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Suggestions for pre-holiday trip to Colorado?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi all,

We are looking into a quick 4-day trip to a Colorado resort the week before Christmas. Can anyone recommend a ski area WRT to the following parameters:
  • within 1 1/2 - 2 hrs from Denver
  • chance for good snow coverage
  • slopeside or walking distance lodging
post #2 of 18
Relatively uncrowded is going to be a difficut propisition if you are talking a week before christmas and with 2 hours of denver.

The other criteria should not be too difficult. I would reccomend stemboat unless you are into gnarly terrain (its pretty lacking in that respect). The boat is about 2 hours away- far enugh to keep most of Denvr at bay. You might also want to look into crested butte- although that might be a bit more than 2 hours.
post #3 of 18
If things play out like last year (so far conditions are off to a better early start) all the usual front range suspects - Copper, Breck, Winter Park, Keystone should be in pretty good shape at that time and I don't think unacceptably crowded. Lodging in Breck might present the most enjoyable and diverse slopeside situation. Although about 30 minutes farther away than the others, Vail is not much more than two hours from Denver and is tough to beat if your budget allows.

This story might be of interest WRT preXmas crowds and conditions:

post #4 of 18
How about 3 out of 4, if your that close to Denver, there will always be a chance of crowds. There is no way you can drive to Steamboat in 2 hours from Denver, but thats a good thing. Get a few more hours from Denver and you will have a lot more choices.

Crested Butte
Beaver Creek
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
I can live with crowds if that is unavoidable within 2 hrs from Denver.

Of Copper, Breck, Winter Park & Keystone, which is closest? Are these all comparable WRT terrain & likelihood of good snow? Thanks again.
post #6 of 18
Copper is the farthest, but only by about 10-15 minutes; Vail is about 15 -20 minutes with clear roads past Copper. Winter Park may be the closest in driving time, although if the road conditions are bad it will be just as long (it is a smaller and windier road off of I70, whereas the others are less driving off of the highway, and no driving off the highway for Copper). In the past 3 years Keystone has had the least early season snow of the resorts you list. Terrain is pretty extensive at all of them. Keystone is closest to A-Basin, which you can also ski onthe same ticket (about a 10 minute drive). There is probably more easy blue terrain at Breck than the others (but also some good hike-to bowls that may be open by then if you like that).
post #7 of 18
We went last year two weeks before Christmas and hit Breck, Keystone, Vail and Steamboat.

All had good coverage already. Steamboat definitely had the best base and got another 10-12" the day we were there. Vail and Breck did have areas that were still closed, but they were supposed to be completely open by the weekend we were leaving, so you should be fine in that area.

I did not find any of the resorts overly crowded, but I suppose a week could make a big difference. If you do go to Vail definitely avoid the gondola on the first trip up in the morning...that line was ridiculous..meanline the lift right next to it was empty.

We did not stay slopeside, so I can't comment on that. We stayed in Frisco and enjoyed being more centrally located and hanging out with the locals instead of the other tourists.
post #8 of 18
there is no way that steamboat is 2 hours from denver unless the roads are dry and you have a porshe.
i'd recommend breckenridge, keystone or copper for pretty good slopeside lodging thats 1 1/2 hours away and you can ski keystone/breckenridge/abasin on the same ticket to increase you chances of skiing somewhere with decent snow. all four of these are 30 minutes from each other with ski buses that go to all of them. the crowds should only be bad on weekends.
post #9 of 18
ABasin and Loveland are the closest ski areas from Denver. About 1.5 hours via I70 from DIA. You could stay in Dillon or Frisco, no slopeside lodging at either. Breckenridge is the next closest, about 1 hr and 45 min. It will probably be somewhat crowded especially on the w/e but it is a large mountain and you can ski areas that are less crowded (Peak 7 and 10). Have fun!
post #10 of 18
there is no way that steamboat is 2 hours from denver unless the roads are dry and you have a porshe.
LoL, I guess I am a bit leadfooted when skiing is the destination.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
Well, I think we might stay in Frisco and commute via shuttle or might rent a car. Does anyone think I will have a problem getting lodging last minute? Any thoughts on the shuttle?

Another option we are considering is Winter Park. I like that WP might be a better bet for snow, but is there a town or anything to do around the area? Thanks for the info.
post #12 of 18
the shuttle will get you everywhere, but may take a while to get there; it goes all over the place. however, the kab-keystone,abasin,breckenridge bus is great and only stops at the resorts. i'd rent a car if i stayed in frisco,silverthorne or dillon.
you can get lodging last minute then, just not cheap lodging. i'd book now if you already know the dates.
WP is mostly what's available at WP. breck/keystone/copper have the most options for summit county.
post #13 of 18
We started out using the shuttles our 1st day staying in Frisco. Then we had a relative, with a vehicle to use, for the next two days. When he left we rented a car for the rest of our stay. The shuttles took really roundabout routes in order to hit the most stops. If you can swing the extra cost, definitely get a rental.

We went to Winter Park two seasons ago. There was no need to rent a car there, as the shuttle system was very direct. Of course, with only one resort to go to it should be. You do have to watch what route you're staying on if you like to stay out later at night, as some of them stop running earlier then others.

We stayed about 4 blocks off the main street in town. There was enough to keep us entertained, but we were only there four nights and after being on the slopes all day we really weren't interested in staying out too late.

If you're looking for more non-skiing entertainment options you'd definitely be happier in Summit County.

I liked WP alot but would pick the variety of Summit County any day.
post #14 of 18
The last few seasons Vail has had the best/most snow that time of year given your parameters. I'm out every year 12/15 or so through NewYears. Last year Vail had almost 100 % open the week before X-Mass where Copper and Breck had about 40-50 % and Keystone the worst. Also the last few seasons Steamboat has been getting clobbered with snow. Vail is a half hour from Frisco if the roads are dry---that's your best bet, if things run true to previous years. See you there !
post #15 of 18
Haven't been to WP, but it is reported to have good intermediate terrain but not as much to do as Breck/Vail. I agree with those who said it would be a problem getting there though if you are renting a car and aren't used to driving in snowpack. The roads to WP are more difficult to drive than to Summit Cty. Vail has slopeside lodging but will be a 2.5 hour drive from Denver at least, and more expensive. Driving to Summit Cty is almost never a problem and closer. Alot of the time you can get by without a four wheel drive, but I would check the road conditions and ask at the airport before doing that. I would vote for going to Breck, Abasin, Copper. All of them should have decent coverage with the snow that has been falling. You shouldn't have a problem if you stay in Frisco or Dillon for last minute lodging(Creekside Inn or Frisco Lodge has affordable accomodations) and you can drive to all four(Breck/Keystone/Copper/Abasin) quickly. If you stay in Breck (www.vrbo.com for slopeside lodging or www.breckenridge.snow.com for slopeslide lodging) you will love the town, lots of restaurants. nice mining town feel.... and the shuttle system is good and will take you to Keystone/Abasin and I believe Vail and Copper too. There are tons of ski rental shops to choose from in Breck(www.blueriversports.com is the cheapest I have found and we ski Breck/Abasin every year for the last four because of our timeshare). Also, you are still only 20 or so min from ABasin, 20 min to Copper and about 10 to Keystone.
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Got back on Sunday from Summit County. Had a great time. Skied Copper, Vail, Breck and did Loveland on the way to the airport. My favorite was Vail then Copper, was a little disappointed with Breck, Peak 8 & 9 were a little monotonous, but Peak 10 wasw a lot of fun, so we stayed there most of the day.

Vail was sweet. Thanks Uncle Louie et al for the info there, you saved us a lot of time. We stayed on the back side most of the day and was able to find a little powder here and there. Coverage was an issue in some spots though.

We went to copper the first day and had 4" of fresh. Liked Copper a lot. The runs off of Amer. Flyer were harder than anything we skied at peaks 8 & 9 at Breck.

Stayed at Frisco Lodge and highly recommend it. They even had a tuning shop right in the building (maybe standard for Summit county?). Best food was at the Boathouse and Moosejaw (for burgers).

Anyway, thanks to all for your advice. You really had a positive influence on this trip.

ALSO, Frontier Airlines has a great ticket deal with Copper & Winter Park: you get 2 for 1 lift tickets with your boarding pass stub (M-F).
post #17 of 18
Were the crowds light?
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
Except for Saturday at Breck, I think the longest lift line was in the seconds rather than minutes. Breck was a lot more crowded, but still not real bad. At Vail (Friday), we had the back bowls to ourselves for the most part. Blue Sky Basin was pretty empty too. The front side was a lot more crowded. Copper (Thursday) was pretty light as well. Loveland was very uncrowded on Sunday, but we didn't stay long. It was cold & windy and the lifts were slooooow.
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