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Ski Resorts in the Denver Area

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
 My girlfriend and I are flying into Denver on December 15th and leaving on the 21st of December, we have never skied in Colorado. We live in Brooklyn and usually ski in New York(Hunter, Wyndham, Gore and Whiteface)  once or twice in a season we manage getting to Vermont(sugarbush, stowe) . We are solid intermediates.

We don't know much about the ski resorts in the Denver area and would welcome any advice regarding travel tips, traffic tips, info on resorts etc.


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post #2 of 12

Sounds like you've got about 5 ski days. Big budget or low budget? Do you want to bounce around or stick to one resort? Stay slopeside in condo or commute from motel a few miles away?

Loveland and Arapahoe Basin would be good "unresort" choices for a low budget commuter. Keystone, Breckenridge, Winter Park, Copper would be good for slopeside or near slopeside stays in a resort environment. All mentioned are within two hours of Denver Airport.

Vail and Beaver Creek are just a few minutes further and provide a more upscale resort experience.

Welcome to epicski.

post #3 of 12
Agree with everything Jamesj said, my favorite place in the Denver area is Loveland. 

You will find a big difference between what is a blue run at Hunter/Wyndym/Whiteface and the blues in Colorado if that's how your determining that you're a solid intermediate. I find what is  black in the east is a blue out west. You might find a good bit of Arapahoe too difficult if so.

If you stay in the Silverthorn/Dillon area, keystone, arapahoe, loveland, copper, breckenride are all about a 20 minute drive. Vail about 45 minutes from Dillon. I've always used twinseasons.com to find lodging.

Two last rec's - on the way to skiing, about an hour outside Denver is Idaho Springs. If you're hungry try the Buffalo Bar on main street. Also in Dillon a great dinner choice is 'The Mint', you get to select your cut of beef and grill it up yourself, a carnivores delight.

Also should mention the weekend traffic can be brutal between Denver and the front range, especially driving there on Friday evening/Saturday morning and also on the return leg Sunday afternoon. An alternative to driving is take the train from Denver to Winter Park, but you'll be stuck at that one resort. I've been on about 15 different skiing vacations to where your going, it's always a good time. enjoy.
post #4 of 12
post #5 of 12
Thanks Furball and James; we ski blacks comfortably and double blacks moderately well on the east coast, we are advanced skiers though not experts, so we would be looking for reasonably challenging terrain.........not looking for 40 ft drops or anything like that. 

Silverthorn/Dillon area is probably a good bet because we would like to explore a couple of different ski areas, incidentally is Dec 15th a tad too early ?

Thanks daysailer i'll check those links out as well.
post #6 of 12
Hmmm.... I would recommend hitting the "nicer" places if you're skiing with your best gal.

Basing out of the Dillon/Silverthorne area,  I'd hit Breck or Copper,  then Vail (you MUST ski Vail if you've never).  Then drive an hour or so to Steamboat.  Ski two days at Steamboat (very relaxing place to ski - won't be crowded).  Then head to Winter Park for your final day - leaving you with the least stressful drive back to Denver at the end of the day.

post #7 of 12
I just spoke with someone at steamboat and she said that Dec 15th may be a bit too early for them, so we may have to stay closer to Denver. Loveland looks like a great place and i'll check out the other mountains and the links as well.

Thanks again and cheers.
post #8 of 12
Mid Dec is early for "everything open" conditions, but those places are big and even with only 60% of their terrain they are still great.  Better just before Xmas than during the holidays when crowds build. I have skied all areas mentioned in this thread except Breckenridge and they were all very good.  But after you've checked out some of the big guys...I thought there was truly something special about Arapahoe Basin = scenery, history, locals-vibe, terrain.  For good deals on condos in Dillon/Frisco area try www.vrbo.com

Here's a report from a nice trip I took to some of these ski areas in Dec 2003:  http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_article.php?article_id=281
post #9 of 12
It is unlikely that the steeper terrain will be open on December 15 at any of the Summit County ski areas.  The Silverthorne/Dillon area has lots of less-expensive (that is, less expensive than Vail) housing and restaurants.  In fact, Silverthorne is the Fast Food Capitol of the World.  Take it easy at first as you will be skiing at much higher altitude that Brooklyn.  The Imperial lift at Breckenridge tops out at almost 13 000 ft!  The town is at 9600 ft. I have seen people get sick from the altitude (vomiting).  Drink a lot of water and avoid the booze for the first couple of days. 
post #10 of 12
WIKI on altitude.

Silverthorne et al is centrally located but essentially suburbia. just so you are forewarned it's not the ski resort "experience"

Check out Tony Crocker's site for statistics on early snow probability.
post #11 of 12
I think Mom meant the wiki on Altitude Adaptation and Acute Mountain Sickness by dp.
post #12 of 12
For the last few seasons Winter Park/Mary Jane have been getting a lot of snow in early December and just about everything is open by the 15th (excluding the Cirque which usually doesn't get open until January).  Wherever you decide to go look into buying 4-packs online ahead of time you'll save a ton of dough (check out Loveland's 4-pack for $119).
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