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First Time in Colorado: Advice on Breckenridge, Keystone, and A Basin

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hello,

 

I am a first time traveler to the great state of Colorado coming from the East Coast. I pieced together a Denver/Breck trip with a couple of friends; we will be traveling in a couple weeks. We are spending the weekend in Denver and then driving to Breck on early Sunday morning. I figured there will be less of a crowd during the week. We are getting the 3-day Breckenridge pass (Sunday-Tuesday), which I hope to use on at least one of the other resorts in the area (Keystone or A Basin).

 

My original idea is to take it easy on the slopes at Breck on Sunday morning to see the layout, check into our condo (walking distance to Snow Flake lift), and then drive to Keystone for some night skiing. I checked online and there is no night skiing scheduled at Keystone for both Monday and Tuesday so Sunday is our only day to partake. On the final two days, I was thinking of doing a full day at Breck since we are practically ski in/ski out and a full day at either Keystone or A Basin.

 

I was wondering if the forum could make a recommendation on which resorts to focus our time on based on our abilities and desires. I am probably a level 8 skier; however, I have rarely make it to big mountains (Killington, Pico, Mt. Snow, Bachelor). By far, my favorite experience was at Bachelor because I love the feeling of skiing down from the summit as the views are breath taking. I like being in the open areas near the summit where trees cannot grow. I'm very excited to hike up a summit or two at Breck. I'm not much of an off piste skier but do enjoy it on occasion. Bumps and moguls aren't really my thing but I will tackle them on occasion. I don't mind skiing Greens or Blues so long as I can ski them fast or have a nice view of the surroundings.

 

My friends are both snowboarders who can handle most groomed trials, but they go at a slower, more cautious pace. I doubt that they could handle off piste. They will likely be most content on Blues.

 

Can you make recommendations based on these preferences? I have a pretty good feeling for what to expect at Breck. I don't know too much about Keystone or A Basin. How is Keystone night skiing? What do you like about Keystone and A Basin; how do they differ?

 

Any helpful advice on the area would be much appreciated. Thank you! 

post #2 of 11
It sounds like you would be better of at A -Basin and your friends would have more fun at Keystone. You could drop them off and then continue to the Basin yourself and meet back up later. A-Basin has lots of great above tree line terrain and Keystone has tons of long groomers. They are only 7 miles apart and you go right by KS on you way from Breck to the Basin.
post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by UllrIsLord View Post

It sounds like you would be better of at A -Basin and your friends would have more fun at Keystone. You could drop them off and then continue to the Basin yourself and meet back up later. A-Basin has lots of great above tree line terrain and Keystone has tons of long groomers. They are only 7 miles apart and you go right by KS on you way from Breck to the Basin.


This ^^^^^.  Couple things to point out about night skiing at Keystone.  The only lift running to trails you would probably enjoy is the Gondola.  That means you have to ski down and across the flat bridge, take skis off, and ride back up Gondola.  May not be a big deal to you, but it does take more time than just skiing up and loading onto a chair.  Also, if dry, conditions will deteriorate throughout the day and into the night and most groomers will become slick in spots.  And those lights can sometimes play havoc with depth perception.  I ski Keystone the majority of the time and don't enjoy the night skiing.  But that's just me.  YMMV.

 

Whatever you decide, hope you have a great time :).


Edited by bamaman - 1/7/16 at 12:58pm
post #4 of 11

Since you are staying at Breck, my view is that you should simply ski Breck all the days that you are staying there.  Breck is big - spread across 5 peaks and the terrain variety is high.  You will not get bored and you will not ski every area of the mountain in that time.  There are many blue and moderate black runs at Breck for your snowboarding friends.  There is a lot of terrain of the type that you say you prefer on Peaks 6, 7, and 8.  And when you want to exert yourself a bit, you can hike up Peak 6 or 8 to get some fairly steep skiing in.  

 

If conditions are good, I would go ski at Keystone on Sunday night for the experience of it.  And on the final day, if you want to see something new, then ski A-basin or Keystone on the way back to Denver.  Based on your description of your and your friends skiing ability, I believe Keystone is a better fit.

 

All the mountains have a lot of great skiing to offer.  So relax and have fun since you'll only be there for 3 days.

post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueHens View Post
 

My original idea is to take it easy on the slopes at Breck on Sunday morning to see the layout, check into our condo (walking distance to Snow Flake lift), and then drive to Keystone for some night skiing. I checked online and there is no night skiing scheduled at Keystone for both Monday and Tuesday so Sunday is our only day to partake. On the final two days, I was thinking of doing a full day at Breck since we are practically ski in/ski out and a full day at either Keystone or A Basin.

I agree that the night skiing at Keystone is not something you need to experience. Instead of taking it easy at Breck on Sunday, consider just getting in a regular  full day there (expect some crowds to slow you down).

 

Your friends will find lots of good terrain at Keystone (and Breck), so I'd recommend a day there. As an advanced skier, you'll find enough to keep you interested for the day.

 

And a final day at Breck sounds perfect, you'll enjoy the smaller crowds on Tuesday as compared with Sunday. Unless the Broncos are playing on Sunday, in which case the crowds will be more manageable everywhere.

post #6 of 11

I would also agree with skipping the night skiing at Keystone.  It's only on limited terrain on the frontside.  Enjoy your Sunday at Breck.  You will have enough to do check in to your condo, get settled and get some dinner.  And Sunday afternoon is typically less crowded as the locals bail out early to try and beat the traffic back to Denver.  Breck will have plenty to keep you interested for three days.  But try Keystone for one day if you want to.  I am a Keystone fan - it has some of the best long intermediate and novice groomers and great bump runs and trees for the better skiers..  

post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks all! We have much to consider. I just can't wait to get out there!
post #8 of 11


So I am another East Coast skier coming from New Jersey (Ski Belleayre in New York State and Mount Snow in Vermont).  I am flying out third week this January to ski Breckenridge on Thursday, January 21 through Saturday, January 23.  Can't wait.  I snow boarded in Vail many years ago in powder but have given up snow boarding in the East Coast due to ice.  I am in my third year of skiing thanks to my girls getting me back into the sport.  I am intermediate level and can ski double blacks here. 

 

Some questions - What Breck trail should we start with?  Maybe a warm up.  What is the easiest peak to drop in off of?  The far out forecast is showing 0 degrees at night and goes up to 21 during the day with 4 mph winds and 9mph gusts.  Do you consider this a cold day at Breck.  Wind is low so I am thinking it should be fine.  We spent last year in NY skiing 7 to 11 degrees with 20mph winds typically - Trying to avoid bringing my super cold weather coat and using sub layers with shell.

 

AND, a very important question - How much are my beers going to cost?  What is best place to hang there for breaks/lunch/après?

 

Soupman. 

post #9 of 11

Blue hens :: A basin FTW , night ski at Keystone will be a memorable experience ,( I promise ) Have fun :) 

post #10 of 11

They are all great,  do whatever you decide when you are there.  I am sure your friends will help you to decide after a day of skiing  :) 

post #11 of 11

I live at Keystone and ski all the Summit Co resorts frequently.  If you want to go night skiing I say go for it!  It really is a fun experience and if it is cold the gondola is there to warm you up.  They are running more lifts than they have in the past; River Run Gondola, Peru Express, and sometimes, Montezuma.  The only thing is that they don't groom any runs for night like they used to, which is a bummer.  However, it's still a great experience.  You will ski from light to light with a lil darkness in between but nothing to fret about.  I wear a blinker so people can see me better.

If you like fast blue runs then stick to Breck or Keystone.  A-basin is fantastic but the dominant terrain is off piste, Breck and Keystone offer more of what you said you enjoy.  Keystone is under rated and is a fun mountain.  You can make your way to the back of the mountain (North Peak/Outback) and make a day of it exploring.  The easy thing about A-basin is that it is much smaller and you can find your people very easily if you get split up.  The locals are thick there so expect some great skiers and the occasional attitude but don't mind the wild life; they don't bite.  If you really want to make a day of it, head to A-basin in the morning then hop down to Keystone for afternoon skiing and end with dinner at the Snake River Saloon.  You can rub elbows with the Keystone ski patrol there at the bar.

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