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Around Denver

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I am a first time skier so I need a question anwsered. I can get a great price on a flight to Denver. Where is a good place to ski around there with a Holiday Inn, or a nice little place for a Husband/wife first time ski trip?
post #2 of 20

First time ski or first time in Denver?

First time ski ... Breckenridge is just ideal
First time in Denver but are experienced skiers ... Vail/Beaver Creek

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

First time ski

Off hand, about how far is it from Denver airport to Breckenridge. Also, would I be able to get away with the cheap compact rental car or would I need a suv?
post #4 of 20
The airport is roughly 100 miles from Breck (DIA is out in the middle of nowhere). Nearly all of it interstate and a compact will work just fine for any of the Front Range (I-70 corridor) resorts barring a massive storm. The roads are very well maintained.
post #5 of 20
Depending on your thriftiness you may want to rent skis in Denver. This would mean you'd need a roof-rack or the SUV to cart your skis to the mountain. You'd want to calculate the costs yourself to see which is more cost effective (we found for our January trip that an SUV + Denver ski rental was less expensive than the other two options (car with rack + denver ski rental or car + resort area ski rental)).

I'd also advise you to arrange everything (including ski rental) in advance on line. It's much nicer to get there and have everything figured out already and greatly lowers the stress.

Make sure if you're renting boots that you get a place that makes sure you have boots that fit. Improperly fitting boots can be a royal pain. Maybe some Denver area bears can chime in with decent places to rent considering you'll also need boots.
post #6 of 20
if it's your first time, I'd recommend against renting in Denver; rent at the area (or independent shops in the vicinity). That way, if there are fit or operational problems, you can get it resolved. In general, other shops won't work on a different shop's rental eqpt because of liability issues.
post #7 of 20
Originally Posted by icanseeformiles(andmiles) View Post
if it's your first time, I'd recommend against renting in Denver; rent at the area (or independent shops in the vicinity). That way, if there are fit or operational problems, you can get it resolved. In general, other shops won't work on a different shop's rental eqpt because of liability issues.
That's a good point. Thanks for correcting me!
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 

Which choice?

I have a choice to stay in the Holiday Inn Vail or the Holiday Inn Summit-County Frisco. Now we (wife/me) are from Houston where I doesn't snow so we would like to stay in a place more romantice and relaxing with the "Movie like atmosphere" if you know what I mean. We will be going from early morning Friday (arrive Denver 9:00a.m) to noon Monday. We are used to taking all of our vacations in the caribbean with the sun and sand so we want to try something different.
post #9 of 20
While i have never stayed at the Holiday Inn in either of the places you've listed, i would hazzard a guess that the one in Vail would be more in line with your "movie-like atmosphere."

And second on the renting of gear at the mountain. Nothing is worse than renting gear, getting up to the mountain, and then having it fail. You'll then have to pay the mountain shop to fix it and some folks won't mess with another store's gear. If you rent at the mountain or at a local shop (of which there are many in Vail) if you have any problems you can get them taken care of with much more ease.

Also, if you didn't want to rent a car I know they have a shuttle service that will take you from the airport to the resort and then shuttle you back to the airport. I forget the name of it, but they run a fleet of big white vans with ski racks on the back (a local Denverite should be able to illuminate you on this service).
post #10 of 20
Colorado Mountain Express (CME) will shuttle you from Denver airport to Breckenridge. If you stay in town in Breck, there is the Breck free ride bus which can take you anywhere in Breck you need to go.

I agree with renting on the mountain or in the town where you will be staying. You can exchange equipment if necessary. Perhaps you could check out some the package deals on expedia or other travel websites with air/hotel and lift tickets.
post #11 of 20
For novice skiers, I'd say stay at the Frisco Holiday Inn.
Night One- Walk around Frisco, Main Street is small but nice.
One Day - ski Breckenridge. Spend time in town for fun, it has a great vibe like you're looking for.
Other Day - ski Copper Mountain. Walk around center village for fun.

Rent a car if you want to rule your own schedule. Otherwise various local buses will get you between places, and the CME will get you to and from the airport.
post #12 of 20
I don't think you're going to get the movie like atmosphere at either Holiday Inn. Despite being in Vail, the Holiday Inn there is nothing to write home about. It's just ok, pretty much like every other one. The upside of staying at the one in Vail is the free bus service to get around town. It runs until 2am too. I'm not sure if the Frisco Holiday Inn will offer shuttle service like other hotels in the Breck area being that far away from downtown Breck. That would be the selling point for me if you're not renting a car since both places are great options.

Both places have great atmospheres, and fun places to go at night. Though I may give Breck the edge on nightlife and restaurants as I prefer downtown Breck to Vail. Breck will be a little cheaper overall too especially for on mountain dining during the day.

From a skiing standpoint, either resort will be fine. They both will have plenty of good runs for you both and are both great mountains. And I agree with everyone else for renting at the resort. If you happen to go to Vail, I would recommend renting from Vail Ski Tech in Lionshead. They have the best prices in the Vail Valley and also give you discounts for renting online.
post #13 of 20
Originally Posted by icanseeformiles(andmiles) View Post
if it's your first time, I'd recommend against renting in Denver; rent at the area (or independent shops in the vicinity). That way, if there are fit or operational problems, you can get it resolved. In general, other shops won't work on a different shop's rental eqpt because of liability issues.
Excellent advice that most travelers never think about. Nothing kills a trip faster than rental problems that can't be fixed b/c they were rented 100 miles from the slopes. I see it daily at my hill.
post #14 of 20
Just a thought, not specific to Colorado, but you might benefit from a package from the ski resort offered to first timers including gear, lift tickets and lesson. Have fun it will be great!:
post #15 of 20
I can't really advise on a hotel/area since I haven't lived here long enough to know.

But the one piece of advice I can give you is to spend your first night in Denver, and spend your first full day down town where you're skiing, just walking around as dawnhill mentioned. Houston's elevation is less than 100 feet IIRC. You're coming up to 9000+ feet, and will be skiing at over 11,000. You will likely experience at least minor AMS (acute mountain sickness) either way, but you'll have a much better time on the mountain if you take a night in Denver and a day wherever you're skiing to acclimatize first.
post #16 of 20
1st time out,
Ski Loveland ( I think you still can get some 4 packs off the web site. Stay in Georgetown (super eight).
Rent your gear on the hill!
If you get bored you can always hit the slots in Blackhawk /Central City (about 45 miles away).
Enjoy the ride!
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 

More questions

The reason I picked between Vail and Breckenridge is I have plenty on free nights through Holiday Inn and can get a round trip from Houston to Denver for $132 per person. I looked at Colorado Mountain Express and I can get a compact carrental cheaper than they can shuttle us. So I figure for less than $425, both me and my wife can take the trip.
Now the questions, I understand about the renting ski, boots, and poles; but what kind of clothes and do we rent them? I seen on t.v. that they don't ski in blue jeans and long sleeve shirts, so what kind of material is it made of? What all will I need to rent and what will I need to buy? We have a Sun @ Ski Sport store in Houston but I would like to get some information before I go and listen to them say what I need to buy so they can make a large commission. Also, since we have never skied before, I don't really want to spend to much money since we don't know if we will like it.
post #18 of 20
if there's still a Sun 'n' Ski on Westheimer, they're the store with the most knowledgeable staff. That said, it's going to be be hard finding winter gloves/mitts in Houston that are what would be considered winter weight in Colorado.

Here's a radical idea for you. What about Eldora Mountain Resort just outside of Boulder. The bus from DIA to Boulder cost $10.00 per person each way, the bus leaves from Boulder going to Eldora around 8am each day, cost $3.75 each way. Eldora is at about 9,500 ft, with Boulder at 5,400; it's much easier coming from sea level to deal with altitude by playing high and sleeping low (just what climbers do when climbing Everest). There is both a Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express in Boulder. It's a small city of around 100,000 with an infinite variety of places to eat and be entertained.

Eldora has rental bibs (pants) and parkas in the rental shop. You will need your own long underwear (I'd suggest going to Academy - get a synthetic material, such as polypro - NOT cotton); mittens/gloves, a hat, and sunglasses or goggles (you will need one of the two to avoid snow blindness). If you prefer an helmet, those can also be rented.

I can find no outerwear rentals from the websites in the Summit County ski area, Vail says they have a limited amount, but they will be glad to help you buy the proper clothing.

If you have any questions about Eldora, please feel free to PM me as I teach there.

[edit to add]
Eldora's first timer package (includes an all-day lesson, rental equipment, and beginner area lift ticket) is $87. Complete outerwear rental (bibs and parka) is $29. Website for Eldora.
post #19 of 20
Vail Ski Tech rents ski pants and seemed to have a decent amount cause one weekend I forgot to pack mine and needed some. I think they were $8 to rent. When I had friends come into town, I think full rentals for ski and boots were $17/day.

Edit: As for clothes you'll need, I would recommend buying a base layer for both your legs and upper body. Do not buy cotton for these. Then I would be sure to pack some turtlenecks, long sleeve t-shirts, and sweatshirts so you can layer depending on how cold it is. You will also need ski socks, but those can be bought when you rent. I imagine you have a winter jacket, but if not, you'll definitely need one. Columbia makes good jackets at a reasonable price. And of course, hat, gloves, and goggles. You can ski with sun glasses in certain conditions, but I prefer goggles any day. If you go to your local ski shop, you can pick up a pair of goggles for $25 or so.
post #20 of 20
I don't know anything about renting clothing, but I do know a bit about the ski resorts around Colorado. You'll find easy enough slopes at Vail and Breckenridge.

Here are the main differences:
**Vail is more expensive than Breckenridge.
**Frisco is a cool town, but it's about 15 minutes from Breckenridge.
**Breckenridge is known for being flat (not steep), so it is a good place to learn.
**If I had to choose between the town of Breckenridge and the town of Vail, I'd choose Breck. Between Frisco and Vail, I'd probably choose Vail for a vacation.
**If I had to choose between the ski mountains, Vail wins hands down.

If you're not too concerned about money, I'd probably go to Vail. My main reasoning is that if you stay in Vail, you're not going to have to drive anywhere once you get there. Everything else is kind of a toss up.
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