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Drive to Steamboat/Copper. Where to stay on the way?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

We're flying into Denver 12/15 at 9pm and wanting to go to either Steamboat or Copper the next morning.

 

Is this too ambitious?

 

Copper is closer, so I'm leaning toward there first.  Then, the next day drive to Steamboat...or we may just skip Copper and drive to Steamboat.

 

I'm looking at staying in Georgetown or maybe Idaho Springs.

 

My big concern is if it's snowing quite a bit, will I have problems getting there that night?  How steep is the road to Georgetown?

post #2 of 14

I think this should be a piece of cake if you go to Copper first.  Lots of people ski Copper as a day trip from Denver, so you could stay anywhere on the west edge of town and have an easy 75-90 min drive to Copper in the morning.  Traffic on a Friday morning in mid-Dec should be no issue.  If you want to drive part of the way into the mtns you could stay at a place like the Georgetown Mtn Inn in Georgetown for about $100 per night.  Should be easy to get a room on a Thurs in mid-Dec.  Georgetown is probably about halfway or better to Copper.

If you wanted to ski Steamboat on Friday you'd want to probably drive at least to Frisco (about 75-85 min from airport), and then you'd have about two hours from there to Steamboat on Friday morning.  

 

The chances you'd hit heavy snow on that very Thurs are slim, but even then you could probably figure out a way to get to Copper by 11am Friday.  There is some gradient before Georgetown that is not trivial, but in light traffic and anything less than full blizzard should be manageable.

post #3 of 14

If you are fortunate enough to get into the beginning of a snowstorm by Georgetown, you might want to go farther to Dillon or Frisco. It will get you through the tunnel and would leave you just a few minutes from Copper with no hills, just a canyon.

 

But that.s just me.

post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stranger View Post
 

If you are fortunate enough to get into the beginning of a snowstorm by Georgetown, you might want to go farther to Dillon or Frisco. It will get you through the tunnel and would leave you just a few minutes from Copper with no hills, just a canyon.

 

But that.s just me.

Good point.  If snow is in the overnight forecast, but not until after midnight then driving on to Frisco/Dillon is very good advice because the Eisenhower tunnel is high and it's final approach from the East is the most challenging part of that drive.

post #5 of 14
Copper would be a piece of cake. West suburban Denver would give you some time to acclimate.

Or just wait till you see conditions, and Hotwire it on the way up I70.
I got the Holiday Inn in Frisco in May for $80.
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

Copper would be a piece of cake. West suburban Denver would give you some time to acclimate.
 

This. Not sure where you are coming from but staying on the west side of Denver to acclimate is always a good idea before going up.  Altitude sickness is not fun and dealing with others with it can put a damper on things too.  There are also a much wider range of lodging options. 


Edited by NPhoenix - 9/25/16 at 11:16pm
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NPhoenix View Post

This. Not sure where you are coming from but staying on the west side of Denver to acclimate is always a good idea before going up.  Altitude sickness is not fun and dealing with others with it can put a damper on things too.  There are also a much wider range of lodging options. 

Very true. I'm coming from Florida. We've never had a problem when staying at Winter Park, but then again we've usually stayed in Denver or Vegas the evening before going up.
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitman View Post


Very true. I'm coming from Florida. We've never had a problem when staying at Winter Park, but then again we've usually stayed in Denver or Vegas the evening before going up.

I'd only drive up that night if a storm is possible in the A.M. or if you're going to Steamboat.    Although you'll need to get up earlier if you stay in west Denver, another advantage is you'll be driving during the daylight for the scenery.   Coming from Florida, it should be a welcomed drive.  

post #9 of 14

I've done both west Denver and Georgetown. (and Frisco years ago before I wise up)

 

I wouldn't book anything that can't be cancelled till the day of. Mainly due to weather, but also flight delays. Even if Denver is clear, a storm in DC or Chicago MAY impact your own flight.

 

Watch the weather the morning of. Make changes if necessary. 

 

If everything goes well, Georgetown is a good compromise. The drive is short and easy, as long as the road is dry. Altitude isn't as bad as Frisco. Has a head start over the Denver locals in the morning. That's my first choice in good weather.

 

(Then comes one trip when I landed, collected my car, getting ready to drive out to Goregetown. That's when my local contact, who's a transport supervisor, called me to tell me a tractor-trailer jacklifed on the interstate! Now I can't get through to Georgetown. And it's already 10:30! I ended up calling the Super 8 at Georgetown, begged that they release me from the reservation. They checked the road report, confirmed there's probably no way I could get there in decent hour. Let me out of the reservation. Nice people they always are)

 

West Denver avoids all that drama. And with a east coast body clock, you'll be up early anyway. So not much worry over the traffic of the locals.

 

Your time frame of mid-December, I would imagine the local skier traffic won't be all that bad after all. 

post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hitman View Post
 

My big concern is if it's snowing quite a bit, will I have problems getting there that night?  How steep is the road to Georgetown?

I think the scariest hill on the way from DEN to Georgetown is the downhill you encounter after the the climb up the first big hill leaving the plains (around or after Genesee Park).

 

On my way to the 2016 Gathering, I had snow-covered roads leaving the airport and got buried in slush a few times on my way to skiing by big trucks and 4WDs. While I made it to A-Basin in less than two hours after landing, going from living at 300' to driving to almost 12K and skiing at over 12K is not for everyone. Following picture is what formerly clean rental car looked liked after 75 miles and less than two hours of driving. They first tried to give me a Mustang convertible, then gave me a Chevy Spark that probably luckily did not start.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post
 

I've done both west Denver and Georgetown. (and Frisco years ago before I wise up)

 

If everything goes well, Georgetown is a good compromise. The drive is short and easy, as long as the road is dry. Altitude isn't as bad as Frisco.

The difference in altitude between Georgetown and Frisco is only 500 feet. I stayed in Lakewood once when I arrived at night and it seemed like a long drive to Vail the next morning.

post #11 of 14

@Hitman I would go with doing both.  Go to Copper for a day then head to Steamboat.  The drive?  Not sure what to say.  I can tell you that during last season there were 2 days I didn't make it to Copper and several that took in the 3 hour range.  So generally speaking yes you can make it there in around 90 minutes but there certainly are caveats.   Overall the road to Georgetown is not that steep.  The climb out of Georgetown westbound is.  Typically this is where the road will get closed.  There is a climb out of the front range up Genesee (out of Golden).  That can be a cluster but it is now without any snow.  I agree with @tseeb, the descent down Floyd can be worse than the climbs and the descent from the tunnel down to Silverthorne can be really interesting.  I say that because you have no control over drivers around you.

 

What vehicle should you rent?  Your call.  All I will say is this.  They are now enforcing the CO traction laws.  You may never ever have an issue and be good with pretty much any vehicle, especially if you have a lot of experience driving in snow/ice conditons.  *IF* you have an accident or get stuck causing a backup or get pulled over for some other reason and they check your vehicle then your vacation has the potential to get a lot more expensive if it is not compliant. 

 

If you do decide to head to Copper for a day let me know.  Buddy pass will save you a bit over the pre-purchase price.

post #12 of 14

Case in point.  1st real snow of the season and I70 is closed at Georgetown. @MT Skull having a busy day at work today?

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

Where does it close down at?  Right after Georgetown?

post #14 of 14

It varies, but that's a common spot.

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