thought it would be cool to experience taking a gondola to the top. So I thought the splurge might be worth it.  We would like to rent a place with ski in/out access since we will only be staying 3 nights.  Jan 16-19th 2016.   I've been looking into keystone and was going to see if I could find something at Breckenridge that might be affordable.  We will be renting a car.   Any insight would be fantastic !  

 

Thanks for all your help.

 

Sue

 

Mod note: moved to Family Skiing

Quote:
Originally Posted by siouxsie50 View Post

Thank you all. Yes it is the holiday weekend and I'm wondering if I should take advantage of the night skiing at keystone since we will only be there a couple of days. We are from Chicago and most of us have been skiing for years but unfortunately not on any great mountain. Which is why I'm wondering if we should stick to the green hills.

Helps to know where you are coming from.  Do the intermediates ski midwest blacks at all?  Or is everyone staying on midwest greens and blues?

 

Am I right that this will be the first trip out west ever?  Have you all been on other trips that involved sleeping at over 8000 ft?

post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by siouxsie50 View Post 
I am taking my family, 4 kids, age range of 16-26 and my parents in there 60's.

 

 

7 will be a tight fit into a rental and a shuttle up to summit county will cost at least a grand.

If you don't already have flights, check out the directs to ASE.  You don't need a car and many lodges will pick you up free.

 

Look at the total cost and what you get, before you book anything.

 

Night skiing is ok.   But if I ski hard during the day, I don't have the energy.

post #17 of 32
Thread Starter 
This will be our first trip ever to high altitude. And we usually stick to the blues
post #18 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by siouxsie50 View Post
 

Please Help !

 

Finally getting to Denver for the first time, and have  no idea where to start.   I am taking my family, 4 kids, age range of 16-26 and my parents in there 60's.  We are all beginner to intermediate level.  Just looking to enjoy ourselves on the hill.  I would like something affordable and was looking into copper mountain, but I thought it would be cool to experience taking a gondola to the top. So I thought the splurge might be worth it.  We would like to rent a place with ski in/out access since we will only be staying 3 nights.  Jan 16-19th 2016.   I've been looking into keystone and was going to see if I could find something at Breckenridge that might be affordable.  We will be renting a car.   Any insight would be fantastic !  

 

Thanks for all your help.

 

Sue

 

Mod note: moved to Family Skiing

Quote:
Originally Posted by siouxsie50 View Post

Thank you all. Yes it is the holiday weekend and I'm wondering if I should take advantage of the night skiing at keystone since we will only be there a couple of days. We are from Chicago and most of us have been skiing for years but unfortunately not on any great mountain. Which is why I'm wondering if we should stick to the green hills.
Quote:
Originally Posted by siouxsie50 View Post

This will be our first trip ever to high altitude. And we usually stick to the blues

Well, as you've probably heard a "blue" in the midwest is not the same as a "blue" in the Rockies.  Although my guess is that after the first day, there will be some folks in your family who will feel comfortable moving to some blues wherever you decide to go.

 

I know night skiing seems like a good idea because you're probably used to that.  But honestly you won't have the energy for night skiing after a ski day that ends at 4:00, if you make it that long.  I do not recommend trying to ski the day you arrive.  When I fly out west, I have to take it easy the first day and sometimes the second, simply because of the time it takes to adjust to sleeping and being active at high altitude.  Note that I'm in very good shape, an advanced skier, and retired.  But I remember how it felt when I was an intermediate and doing short ski trips out west when I was working.

 

You do NOT want to go to Breck.  Most lodging is over 9000 ft.  A big difference between sleeping at 6000 ft and 9000 ft.  Altitude is a reason to seriously consider Steamboat.

 

Are you driving from Chicago?  My brother-in-law used to do that when his son was in high school.

post #19 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Are you driving from Chicago?  My brother-in-law used to do that when his son was in high school.

flying into denver. Got a great price on airfare
post #20 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by siouxsie50 View Post

Are you driving from Chicago?  My brother-in-law used to do that when his son was in high school.
[/quote]

flying into denver. Got a great price on airfare

I've added a tag for Denver Travel.  Look under Topics Discussed (right hand column).  It's a link to relevant threads.  There are some about car rentals in Denver, whether or not to stay in Denver the first night (assuming arriving in the evening), and so on.

 

Hope you'll let us know where you decide to go.

post #21 of 32
Quote:

You do NOT want to go to Breck.  Most lodging is over 9000 ft.  A big difference between sleeping at 6000 ft and 9000 ft.

 

I agree that altitude is something to consider, and if your group doesn't have experience sleeping at altitude, chance are decent that at least one or two of you will be hurting. That leaves three options:

 

- Stay at high elevation and risk it (Breck is definitely not alone here--all the slopeside lodging near Denver is above 9000 ft.)

- Stay away from the slopes and drive each day

- Travel farther from Denver

 

There are definitely pluses and minuses to all these choices.

 

Staying in the Denver suburbs and commuting would eat up a lot of your time in traffic, and probably isn't going to give you as much of a "vacation" feel. There's no magic cutoff point for altitude sickness--8,600' in Silverthorne still definitely puts you at risk, just slightly less risk than 9-something at Breck or Copper or Keystone. 

 

Vail, Beaver Creek, or Steamboat each require more driving to get to, but would let you stay slopeside at lower elevation. Since Epic Local passholders are blacked out from Vail and Beaver Creek during your dates, they might not be completely packed--but others will have better insights there. Granby Ranch is a bit lower than its neighbors and might actually be plenty of mountain for your group--it's bigger than anything in the midwest, and prices should be lower. But if you do Granby Ranch, definitely set aside at least one day/evening to travel to Keystone or Winter Park so you can get the big mountain experience.

 

Quote:

The skiing will be much better at Copper than Keystone for 2 main reasons

 

1. Copper is a much better mountain than Keystone for basically all levels of skiers

2.  It's much less crowded

 

Point 2 is valid. Point 1 seems awfully subjective. In my own limited experience, the green and blue runs at Keystone are much more interesting and entertaining than greens and blues at Copper. And while neither is particularly charming, Copper's village feels even more like a 1990's strip mall than does Keystone's. I haven't had the chance to explore Breck, but by all accounts it's a better town.

post #22 of 32
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone. . After your suggestions we are going to stay at copper mountain. I'm a little worried about the altitude sickness so we will be very proactive drinking lots of water and having dinner in Denver. Thanks again for all your input.
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by siouxsie50 View Post

Thanks everyone. . After your suggestions we are going to stay at copper mountain. I'm a little worried about the altitude sickness so we will be very proactive drinking lots of water and having dinner in Denver. Thanks again for all your input.


Have a great time!

 

If you haven't found it already, here is a good EpicSki Article about dealing with high altitude written by a physician in Colorado.

 

http://www.epicski.com/a/altitude-adaptation-and-acute-mountain-sickness

 

In the article, he states: "Altitude sickness doesn’t occur below 5000ft, and usually doesn’t develop until you ascent rapidly to more than 7500ft. The speed of ascent is important- going rapidly is much more likely to result in symptoms than ascending gradually."  That's why some people stay on the west side of Denver the first night and drive early the next morning.

post #24 of 32
If one is concerned with altiitude and crowds, I would strongly suggest looking at Aspen rather than Summit County- and yes, then you get a few Gondolas. ;)
 
Aspen commonly gets dismissed because of price concerns, but its tickets cost less than Vail, and only modestly more than Copper.
 
Price out a trip staying in Snowmass Village. Its base is 8100 feet, 1600 feet lower than Copper. Buttermilk and Snowmass have a great amount of great beginner and intermediate terrain, and Aspen Mountain will challenge the more adventurous in your group. Aspen is a pretty cool town, and the movie star/jet setter rep is not really what the town is about outside of Christmas.
 
I expect you will find that the Aspen trip is a lot more reasonable (as reasonable as any destination resort at least) than you would have thought.
 
Aspen areas just do not get crowded. That can't be said for Summit, even at Copper. 
 
If you need to save additional funds, you can stay in Glenwood Springs, itself an absolute gem of a town. Winter is the off-season for Glenwood, so you will find tons of affordable lodging. It is lower in Elevation at about 6,000 feet and 40 miles from the ski area. Unlike the drive from Denver, congestion isn't an issue with driving from Glenwood to Aspen.
 
If you want to get a totally different ski experience, spend a day at Sunlight. It is a small ski area 15 minutes from Glenwood. It's old school and homey, with great terrain, a great vibe, and you just may find that it is more up your alley than mega-destination resorts.

Edited by anachronism - 11/16/15 at 4:21pm
post #25 of 32


Hi Anachronism:  How is the drive from Glenwood to Snowmass/Aspen?  Do you need chains? I am also considering Snowmass in early March. I can use my milage to fly into Aspen and was planning on shuttling to Snowmass.  I do find lodging in Snowmass/Aspen is a bit expensive.  I will be traveling solo and not interested in staying at a hostel.  Please kindly advise.  thank you.  

post #26 of 32

I am not Anachronism, but the drive is pretty easy. It is mostly level, four lane and well maintained, although there is quite a bit of traffic. Needing chains would be very unusual. The bigger problem is parking at Aspen. See their website for info.

 For Snowmass you can park in the Rodeo lot halfway up the access road and shuttle to the base. For Aspen Mt and Highlands , the best bet is to park at Buttermilk and take the bus. You can park on the Aspen streets for free on Sunday. There is also a parking garage in Aspen, but it is a bit expensive and still requires a shuttle to the base.

post #27 of 32

Needing chains is unusual, but as has been discussed at length in other threads, CDOT is cracking down on tires and vehicles, and we've actually seen several non-commercial vehicle restrictions in the last month, which they never used to do.

post #28 of 32

Here is some info about getting around Aspen via the bus system that was put together for the EpicSki Aspen Gathering in early Feb.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/142240/getting-around-aspen-snowmass-basalt-carbondale-glenwood-springs

 

I stayed at the Carbondale Days Inn last March and found the drive quite reasonable.  Of course, it was late season so snow on the road was not as likely to be an issue.

post #29 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Miles View Post
 

I am not Anachronism, but the drive is pretty easy. It is mostly level, four lane and well maintained, although there is quite a bit of traffic. Needing chains would be very unusual. The bigger problem is parking at Aspen. See their website for info.

 For Snowmass you can park in the Rodeo lot halfway up the access road and shuttle to the base. For Aspen Mt and Highlands , the best bet is to park at Buttermilk and take the bus. You can park on the Aspen streets for free on Sunday. There is also a parking garage in Aspen, but it is a bit expensive and still requires a shuttle to the base.

 

I concur. The road from Glenwood to Aspen, Hwy 82, follows the Roaring Fork River and is a 4 lane highway the whole way. It gets a little twisty between Basalt and Aspen, but isn't bad. 

 

Traffic isn't terrible by front range standards and doesn't generally jam up. 

 

If it is snowing in Aspen, you can expect it to be snowing on Hwy 82 at least above Basalt. but the road is well maintained, doesn't generally close (it is the only way in to Aspen), and I wouldn't think chains a necessity. 

 

As far as cheap lodging, there is a Days Inn in Carbondale that is typically the cheapest lodging option in the valley. Carbondale is 10 miles out of Glenwood and 30 from Aspen. I've stayed there several times, it is a good balance of a short drive to skiing and a short hop to nightlife like the hot springs pools and other Glenwood happenings. Carbondale has a few decent affordable restaurants, but the town is a bedroom community and doesn't have a resort feel- if you want that to begin with.

 

Glenwood itself has a lot of affordable lodging. Options range from independent budget motels that consist of rooms with a queen bed, a bathroom, TV and enough space to turn around in, to chain hotels (one has an indoor waterpark if kids are involved) to some upscale hotels- whatever your price range is, they have.

 

If one is looking for a trip in the area, Look into Sunlight's ski swim stay package. They partner with area hotels and motels where for under $100 a night (for the cheaper motels- nicer places will run more), you get a room, a lift ticket to Sunlight, and a hot springs pass. An Adult lift ticket at Sunlight is $60 and a pool pass runs ~$20, so getting both included with your room is a great deal.

 

http://sunlightmtn.com/ski-swim-stay

 

As mentioned above, Sunlight is a little mountain that rocks. It skis a lot like Ajax.

post #30 of 32
I alway recommend singles stay in town.
Posting up at the bar at the St. Regis, Jerome or Littlfe Nell will have the highest yield.
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