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Where to ski on Presidents' Day?

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I'm headed to Vail for the week after Presidents' Day.

We're trying to plan the week, and although the free lift tickets are good for 5 out of 7 days, they're not good on Monday (the holiday) due to blackout restrictions.

Where should we head for Monday? On the short list are Copper and A Basin, but I'm open to anything that would be comparable. We're basically upper beginner to intermediate skiers, with 1 or 2 advanced skiiers, so any place that is really gnarly is probably not a great fit. I skied Keystone last time I was out there, and was not thrilled with it. I didn't feel like I could go back past the first mountain (ability level), and the first one was all ice and sitting snowboarders. Not fun. Copper's supposed to be good for people of all levels, but I hear really good things about Arapahoe Basin, and I think maybe with the new terrain it will feel less crowded?

Considering the location of our base camp (townhouse in East Vail), and our ability level, is there any place that is an easy drive that would be less than mobbed on Presidents' Day? The original plan was to ski BC on Monday, but since the ticket won't be good then, we'd end up paying full price for the lift ticket, and that's a bit rich for my blood. If we have to pay to ski there, we will, but I figure there's something relatively local that represents better value for that day.

The rest of the week will probably be Vail, BC, Vail and Breckenridge (working that free Vail Resorts ticket!), in case that has any bearing on recommendations.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give!

(For those who will try to tell me that I could go somewhere else for a lot less and have a lot more fun: I got free lift tickets, free airfare, and lodging for about $1000 for the week, which will be split between 6 people. Basically, I'm pre-emptively saying that I don't care how much people whine about Vail being overpriced, etc. I'm going because I can do it for less than it would cost me to go to Maine or Vermont for the week (and I live near DC), and my friends agreed that it's where they want to go for their first trip west. So if you're going to tell me not to go there, please don't.)


aaron
post #2 of 22
You will want to get as far from Denver as possible to avoid the crowds. Snowmass would be best for your group, Steamboat would be good too. Both are about two hours drive. Perhaps you could book a day of Snowcat skiing at Ski Cooper. Ski Cooper and Sunlight are small ski areas that might not be too crowded.
post #3 of 22
I agree, stay away from the I-70 crowds. Snowmass or Steamboat sound like good options for your group.
post #4 of 22
The places mentioned above are probably a 2-hour drive from where you'll be. I would choose Copper, a great mountain for beginners and intermediates and very close to you - but I'm sure it will be crowded as hell on Presidents' day. Maybe you should take the day off and go snowmobiling, xc skiing or just chill.
post #5 of 22
Quote:
free lift tickets, free airfare, and lodging for about $1000 for the week, which will be split between 6 people
That works out$ to be <$200/person for a week!!! That's unreal! Care to share how to get the deal? I'll even pay for your one day pass at BC!
post #6 of 22
During President's day my suggestion would be to stay home and get some shuteye.

If you are skiing the week after, pretty much everything should be ok.
post #7 of 22
I think everywhere is going to be crowded. Try to be at Copper for first chair. I think Copper is really cool because they have a high alpine bowl that has a beginner trail right down the middle. Some of the runs off the back side are rated black diamond, but unless the snow is really sketchy are really great intermediate trails. I think it's a great place for the advanced beginner and intermediate to get away from the bunny hills.

I would recommend first chair on the SuperBee 6-pack, a run or 2 on Andy's Encore (a fantastic groomed cruiser) and then make your way over to Union Bowl. Take the Rendezvous Chair (I've never seen a line there) and enjoy the scenery. If you want to venture off the backside, Alicante is an easily manageable trail that's rated black diamond, but in good snow is really a great intermediate trail. For the less adventurous, follow Otto Bahn which is really a road that snakes back and forth throughout Copper Bowl. If you want to hit the Timberline Express chair (low intermediate runs), do it at lunch when everyone is eating at the T-rex Grill

For the studs (and studettes) of the group, the very top of Union Bowl is very steep and the runs skiers right of the mountain Chief chair in Copper Bowl offer some great off-piste skiing. There are moguls all over the east side of the mountain and some spectacular views of the 10-mile range there also.

Can you tell I like Copper? If you want the real goods on Copper, PM ssh.
post #8 of 22
Is Canada a possibility? I don't think they participate in that hoiday.

On the queens birthday they seem to flock to America.
post #9 of 22
Hey Paul,

Last year my son and I worked our way up to Mont St. Anne that week for that very reason. It was not crowded and they were not charging holiday rates.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by viking kaj View Post
During President's day my suggestion would be to stay home and get some shuteye.

If you are skiing the week after, pretty much everything should be ok.
I agree. President's Day was the busiest day of the season at Winter Park last season. Beyond crowded.: Much worse than Xmas and it was packed then.
post #11 of 22
I think you have three good choices on that day, but each would require about 45-60 minute drive from Vail; Sunlight to the west near Glenwood Springs or A-Basin and Loveland to the East. Personally, for your group I'd try Sunlight then take a swim in the hot springs in Glenwood afterwards.

BTW, nice score on the travel discounts!
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post
That works out$ to be <$200/person for a week!!! That's unreal! Care to share how to get the deal? I'll even pay for your one day pass at BC!
I wish I could claim credit for it... I worked (until about 2 months ago) for a small company where I did all of my purchasing on a corporate Amex. As the director of IT, that purchasing included lots and lots of laptops and servers and the like. As a perk, they let me register the card for the Rewards program, so I got points for every dollar I spent. After "buying" (reward points) a 32" LCD HDTV, and paying for last year's ski trip almost entirely with points (including 3 nights at the Inn at Beaver Creek, ski rentals and lift tickets for 4 days, and a group lesson for my girlfriend and I), I still have a couple hundred thousand points to burn off. I left the company, but they are giving me another month to use the points before they close my card for good. As a result, I have a ton of points to spend in not a lot of time. (I would've gone somewhere else, but the friends that are going have always wanted to ski Vail, and the gf loved it, too, so I had to go with the flow on this one)

Vail Resorts has lift tickets available through the Rewards program (although there are no ski rentals or lessons there this year... too bad!), and I can use points for airline tickets, too.

For the townhome, I booked through VRBO back in May for next President's Day week, and the guy gave me a discount for being so early. I checked the listing the other day, and the weekly price has gone up to over $1700, so I did pretty well.

So, my advice would be, find a small company that can't pay you as much as you're worth, and then make them make it up to you by giving you free stuff!


aaron
post #13 of 22
last pres day, we drove right pass Squaw and Alpine on 89, when we pulled into Homewood parking lot at 10 am, we were able to park 3 rows behind the main lodge...We did not even change shoes at the car.
post #14 of 22
post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by scootertig View Post
I did all of my purchasing on a corporate Amex. As a result, I have a ton of points to spend in not a lot of time. (I would've gone somewhere else, but the friends that are going have always wanted to ski Vail, and the gf loved it, too, so I had to go with the flow on this one)

Vail Resorts has lift tickets available through the Rewards program (although there are no ski rentals or lessons there this year... too bad!), and I can use points for airline tickets, too.

So, my advice would be, find a small company that can't pay you as much as you're worth, and then make them make it up to you by giving you free stuff!
I use the AMEX gig too, and you have the choice of the I70 resorts, AND/ OR you can get individual tickets for more points. Rentals are in the AMEX program too - already on their site.

If you found Keystone too much, then forget A-Basin. I personally don't like Copper, but the day I was there was the 7th ski day in-a-row, the conditions weren't great, and I was with a dweeb, so use others opinion.

It sounds like Breck should be high on your list, as it seems almost all intermediate when I've been there.

Also, as was suggested before, Steamboat is 1.5 hours away, and you can get the AMEX lift tickets that are good anywhere that cover Steamboat for 9.000 points (I think). Defintely worth a day. Lots of intermediate trails and woods. Not much for the uber expert, but the woods have great appeal to almost everyone.

Oh, and when I took my kids out on President's Week last year, when Vail had 20-30 minute liftlines, it was ski-on at Steamboat.
post #16 of 22

www.skicooper.com

Ok, I'm going to go out on a limb here.

Basically we are talking upper level beginner and intermediates and it is their first day at altitude. So how about Ski Cooper ? (No typo, not Copper).

Cooper is about 30 minutes from Vail over a very twisty back road via Minturn on the way back to Leadville. You will, however, see where the lionshead is really located if you look carefully.

Only about 1200 feet of vertical, but it is out of the way enough and lift tix are very reasonable. It's a locals mountain so it could still be crowded, but it shouldn't be as bad as the bigger name resorts on the Monday.

Best of all, an adult half day starting at 12 and going till 4 will only set you back $ 28 bucks. If you are coming from the flat land that should be about all you can ski the first day. And if everybody else gets tired out early or the weather gets gnarly you will have less crowded conditions in the afternoon.

I'd also suggest hitting the Minturn Saloon on the way back for dinner, it's a personal favorite and somewhat reasonable for the Vail valley. Don't know if they take phony points for dinner though.

So now that I am out on that limb I could swear I hear some bears with a chain saw climbing my tree.

Kaj
post #17 of 22
Forgot to add that Ski Cooper is part of the old Camp Hale installation that was the home of the 10th Mountain division during the war. I think they have a little history corner some where, so you can always use the morning for a bit of a history lesson with the kids while you are booting up.

Don't forget to get breakfast at the Turntable Inn in Minturn on the way over, which is a real locals kind of place. Great home cooking, huge portions and really reasonable. The chile verde breakfast burrito is not to be missed.
post #18 of 22
what about Eldora?

I always see that sign on my way up to Summit County.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by dookey67 View Post
what about Eldora?

I always see that sign on my way up to Summit County.
But in reality it is closer to Boulder. So it will be really crowded and a long drive in the wrong direction through the Loveland pass, as well.
post #20 of 22
ah, my bad. i don't have my Colorado map in front of me.

so where are Silverton, Telluride, and Crested Butte in relation? those are probably way far away, huh?



PS
I think we should propose both Ski Cooper and Sunlight to the LGCIV agenda...and Eldora, too!
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by crank View Post
Hey Paul,

Last year my son and I worked our way up to Mont St. Anne that week for that very reason. It was not crowded and they were not charging holiday rates.
I remember that you mentioned that. How about this year? New Foundland?
post #22 of 22
Hey Paul,

Last year my son and I worked our way up to Mont St. Anne that week for that very reason. It was not crowded and they were not charging holiday rates.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post
I remember that you mentioned that. How about this year? New Foundland?


Yes, by boat - too much driving last year.
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