Originally Posted by Toadman
since we fly back Sunday night. If we leave the slopes by 2:30PM, do you think we are safe getting back to DEN for a 6:30PM flight?
Short answer: no. Could it happen? Yes. Is it "safe" to assume that it will? No. Pay attention to the weather & road conditions Sunday morning. Also pay attention to the skiers on the slopes on Sunday - suprisingly, "perception" can be good for this - if it's somewhat crowded and it seems like there's a lot of "non-tourists" around, probably best to leave a little earlier (like, aim to be out of the parking lot no later than
2). Pad that by another 30 minutes if the roads don't look like fun. Remember, you can always stop at a watering hole or shopping area in Denver if you get out early, but you can't part the sea of traffic (unless your name is Moses
) if you're late.
Another way to gauge the number of folks who be will clogging up I-70 getting back into Denver on a Sunday afternoon is to pay attention to I-70 coming west out of the tunnel on Friday night/Saturday morning (just look up the hill if you're in Silverthorne/Dillon). That can be a good indicator on how many cars will be coming back on Sunday afternoon (remember that while the cars spread themselves out coming into the mountains on Friday night, Saturday & Sunday morning, they ALL go back at the SAME time: Sunday afternoon).
Honestly, if you want to maximize the skiing time on Sunday, I would highly recommend skiing A-Basin on Sunday (or Loveland, but you can ski A-Basin on the same lift ticket as Breck/Keystone/Vail). It's closer to Denver and you skip the tunnel - from there, I would say that 2:30 would actually be a "safe" departure time, and you might be able to push it to 3:00 or 3:30 even (if you're feeling lucky and the roads are fine). I'm a weekend Summit County skier - usually ski Breck and sometimes Keystone on Saturday, but Sunday is always A-Basin - primarily for this reason (the traffic sucks).