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Where to go in CO

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

My buddy and I do an annual trip around the same time each year. End of Feb/beginning of March. This year we bought tickets to Denver and no other plans at the moment. We enjoy steeps/cornices and like the "hike-to" terrain. As an example, we had our best time at Loveland a couple years ago hiking that really windy ridge and dropping into those nice wide open bowls. We also loved Taos. That's the kind of vibe we are looking for. Im thinking A Basin would be a no-brainer for a day or two but wondering if we should couple that with another place? I would just go back to Loveland but we kind of want to check out something new and we have been to Copper as well which we liked a lot.

 

We have 3 days. Flying in sat around 2pm and leaving 7pm Tues eve. So my next question would be regarding the timing. For example, A basin sunday/Monday then somewhere else like Winter Park or Breckenridge on Tuesday? Open to all suggestions. Thanks very much.

 

Agreen

post #2 of 18

At the risk of stating the obvious, you should not plan where you will ski now.

 

If A-basin is a given (it's a good choice for  you), then just:

  • get a place in Frisco or Dillon;
  • download the OpenSnow app;
  • go wherever is getting or has gotten the best snow.

 

Don't overthink it ahead of time. It's an easy drive to A-basin, Loveland, Breckenridge, Copper. It's a reasonable day drive to Winter Par/Mary Jane, and it's a doable drive to Steamboat. (=/- 2 hours)

 

You can find the terrain you are looking for at any of those areas.

 

As to the vibe... Loveland to Copper are pretty wide on the spectrum and you liked both, so you will probably have a terrific time wherever you go as long as the snow is good. That said, Mary Jane is the most like the A-basin/Loveland "vibe" of the "Resorts."

post #3 of 18

There is some great hike-to terrain at Breck, most obviously above Peak 6 and Peak 8.  I'm hoping to post one of my pictorials on Breck in a few days.  Basically, the upper mtn at Breck is like A-Basin and Loveland combined and then some,, although nothing quite like the extraordinary steep/long Pali mogul runs or hairiest chutes of East Wall.  Here's a preview of a few photos I may use:

peak 6 area, summit of chair is to right out of photo, excellent hike-to stuff all along ridge in this photo, ~13000' up there:

LL

 

close up of rocky area to left, skiNEwhere is the little speck navigating a tight throat in left-center of this photo:

LL

 

above pics were lookers left of peak 6, this photo shows lookers right, Beyond Bowl, not as challenging, but there's an area of interesting glades below it:

LL

 

this steep glade is called Needle's Eye and is part of superb expert terrain around Peak 9's E-Chair:

LL

 

Windows glade, same general area:

LL

 

this zoomed photo taken from Keystone ski area shows peak 8 with imperial chair in center.  Lake Chutes to lookers left, Whales Tail lookers right.

LL

 

closer view of zoot chute in lake chutes area:

LL

 

this shows whale tail side of peak 8:

LL

 

there are some good bump runs on peak 10 like this one, mustang:

LL

 

A lot of great stuff all across the upper half of the hugh ridgeline that makes up Breck's layout. I'm getting stoked reviewing all these old pics of mine from last winter!

breck trail map:  https://usatunofficial.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/2013-2014_trailmap_web-page-001.jpg

post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 

Mom - thanks for the advice. Yes we will wait till last minute. You also gave me great advice 4 years ago when I went to Taos!!!

 

Jamesj - looking forward to your pictorial. I read all your stuff and always enjoy it. Those pics look amazing and exactly what we are looking for. It always surprises me that Breck gets a rep of being an intermediate friendly resort when it seems to have so much in the way of steeps.

 

I guess it seems feasible to try and hit up A basin, Breck, and MJ and stay in Dillon? weather/snow permitting. if viz is bad I will have to rethink things.

post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post
 

It always surprises me that Breck gets a rep of being an intermediate friendly resort when it seems to have so much in the way of steeps.

 

I guess it seems feasible to try and hit up A basin, Breck, and MJ and stay in Dillon? weather/snow permitting. if viz is bad I will have to rethink things.

 

Breck is both - lots of intermediate terrain (Peak 9) and the most above treeline expert terrain in Summit County.  Staying in Dillon or Silverthorne or Frisco makes the most sense if you are resort hopping.  No need to pay the premium to be right at the slopes if you are going to drive somewhere else.  WP/MJ is a bit of a drive from Summit County.  If you liked Loveland, consider that for last day as it would be the quickest to get back to the airport and give you the most time on the mountain.

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

was just perusing the overrated/underrated thread and came across this post from Jamesj:

 

This is going to sound foolish about the most visited ski area in the US, but my nomination for best underrated mountain is Breckenridge. I had never skied it before this winter and always heard the comments that it's flat, crowded, and windy.  Forget that.  Now I've skied it four or five times and it was an eyeopener. It seemed to always have fine snow conditions due to luck of the storm tracks and/or it's high elevation for snow preservation.  It's got some terrific terrain and seemed easy to avoid crowds just by staying on the upper mountain.  The acreage is so huge it was easy to find a quiet spot, glade, or run. I also thought the town was especially user-friendly compared to some of the other major Colorado ski towns with lots of parking, often free, and some restaurants, bars, and shops with reasonable prices/deals.

 

I guess your initial impression of breck was the same as mine but has since changed. The only thing that is hindering me is the price of a walk-up lift ticket. What is it now, $120 or so?

post #7 of 18

believe various epicpasses are still on sale until 12/6.  maybe summit value at $519 would work for you?

post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

will only be there one day I think

 

just checked onlice prices advanced purchase one day midweek non-holiday...... $132!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

post #9 of 18

The four packs for Keystone/A-B are still for sale at $189.  Hard to do $132 for one day at Breck, when for about same you can get four pack for Loveland.:rolleyes

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post
 

will only be there one day I think

 

just checked onlice prices advanced purchase one day midweek non-holiday...... $132!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Welcome to Vail Resorts business model.  Cheap passes and expensive day tickets.

post #11 of 18

What are they at King Soopers?  $132 also?

post #12 of 18

I'd give some strong consideration to Crested Butte for you preferred terrain and timeframe, and El Nino is supposed to favor the South.  With your schedule, you could ski two days at Crested Butte, then hit Copper/A-basin/Loveland on your way back to DEN.  CB has 3 tix for $99 at Costco right now (probably just the front range), or you could get a deal with lodging, or stay for dirt cheap in Gunnison.  Copper will likely have the 2 for 1 Shell gas deal again this year.   

 

Crested Butte is an absolute blast, but can take until March to get the good stuff open.   It had just opened when I got down there on March 4th last year.  Yeah, I hit a few rocks, but it was one of my favorite days last year.  The terrain is just so freaking steep and fun:

 

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks Tball, your advice last time I was in CO was very much appreciated and it turned out to be my favorite ski trip of my life. I know CB has the goods when it comes to steeps but what I don't know is if they have steeps that are a bit more spacious? :eek While I have been improving, thanks in large part to the help here, I'm still not to comfortable in steep trees or tight chutes. CB is definitely on my bucket list but Im not sure this year is the right year to maximize its potential. Great vid BTW, the conditions look amazing.

post #14 of 18

^^^  Glad you had so much fun!   :yahoo:

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by agreen View Post
 

We enjoy steeps/cornices and like the "hike-to" terrain. As an example, we had our best time at Loveland a couple years ago hiking that really windy ridge and dropping into those nice wide open bowls. We also loved Taos. That's the kind of vibe we are looking for.

 

Based on that, I don't think Crested Butte is out of the question.   There are open lines and bowls that are more approachable.   They are steep, really steep, and long, though.   Many ski areas have a couple hundred vertical feet of steeps here and there.  The difference is CB has big areas with 1000 or so vertical feet of really steep.  

 

There are safer lines you can find your way down pretty easily, and they are still really fun skied off.   It's steep enough most the snow goes to the bottom so bumps don't get too big, and they face due north so the snow stays nice and chalky.   If you are ready for lots of practice in the steeps, laps of the well-worn safer paths at CB are a great way to spend a couple days.

 

The google borg was kind enough to make an edit of that day from CB where you can see some more open terrain, so I edited it a bit uploaded it to Vimeo.   Man was that a fun day:  :D

 

 

 

 

A couple other options to consider if you want to hold off on CB:

 

1.  Snowmass, Aspen Highlands then A-basin, Copper or Loveland on the way home.   I like the terrain at Breck, but if you are going to pay that for a lift ticket you might as well head to Aspen.

 

2. A-basin, Loveland, Copper in some combo.   The problem with just A-basin and Loveland is if you are lucky enough to hit a 3-day storm those areas get really small when visibility is bad.

 

A couple other thoughts: If you haven't been to A-basin, you should.   I love Mary Jane (Winter Park's better half) but it's more bumps and trees than steeps.      

post #15 of 18
Quote:
El Nino is supposed to favor the South.

If by south you mean NM and AZ yes. Zero evidence of favor ANYWHERE IN CO (at least my 5th post on Epic on the subject).  And CB is central not south anyway; it actually does somewhat better in La Nina than El Nino years. CB's record high season was strong La Nina 2007-08.  That said, this November's snowfall has been somewhat better in southern Colorado than central and northern.

 

CB's steeps are impressive, but there's a lot of blind navigation and billy-goating.  Top of Breck is excellent for wide open steeps.   I agree with the suggestion to extend to Aspen/Snowmass.  Highlands is a very serious test for steeps, between Breck and CB in terms of open vs. confined but longer sustained steeps than either.  I think Hanging Valley at Snowmass is a good warm-up test for Crested Butte: similar blind approaches and short steep sections but not as intimidating IMHO.

post #16 of 18

CB, Aspen/Highlands/Snowmass and Breck all seem like great fits.  Quick thoughts on each:

 

  • Aspen/Highlands/Snowmass: the only downside is the drive.  There are a ton of open steep runs at all three ski areas.
  • CB: also has along drive but it's worth it.  Some areas will be too hard for the OP, but there are many open steep runs: headwall, teocalli bowl, peel and several paths in the north face.
  • Breck: short drive and lots of wide open steeps, like Loveland but bigger and steeper generally
  • Abasin: perfect vibe and short drive.  A good ski area to hit on the way back to the airport but not a great place to build a whole trip around.  Hike to terrain and pali glades will likely be too hard for OP
  • Copper: not bad but not as good of a fit.  Steeps are generally shorter and mellower.  Good long bumps and steep cruisers if that's what you like.

 

A few pics:

CB teocalli bowl:

CB Funnel (might be too hard)

 

 

Snowmass

Aspen mountain:

 

Google highlands bowl tons for great pics and videos.  Lots of other runs at highlands too

post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks Nathan, great pics and info. Yeah the drive is a bit off-putting, but if the weather is nice, I think Aspen area and maybe CB would be good options. My buddy and I are batting .750 when it comes to powder/storms on our trips so me may have to hunker down somewhere if our good karma continues. But where to hunker is my next question? I would say Copper but we did that last time and want to check out a new place. MJ for trees and powder bumps the way to go? Thanks to Tball and TC as well for your responses.

post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post

will only be there one day I think

just checked onlice prices advanced purchase one day midweek non-holiday...... $132!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You might want to check cyber Monday pricing on snow.com tomorrow. I've seen 2 tv commercials for it this evening.
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