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Best Colorado day trip from denver-

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
so my buddy lives in boulder-
he's got a pass to vail, a-basin, keyston, breckenridge and beaver creek.

i've skied Winter park (pretty awesome place if ya ask me) and i know of several Colorado places-

Vail- big, not too steep- very glamorous, but crowded? doesn't seem like my kinda place

beaver creek- kinda like vail

breckenridge- my uncle ski bummed here- steeper than vail from what i recall, and not quite as glitzy.

keystone- less glitz, not that much snowfall from the numbers- a kinda middle-of-the-road place

a-basin- locals place- STEEP and DEEP from what i read. not developed? if so, my kinda place- i like old-school places that aren't condos, SUVs and crap like that.

is loveland like A-basin?

i wish berthoud pass was still around. damn.

any other places around boulder that are worth heading to? we don't have backcountry equipment so hiking is probably a bad idea.

steamboat is kinda far from boulder, as is wolfcreek, silverton, and crested butte (all places i'd like to ski)

we have passes to the vail/beaver/a-basin etc, but i'd throw down for some cool, challenging, off-the-beaten path areas, too..

priorities:
1. snow
2. terrain/challenge
3. experiece (i.e. skiing at cool places that don't suck/aren't overbuilt)

thanks
post #2 of 20
Sounds like you'd enjoy A-Basin & Breckenridge (in that order), since your friend already has a pass to those places. They should be able to get a "buddy" pass & save some money.
Backcountry is not stable, with wind blown snow on top of weak layers, so use caution.
Expect major traffic on the weekend, so leave early on Saturday & stay late on Sunday.
post #3 of 20
My thoughts, which are just my opinions, obviously:

Copper- You forgot this. My favorite all-around mountain, generally just a lot of fun to go with a bunch of friends. The backside has some fun challenging terrain, and you can find some smaller cliffs to drop around the mountain if you're into that.

Winter Park(Mary Jane)-I've skied winter park, but almost exclusively the Maryjane side. If you love bumps and steep terrain, I say ski there. I had a day last season when it dumped so much I got fresh tracks on the same run twice in one day. It was incredible. They also have some chutes that are pretty steep(I have no idea what the grade is) double blacks that, when open, are a blast.

Vail: Huge, great terrain, good snow. And the celebrities and expensive food. Keep your eye open for pro skiers. Try not to eat it when you follow them down a run like me. A lot of fun though.

Keystone: I know some people that like this mountain a lot, but it seems like other mountains just offer a lot more of the same thing. I've skied it probably 5 times and never found something that got me thinking I just had to go back there.

Breckenridge: Great town, great food on main street(girls really like it for this reason I think), lots of wide open groomers. The new quad they set up to the top supposedly opened a bunch of new steep terrain, but I never got to ski it. When it gets really windy they have to shut it down.

Loveland/A-Basin: I've only skied them in the first 2 weeks and the last 2 weeks of a season, so I can't honestly make a judgement.


I'm coming back next week(THANK GOD) and plan on skiing Copper/Vail/MJ. I'm ecstatic.
post #4 of 20
If you like old-school kinda places without all the resort-y-ness, try Loveland or A-Basin. Free parking too!
post #5 of 20
A-Basin is a fun place.
post #6 of 20

My $0.02

Vail - check out Blue Sky Basin (for some phenomenal tree skiing), the Mongolian Bowls (for possibly some fresh tracks), and Lover's Leap (to the left as you head into Blue Sky for some sick steep terrain)

A-Basin - the amount of expert skier's flying around is pretty sick -- enjoy the steeps to skier's left of Pallavacini (sp?), such as Gauthier's, but be careful

Keystone - can't remember anything super steep, but check out the Outback for some good tree skiing - also, you can really open it up on Starfire and Last Alamo on the way to the Outback

Copper - see GIJared's take

Breck - a lot of everything, but aka Brecken Fridge, so dress warm - the T-bar and the Imperial lift have some steep terrain - you can't beat the terrain off 6 Chair on a powder day (6 Chair is also just below Imperial, so you can have the best of both worlds!!) - check out the terrain on the right side of Peak 10 for some good double-blacks

Beaver Creek - won't have the crowds of Vail and only about 10 mins farther down I-70 - good variety of terrain - check out Birds of Prey for some good steep runs - this place is very worth the extra 10 minute drive

Winter Park/Mary Jane - check out the Timberline lift (hopefully it's open) - definitely can't beat MJ on a powder day (I've had 2 of my top 5 best ski days ever at MJ!!!)

Loveland - more terrain than one would think, but VERY cold

So, hope my information is helpful and isn't too redundant ... enjoy!!
post #7 of 20
Loveland is like A-Basin, only bigger and more varied. A-Basin has a higher proportion of steeps, but both are good if you want to avoid crowds and just want to ski (as opposed to shop, dine, walk long distances, ride shuttle buses, etc).
post #8 of 20

Loveland/A-basin

Just to echo what many others have said, either Loveland or A-basin would be a good choice for what you're requesting. Reading these posts got me thinking of the last time I was there...great few days, albeit bitterly cold (windchill was -70 at Loveland) so dress accordingly. Loveland's easily accessible but not crowded, very reasonably priced, and varied terrain (wide open at the top but plenty of trees at the bottom). A-basin's been my favorite place so far. Not huge, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in challenge (and I don't mean to say that Loveland's easy either). You won't be pampered here, but you'll more than likely have one heckuva time. looking forward to the next time I can go back to those places myself. Hope you have a great time!
post #9 of 20
You asked about close to Boulder?

Eldora is 21 miles from Boulder. It isn't particularly challenging, but it has that non-resort feel you seek. If the Front Range gets an upslope storm, Eldora can get much more snow than the rest of the areas mentioned in this thread. That is the time to go.

If snow conditions don't dictate Eldora (and they probably won't), I would vote for driving up too the other resorts already mentioned, and going where you find the best snow. Loveland and A-Basin clearly fit your criteria. Copper and Mary Jane are also great. I would also second the suggestion of Beaver Creek - it is very much a resort, but it gets overlooked by the masses, and there is some incredible uncrowded terrain there.

Have fun!!!
post #10 of 20
"Beaver Creek- Kinda like Vail"....

Uh, OK. : I love how people from out of state think this. You probably should go there if you want no crowds, great terrain (and not just off Birds of Prey), and better snow.
post #11 of 20
Utah--1 1/2 hours from DEN to Park City. Might even be faster than the crawl up and back I-70. Take the 7:44 flight out of DEN. Gets you into SLC by 9:15, which means on the slopes by 10:00 (for free). Then, take the 7:30 flight back, which gets you into DEN by 8:40.

There's your day trip.
post #12 of 20
Please stay in Park Sh*tty please, pcskier. :
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Dunn View Post
Please stay in Park Sh*tty please, pcskier. :
With a smile on my face all day and night. While you, on the other hand, will be going 14 miles an hour from the Eisenhower tunnel to Wheatridge, or vice versa.
post #14 of 20
Best day trip from Denver: Loveland - shortest drive, free parking close to lifts, lots of terrain and variety, not developed, not pricy like the big destination resorts. Sure it can be cold, but skiing IS a winter sport. If you're going in March it will be much less crowded than the big resorts.
post #15 of 20
I have to vote for Mary Jane too. Plus it bites off a huge chuck of that nasty traffic.
post #16 of 20
If the front range doesn't get an "upslope storm", what's bad about Eldora?

I've never skied there, but it appears our company will soon move to the Boulder area. I like the idea of a decent ski hill 20 miles from town.

Is Eldora so inferior to other resorts that it's worth spending extra hours crawling up I-70?

I'm probably more adverse to winter traffic than most.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by pcskier View Post
With a smile on my face all day and night. While you, on the other hand, will be going 14 miles an hour from the Eisenhower tunnel to Wheatridge, or vice versa.
Not exactly. I can actually make it from my house in north Denver to Loveland in an hour, which is probably the same amount of time (or shorter) that it takes people living in SLC to get to PC. 2 hrs for me to Vail or BC, but that's the longest by far. The only times I've been stuck in the famed I-70 traffic is when the roads were in horrible shape.
post #18 of 20

Eldora

Captain Strato,

Eldora is a nice mountain that is not in the same league as Colorado's bigger resorts, but has a good variety of runs for most skiers. Westridge is the place to go for steeps, there are plenty of tree runs (which I take only when my kids make me chase them in there), and some decent cruisers as well.
The lifts are not fast, and the winds off the divide can be nasty on some days. For the early part of this winter, Eldora got more than its share of snowpack. We love Eldora because of its convenient location; when we have more time, we head to Winter Park/Mary Jane and the other resorts on the other side of the divide.
Best of luck with your move, if it happens.
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boulder Daddy View Post
Captain Strato,

Eldora is a nice mountain that is not in the same league as Colorado's bigger resorts, but has a good variety of runs for most skiers. Westridge is the place to go for steeps, there are plenty of tree runs (which I take only when my kids make me chase them in there), and some decent cruisers as well.
The lifts are not fast, and the winds off the divide can be nasty on some days. For the early part of this winter, Eldora got more than its share of snowpack. We love Eldora because of its convenient location; when we have more time, we head to Winter Park/Mary Jane and the other resorts on the other side of the divide.
Best of luck with your move, if it happens.
Thanks for the reply, and good wishes.

Others have mentioned the wind, so I'll expect that. Convenience counts, and I don't mind slow lifts. I love skiing powder in trees (if they're not too close). But, sometimes you want to let loose on a big hill.

I suspect Loveland, Winter Park and Eldora will be our main haunts, if the move happens as planned.

Once in while, though, I'll take the hike to Steamboat. It's such a cool town. I'd like to see if I can find the tree that ate my spleen in '75.
post #20 of 20
A-Basin - entertaining, not large. Try the Alleys, skier's left of Palli.

Loveland - larger than A-Basin. Nice selection of terrain.

WP/MJ - check out the new Eagle Wind lift. Drop into Vasquez Cirque. Ski the chutes on the backside of MJ if they're open and not too sun crusted. Ski Outhouse just because everyone does. There are many unlabeled glades, some with fairly tight lines. Try the trees between...well, you'll just have to explore for yourself.

The crowd for the six-passenger chair on the MJ side is large, but most of the people riding it ski Sleeper, the blue Mary Jane run, and the blue Sunnyside groomers. But, hey, they get to go home and tell their friends they skied Mary Jane, without explaining that they avoided all the bumps.
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