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Recommendation for first ski trip: Vail? Copper? Other? - Page 2

post #31 of 53
Originally Posted by RotoFury
She's 27. If I pursuaded her we could fudge her age that much, I'd be skiing alone that weekend ... and every other.

Well, it was the thought that counts. I may still be able to help and have you there as my guests. On the weekend, the lift privs may be reason enough, eh?
post #32 of 53
I also like Winter park:

Great Snow, Nice expert Terrain. (I used to love the bump runs @Mary Jane) In the old days they restricted ski length to >180CM. When you go to Winter Park you feel like you are in the Rocky Mountains to ski. As opposed to feeling like you brought the Boston Burbs and residents with you and dropped them next to a mountain.

If you are an expert skier (Your wife) it means something to (Ski Mary Jane)

And that’s all I have to say about that.
post #33 of 53
take two trips, one to heavenly in california for 5 days or more and the other to Vail properties. Buy a season pass at Heavenly for either 299 or 399 that includes 3 Vail properties free midweek tickets. So you can ski 8 days for about $40-50/day.
post #34 of 53

Revised opinion

Stay at the airport Thursday night, skip Loveland and drive to and day-ski Copper Friday (getting through the Eisenhower tunnel ahead of most) and then go to Vail for the rest of your trip.
post #35 of 53
I agree with the suggestions about Vail, not in small part because it will be blacked out from the passes that weekend (as someone else mentioned). That is a REALLY busy time at Breck. Hotel rates will be jacked up (as will lift tickets), but as others have said, the Back Bowls and Blue Sky are great. I stayed at the Apollo once and found that some of the rooms are very dumpy. Maybe my standards are too high, but I think the Tivoli will be much nicer. Be forewarned, however, that they just underwent a major multimillion dollar renovation, so they may be more expensive now. Interesting trivia- the Tivoli is owned by the parents of Buddy Lazier, who won the Indy 500 a couple of years ago.

There are a number of Vail locals here on epic- Ric Reiter (www.vailsnopro.com), Bob Barnes, vera, and others who I am sure I am forgetting for the moment- you should email or pm them for additional ideas (and maybe hook up with them to ski with, too!)
post #36 of 53
You can redeem Amex Membership Rewards points for lift tickets at any of the Vail resorts (last winter it was 6,000 points = 1 day ticket). I don't think they had any blackout dates, but just doublecheck on that.

If you're staying in Denver on Thursday night, stop in at a King Soopers or Safeway grocery store -- they sell discount tickets to all the resorts. If that fails, stop at the Starbucks in Downieville (right off I-70 -- can't miss it) -- they have a machine that also sells discounted tickets.

Depending on which airline you fly, you may also be able to turn in your boarding pass for a lift ticket -- last winter I remember Frontier had a thing like that for Copper and WP/MJ. United may have had one with the Vail resorts (not sure).
post #37 of 53
One tip that I might offer on your arrival night is to take a shuttle to one of the hotel's near the airport. Get up early the next morning and the shuttle operator will usually take you by the rental car place. This will save you a day on the car....
post #38 of 53
Here is many trips of experience with some good advice for you if you want. Done the four day thing so many times it's like clockwork. If you are getting into DIA at 11pm the best case scenario would be like this.

Book a car or SUV in advance to save you time. While your Wife or Buds wait for the luggage, get to the car rental booth and pick up your rental agreement and info.

Plan on driving up to the mountains that night. If you book a Condo or Hotel make sure they have your late arrival information for checkin. Renting a hotel room at the airport then trying to drive up to the mountains on the Friday morning before Presidents Day Weekend would be suicide. Not smart. Check into VRBO.com for a reliable Condo and try to find one in Frisco or Dillon. There you can ski any of four major Resorts with a quick drive or free bus ride.

All of them will be busy that weekend so you'll have to be patient. Believe me, you'll get all the skiing you want anyhow. My first choice for you would be ABasin. You just won't believe the vistas and you will enjoy the lift rides looking at the surrounding mountains as much as the skiing. Take the bus as parking will be a problem unless you get there early.

Saturday will be more crowded so head to a bigger Resort like Copper. Same thing, take the bus it will drop you right off close to the lifts. It'san awesome place for all and the bowl skiing there is next to heaven.

Sunday, you can either do Breckenridge or Keystone. The skiing is a little more scenic at Breck but either will do. I'd play it by ear and check the snow report, whichever has the better conditions, i'd head there. Save Vail for your next time out. It's awesome but when you're in a time crunch, well, it's just better if you don't have to rush there and back.

Depending on whether you have an early flight out on Monday or not will determine what your plans will be on Sunday. If you have an early flight, you may want to quit skiing around 2pm , check out of your condo and head to Denver before the traffic gets too insane. If you'v ever tried to drive to Denver after 4:30 on a Sunday you know what I mean. Beat the rush anyhow especially if the roads are slick. Stay near the airport Sunday night to ease the panic of getting the rental car returned and through security. If you have an afternoon flight, preferably, then get up early in the mountains and drive down giving yourself plenty of time to get breakfast and allow for traffic, which will still be bad but not suicidal.

I've done the four day trip to Frisco so many times it has become natural and after you have done it a few times it gets easy and more fun. If you need any insider tips send me a private message.
post #39 of 53
Originally Posted by villagenut
One tip that I might offer on your arrival night is to take a shuttle to one of the hotel's near the airport. Get up early the next morning and the shuttle operator will usually take you by the rental car place. This will save you a day on the car....

This advice will save you a day of car rental fees but waist you a day of skiing. On a four day trip time is more prescious than money.

Instead of renting a car on Saturday mourning you could be skiing ABasin.
post #40 of 53
Originally Posted by gandalf
Stay at the airport Thursday night, skip Loveland and drive to and day-ski Copper Friday (getting through the Eisenhower tunnel ahead of most) and then go to Vail for the rest of your trip.
Bad advice. Trying to drive up to the mountains Friday morning will be crazy. Why be driving Friday when you could be skiing.
post #41 of 53
Originally Posted by ssh
Copper was the first area I skied in Colorado in 1983 (coming from Michigan). From that perspective, it's huge. However, Vail has 5289 acres to Copper's 2433 acres, more than double the terrain, most of that in bowls (the back bowls are bigger than all of Copper).

That said, Vail can be overwhelming because of its size. Spend some time on the Web sites and see what you think, but it's almost impossible to really connect with it until you've been to these places.

The good news is that you really can't go wrong. You'll enjoy any of the areas in Colorado, even the funky places like Ski Cooper.

Real good advice. I'd take him up on his tour offer also.
post #42 of 53
Joe, if you are at Vail let me know - I'll be there skiing starting on Saturday for 2 weeks. Could show you around for a little while if you want.

post #43 of 53
It's a challenge to "have it all" given the duration and timing of your trip over the super peak GW birthday weekend. As you get to be more of a veteran ski trip planner you'll appreciate that timing and selectivity is a big part of what adds to the enjoyment of a trip, for example picking less hectic dates, perhaps at less well known ski areas, but where snow conditions and terrain are still outstanding. Having said that, because of competing family schedules and priorities I have made a number of trips at peak times to popular destinations over the years. One key is to find out what are the less busy sections of the resort you are visiting and seek those out. If you have someone physically willing to guide you to these areas that is extremely valuable (and could trump other factors). And ski when others sleep, eat, or tire.

I totally understand your desire for WOW factor on a first western ski trip with your honey and if après-ski is part of that then Vail may do it for you. Hitting Vail's back bowls in the early AM may get you away from crowds for a good part of the day or you could opt for less crowded Beaver Creek as some have suggested. Loveland has scenic high altitude terrain, is conveniently located on I70 closer to Denver, and will probably be less crowded too. You might consider visiting it for a full or half day on your way back to catch flight home.

Personally, given the brevity and timing of your trip and if I didn't need quite so much WOW factor, I'd even consider staying in a place like Georgetown and skiing Loveland for 3 straight days because of its proximity, affordability, low crowds and fine terrain (or maybe venturing to similar Arapaho Basin on the middle day for variety). Bring your lungs for these two places.
post #44 of 53
vail, keystone, breck, winter park, copper, a basin are all good
post #45 of 53
Thread Starter 
Incidentally, another couple has joined us. We are going to go to Breck, because the woman part of the other couple won't ski all that much as they have a newborn (will be 6 months old come trip time). She and her husband will swap out the baby during the day, but she wanted somewhere where she wouldn't be bored during the day, and he wanted lots of apres. So Breck seemed like the ideal solution. And heck if we get tired of that, my wife and I can go to Keystone for night skiing!

PS: We are staying at the Park Avenue Lofts -- pretty nice.
post #46 of 53

Love Vail

After a 10 year break from skiing, I went to Vail, and LOVED IT!!!! Great village, great slopes, good people, and excellent conditions. Can find cheaper accommodations if you stay off the mountain, but the shuttle system in the area is excellent. During the week obviously not a lot of kids, but even so, there is so much space, you will have lots of room to ski. HAVE FUN!!!
post #47 of 53
Originally Posted by RotoFury
Oh I should say that I booked this trip for President's Day weekend. I suppose crowds (and kids) will be an issue ... EVERYWHERE that weekend.
Shouldn't there be a ban on retarded people skiing?
post #48 of 53
You're gonna HATE Breck if you're intermediate or more. The Town is quaint, but it fades after 2 days.

Heed most of the advice here (especially since one of you will not ski that much) and stay in VAIL. Bigger, better lifts, fantastic little town, Beaver Creek 10 minutes away, and a host of little towns around the area.

Drive that night if conditions are acceptable (watch out for Vail Pass).

Oh heck, just go and enjoy!
post #49 of 53
You are coming at a very crowded time for all resorts. Copper offers the Bee Line pass, which you can price into your accomidations for a fair deal. It allows you to go through special lines at all the crowded lifts. The WOW factor for your wife; Union Bowl, Spaulding Bowl and Glades, Snow Cat to Tucker Mountain(No Charge).

You'll get a better deal on your accomidations at Copper. I recommend "The Cirque". Great ammenities, Virtually ski-in ski-out ( if you use the cat track on the other side of the bridge)

I grew up skiing the East, So you can't really go wrong with any of the resorts talked about. I would think that the default choice would be Vail ( It's a marketing thing) But now that I live and ski In CO, Vail is a Once a year destination for me, if even.
post #50 of 53
Go to Wolf Creek before it is ruined. Great skiing, reliable snow, cheap lodging. You will have a blast.
post #51 of 53
This is something I wrote in another threas shortly after returning from a colorado trip last year--seemed like a good observation at the time on deciding where to ski:

Having just skied both Vail and Copper last week..here are my thoughts...the key word is exposure! On a Powder Day-it's a pick 'em-maybe even give the edge to Vail for Shear immensity (prolonging chances for late day freshies).

But more often than not, Copper's Bowls will have better snow than Vail's due to exposure. Vail's bowl's face primarily south-ergo they get baked (which is why they have such sparse trees below treeline-summer time sun kills 'em)-A few days after powder (especially with some sun) you'll be slogging through cookies, crud and generally unpleasant-hard-work snow (and it's a long way down).

Whereas Copper has bowls facing in just about every direction -the results is that even after a few sunny days, you can find better (colder) snow in more areas of Copper's bowls than at Vail's (note-I'm not including Blue Sky Basin Here which, like many of Copper's bowl's benefits from limited southerly exposure).

A really savvy alpine friend taught me some time ago how to read sun exposure on a big mountain (as an easterner it's not a skill we need to develop for all-mountain enjoyment-but over the last ten ears of Western ski adventures it has been indispensible!).

Visually- when you first come over the crest at Vail and get a look at those massive bowls for the first time-well, it's pretty stunning-Copper's goods get more impressive once you're inside of them.

As for Challenge-I'm not a Vail afficianado-but the steepest open bowl I skied there was the Cornice line off Lover's Leap on Blue Sky Basin-good run, but not killer steep. Copper's bowls felt a little steeper (and had more rock formations to liven up the ride)-but that isn't a declarative fact-just an impression.

Truthfully-while they are both wonderful places-I really prefer Copper-bowls, regular runs, trees, services, mountain feel-even the resort-just more my kind of mountain. But you can't knock the skiing at Vail either.

In addition to these season old thoughts I'll throw in this-I just don't see the point in flying across the country to ski Breckenridge (town's nice enough, though)-it seems many posters are pushing for a vistit to Winter Park, Steamboat (and let's not forget A--Basin!!)-they're steering you in the right direction! Also-I thought the advice about stayiing in Frisco was dead-on-I stayed in Breck last time-if I ever go again, i'd stay in frisco.

post #52 of 53
I agree with Gpaul. Vail will have plenty for the baby-swapping couple and the ski experience will be far superior, particularly on the holiday weekend.
post #53 of 53
I might be a little biased.. but I think Steamboat would be a good choice. You don't need to rent a car, you can ride alpine taxi up here from DIA. It will be one of the least crowded "Destination" resorts in Colorado that weekend. There is tons of things for the non skiier crowd, and we have a hot spring that you can go soak in, not just some hot tub at the condo. Oh yeah, and we have 3000+ acres.

If you do change your mind I could probably sneek out of work long enough to give you a little mountian tour.
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