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I-70 traffic... When does it die down?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking of taking my 9 year old West this winter probably some time around April 1. I've found my limit for sleeping is in the low 8000ft range. Above 9000ft is torture. I'm thinking Idaho Springs would work for splitting time between Copper and Loveland. How's the traffic in early April?

Plan B would be to go west to sleep at Beaver Creek or beyond and commute from there. I've hit everywhere in that area (except winter park) and Copper and Loveland are the best of the I-70 / Aspen resorts IMO so I'm pretty much sold on those two.

Plan C would be to go to SLC as my son skis free at Brighton. I'm just thinking summit county will have a better chance at winter conditions. If it was better than 80% or so of winter in SLC (and better than 90% no rain) it could be pushed to plan A.
post #2 of 12
Traffic is much lower by early April and really would only be a big issue in bad weather. Option A sounds like the best of your options. The biggest downside is the travel time and the need to climb up the continental divide. Option b is no better with vail pass and even longer drives.

Personally, I'd rather get a late season deal to aspen/snowmass which would greatly reduce daily travel time.

One other option is staying in grandby and only skiing winter park. 30 min daily drive without a pass to climb
post #3 of 12

Joe,  If you are considering Idaho Springs you might want to consider including Evergreen for lodging also.  It will add an additional 10 miles but depending on your lodging likes might provide with a few more updated places.

 

Beaver Creek / Avon has some great options but definitely more $$$$$.  As @nathanvg points out, there is the potential of Vail Pass being a roll of the dice.  We had friends stay at the Holiday Inn in Vail last year and did the 16 miles back and forth to Copper.  They got lucky and didn't have any issues so it is possible.

post #4 of 12

I suggest a plan D -- spring skiing in Whistler is awesome.  It is more travel to get there, but the base elevation is quite low (<2500 feet), the crowds are reduced, and there is good snow to be had.  I skied there this past year April 1 and 2 years ago around April 15.

 

You will need to get passports though... also it may be more expensive.  USD$ has been strong versus Canadian currency however, so it may be cost effective.

post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TexSkier View Post
 

I suggest a plan D -- spring skiing in Whistler is awesome.  It is more travel to get there, but the base elevation is quite low (<2500 feet), the crowds are reduced, and there is good snow to be had.  I skied there this past year April 1 and 2 years ago around April 15.

 

You will need to get passports though... also it may be more expensive.  USD$ has been strong versus Canadian currency however, so it may be cost effective.

 

I'm Canadian... i should have mentioned... I'm seriously budget conscious... that's how i arrived at those choices.  Whistler and budget conscious are mutually exclusive... even with the dollar where its at. 

post #6 of 12

Easters late again this next season, 4/16. The traffic may be reduced, but it can still be a major PITA. Sounds like Brighton would be your best option. Air fare will be higher, but accomadations and ski passes will be lower.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post

I'm thinking of taking my 9 year old West this winter probably some time around April 1. I've found my limit for sleeping is in the low 8000ft range. Above 9000ft is torture. I'm thinking Idaho Springs would work for splitting time between Copper and Loveland. How's the traffic in early April?

Plan B would be to go west to sleep at Beaver Creek or beyond and commute from there. I've hit everywhere in that area (except winter park) and Copper and Loveland are the best of the I-70 / Aspen resorts IMO so I'm pretty much sold on those two.

Plan C would be to go to SLC as my son skis free at Brighton. I'm just thinking summit county will have a better chance at winter conditions. If it was better than 80% or so of winter in SLC (and better than 90% no rain) it could be pushed to plan A.


Comments about Plan C . . . I've been at Alta in April every spring since 2008.  Never rained.  Sometimes spring skiing for a few days, but have skied fresh powder every time.  Only difference with mid-winter is that the powder may only last a day or two before the sun comes into play.  The deepest powder I've ever enjoyed was the April 15, 2015 dump of close to 30".  Still lots of fun the next day too.

 

A trip report from late March, early April 2016:

http://www.epicski.com/t/146502/little-cottonwood-canyon-late-mar-early-apr-2016

 

One reason I never ski in CO for a 1-week trip is the higher altitude in comparison to skiing around SLC.  Mid-season trips I usually stay in the city.  But staying up in LCC at 8000' is okay after the couple days.  Snowbird usually has spring specials that include lift tickets.  This year will be a little weird because Easter is late.  May be bargains to be had the first week of April since American colleges and some public schools have spring break in March.

post #8 of 12

I travel I-70 from Denver every weekend day all winter long (I'm too cheap to get a place in the mountains). It can be a pain in the rear if there is a storm or a crash, but honestly I wouldn't let it dictate your travel plans. Early April sees much lower traffic volumes than March, and 95% of the time the very worst you'll encounter is like a 20-30 minute delay at the tunnel.

post #9 of 12

Mammoth and Mt. Bachelor should always be on the short list for April.  Both have huge amounts of terrain that should be fine for you and your 9 year old.  Mammoth April surfaces are quite similar to the better Colorado areas.  Lodging in town is around 8,000 feet.

 

For Bachelor you're sleeping in Bend at barely 3,000 and driving up to the mountain, skiing 6,000 - 9,000.    If it's not still winter there, Bachelor has the best lift served corn snow anywhere, easy to follow optimal snow surfaces around the mountain all day.  Part of that comes from much lower skier density than I-70 Colorado, Mammoth, the Cottonwood Canyons or Whistler.

post #10 of 12

After this weekend I give up with I70.  Just expect a shit show and you will be good.  It shouldn't take me 2:20 to get to Copper on a Fri weekday morning.

post #11 of 12

 

Originally Posted by Mike78 View Post
 

Joe,  If you are considering Idaho Springs you might want to consider including Evergreen for lodging also.  It will add an additional 10 miles but depending on your lodging likes might provide with a few more updated places.

 

Beaver Creek / Avon has some great options but definitely more $$$$$.  As @nathanvg points out, there is the potential of Vail Pass being a roll of the dice.  We had friends stay at the Holiday Inn in Vail last year and did the 16 miles back and forth to Copper.  They got lucky and didn't have any issues so it is possible.

Evergreen does not have many options when it comes to lodging so maybe not a good choice.

 

Here are a couple places to consider:

 

  • Silverthorne is above 8000' but below 9000', is close to Copper, Keystone, Breck and Loveland, yet more affordable than the resorts so you may want to consider it.
  • Fraser is near WP but lower altitude and more affordable.

 

 

For me, the key to altitude is drinking lots of water on way up and spending a day at a place somewhere of moderate altitude, say 7k, before going to stay at higher elevation.   

 

Personally, I'd choose Copper, Breck and WP as destinations over Loveland so that is reason for suggestions.  Vail is a a good way further trek and very pricey.

post #12 of 12

The OP claims to be very altitude sensitive over 9,000 feet. While that is most critical with respect to sleep, Copper, Breck, Winter Park and Loveland all have base elevations over 9,000 with skiing up to 12,000.  This suggests to me that these are not optimal destinations unless it's a 2 week trip with the first week spent skiing at lower altitudes.

 

Plan C sleeping below 5,000 in SLC while skiing 8,000 - 11,000 in the Cottonwoods is better.   Mammoth has same ski elevations but you're sleeping at 8,000.

 

Whistler or Bachelor would be best in this scenario (April but altitude sensitive).   Banff would be another good choice, sleep 5,000 and ski 5,500 - 9,000.

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