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Where to go near Denver?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
We just redeemed 3 round trip airline vouchers on the last day they were good because wife daughter & I couldn't agree on where to go or when. So we just said "Denver, over January break". Now, to decide where to go. My wife doesn't ski but likes new places and real towns (as opposed to resorts). Last winter she loved Jackson, WY because she could hang out, meet people, and it's a town where people really live, work, go to school, etc. By the end of the week she knew half the people in town and almost everything that was going on. The problem as I see it is that most of the CO ski areas near Denver are resort towns and may not have that texture of grounded reality. Anybody know what Avon is like? I am thinking that might be a nice town and easily accessible to Vail & Beaver Creek. The real places that were towns before they were ski resorts (Telluride, Crested Butte, etc.) are a long way from Denver. I've only been to Aspen in the summer and 20 years ago, but I always picture it like in "Dumb and Dumber", which wouldn't be a good fit. Any ideas/suggestions would be helpful, Thanks!
post #2 of 18
For a real ski town, Breckenridge isn't bad. I'd suggest other places to ski nearby (presumably Beaver Creek, A-Basin, Winter Park, and Loveland), but the town of Breck is pretty cool. Lots of little shops and nice homes. Never been to JH so I can't compare. Winter Park is a cool town too- not as developed, but there's definite opportunity to do other things in town than ski.
post #3 of 18
Steamboat is a 'real' town that might fit the bill. It is a bit farther from Denver than the I-70 corridor resorts but still quite driveable.
post #4 of 18
I would not consider Avon a real town. Breckenridge is a real town.
If you stay in Breck and want to ski Vail or Beaver Creek, they are
only a hour drive.Check out the pre-season lift ticket sales in the fall.
Vail, Beaver Creek, Breck and Keystone are all owned by Vail resorts
so many of the lift ticket packages include all 4.
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by skier31
I would not consider Avon a real town.
I have to agree with that, and I live there!! Does that mean I'm not a real person though, I'm getting worried now...
post #6 of 18
Steamboat and Aspen are the closest you'll get to the JH "town" aspect.

You can stay in Snowmass (best skiing), and your wife can take the free, constant shuttle to Aspen , 11 miles. Also, ski Aspen, Highlands, and Buttermilk, good for 10 days!

Steamboat is actually closer to the hill than JH; so is Breckenridge, from where you can easily ski Keystone and Copper.

My choice, Snowmass/Aspen.

We're redeeming our free air miles to LAX, for Disney, then Mammoth and Lake Tahoe!
post #7 of 18
Breckenridge, Steamboat and Aspen would be your best choices.

Breckenridge would be my choice, as you don't get the glitz like you do in Aspen, and the town is all in one location unlike Steamboat which is split into the town and the ski area.

Breck would also be a lot colder than the other 2 places.

Apsen and Breck would provide the most skiing, as Aspen's lift tickets are good at all 4 mountains, and with the Breck pass you get ABasin, Keystone and a few days at Vail or BC.
post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Bell
I have to agree with that, and I live there!! Does that mean I'm not a real person though, I'm getting worried now...
Martin, I have no idea if you are real person. Do you teach at Vail or BC?
post #9 of 18
Aspen area is a real entertaining place for a non-skier to check out for a week. But closer to Denver - how about a couple ski days at Eldora while based in Boulder? Wife hangs out in Boulder's neat town center with shops and Colorado University close by. Then with rental car everyone moves on for 4 days at Breck. This plan would also allow for altitude adjustment if that is a consideration.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj
Aspen area is a real entertaining place for a non-skier to check out for a week. But closer to Denver - how about a couple ski days at Eldora while based in Boulder? Wife hangs out in Boulder's neat town center with shops and Colorado University close by. Then with rental car everyone moves on for 4 days at Breck. This plan would also allow for altitude adjustment if that is a consideration.
Although the Boulder idea is a great one (since I live there), I wouldn't suggest multiple days at Eldora. Maybe one day at Eldora and one at Loveland, however- since Loveland is just over an hour from Boulder.
post #11 of 18
January is a good time to go to Aspen. The slopes are not very busy, and neither is the town. I assume that by Jan break you mean MLK. The front range areas are very busy over the MLK weekend. Aspen, being farther away from the Denver Metro area is not much affected by this. Assuming decent weather and normal (not peak time)traffic, you can drive from Denver to Aspen in about 3 1/2 hours. As for glitz, I think that its much overblown. Those folks probably aren't around that time of year.

Jim
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
All this response is truly appreciated, and hopefully my daughter and I will get around to skiing at all the above. There is plenty of time to decide, but isn't that what gets us through the summer? From what I'm hearing, it's Breckenridge or Aspen with Steamboat as a third possibility. Anybody have suggestions where to stay?...we'd like a log cabin, spacious but compact, near everything yet secluded, etc you get the idea
post #13 of 18

how rustic?

Depends on how rustic you want to go, if very rustic is ok check out: http://www.tlazy7.com/
I stayed there one March long ago and had fun. It's in a beautiful, quiet spot and relatively cheap with decent proximity to all of Aspen area, esp Aspen Highlands.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj
Depends on how rustic you want to go, if very rustic is ok check out: http://www.tlazy7.com/
I stayed there one March long ago and had fun. It's in a beautiful, quiet spot and relatively cheap with decent proximity to all of Aspen area, esp Aspen Highlands.
Man, am I glad that place is still around...I thought they would get swallowed up by now. I had one of the best ski trips I've ever had while based at the T-Lazy-7 about 10 years ago with assorted friends and family...The high point was the band that played in the lodge on Saturday night. I don't remember the band's name, but I do remember that the lead singer was named Geraldine. She was BIG and she could yodel like Patsy Montana. Just thinking about it now gives me goosebumps!

Oh, and Highlands is right around the corner.
post #15 of 18
I would vote in the opposite order, Steamboat, Aspen, Breckenridge. Steamboat is defintely closest to JH in town ambience and also rates to have the best snow conditions in January. Summit County will be crowded if it's a holiday week, and that's not great for snow conditions in a region that doesn't get nearly as much snow as Steamboat. Aspen's snowfall is similar to Summit County but it gets much less skier traffic.
post #16 of 18
There are various good options. I'll toss in a few more.

Frisco- It's in the heart of Summit County and you have Vail, Copper, Breck, Keystone, A-Basin, Loveland all withen a very short drive. In addition you can ride the bus up to Breck in twenty minutes. I'm not sure how real Breck has remained.

Winter Park- My favorite town and skiing in Colorado. Always great snow. You want "real"? Rent a place in Fraser. Five minutes down valley from the town of WP. It is the way skiing used to be in Colorado thirty years ago.
post #17 of 18
Aspen would get my vote. I love hanging out in Aspen, and Pitkin Co. in general. It's a great crowd. But if you go to Aspen remember that Snowmass isn't a real town. I would stay in the town of Aspen and commute to the mountain to ski. The Aspen resorts are some of my favorites in Colorado with each one being unique. You can pick and choose what you want to ski.

Others voted for Breck but personally I can't stand it. There are way too many tourists and the few locals you tend to run into are just seasonal. Hell, I live there and I never hang out in town. I head straight to Dillon or Frisco. (Summer is different though and right now is my favorite time of year.)

Steamboat.. again, I don't really like the Steamboat crowd. The people that are truly interesting and fun to meet probably won't be anywhere near the places you'll go.

Crested Butte might be worth checking out. There tends to be an above average amount of patchouli odor in the air, but many of the annoying tourists stay up at the mountain and not in town. It's one of my favorite towns in Colorado to visit.

Winter Park might be another option. If your wife didn't like the people in the town of Winter Park, she'd probably like the ones down in Fraser. However, I would drive the extra distance to Aspen just because the skiing is so much better.

All of these places are drinking towns with a skiing problem. If your wife wants to find something outside of bars, restaurants, and shopping I'd suggest checking into what classes are being offered by the Colorado Mtn College. A lot of times they have weekend classes or night classes that last just a few days. Most of these towns have great rec centers too. The one in Breckenridge has a climbing wall for example. For local events, check out the newspapers or maybe the post office.
post #18 of 18
Another option popped into my head as I read the above posts. The only 'real' town I know of with a LOT of excellent skiing nearby is Glenwood Springs(nearby is construed to be within an hour's drive). The town is distinctive, and not really a ski town, but has its roots firmly planted in generations of people servicing the tourist industry(similar to Jackson, but much more 'working class'). Its location gives skiers an option of Vail/Beaver Creek or the Aspen group, with a good local hill available for an off day break. Glitz won't be a problem in the mix, and the lower altitude just might make for a much better setting with a non-skiing wife. ...This location would also provide options to frequent the Aspen scene, without actually becoming part of the 'stigma' mentioned.
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