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Keystone Side Trip: Copper, Vail or A-Basin?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I must preface this by noting it is 70 degrees in South Carolina : and I need a serious powder fix. To keep my head in the game, I am wearing my Hot Chillys top with a pair of shorts.

I am in Keystone the first week of February (2/4-2/11). My primary reason for Keystone is cat skiing. I can readily ski the Outback for a week but wonder if I should field trip to either Copper (bowls), Vail (huge fan of hype), or A-Basin (low key). I like black bowls, tree skiing, and some steeps; I ski some doubles but am still perfecting this arena. Additionally, I have a polite aversion to crowds.

So, given all that you know...
1. Should I simply enjoy Keystone, and spend my time on the snow rather than the road?
2. If a road trip is warranted, should I hit Copper, Vail or A-Basin?

I greatly appreciate your help and insight. If you need to sweat or have a painful reminder of what summer feels like, come visit me in SC!
post #2 of 19
Go to Vail on a weekday.
post #3 of 19
ABasin isn't really a road trip from Keystone. It's just a few minutes away; can you still use the same lift ticket for both? I remember skiing the morning in Keystone and shuttling after lunch to ABasin. That was a long time ago, though. Now I just go to ABasin.

Anyway, if you split your time between Keystone and ABasin, then you'll still have a day for a road trip, and only have to choose between Vail and Copper.
post #4 of 19
I agree with SHRED, if you can go during the week, hit up Vail. If you can only get away during the weekend, don't go there- go to A-Basin.
post #5 of 19
Vail, no contest. If there is fresh snow, hit Game Creek Bowl for a warm up, then straight over into the back bowls, then Blue Sky for some fun in the trees.

We have driven back to Vail for a day when staying at Breck, so the drive is not too bad if you get an early start.
post #6 of 19
My vote is for the Basin. A hop skip and jump from Keystone...and yes, the lift ticket is good at both places. It'll take you more than an hour (depending on traffic and weather) to get to Vail from Keystone.
post #7 of 19
gotta disagree with kdskis2, its around 30 miles from keystone to vail and its all interstate. if its sunny with no recent storms its an easy drive and you gotta hit vails back bowls for sure and blue sky basin if you have time.

i'd ski keystone+abasin as you wish, they are next door neighbors as much as ski hills can be and take a whole day for vail. you can probably ski all on the same ticket, check snow.com or keystones ticket webpage for more info on that.
post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by skicougar
gotta disagree with kdskis2, its around 30 miles from keystone to vail and its all interstate. if its sunny with no recent storms its an easy drive and you gotta hit vails back bowls for sure and blue sky basin if you have time.

i'd ski keystone+abasin as you wish, they are next door neighbors as much as ski hills can be and take a whole day for vail. you can probably ski all on the same ticket, check snow.com or keystones ticket webpage for more info on that.
ABasin is my vote because it's only a 10 minute drive up the road. It's also the quickest from parking lot to the lift.

I'd challenge anyone to drive from Keystone to Vail in 20 minutes. Granted, if you were already on I70 at the Silverthorn Exit, going 65mph, it might only be 20 minutes to the Vail exit, if the traffic and weather is good. But from your Condo door to the ticket window at Vail will take you a minimum of 1 hour. Probably longer.

From your Condo at Keystone to the lift at ABasin is only 15 minutes.

Abasin is also my vote for steeps and hike to terrain and all on your Keystone pass.
post #9 of 19
id seriously think about copper with the free cat up to tucker if thats what you want. vail on a weekday after a fresh dump is hard to beat though
post #10 of 19
sorry anyone, i didnt mean to imply it wasnt a somewhat of a drive; but an hour is not that long, especially if you head out about 7:30; you still get a full day to ski and the back bowls in my opinion are worth the drive.
i would just ski abasin if i felt like a change of scenery in the morning, its so close to keystone.
post #11 of 19
There should be a bus that leaves daily from Keystone to Vail. The cost is minimal. The only drawback is you will not get first tracks, it gets there just after lift opening. I've done it from Breck a number of times and it works out well. I called the Keystone Activities Center for reservations, which are necessary. I assume there is one that originates from Keystone too. Call and check.

As for Copper, Copper Bowl is great, just not huge territory. Tucker Mt. is another story, although not always open, at least now. Copper is one of my favorite areas all-round, just my preference.

Vail's bowls and Blue Sky is absolutely huge! Hard to beat this open terrain. If you have a multi-day ticket for Keystone, there is most likely a day at Vail included, check.

A-Basin is worth a day if for nothing else but the view...spectacular! It's smallish, but lots of fun on a powder day. I don't go unless fresh, and it gets tracked out fast. The whole A-Basin thing is much like skiing was in the 60s. Not a mega-resort.
Enjoy!!
post #12 of 19
Since you're there for a whole week, why not spend 1/2 day or a day at A-Basin? -- its close by, probably 15 minutes up the road. Then go to Vail for a day later in the week.

Very different experiences -- from each other, and from Keystone. Both well worth it!
post #13 of 19
Screw Tombstone, go to all the other places you mentioned.
post #14 of 19
The cat skiing Keystone offers is pretty lame ...errr I mean tame.

Copper Mountain offers more of a "black" bowl experience you described liking. There is Tucker Mountain, Union Bowl, Resolution Bowl, Spaulding Bowl and Jupiter Bowl. I'm not a huge fan of Copper Bowl. Since it is a south facing aspect it suffers from the sun baked crunch. But on an overcast powder day of 10+ inches, Copper Bowl can rock.

Tucker Mountain will be open by the time you arrive. In fact, control work on Tucker began this week. The powder turns on Tucker are sublime. Chute 2 and 3 are my favorites.

IMO, if you want a steep bowl experience ...go to Aspen Highlands. If you're going to have a rental car, then don't hesitate. Get going around 5:30, park in the Buttermilk lot for free and take the shuttle to the Highlands. You won't be disappointed.
post #15 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Seven
park in the Buttermilk lot for free and take the shuttle to the Highlands.
Nice trick. I didn't realize you were such a cheap bastard.
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShellBee
Vail, no contest. If there is fresh snow, hit Game Creek Bowl for a warm up, then straight over into the back bowls, then Blue Sky for some fun in the trees.

We have driven back to Vail for a day when staying at Breck, so the drive is not too bad if you get an early start.
I agree with this poster. Vail's not too bad of a drive and all that terrain is worth it. It's my *home* hill, so I am a bit biased, but it's a good time, especially on a weekday, when you sometimes feel like you have all that acreage to yourself.

Warm up in Game Creek or Northwoods area, then drop backside or over to Blue Sky for a few runs. Hit Two Elk for the Chicken Posole (mmmmm!) at about 11:15, and then ski the back bowls some more while everyone else is at lunch!

If you want to ski A-Basin, it's only minutes from Keystone and shouldn't even be thought of as a *real* side trip. Easy enough to go there for even a half day.

Enjoy your trip. . . it's been one HECK of an early season out here in the Rockies!

Mollie
post #17 of 19
come to think of it, i gotta agree with seven; no one has given stones cat skiing much run yet.
i might suggest going to vail and trying brecks new imperial express lift if not too impressed w/ it and you can ski breck, abasin and stone on the same ticket.
post #18 of 19
Vail no contest
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by vinn
Nice trick. I didn't realize you were such a cheap bastard.
Years of practice...
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