Colorado
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Keith_Moon
one month ago
Member since 02/19/2019 🔗
166 posts

Friends,
We're thinking about hitting up some Ikon resort in Colorado this coming season. Unfortunately it would have to be either over MLK or Presidents' Day weekend.

We don't really care which resort we go to, as they'll all be better than what we're used to back East.

Likewise, fancy accommodations or a big après scene aren't really important to us.

We are all intermediate to advanced skiers, just looking for good runs and low drama.

What would be the best way to mitigate the crowds and the I-70 shit show?

Or is that even possible?

Other dates don't really look feasible for us.

We have already skied the "usual suspects" around SLC so we don't really want to go to Utah this time.

Again, we are looking to leverage our Ikon Passes so non-Ikon resorts won't work.

Thanks for any feedback.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
one month ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,596 posts

I've skied at Steamboat over Pres. Day weekend in recent years.  I was with two ski buddies I've been doing trips out west with for a decade.  What we did was pay for a 5-hour lesson on Sat.  The idea was to learn the mountain as well as work on technique.  We completely lucked out . . . it was a deep powder day.  I got the instructor's name from someone I know on another ski forum.  Once he figured out we could keep up and were happy to just be guided in the morning, we went to all sorts of "secret stashes" we would never have found.  After lunch we were tired and then it was more of a powder lesson.  Still in places we wouldn't have found.  We were able to get back to a few of the powder trees the next day.

It wasn't that hard to find lifts with shorter lines after getting away from the main base first thing in the morning on Sun.  By Mon, the lift lines weren't an issue at all as I remember.

One ski buddy has been skiing Steamboat.  He's not a good navigator because he can ski anywhere.  I'd been to Steamboat once before but it was years ago when I was only skiing blue groomers out west every 2-3 years.  My other ski buddy had never been to Steamboat.  So learning how to get around the mountain on the first day was very helpful.

Pretty sure Steamboat has free mountain tours.  There are hosts at most of the big trail map signs.  The trail signs at Steamboat are some of the best in my opinion.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
one month ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,596 posts

Southwest started flying to Steamboat a few years ago.  Meaning the Hayden airport that's only about 20 min away from town.  Pretty sure there aren't flights every day.

I flew into Hayden back in the 1990s.  With the public bus system, a car really wasn't necessary.

Many of the larger hotels and condo complexes have their own shuttle to the Steamboat base area.  But there is a lot to be said for paying to be within walking distance of the main base.  There are quite a few restaurants there if don't want to cook.  Can get take out if don't want to eat with a crowd.

In short, Steamboat is a very good destination resort for a family.  Getting there is just a little bit harder than the resorts in Summit County but easier than Aspen.  Definitely more reasonable lodging options in at the Steamboat resort or in Steamboat Springs than for Aspen/Snowmass.  More than enough terrain for all ability levels.

Keith_Moon
one month ago
Member since 02/19/2019 🔗
166 posts
Sorry, I forgot to say we only have the Ikon Base Pass, so that limits us to Copper, Winter Park and Eldora due to blackout dates.
JimK - DCSki Columnist
one month ago
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,739 posts
If you can get to DIA around 1 PM on Friday, then you could probably beat the worst I70 traffic to Copper or Winter Park, ski for two days, then return to DIA area on Sunday night in moderate traffic, ski Monday morning at Eldora and fly home at 5PM Monday.
marzNC - DCSki Supporter
one month ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,596 posts

Keith_Moon wrote:

Sorry, I forgot to say we only have the Ikon Base Pass, so that limits us to Copper, Winter Park and Eldora due to blackout dates.

Ah, that does change the options. 

I got an introduction to Copper last Feb.  Skied an afternoon with low visibility and then a full day going all over.  Would certainly be a good resort in terms of terrain variety for all levels.  Can't speak to crowds on a holiday weekend.  Doesn't seem that hard to get away from lift lines on the front side for adventurous intermediates and up.  The layout means it's easy to avoid the sections that are more geared to beginners and cautious intermediates.

Would definitely be better to stay in resort lodging.

Eldora is more geared to locals because it's the shortest drive from the Denver area.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
one month ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,596 posts

JimK wrote:

If you can get to DIA around 1 PM on Friday, then you could probably beat the worst I70 traffic to Copper or Winter Park, ski for two days, then return to DIA area on Sunday night in moderate traffic, ski Monday morning at Eldora and fly home at 5PM Monday.

 Since they would be flying out of RDU, definitely need to look at flights ASAP.  With Southwest cutting out flights, it's getting more complicated to fly west in general.  Although for the holiday weekend they will be trying to keep flights in the schedule.

bob
one month ago
Member since 04/15/2008 🔗
698 posts

Actually, Southwest does fly to Hayden every day during ski season.

Never have skied Eldora, so I can't help there.

But I have hundreds of days in at Summit County. Advice:

If at all possible, skip those days. It will be a madhouse.

If you must ski those days

be ready to go when the lifts start spinning.

be ready to quit by 10:30 - 11:00. It'll be a zoo by then

Come back at the end of the day. It starts getting better after 2:00 as the  denver crowd starts heading home.

bob
one month ago
Member since 04/15/2008 🔗
698 posts

I don’t know how bad I70 weekend traffic  is heading to the mountains. I never did it. Hopefully not as bad as the autobahn headed from Munich to Austria at 5:45 Saturday mornings during the winter.

Going east on weekend days is a real potshot. It might take 1.5 hours or 4 hours or more  to get to Denver if you leave Summit-county after 2 pm. Leaving after 6:30 or 7 is a much better option.

marzNC - DCSki Supporter
one month ago
Member since 12/10/2008 🔗
2,596 posts

bob wrote:

Actually, Southwest does fly to Hayden every day during ski season.

Never have skied Eldora, so I can't help there.

But I have hundreds of days in at Summit County. Advice:

If at all possible, skip those days. It will be a madhouse.

If you must ski those days

be ready to go when the lifts start spinning.

be ready to quit by 10:30 - 11:00. It'll be a zoo by then

Come back at the end of the day. It starts getting better after 2:00 as the  denver crowd starts heading home.

 Good to know about SW and Hayden.  I haven't looked that carefully since the winter schedule opened up completely.

As for skiing during a holiday weekend, when you have kids in school that's going to happen.  For Copper, staying slopeside has the advantage of being able to head back to the condo for lunch when the lift lines are getting too long.  Really depends on what terrain the family can handle.  I would guess the fixed grip lifts that serve more challenging terrain aren't as popular.

Copper is one of the four Powdr resorts that is going to sell Fast Tracks for individual days.  That's been available at Copper before.  Obviously adds cost but might be worth it for one day.  The list of lifts included covers all the high speed lifts from the bases.

I used to do that more or less at Massanutten on Sat and Sun of holiday weekends.  But the advantage of having a small mountain where all the trails have lights is that it was possible to go back to the slopes around 2:30 and ski until dinner time.  When the kids were younger that meant about 5:30.  But later on sometimes we skied until 6:30 or 7:00pm.

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