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Extra day near Vail
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Updated 10 months ago
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10 months ago

The arm is healing well, I’ve started PT, and we have rebooked airfare and hotels for Vail March 21st-27th.  

One bright spot is we were able to add an extra day to the trip, and will now be skiing 5 days instead of 4.  However, we already have 4-day epic passes, so need to figure out where to add the 5th day.  

We arrive late Wednesday, March 21st, and are grabbing a hotel in Denver.  We’ll then get up Thursday morning and start the drive to Vail.  

One option is to stop somewhere between Denver and Vail and ski that Thursday.  Loveland?  A-Basin?  Copper?  Winter Park / MJ?  I’d have the advantage of midweek lift ticket pricing.

Another option would be to ski Vail on Thursday, and go to one of the above resorts as a day trip on Fri/Sat/Sun.  I might pay more for the lift ticket, but could see this being preferable to avoid crowds at Vail/BC on the weekend.

Anyone have suggestions for a discounted one day ticket at one of the above resorts, other than liftopia?

Are there any resorts I’m leaving out within a reasonable driving distance of Vail?  I like the idea of something like Aspen, but not sure I want to drive that far.

Another factor could be snowpack.  I’m assuming something like A-Basin might have better conditions late March due to altitude.  

JimK - DCSki Columnist
10 months ago

I don’t think crowds will be too bad then.  Isn’t that beyond most spring break weeks?  Snow might be another issue this year.  I guess your four day epic pass would get you to A-Basin if you needed the altitude/snow there.  So maybe doing loveland on first day would be convenient for enroute to Vail.  It has some nice mellow slopes for adjusting to altitude.  A-Basin is generally more tilted:-)  Something I noticed on my lengthy stay in the area in 2015 is that the high bowls of Breck hold snow better than back bowls of Vail in case you thought about going over there one day with your epic pass??

10 months ago

You can’t go wrong with any of the four resorts you listed. Copper is the closest to Vail. In weather, you want to minimize travel over Vail pass, so I’d do the day at the other area on the way up there/way back.

BC is a lot less crowded than Vail - good choice for Sat.

If the snow is good (pow day), there is no such thing as an uncrowded area in Summit County. And March 21-27 is still high season.

This far in advance I wouldn’t even attempt to choose an area - I’d wait until a week or so before and see which of the four is skiing the best. All bets are off this season.

 

10 months ago

Hey if you really want to save $ go to Cooper. It is super cheap and there are coupons all over the place for 2 for 1. It is old school but you will ski to the lift all day. 

It is an hour from Vail to Leadville. 

If $$ is not an issue. Go to BC. Always go to BC! :)

 

10 months ago

If time and driving are a factor, Copper is 3 minutes off of I-70. The mountain is well organized and there are some nice bowls at the top.  There is also a great free bus/transporattion to get around the resort although if you are only there for one day it may not be important but it makes it easy to get anywhere from the parking lot. The mountain is segregated, black- left to green-right thus depending on your abililty is it generally easy to figure out where you want to ski. I believe the Super Bee Express has the highest vertical drop of any lift in N. America and it serves the black side of the mountain. When the legs wear out, move to the right to ski the Timberline Express lift area where there are blue cruisers high up on the mountain.When done, it’s 3 minutes back to I-70. The last time I checked the conditions, they were 100% open with all 142 trails open.

10 months ago

Thanks, all.  

- I’ll definitely ski BC one or two of the 4 days I currently have alotted for Vail (My wife and I each have 4-day Epic Passes).  I’d like to ski the 5th day somewhere cheaper than having to add on a 1-day lift pass to BC.  Have never skied BC before, so am super psyched.

- Based on pricing, right now, I’m leaning towards A Basin or Loveland.  Ideally, I would find someplace at a little lower elevation for our first day, but of course, most of Colorado’s resorts tend to be pretty high.  It looks like both Loveland and A-Basin have almost identical elevations (base around 10,800, peak a little over 13k).  Right now, Winter Park is out due to price ($124 purchased in advance), unless I find some kind of great deal.  

- Copper is about 1k feet lower, but $20-30 more expensive per person.  However, thanks everyone for pointing out proximity to Vail and ease of access off I70.  Those will definitely be pluses for the ski area.  

- I think right now the lean is Loveland (cheapest price, shortest drive from Denver, where we’ll be staying the night before), but I might spring for Copper if I feel like the slightly lower elevation would help us acclimate our first day.  We’ve never had issues with elevation before, but there’s always a first time for everything.

- I’m holding Breck as a backup in case the snow is bad in Eagle county.  While I love the town of Breck, I prefer the skiing and terrain at Vail.  That said, if conditions in Vail are bad, we will likely make the drive to Breck / A-Basin for better snow.  

10 months ago

i always thought the other side of vali pass had more snow than the near side, in general.  I mean if i had to bet.  otherwise, the best adivce is always wait and follow the snow.  

$124 for winter park ?   Holy crap. 

 

10 months ago

pagamony wrote:

$124 for winter park ?   Holy crap. 

 

And that’s if you buy 7 days in advance!  If not, it’s $159 for a midweek ticket!!!  I think I can ski Loveland for $60.

10 months ago

I went to Loveland in April last year and was able to get two tickets to Loveland for $30 each off of Craigslist. Loveland sells 3 or 4-packs and there were quite a few people selling their extras on Craigslist at a discount. You may be able to get a better deal this year because of the lack of snow.

JimK - DCSki Columnist
10 months ago

I once did what dwm did too.

Loveland is very high, but there is some nice and gentle intermediate terrain off two of the main chairs, # 2 and 6.  Even if you suck wind like me on your first day at altitude, this terrain is fairly mellow and quite scenic in clear weather.

10 months ago

You’ll have the option of buying 10 gallons of Shell gas in ski country and in return you get a  voucher for a BOGO lift ticket at Copper (and a few other places).

http://skifreedeals.com/

 

The other thing to remember late season is that higher temps take a toll on Eagle County due to it’s lower altitude than Summit County areas.Snow quanitity being constant, late season snow quality is normally better in Summit County

10 months ago

THANK YOU, to both Bob and DWM.  This is exactly the kind of thing I’d like to do.  The Shell thing might be a litle tricky (since we will have just gotten the car the night before), but I could probably figure out how to make it work.  I’ve had luck with passes via Craigslist at other resorts in the past.

It sounds like both Loveland and Copper could be good options.  

In terms of Snow, I’m hoping late March might still be good (even in Vail), but am keenly aware it could be a crapshoot.  If I have to drive over to Summit County, at least the Epic Passes give me the freedom to do so.

10 months ago

It’s snowed a lot in Eagle and Summit counties over the last 10 days. It’s unlikely that the snow will be “bad” in either at the end of March. It’s just that if it’s sunny and warm it’ll be a little less warm in Summit county.

If you’re concerned about altitude the first day, maybe you should ski Vail or BC first as they are lower altitude than areas to the east. You could get a relatively cheap room at the Super 8 in Georgetown and continue on to Vail (maybe 60-70 minuts) or BC (about 15 minutes farther) the next morning. Rooms in Silverthorne would be available, albeit at a higher price. That also let’s you burn a bit of gas so can get that BOGO lift ticket deal.

 

10 months ago

bob wrote:

It’s snowed a lot in Eagle and Summit counties over the last 10 days. It’s unlikely that the snow will be “bad” in either at the end of March. It’s just that if it’s sunny and warm it’ll be a little less warm in Summit county.

If you’re concerned about altitude the first day, maybe you should ski Vail or BC first as they are lower altitude than areas to the east. You could get a relatively cheap room at the Super 8 in Georgetown and continue on to Vail (maybe 60-70 minuts) or BC (about 15 minutes farther) the next morning. Rooms in Silverthorne would be available, albeit at a higher price. That also let’s you burn a bit of gas so can get that BOGO lift ticket deal.

 

This is a good idea.  I’m not entirely sure why I’m worried about elevation; it’s never been an issue for my wife or me in over a dozen trips in the past.  I mean, I definitely feel it when doing stuff like hiking to terrain at the top of Breckenridge or even up 4 flights of stairs to a condo, but it has never actually made us sick.  I’m probably just being hyper sensitive to anything that could ruin the trip given we already had to reschedule once.

One big benefit to doing Vail the first day would be that it is a Thursday, so crowds would be less of an issue.  The plan right now is to either stay right by the airport (we land at 9pm, and will have both worked a full day, so will be pretty wiped) or to stay someplace on the west side of town (I can get a Sheraton there on points).  Maybe I’ll look into driving a little farther west.

What are the best places to avoid crowds on the weekend?  We’ve already spoken about BC, but I assume A Basin?  Loveland?  Copper?

10 months ago

A-Basin can get crowded on weekends.So can Copper, but it is big enough you can avoid the busy areas.

If you are that concerned about crowds: Loveland, Cooper (cat skiing) but terrain is very mellow or I’ve heard good things about Sunlight in Gleenwood Springs.

10 months ago

Cooper is great for a day, even without the cat to Chicago Ridge.  It’s not Vail, but that is ok.  It’s where the 10th mountain trained.  If bored you can XC or snowshoe up to Tennessee pass.  I think they even have a dinner package there.  Its somewhere you should go at least once and check off.  

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