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Where, around Denver, to go in Feb if you're alone and want to ski off piste?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I will have to go to Vegas on business in Feb (7th - 11th), but I  will fly in to Denver on Feb 2nd.

This will give me three days of skiing somewhere close to Denver... I've never skied in the US, so I don't know where to go.

Of course, I've heard of Vail, Aspen etc, but I want to go off piste and I believe (wrongly or not) that those are more for slopes

and restaurants.

 

I'm an experienced skier and can ski everywhere, but a little powder wouldn't be too bad.

Any advice, anybody?

 

Travel to and from Denver Airport?

Accommodation?

Can you rent fat skis over there, or do I have to bring my Kuros?

 

Thank you so much in advance!

 

Best regards,

Jens

post #2 of 9


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jens Camp View Post

I will have to go to Vegas on business in Feb (7th - 11th), but I  will fly in to Denver on Feb 2nd.

This will give me three days of skiing somewhere close to Denver... I've never skied in the US, so I don't know where to go.

Of course, I've heard of Vail, Aspen etc, but I want to go off piste and I believe (wrongly or not) that those are more for slopes

and restaurants.

 

I'm an experienced skier and can ski everywhere, but a little powder wouldn't be too bad.

Any advice, anybody?

 

Travel to and from Denver Airport?

Accommodation?

Can you rent fat skis over there, or do I have to bring my Kuros?

 

Thank you so much in advance!

 

Best regards,

Jens


both those place have large areas off piste. yeah they are ritzy but they aint just about that.

post #3 of 9

It doesn't sound like you are from the US, so it's not quite clear what you mean by "off-piste."  In the US, off-piste means basically ungroomed runs inside the ski area boundaries.  Because of that, you have all of the ammenities of a ski area, including hotels, restaurants (with their inflated prices), etc.  Most importantly, it also means that ski patrol will provide rescue and provides avi control, marks hazzards (like cliffs), and closes areas that are considered unskiable or dangerous (with some exceptions).  It's quite a bit different from what I understand to be off-piste in Europe.

 

If you mean that you want to go backcountry (outside of the ski area boundaries), then that's another matter. 

 

Resort off-piste skiing close to Denver is quite different from area to area.  Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are two areas that have a lot of off-piste skiing, but neither has any lodging at the resort, so it can be a bit more of a challege to get to the area than the other resorts if you do not wish to hire a rental car.  Vail's off-piste skiing has a tremendous amount of area, but it mostly is flat compared to other areas.  Breckenridge has a lot of high alpine steep terrain and a fair amount of tree skiing.  Beaver Creek has a lot of long steep bump runs, some good tree skiing, and small amount of more extreme skiing.  Copper has "naturally divided terrain" where the expert off-piste skiing is served by separate lifts, meaning that there usually is no lift line for much of the interesting terrain.  Keystone, in my experience, has much less in the way of off-piste terrain.  The Aspen resorts have fantastic off-piste skiing; particularly Highlands where you can hike Highlands Bowl for some of the signature terrain in Colorado or ski amazing lines without a hike.  Snowmass and Aspen Mountain have great off-piste terrain as well.  Any of these resorts can be accessed by van service, although it is a bit pricey.

 

If you mean backcountry, then there's many many choices, but you will need a guide to assist you.  It requires ski touring; not sure that's what you want.  I know little about ski touring in general or about guides in Colorado specifically.

 

If it was me, I'd pick Aspen.  I think it has some of the best expert skiing in Colorado.  It's far removed from the resorts close to Denver, meaning that it will be much less crowded than the other resorts I've mentioned.  With 4 mountains and easy transportation between them, you've got more terrain than you can explore in the time you'll be here.  And the food is great, there's lots of other stuff to do, and its downright beautiful as well.  There's not too many better views than from the top of Highlands, or even from the Cloud 9 restaurant at Highlands.

 

There's other choices as well, but hopefully this will give you a start.  If you'd like a bit more help, then it'd be good for you to describe what type of skier you are, what type of terrain you are interested in, and what resort ammenities you're looking for.

 

Mike

post #4 of 9

Everything Mike said is accurate, but for just three days and staying close you might want to keep it simple and ride a bus from Denver airport to Copper Mountain.  It's about two hours drive time from airport, Aspen is 5 hours unless you take separate flight into Aspen. Copper has a nice mix of below and above treeline skiing, and some glade skiing and is moderately priced. It has a handy slopeside village for accommodations, dining, and a little bit of nightlife. You can rent any kind of skis you want.

post #5 of 9

Off-piste has an entirely different meaning in the US than say Europe.  Most US resorts have tons of off-piste skiing that is patrolled and avalanche safe (mostly<g>).  They don't have those poles marking "the slope" that I found in Europe.  Only dangerous areas and ski area boundaries are roped off. 

The resorts most easily accessible from Denver are strung out along Interstate-70, about a 90 minute drive from the Denver Airport.  Look up Summit County.

Consider Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin, Vail is a little further.  I wouldn't call Vail flat, but it does not have as many of the steep slopes the other resorts do.  But it is big, with very big bowls (all 100% off-piste) and well worth a visit for an expert skier.

Aspen is 2 hours past Vail, along mostly interstate. Aspen is very good ( 3 big resorts), but probably not worth the extra travel time, unless you fly there. (but Aspen is iffy flying into during a storm)

 

You can get on a shuttle to a Summit County hotel, (google it) or rent your own car which would give you more flexibility.  If you drive, you'll have to drive about 45 minutes on a busy highway through a very big city, but the navigating is straightforward.

Don't count on powder anywhere you go, maybe 1 in 4 chance or less, but expect good conditions. 

You are better off with just bringing your all mountain skis, unless you are very comfortable using your powder skis in any condition. 

Another factor to consider during your trip, parts of I-70 can be difficult to travel during a storm or during a weekend, when there is a crowd of skiers traveling from Denver, but there is no way around that, just be aware of it.

 

A map of Colorado ski resorts. 

http://teachski.com/brochures/state%20maps/FunSkiMapCO.gif

post #6 of 9

Second (or third?) Aspen as the best skiing around. Vail is pretty good skiing too. Those are in fact my top two resort for open un-groomed terrain.

 

Most of us Americans would rent a car, drive to either Summit county and ski the different resorts there (A-basin, Copper, Breckenridge, Vail, Beaver Creek). Alternatively, one might also drive to Winter Park and spen the whole time there.

 

post #7 of 9

Everything said above is true, except for the discouraging things about Keystone. You'll find find more than enough tree skiing there with a good variety of avalanche-controlled terrain accessible by hiking from the lifts.

 

If you book three days of skiing and lodging through one of the Vail resorts--Breckenridge, Beaver Creek, Vail, Keystone--you'll be able to ski at five mountains (the previous four plus Arapahoe Basin) in Eagle and Summit counties, all of which offer a variety of off-piste terrain.  Choosing Copper or Winter Park will essentially limit you to either mountain, though both are very good. 

post #8 of 9

You can easily catch a short flight to Aspen and once there, you won't need a car.   If you stay closer to Denver, you will definitely want to rent a car.

I can usually make Aspen in 3:15 from the Denver airport.  But it's usually off hours and I have a lot of experience.

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

You can easily catch a short flight to Aspen and once there, you won't need a car.   If you stay closer to Denver, you will definitely want to rent a car.

I can usually make Aspen in 3:15 from the Denver airport.  But it's usually off hours and I have a lot of experience.



 

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