Originally Posted by Captain_Strato
I'm feeling vindicated.
Regardless of actual distance, drive-time appears to be the key criteria. By this standard, plus general crowd-aversion, the added Loveland pass may be justified.
I'm also looking forward to trying A-Basin, a resort I've never skied. The reputation appeals to me, as does the new "Zuma" terrain (80% increase this year).
Notwithstanding weekday skiing or the tricks of side and access roads to minimize the problem; a small
traffic relief is offset by other issues for Loveland as is for any winter ski location. All part of larger corridor traffic issues including summertime trails & streams visits and fall views & hunts. It is what it is which is a mess. [Note that winter driving congestion can be view by some as a welcome relief to summer snarls]
Admittedly, while Loveland and A-Basin marketing departments pitch radio spots on 850 or 950 promoting less traffic concerns, the reality is you pay for it the moment you hit jammed parking lot slogs and overflow vehicle towing. Conditions can deteriorate quickly with I-70 tunnel issues [Avalanche clearing, Hazmat closure, Tunnel venting] and/or hwy 40 Berthoud pass closure bringing the Winter Park day sailors into Love as well. You may also add to this the ‘back way’ or 6 bypass travel option for Keystone or Breckenridge or onto hwy 9 access slow looping over to I-70 Copper or Vail [we'll call this the perfect storm]. Return traffic; sure you can get a jump this side of the tunnel and merge from hwy 6 [btw, get up to speed and hope for a gap with downhill charging semi’s] at 2:30 PM…but it makes less difference as you hit the stop zones of Winter Park return at hwy 40 or Georgetown or Dumont or Idaho Springs with the ‘watch out it’s a curve panic’ crawl… regardless of time of day. Yes, while you have avoided the Dillon side of the tunnel time, remember, most of the day sailors are having something to eat and drink while watching dude play harmonica and guitar in a bar that sits more than a dozen people. Of course CDOT is doing a better ‘real time’ job of traffic alerts and ‘time-to-destination points’ with it’s overhead signage for both coming and going, but ultimately it only confirms what you already have reasoned…which is
…you need to purchase one of those containers that truckers use…both a male and female version.
As for skiing at Loveland with the on slope ‘traffic-avoidance’ crowd during the perfect storm, well, it’s truly something to witness especially over on lift 4 and it’s two seat narrow ramp address as the mob funnels in. Survival of the fittest with mob rule governing best describes the crowd as size does matter in this case. Loveland is just not well equipped for a large scale assault, and you pay a greater price in a lift line than you do with the mega’s. The lift operators are great kids…but do not carry a weapon or wear a badge and would just a soon otherwise disappear as pulling dude’s lift ticket which is tantamount to pressing the nuclear button…it’s just not going to happen.
Is it windy today? [That’s Loveland wind mind you] Yikes, now you have lifts 2 and 8 traveling at 2/3 capacity [top of lift 4 shut down] and perhaps a decision to close lift 9 and the ridge imminent. Of course everyone turns to lift 1 and tree protection but now the lift is slowed just to deal with the off-load backup clogging from the warming hut. Of course a last resort is heading back to the lodge as a option. However, this requires you’ve had someone managing a stake in chair/table property all day [just parking your ski bag doesn’t work in volume crisis mode].
Moral; traffic issues elsewhere have their impact at Loveland as well as A-Basin regardless of proximity. Of course the real benefit for those Bears who ski Loveland and/or A-Basin is not a traffic advantage but rather a ‘vibe’ and intimacy that comes with a smaller hill that the mega’s and their many attractions and conveniences don’t provide.
Certainly the wild card will be A-Basin this season as you’ve parroted the marketing department’s 80% increase in terrain ad slicks [In fact the skiable terrain in Montezuma is greater than advertised 80% if you include the non-lift served which has been skied by many for years, with some hard work]. With Zuma lift providing service to a large portion of that area coupled with last seasons Black [mid] Mountain lodge could change the vibe of A-Basin that many have grown to know. We’ll see. Outside of ‘vibe’ concerns [and back to our traffic report] is the new traffic volume and parking. For example, it will be interesting the impact Loveland skiers will find as they try to exit parking merging with the A-Basin downhill charging homeward crowd at the curve. Otherwise, here’s hoping for a short ‘weeding out' period of excitement with the lift expanded Basin.