Originally Posted by cardweg
I was wondering what your tactics are for minimising line waits. I'll be in Summit in mid January and having traelled all the way from Ireland I don't really want to spend my vacation in lift lines. Any tips?
You won't have any problems with lines at Breck in Mid-January. But since you asked...
1. Time your lines. With the high capacity lifts, they're almost always shorter than you think. A 5 minute line a Breck looks huge.
2. Get in the shortest line!!! The way lines work here is that lines terminate to a liftie who allows the group in the front of each line to get into a boarding line. It's amazing to me how people will not seek out the shortest line. It makes a big difference. Very often the long lines are twice as long as the short ones.
3. Get in the line closest to the lift if all are lines are of equal length. This will put you in the front of the boarding line.
4. Look at the lines closely. Sometimes you'll find one that doesn't merge with others. Get in the line that doesn't merge with another if one exists. A line that doesn't merge is half as long as one that does.
5. If the lines look long, time your line and time someone who gets in the singles line at the same time you enter the line. Often at Breck the singles line is much longer than the regular lines. I've seen tourists splitting their groups into the singles line thinking they're so smart when the singles line was actually more than twice as long as the regular lines.
6. If a line is long don't ski back there. Don't assume all lines at the ski area are long. It's rarely true. Once you get to know a resort well, you'll almost always know where the short lines will be based on the day, snow, who's skiing, etc.
7. If you're alone and the singles line is really long. Enter the regular line, then find some hot girls a few positiions ahead and work your way up to them from the rear of the line. People don't mind you cutting ahead if they know you're getting in another group ahead.
8. If you're a pair and all lines are equal get in a line with another pair up ahead with some 3s and 4s between you and them. Then, move up to the other pair. Again people won't care, it you tell them what you're doing. Something like, "Hey do you mind if we get with that pair up ahead?" is all it takes.
9. If you're a pair, always, always, always join another pair IN FRONT OF YOU in the line. Even if it's just with the group directly ahead of you you'll save yourself the length of the boarding line. Don't be afraid to cut a rope to pair up with another pair (the folks behind you will love it and the others are not effected). It's always good to ask first.
10. If you're alone and there is no singles line, go to the front of the line and yell "single". Everyone will look at you like you're crazy, thinking no way you're going to find a single up that close. But you almost always will. Then people will say, "wow, you're lucky". (It happens every time.) If there's no one up close, move back toward the end of the line yelling "single" as you go. Worst case get in the back to help some other "lucky" single.
11. At some double chairs or T-bars you can stand at the ski patrol entry and a patroller will come every couple minutes that you can ride with.
12. Most lifts have peak times when you should probably avoid them. It's pretty easy to figure out if you think about it. Eg. a lift near a base resturant is probably going to be busy at 1:00p.
13. Be different. Most people get there at 10 and leave at 2:30. Why not get there at 8:30 leave at 11 for a great lunch in town. Go back at 2 and ski until 4. When you have the slopes to yourself you can get a lot of vertical between 2 and 4 if you try. Denver folks generally get up early and leave between 1 and 2. Ski afternoons 'til close.
14. Afternoon storms are the best! People tend to leave because they're tired and cold. You'll have the slopes to yourself with powder getting deeper and deeper.
15. When a lift has two seperate entries, count the lines. The lines will tend to be the same length but if one entry has 5 lines and the other has 2, obviously you want to get in the line with two
Eg. Breck's T-bar has the locals line and the tourist line. The tourist line goes about 8 to 1 and the locals 4 to 1. The lines alternate into the T-bar and are almost always the same length.
16. Don't stop before the lines just because your group isn't all there yet. Get in line and let everyone else catch up. It's more annoying to others if you clog up the line entries than to have some of your group cut past a few people to get in line with you.
17. Put someone in your group who's fast and knows this stuff in charge of which line to enter. That way everyone can just follow him/her. In a perfect world he'll already be ahead by one position in line when you get there.
1. Sat and Sun morning are the most crowded. Sunday afternoon is rarely crowded especially when the Broncos are playing.
2. Weekdays are never crowded except after xmas and near New year's.
3. Holidays are never crowded. (Eg. Xmas day, TG day, NY day, even President's day afternoon isn't bad)
4. The week before Xmas is not crowded. The week after is crowded.
5. When it snows a lot overnight the T-bar and 6-chair will be crowded in the morning so you should probably avoid them unless you love powder as much as I do.
6. If Breck reports ~3", the locals won't bother. But there will likely be much more powder (than 3") up under the 6-chair and the T-bar which won't be nearly as crowded as if Breck reported 6"+.
Lastly, Breck has the reputation of being overly crowded but having skied there 80-100 days a year for a long time, I disagree. It's true that they get a lot of visits but their lift system is amazingly efficient. I only use the stuff above on powder days, weekends, around holidays, etc. Most of the time lines are not an issue at all.
Of course if you come President's day weekend, get up late every morning, leave the slopes early, ski the base lifts, don't choose or time your lines, and finally head back Monday afternoon, you'll probably leave thinking it was really crowded.
Hope this helps. Enjoy your stay!