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Skiing on the Gem Card [ski vacation in CO Feb 2016]

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

We planned on a vacation in CO next week.  As part of that we looked into deals for the trip.  If we had planned earlier we could have considered Epic Pass products - Maybe next year.  In any case, we got our Gem Cards in the mail last week. 

 

We have 2 for 1's on our Gem Cards for the following resorts.

 

Arapahoe Basin
Eldora
Loveland
Monarch Mountain
Powderhorn
Ski Cooper
Ski Granby Ranch
Sunlight

 

We plan on skiing three of them at this time A Basin, Loveland and Cooper but there may be others in that list that are better than Cooper like Eldora or Sunlight possibly.

 

 

I was hoping to get thoughts or opinions on which of those make sense.  We also plan on skiing Copper and Snowmass on discounts from Workplace.

 

Moderator Note: moved to General Skiing, info added to thread title

post #2 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dskifanatic View Post
 

We planned on a vacation in CO next week.  As part of that we looked into deals for the trip.  If we had planned earlier we could have considered Epic Pass products - Maybe next year.  In any case, we got our Gem Cards in the mail last week. 

 

We have 2 for 1's on our Gem Cards for the following resorts.

 

Arapahoe Basin
Eldora
Loveland
Monarch Mountain
Powderhorn
Ski Cooper
Ski Granby Ranch
Sunlight

 

We plan on skiing three of them at this time A Basin, Loveland and Cooper but there may be others in that list that are better than Cooper like Eldora or Sunlight possibly.

 

 

I was hoping to get thoughts or opinions on which of those make sense.  We also plan on skiing Copper and Snowmass on discounts from Workplace.


Since you posted in Family Skiing, it would help to know the range of ages and abilities for your family.  How many ski days do you expect?

post #3 of 24

They all have great things to offer in their own right.  One being better than the other is more of a personal choice.  For me, it would be A Basin and Monarch but the others are good too.  The answer to @marznc  questions will affect responses also.

post #4 of 24
Where are you staying?

How many days?

A-Basin, Loveland, Copper and Cooper can be done from the same lodging base.

Sunlight and Snowmass are within a reasonable drive from each other.

No need to make the drive to Granby Ranch. Powderhorn is not that convenient.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Since you posted in Family Skiing, it would help to know the range of ages and abilities for your family.  How many ski days do you expect?


Well our kids are no longer kids - our youngest is 13 and is a real good skier.  Our other 2 boys are adults and also real good skiers/snowboarders. I think the weakest link is my wife who in her own right is pretty good - in that she can go down most any steep, can handle bumps but they are not her favorite thing to do.  She does not like tight trees and I admit neither do I - not for lack of skill but more from an inability to link consecutive turns and ski fluid.  I see videos where people are skiing tight trees and stopping at each turn - not fun IMO.  Our kids have been skiing since they were 3.  My wife started skiing the year before our youngest was born.  Will my wife and I huck cliffs - no.  We do not do backcountry skiing yet!

post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post

Where are you staying?

How many days?

A-Basin, Loveland, Copper and Cooper can be done from the same lodging base.

Sunlight and Snowmass are within a reasonable drive from each other.

No need to make the drive to Granby Ranch. Powderhorn is not that convenient.


Staying in Dillon for all of next week.

post #7 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dskifanatic View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Since you posted in Family Skiing, it would help to know the range of ages and abilities for your family.  How many ski days do you expect?


Well our kids are no longer kids - our youngest is 13 and is a real good skier.  Our other 2 boys are adults and also real good skiers/snowboarders. I think the weakest link is my wife who in her own right is pretty good - in that she can go down most any steep, can handle bumps but they are not her favorite thing to do.  She does not like tight trees and I admit neither do I - not for lack of skill but more from an inability to link consecutive turns and ski fluid.  I see videos where people are skiing tight trees and stopping at each turn - not fun IMO.  Our kids have been skiing since they were 3.  My wife started skiing the year before our youngest was born.  Will my wife and I huck cliffs - no.  We do not do backcountry skiing yet!


Well, in that case, I'm going to move this thread to a forum where more people are likely to see it.  During the season, while some members use New Posts to find threads of interest, others only look at specific forums.

post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dskifanatic View Post
 

We planned on a vacation in CO next week.  As part of that we looked into deals for the trip.  If we had planned earlier we could have considered Epic Pass products - Maybe next year.  In any case, we got our Gem Cards in the mail last week. 

 

We have 2 for 1's on our Gem Cards for the following resorts.

 

Arapahoe Basin
Eldora
Loveland
Monarch Mountain
Powderhorn
Ski Cooper
Ski Granby Ranch
Sunlight

 

We plan on skiing three of them at this time A Basin, Loveland and Cooper but there may be others in that list that are better than Cooper like Eldora or Sunlight possibly.

 

 

I was hoping to get thoughts or opinions on which of those make sense.  We also plan on skiing Copper and Snowmass on discounts from Workplace.

 

Moderator Note: moved to General Skiing, info added to thread title

Quote:
Originally Posted by dskifanatic View Post
 

Well our kids are no longer kids - our youngest is 13 and is a real good skier.  Our other 2 boys are adults and also real good skiers/snowboarders. I think the weakest link is my wife who in her own right is pretty good - in that she can go down most any steep, can handle bumps but they are not her favorite thing to do.  She does not like tight trees and I admit neither do I - not for lack of skill but more from an inability to link consecutive turns and ski fluid.  I see videos where people are skiing tight trees and stopping at each turn - not fun IMO.  Our kids have been skiing since they were 3.  My wife started skiing the year before our youngest was born.  Will my wife and I huck cliffs - no.  We do not do backcountry skiing yet!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dskifanatic View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post

Where are you staying?

How many days?

A-Basin, Loveland, Copper and Cooper can be done from the same lodging base.

Sunlight and Snowmass are within a reasonable drive from each other.

No need to make the drive to Granby Ranch. Powderhorn is not that convenient.


Staying in Dillon for all of next week.

Don't see much reason to drive over to Sunlight, especially since I-70 had a big rock fall recently and is like to be very slow on the way to Glenwood Springs.  Having seen Powderhorn from the highway, definitely no reason to make the drive there.  Looks like a fun little place for local kids to learn more than anything else.

post #9 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Don't see much reason to drive over to Sunlight, especially since I-70 had a big rock fall recently and is like to be very slow on the way to Glenwood Springs.  Having seen Powderhorn from the highway, definitely no reason to make the drive there.  Looks like a fun little place for local kids to learn more than anything else.

 

 

The OP said they were skiing Snowmass.  I agree there is no reason to drive to Sunlight but if you are planning to go to Snowmass and have the Gems card, Sunlight would make sense.

 

Powderhorn is actually a fun mountain with great trees.   The location does not make sense for the OP.

post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31 View Post

 

 

The OP said they were skiing Snowmass.  I agree there is no reason to drive to Sunlight but if you are planning to go to Snowmass and have the Gems card, Sunlight would make sense.

 

Powderhorn is actually a fun mountain with great trees.   The location does not make sense for the OP.


Ah, I was focused on the GEM card list.  If I-70 is still mostly blocked on the way to Glenwood Springs, I wonder if the drive to Snowmass would be worth it.  Great place but there they have so many options closer to Dillon.

post #11 of 24

I suspect i70 will be open next week but do check.  If it's open, a trip is feasible and Snowmass and/or Aspen Highlands are a big upgrade compared to the other ski areas you're considering.  It's a bit of a drive but I do it a lot and enjoy it.

 

Regarding the other gem ski areas:

 

Loveland / Arapahoe Basin - recommended, both are mostly above tree line so choose your days there based on weather.  Each is good size with a fair amount of advanced/expert skiing. 

Monarch Mountain/Sunlight - both are great small ski ares with a little bit of everything.  Monarch has more runs but they're shorter.  neither is all that close.  Sunlight has more black runs.

Eldora - Never been but I don't think you'd be missing much.  don't go on weekend due to crowds to get there and on mountain.
Powderhorn - too far.  Lower elevation means bad snow sometimes.
Ski Granby Ranch / Ski Cooper - only good for lower blue and green skiers

post #12 of 24

"One-lane, alternating traffic led by a pilot car is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, but this is not a certainty at this point."

post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanvg View Post
 

I suspect i70 will be open next week but do check.  If it's open, a trip is feasible and Snowmass and/or Aspen Highlands are a big upgrade compared to the other ski areas you're considering.  It's a bit of a drive but I do it a lot and enjoy it.

 

Regarding the other gem ski areas:

 

Loveland / Arapahoe Basin - recommended, both are mostly above tree line so choose your days there based on weather.  Each is good size with a fair amount of advanced/expert skiing. 

Monarch Mountain/Sunlight - both are great small ski ares with a little bit of everything.  Monarch has more runs but they're shorter.  neither is all that close.  Sunlight has more black runs.

Eldora - Never been but I don't think you'd be missing much.  don't go on weekend due to crowds to get there and on mountain.
Powderhorn - too far.  Lower elevation means bad snow sometimes.
Ski Granby Ranch / Ski Cooper - only good for lower blue and green skiers

 

I was not considering the last two you mention and with the rock slide possibly not going to consider Sunlight.  Eldora is a last minute play on the day we fly out.  LL and AB are for sure.  Cooper was a consideration.

post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dskifanatic View Post
 

 

I was not considering the last two you mention and with the rock slide possibly not going to consider Sunlight.  Eldora is a last minute play on the day we fly out.  LL and AB are for sure.  Cooper was a consideration.


You might already be aware, but if i70 is closed, a day trip to Snowmass is not feasible.  (CO 82 is not open in the winter east of Aspen)

post #15 of 24

Since it hasn't been mentioned, opensnow.com is your friend, also CAIC. Don't just look at the list of what areas are getting what snow, read the forecast. Loveland has been a bit breezy the past couple weeks. I-70 through Glenwood canyon is not expected to be open in both directions for a month. I don't know what they will do (one lane each direction, vs. two lanes with a pilot car, alternating directions a couple times an hour). 

post #16 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike78 View Post
 

"One-lane, alternating traffic led by a pilot car is scheduled for Thursday afternoon, but this is not a certainty at this point."


FYI, "Thursday" is today.  New estimates though now put the pilot car timetable for Saturday.

post #17 of 24
Yep, I have the CDOT app. I have found they post the latest on twitter before other places. Sat. Is not happening either and right now they are not giving a timetable.
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 

There is an alternative route through Gypsum over to Catherine according to my GPS but that route is slower and adds about 30 minutes to the drive.  We are now considering Winter Park and Sunlight is out of the question for sure!  Definitely sucks for ski areas over that way or for people that had vacation plans for Aspen.

post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by dskifanatic View Post
 

There is an alternative route through Gypsum over to Catherine according to my GPS but that route is slower and adds about 30 minutes to the drive.  We are now considering Winter Park and Sunlight is out of the question for sure!  Definitely sucks for ski areas over that way or for people that had vacation plans for Aspen.


The alternative route takes 5.5 hours from Dillon.  Your GPS is giving a route that doesn't exist or is close in winter.

post #20 of 24

I was curious if CME (http://www.coloradomountainexpress.com/) is taking the long, long way around, so I checked.

Nope, they have cancelled service between the Denver airport and Aspen.

 

From the CDOT notice:

Alternate Route Information:

North Detour: North on CO-131 at Wolcott to Steamboat Springs. West on US-40 to Craig. South on CO-13 to I-70 in Rifle. South Detours: Option 1: US 50: Grand Junction to Pueblo (5h35min. 298mi.) Option 2: US-50 at Grand Junction to US-285 at Poncha Springs to CO-470 (5h43min. 311 mi.)
 
Google maps says it is a seven hour drive by the North route.  (6:30 without traffic). 
post #21 of 24

Could be a good time to stop at Steamboat on the way through.

 

I was curious and checked flights: next week, looks like United RTs from DIA to Aspen are $605 and to Grand Junction, $519. That's not terrible ... 

post #22 of 24

The most recent I heard was there is significant damage to both decks and CDOT will have one lane open, alternating directions with a pilot car.

 

Sounds like a good opportunity to explore Winter Park or Steamboat.

post #23 of 24
Apparently another minor slide today
post #24 of 24

It looks like Eldora and Monarch are set to get some good snow for Tuesday morning, both of those being on your list and all...neither particularly close, but they may best the closer areas by 1.5 to 2x. The areas closer to you are supposed to get some also, but predictions now are saying not quite as much (3-6" as opposed to the 8-10" predicted at Eldo and Monarch). Eldora could be crowded in the morning even though its a weekday (it is 40 or so minutes from Boulder) so if you go, get there early or you'll risk not getting a parking spot. 

 

Have fun!

 

NPR reporting one lane open with a pilot car late afternoons and early mornings, closed during the day for work.

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