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Breck this weekend

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I'm 2 days out from arriving.  What's the snow like at Keystone, Breck and Vail?  Anything I need to hit in particular?
post #2 of 23
The snow isn't particularly good at any of those resorts right now. The general rule seems to be "the further west you go, the more snow there is." Of the three, Vail has the best coverage at this point. They got a nice little storm last weekend, and Sunday was a great powder day. The back bowls are well-covered at Vail but chopped up.

Breckenridge has good coverage on the frontside. I haven't been up to the bowls yet this season. I was last at Breck about 3 weeks ago, and the coverage up there was rather iffy at the time. I didn't feel like trashing my new skis.

Keystone is the least covered of the three, mostly because it does not have the snowmaking capacity of Breck and Vail. It hasn't helped that most of the snow has been falling further west (Vail) rather than at Keystone. I haven't bothered going to Keystone yet this season.

It's snowing at all three resorts today, and they're expecting another a 3-6 inches over the next 24 hours.

All in all, Breckenridge and Vail are your best bets right now.
post #3 of 23
We were out there the Dec 17th-23rd, I skied Keystone and Breck and some others in my group made it up to Vail. Overall, snow is pretty thin (although they've gotten 2 feet of new snow since I was there).

Keystone was barely open, with about 50% of the Dercum Mountain open, just 3 runs on North Peak, and nothing on Outback. They've since opened a lot more runs, plus a few bowls (hike to). The coverage was pretty awful when we were there, if you ventured off the groomed, you were pretty much guaranteed to hit rocks or stumps. I think they were getting desperate to get more runs open by Christmas, since a few of the runs they dropped the ropes on while we were there had 6" tree tops sticking out.

Breck was quite a bit more open while we were there, and is now ~75% open. There was noticeably better snow at Breck even though the two resorts are 15mins apart, although there were spots where it was very thin too, especially in moguls. They had Contest and Horseshoe bowls open, both had decent snow with large, soft moguls. The Imperial lift has since opened (according to their website), so you don't have to take the dreaded T-bar anymore to access the bowls. I think they opened up a bit more bowl skiing as well, so it'd definitely be worth checking out. With the extra snow since when I was there, you should have some decent skiing.

I didn't make it out to Vail (I bought a Summit pass, so no access to Vail), but the guys that went really liked it. They had a good amount of terrain open and better coverage than either Keystone or Breck. They did complain that it was super busy though, so you might want to go on a weekday (they went on a Sunday I believe).
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
I appreciate the info.  It doesn't look promising for snow before Sunday, so I may get lucky and get 1 day of powder.
post #5 of 23
I haven't skied Breck in a week, but did ski at Copper on Sunday.  The snow last weekend did a lot to improve the conditions.  Breck got a bit less snow than Copper, but I suspect that the snow helped.

Jonathan Lawson posted a picture of skiing in Horseshoe Bowl on Sunday that looked delicious. 

Breck generally has a lot of areas where rocks are exposed in the off piste because of the terrain, wind exposure, and amount of ski traffic.  It generally doesn't matter how much snow they get in a storm, you are likely to find rocks.  This means that you will need to ski smart, think about terrain, and pick lines and runs based on some reading of the conditions.  Not different than last year, but perhaps a bit rockier.

We haven't had high temps, so the snow in the high alpine terrain should be in reasonable shape -- just look out for the rocks.

Don't fret the conditions so much; you'll find more than enough open to keep you busy, and there is some good skiing out there.  In fact, while some of the previous posts about conditions at Breck have trash talked the conditions, I still found runs with good winter snow and very good coverage.  You just need to be smart about where to ski.

Mike
post #6 of 23
 Absolutely, be smart...I was at Breck New Year's Day and while I've been at Breck with lots more snow it was still a great time.  Get out there early and sample all that Breck has to offer.  Also, it is a bit further than Vail but Beaver Creek had some excellent coverage and snow as well.
post #7 of 23
I'm considering going to Breckenridge this Friday for a week or more.  This will be my first time.

Are there several ski resorts near each other that share the same pass?  If not, it would be cheaper to get a pass for the duration of my stay.  Are there other resorts that have better snow and terrain or is Breckenridge the best place?  How far are the other resorts?  Does it make sense to rent a car or just use shuttle service?  I don't rent a car in Telluride, for example.

What are conditions like currently?  I've read on some other sites that the snow isn't great right now and there are a lot of rocks.  However, it is supposed to snow next week, though I don't know by how much.  If the snow is really bad (hard pack, ice and rocks), I'll skip the trip entirely.  If it's still worthwhile, but not deep powder skiing, I'd only bring one pair of skis.
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by woofcyn View Post

I'm considering going to Breckenridge this Friday for a week or more.  This will be my first time.

Are there several ski resorts near each other that share the same pass?  If not, it would be cheaper to get a pass for the duration of my stay.  Are there other resorts that have better snow and terrain or is Breckenridge the best place?  How far are the other resorts?  Does it make sense to rent a car or just use shuttle service?  I don't rent a car in Telluride, for example.

What are conditions like currently?  I've read on some other sites that the snow isn't great right now and there are a lot of rocks.  However, it is supposed to snow next week, though I don't know by how much.  If the snow is really bad (hard pack, ice and rocks), I'll skip the trip entirely.  If it's still worthwhile, but not deep powder skiing, I'd only bring one pair of skis.

Nah, don't skip the trip, I think you'll have lots of fun still. I'm headed out there next Monday.

To answer your question, yes, Keystone, Breck, and Arapahoe Basin all share the same pass. In addition, you get some days at Vail and Beaver Creek, depending on how many days you purchase at Breck/Keystone. It's a pretty good deal. I do suggest going to Vail and Beaver Creek for as many of the days as you're allowed (double check that there are no blackout dates due to MLK day). Of the Keystone, Breck, A-basin resorts, Breck is probably your best bet on snow (Copper too, but doesn't share the pass), but Keystone would be worth a visit if you're there all week. Or you can head over at night for night skiing after a day at the other resorts. Keystone and Breck are 20 mins or so apart. Vail, Beaver Creek are about 45min-1hr away from Keystone/Breck.

I know there is a Summit County free bus (google summit stage) that goes between at least Keystone and Breck, possibly A-Basin as well. I think theres a Vail/Beaver Creek bus too, but there's a fee. So you could not rent a car if you really didn't want to, but how are you going to get there? We decided renting a car from Denver for the week was the most economical option from Denver Airport to those resorts, and more convenient during the stay too. Parking is reasonable (free at Keystone, small fee at Breck).

Have fun, let me know how the snow is. :D
post #9 of 23
Thank you!  There is a $164 round trip shuttle advertised on Breckenridge's website, roughly half the cost of a weekly car rental.  Still looking into it, though hotels appear very expensive with more options in Frisco, but then I'd probably need a car.  I'm also debating whether the snow conditions justify the trip.
post #10 of 23
Nah, the shuttle I think drops off in Frisco too, and if not the summit stage links all the towns there. You might have a bit of a walk to the nearest stop depending on where in Frisco you stay, but it's still doable without a car.

On the other hand, where are you looking for car rentals? Have you tried naming your own price on Priceline, I was able to get a pretty sweet deal, $175 for the week (bid $15 a day). That's still more than the shuttle, I guess the shuttle would be cheaper if you're by yourself.

For that matter, you might try naming your own price on a place to stay too. My winning bid was $65 a night on a two star in Dillon/Frisco area. The hotel is the Ramada Limited Frisco (mixed reviews, but cheap).
post #11 of 23
The snow report is showing 3" @ Breck & 1" @ Keystone overnight
post #12 of 23
Yes, it obviously helps.  More snow is forecasted this week, but given that it is spread out over a couple of days at 40% probability, it doesn't sound like a major storm, and may not be sufficient.  People are reporting very bad now conditions right now.  I've never been there, but I heard that the base is thin, icy and grass and rocks are exposed, even though the reported base of 46" sounds like a lot.

I'll skip the trip this time.
post #13 of 23
Talking to my friend, who lives in Keystone, he says the weather is lining up nicely for later in the week. He has been getting a good amount of skiing in, but he has been knocking lumps out of ski bases too.

I'll be there not this weekend but next and am hoping for a major dump before then.

It's a long way for me to come, so hopefully the weather gods will deliver.

bb000 - how did you find it?
post #14 of 23
Heading into Breck on Saturday. Has the recent snow made a significant improvement to the conditions?
post #15 of 23
Yes!
post #16 of 23
For the amount of snow Breck has, its been good skiing.... Last weekend they got a good shot of snow and more heading in tomorow.
post #17 of 23
Just got back Sunday. Overall, the conditions were pretty darn good. The only consistently sketchy areas were the runs off of chair 6 (the one that takes you up to the imperial lift) and the some of the double blacks on skiers left of peak 9. Otherwise, it was pretty good except for a bare patch here and there. The bowls all had decent coverage despite the warnings posted by ski patrol.

Keystone, on the other hand was still pretty thin on anything that didn't have snowmaking.
post #18 of 23
Thanks for your feedback - should be good next week. The week after we are off to Keystone, so maybe it still has time to get some more snow on the ground.

We have not skied either area before - any reccomendations? (Party of 4, parents and 19 & 21 yr old kids, all sking blacks for years, & staying 8 days at each resort)
post #19 of 23
Kids will dig Keystone, it's where the youth of America hang!
post #20 of 23
Oops - I wonder if they expect me to keep up at night as well as on the slopes!
post #21 of 23
As an East Coast skier whos spends a couple weeks each season in Summit County, here's my comments.

The best advanced/expert terrain at Breck is on Peak 8, especially the bowls.  Nothing like it in the East. Most of 9 is too flat and but 10 is worth checking out. 

Keystone is underrated by the locals.  The front side has some of the best advanced intermediate terrain anywhere and some pockets of fun expert stuff as well.  Since the Outback closes early, a good plan is to head there in the morning and work your way back.  Some nice bump skiing and trees off the Outback and North Peak.

And don't miss A-Basin,  assuming they get some snow and open Pali and Zuma. 
post #22 of 23
At Keystone, I recommend hiking the South Bowl. Takes about 15-25 minutes depending on how good of shape you are. They run a $5 a ride snowcat when there's enough people, so that may be an alternative, but the views are worth the hike IMO. There was a decent amount of powder left there after several days, especially in the trees, due to the work needed to get there. You could do North bowl too, but the run-out is long and icy (South bowl has long run out too, but not as bad).

If you like moguls, ambush and powder cap off of North Peak are nice, long, and consistently steep. Bullet glades, looked like it would be awesome with more snow, but I hit so much crap getting down to there, I decided not to go into the trees. Would definitely be worth checking out if there's more snow.

Give night skiing a try too, we really liked going out for the last hour before close, you really had the mountain to yourself at that point. The downside is the snow is pretty chewed up and icy by the end of the day.

At Breck, definitely go up Imperial lift and ski the bowls. My favorite was whale's tail, which requires a short, easy traverse from Imperial lift. Some of the glades at the bottom of the bowls also had good, untracked powder late into the day since most people seemed to be hopping on the cat trails after the bowls and skipping the trees.

Before the Imperial lift starts up in the morning (usually a bit later than other lifts due to avy control), head to peak 10 and ski The Burn. Fun tree skiing.

The last suggestion I'll make is you should head over to Vail for at least a day or two. The bowls there are skiing very nicely, and there's so much acreage there that the snow doesn't get as tracked out and mogully as the bowls in breck. If you bought multiday lifts, you should get a few days where you can go to Vail and BC for no extra cost.
post #23 of 23
Thanks for the info - it gives me a better idea of the resorts than just the trail map, so we will follow your advice. As we have Epic passes we will definitly go to Vail - those passes are a great deal. Looks like the weather will be ok for arrival and then snow early in the week, so looking forward to having a great time.
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