Due to the lack of snow here in the east, I have some frequent flier miles to use so thinking at a quick trip to CO on a weekend mid January. Thinking about Breck or Copper. Is the lift lines bad on the weekends there? Any other suggestions? Our ideal run is a black diamond groomer. (if such a thing exists)
- categoryColorado Resortstagged by marznc, 12/23/15
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Weekend trip to Colorado
Aspen Mt. grooms Spar, Copper and Ruthies everyday and one black a day.
If it's the DH course, it's pretty dam steep.
Lift lines can be bad at all front range resorts as well as Vail/BC on the weekends depending on conditions. Every resort will have a couple of groomed black runs. Since Vail is by far the biggest of the CO resorts and probably has the widest variety of terrain. If you know where and when, you can usually avoid crowds. This is true for many resorts though. Beaver Creek has nice groomed runs and is typically less crowded than Breck, Keystone and Vail. I haven't really spent much time at Copper so can't comment on the typical weekend crowds. Hope this helps.
Along those same lines, the airport for Steamboat is maybe 40 minutes from the town and there are quite a few flights. There is a [maybe free] shuttle to town so, once again, no car rental. Check those rental prices if cost is of any concern. I don't even want to know how much my parents paid to rent a Suburban for 4 days when they visited last winter. That said, I also believe there are airport shuttles to and from most major front range resorts.
Also, I haven't been to Crested Butte since I was a lad (which is now 30 years ago) but they go on and on with their radio ads here in the Denver area about how there are no lift lines and I think its not so hard to find flights into Gunnison.
Maybe if its possible to fly into any airport not named DIA, you have a better chance of hitting something with shorter lift lines. I haven't skied too many other places besides WP (but I'll say that Loveland, A-Basin and Eldora don't ever feel too crowded) so I don't really know about lift lines except they ain't great at WP; Breck, Keystone and Copper don't seem to be famous for short lines. As said already though, you can beat the "wave" by planning and riding only certain lifts at certain times.
If flying into DIA, I'd recommend at least not sleeping on Winter Park. I haven't been to Break in decades (to ski, anyway) and the one time I went to Copper within recent memory, the conditions weren't good so I can't compare either to WP. I don't mean at all to put any one over the other, its just that you also asked for other suggestions, so its 'other' not saying its 'better.' WP has lots of good terrain, a good location relative to DIA and reasonable prices on everything. There are a few groomed blue-blacks (yeah, I know, blue-black, what is that) that are steeper than some of the groomed "blacks" I've been on. Most of the blacks at WP that I remember aren't groomed but there are at least a few fast groomers available. There are some fairly steep groomed runs around. Eagle wind and Vasquez Ridge don't really get a lot of traffic (the latter partly because of the flat run-out but its not that bad, wax 'em up). There's at least two fun groomers from the top of the Parsenn bowl; the lift up there (Panoramic) does get crowded so you have to time it right. Eagle wind maybe doesn't have groomed terrain though. The Challenger lift usually has a shot line and puts you out on the top of a pretty steep groomed run, Sleeper. (I'd hate to buy a full pass just to lap that run though, MJ has more un-groomed than groomed). Overall, lots to see in two days of skiing.
Edited by HooDooThere - 12/23/15 at 7:31pm
Copper - MOST January weekends have short lines on the SuperBee, Alpine(slow & long), and Resolution lifts(slow). Normally there's one groomed black top/bottom. There are normally significant lines on other lifts serving 'black' terrain.
MLK weekend (3 day) hasn't been 'bad' but more crowded than others.
If your accommodations are booked thru Copper or most any of their 'lodging partners' you get upgraded lift access with the 'Secret Pass' add-on. This helps you avoid some lift lines and gets early access to hill in the AM.
Breck - Most crowded of all Summit County areas. Weekends can be a cluster.
Just a short line.
Based on what I've read, and my limited experience, if it's not a holiday weekend, or powder day, I don't think crowds are likely to be all that bad. Even Vail on a Saturday wasn't that bad last season - no more than 5-10 minute liftlines (unless there was a stoppage) anywhere we went.
Unless it's a powder day or holiday period - or horror of horrors, a powder day ON a holiday period - I guess you'd be fine. Especially if you're used to east coast crowds.
Also recommend Steamboat - lines are going to be shorter than many of the other recommendations and short 30 minute hop from Hayden airport. Amazing town and mountain to check out.
If using points, I would strongly look at flying into one of the other airports other than DEN - ASE, EGE, Gunnison, HDN (Steamboat) and get to a resort where a) you don't need a rental car b) away from the I-70 s$%!-show, c) can maximize the nights vs days skiing (ability to ski on arrival and departure days)
With a city the size of Denver just an hour away, crowds can always be an issue on weekends. Breck is the most crowded overall. Copper can load up heavy at the base and at certain times of the day on the upper lifts. A midweek trip would drastically reduce the lines. If you want big, fast groomers, fly into Eagle County and ski Beaver Creek. The airport is only 32 miles from the area. Great for a quick weekend trip and Beaver is a great mountain. They regularly host the World Cup, so I think you might be able to find a groomer you like. Even a really long, really steep one.
Birds of Prey at Beaver Creek
- Weekend trip to Colorado
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