Help me plan my ski trip...later this week
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Cos35
February 1, 2016
Member since 12/16/2015 🔗
18 posts

So, I booked a flight a few months ago to Denver.. DCA to DEN, direct for only $170 on Frontier with the hopes of visiting a friend who moved out there earlier this year - and I convinced another friend, and his friend to join us.  After going back and forth about where to stay/ski/go, I made the executive decision that we would spend a few nights in Breckenridge.   A little background on us, all in our early 30's, two of them divorced, and I'm single but in a relationship.  None the less, we picked Breck because we thought it would be the most fun apres-ski and we got a decent deal on the condo.  

The bigger issue, is deciding where to actually ski this week and what days - where.  Initially, I would have planned Breck for 3 days, but on the urging of others, I have reconsidered.  A work colleague suggested I stay far, far away from Breck on Saturday(and even Friday) due to lift lines.  Honestly, are they worse than Ballhooter on Saturday of MLK weekend or around NYE?  So then the plan shifted to Breck on Thursday, Keystone Friday, Beaver Creek on Saturday(on urging of same work colleague).   Now, friend who I'm visiting can only ski with us on Friday due to work, and friend I convinced to go does not want to ski Breck at all due to his ability level and something he heard from a friend(more on that below).  I'd hate to ski alone on Thursday, but I really want to experience Breck..

Can my DCSki brethren help me decide on a plan here given the above and the following:

My ski level - I would say I'm an intermediate skier.  I've only been skiing about 3-4 years(still resent my parents for not taking me as a kid) but have skied over 25 days in that time.  This year, I've skied 3 days at Snowshoe(around New Years when nothing was open), a day at Bryce, and a day at Blue Knob.  To better detail my ability, I can ski any blue at Snowshoe or Blue Knob with relative ease as long as it isn't icy (or worse for me and my knees) bumped up.  However, the only black diamond I have ever skied was Widowmaker.  I very much enjoy blue groomers, and have skied some in Colorado before at Winter Park(though I don't think I got my full money's worth as I HATE skiing bumps).  I'm strongly considering spending a day taking a lesson out there, though, Breck's intermediate clinic seems like it may be slightly too advanced, any Keystone's may be more appropriate.  (Also, I'd rather not drop the money on a private lesson.)

My friend and his friend joining us are a mixed bag.  My friend is a true beginner.  Monday at Bryce was his first day skiing in his adult life, and he took a lesson.  Saturday, at Blue Knob, was the second day.  Admittedly,  he is an excellent athlete and is getting it quick.  He almost entirely skipped over pizza/french fry and has learned to stop himself by turning instead of wedging. His friend has good technique from what I see but she's only skied once in the last 6 or so years.   She lived in CO for a while and skiied a lot at Keystone, but has some kind of mental block right now where she's again nervous. 

We have not bought any lift tickets yet, and I was under the assumption that buying lift tickets for 1 gets you tickets for all.. but that's not correct apparently.  Breck tickets would allow us to go to Keystone and BC, but Keystone tickets would not fully give us the same flexibility.  Also, one other FYI - we were told to go to BC on Saturday because of the lack of lift lines, and great begginer terrain.  

Anyhow - what do you guys think?  What would you do if you could ski Thursday, Friday, Saturday out there and your ability was about where mine was...and if you were planning with others?  Thanks for any and all help!

Cos35

The Colonel - DCSki Supporter 
February 1, 2016
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts

All the mentioned areas have terrain suited to your abilities!  All groom multiple trails, and trail maps showing the groomed trails are available on paper and on smart phones.  You did not mention dates of trip, is it over the Presidents Day weekend? And are you only skiing for three days?  Lastly, I suggest lessons during the first day!

MorganB aka The Colonel

JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 1, 2016 (edited February 1, 2016)
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,821 posts

Here is a recent discussion on EpicSki where someone dealt with crowding issue at Breck  Key advice is to get out of the base areas early and stay up on the hill.  Don't return to the lowest lifts until mid-afternoon if possible.

Personally, for just three days I'd stay put at Breck where your lodging is.  It would take you three weeks to ski all the nooks and crannies there. But Keystone is nice and not too far. Beaver Creek often has moderate/manageable crowds and has a lovely upscale vibe if you are into that. That drive to Beaver Creek from Breck is ~45 mins in good conditions, but involves Vail pass and not trivial on a snowy day.

 

Bonzski
February 1, 2016
Member since 10/21/2015 🔗
570 posts
Im in Vail right now. Its nuking. Later this week will be purfect.
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pagamony - DCSki Supporter 
February 1, 2016 (edited February 1, 2016)
Member since 02/23/2005 🔗
865 posts

ditto Breck can keep you busy for days, just stay away from the base of peak 8 except first thing in the morning.  If you are anywhere near snowflake lift use that to get onto the mountain.  Then stay on the 6 chair or peak 10 or maybe the new peak 6 you can probably hide from the crowds.  All those have some good blue or easier black terrain just watch the trail signs carefully.  There is even one easy way down from imperial that I don't believe is really on the maps. On peak 9 only ski down to the lifts that end above the base condos.  I've been to breck several times and only seen one or two bad lines. Peak 7 was the worst once they added all the condos there.  After half a day you'll know your way around.  

However, at Loveland you can ski blue squares all around the whole north and south faces so it feels really big and this is a good snow year for them so if you don't already have vail corp tickets i would look at it.   this might be especially good for the new skiers if Breck overwhelms them.

Keystone has bueno blue squares all over all three peaks and once you get off the front side the lines I have never seen.   I really like the terrain back there.  However, I don't know what he beginners would do.   

Taking 1/2 day lessons even every day for all of you is a great idea.

Have fun and tell us about it.

bob
February 1, 2016 (edited February 1, 2016)
Member since 04/15/2008 🔗
707 posts

"So then the plan shifted to Breck on Thursday, Keystone Friday, Beaver Creek on Saturday(on urging of same work colleague). 

I like that plan.

I agree with JimK's comments about Breck, but if you are truly intermediate, you really don't want to stay on the upper (expert) lifts. On a weekend you'll be forced to be among the teaming hoardes. On a Thursday, start early and get to Peak 6 before it gets too crowded. Peak 10 is listed as all black. Don't believe it. There are 4/5 groomers that are emnently skiable by an intermediagte skier. All of 'em  were listed as blue/black until about 4 years ago when the resort chenged them to black. Peak 7 has the flattest bluesyou've ever seen. Peak 8 has some nice groomers. Peak 9 is steeper than 7 and flatter than 8. Breck's chairs start at 9.

At Keyatone on Firday be sure to start at 8:30. Immediately get to the Outback. The Denver crowd will show up at 10:30 or 11.When that happens go back to skiing the singles line on North Peak's Santiago chair, or Ruby chair on the backside on Keystone  mountain, or Summt quad or Peru on the frontisde. There's night skiing that night. The only green terrain is the frontside of Keystone mountain.

Beaver Creek is a good choce for Saturday. It's just far enough away that it will be less crowded. Free parking is at the Bear lot or at the Arrowhead base area. Otherwise it's $25. Lot's of nice terrain at BC.

Snow should be great.: a foot yesterday,another 3-4 inches today, somewhere between 10-30 inches tonight/tomorrow.

Be prepared for SEVERE lift ticket sticker shock.

Tomorrow is day 30 of my Summt County 15/16 season. I'll be at Keystone on Friday.

bob
February 1, 2016 (edited February 1, 2016)
Member since 04/15/2008 🔗
707 posts

I just read your post again cos35. The presence of a beginner complicates your life. 

It keeps you off of Peaks 6 and 10 at Breck, North Peak and the Outback at Keystone, and parts of BC.

Also, remember that blue terrain varies by resort. Most Keystone blues would be Roundtop blacks. If you start at Breck, try some of the Peak 7 blues first. If you handle those well, move over to 8 or 9 for a chaneof scenery. The Peak 6 (blue)i and Peak 10 (black) groomers will be the steepest. The Peak 8 blue/black groomers will have rollers and some steepness.

Just noticed that you've skied Blue Knob. If you handled Upper Route 66 and Deer Run, you should do fine

pagamony - DCSki Supporter 
February 1, 2016
Member since 02/23/2005 🔗
865 posts

also, if you really want to spend time as a group then an afternoon of cross country at either breckenridge or frisco would work well this year.  georgia pass has a great sled dog center.  

The Colonel - DCSki Supporter 
February 2, 2016
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts

Take lessons, especially true for the least experienced skiers.  Get confident, vice being overly anxious.  Absolutely do not take it upon yourselves to "teach" the less experienced in your group.  New style skis and boots do not necessarily lend themselves to old teaching methods!

Cos35
February 2, 2016
Member since 12/16/2015 🔗
18 posts

The Colonel wrote:

All the mentioned areas have terrain suited to your abilities!  All groom multiple trails, and trail maps showing the groomed trails are available on paper and on smart phones.  You did not mention dates of trip, is it over the Presidents Day weekend? And are you only skiing for three days?  Lastly, I suggest lessons during the first day!

MorganB aka The Colonel

thanks Colonel - 3 days.  This weekend.

 

Cos35
February 2, 2016
Member since 12/16/2015 🔗
18 posts

JimK wrote:

Here is a recent discussion on EpicSki where someone dealt with crowding issue at Breck  Key advice is to get out of the base areas early and stay up on the hill.  Don't return to the lowest lifts until mid-afternoon if possible.

Personally, for just three days I'd stay put at Breck where your lodging is.  It would take you three weeks to ski all the nooks and crannies there. But Keystone is nice and not too far. Beaver Creek often has moderate/manageable crowds and has a lovely upscale vibe if you are into that. That drive to Beaver Creek from Breck is ~45 mins in good conditions, but involves Vail pass and not trivial on a snowy day.

 

JimK- first, because of your write up on bryce a few weeks back, I gave it a go last Monday and brought my beginner friend.  It was perfect.  Thanks!

Next - I initially wanted to ski there all 3 days because I know I was hardly even able to discover all of Snowshoe my first 3 times there.. None the less, I've gotta cater to my group too and staying at the upper lifts just won't work.. Maybe not even for me..?

 

Cos35
February 2, 2016
Member since 12/16/2015 🔗
18 posts

pagamony wrote:

also, if you really want to spend time as a group then an afternoon of cross country at either breckenridge or frisco would work well this year.  georgia pass has a great sled dog center.  

Thanks for the suggestion.  I like my group... But not that much!  I'm too hooked on downhill to sacrifice an afternoon for them!  Ha!

Blue Don 1982 - DCSki Supporter 
February 2, 2016
Member since 01/13/2008 🔗
1,516 posts

Cos35 wrote:

 

This weekend.

Cos35 -I'll be curious to your final plans and assessment of crowds.  I'll be staying in Keystone from Feb 17 - 21 with a large group (18) and various skill sets.  Our group is thinking 3 places over the 3 days of skiing.  Possibly Vail, Copper and Keystone in no specific order.

I'm similar to your skill level and personally love cruising the blue groomers. 

The Colonel - DCSki Supporter 
February 2, 2016
Member since 03/5/2004 🔗
3,107 posts

Blue Don,  a skier like my older legs: groomed blues and blacks!  We should meet up sometime to slide together.  

The Colonel

Blue Don 1982 - DCSki Supporter 
February 2, 2016
Member since 01/13/2008 🔗
1,516 posts

The Colonel wrote:

Blue Don,  a skier like my older legs: groomed blues and blacks!  We should meet up sometime to slide together.  

The Colonel

Roger that but you better slow down for me ...... I'll be at the Shoe this weekend.

Cos35
February 2, 2016
Member since 12/16/2015 🔗
18 posts

Guys,

Thanks so much for all of the great recommendations.  I think we're going to slightly shift the plan.  I think I'm going to do a full day with intermediate clinic(full day) at Keystone on Thursday, then afterwards stay and night ski a bit.  Then Friday - Breck.  And Sat TBD.  

I realized today is 3 years to the day I got my real start on skis.  (I tried it once in college at Tussey and it was a nightmare.)  3 years ago today I took a lesson at Wisp and by the end of the day was enjoying it and not falling too much. Tried it again that season, and liked it more - got more confident.  The next year I skiied about 7 days and "mastered" the greens in the mid atlantic... last year, I got a Rediculous Pass and really got into it.  Hoping taking this lesson on Thursday gives me the confidence Friday and Saturday to maybe try one of their blues at the top - e.g. Reverie.  I'm still a bit nervous, but I think all of it is a mental block!  

I'll keep everyone posted how it goes!

bob
February 3, 2016 (edited February 3, 2016)
Member since 04/15/2008 🔗
707 posts

"Hoping taking this lesson on Thursday gives me the confidence Friday and Saturday to maybe try one of their blues at the top - e.g. Reverie.  I’m still a bit nervous, but I think all of it is a mental block! "

 Skiing is very much a time and mileage sport. Lessons give you a base upon which to grow, but no lesson gives you the experience to know that some speed is good. Time on the hill provides that. Some speed actually makes the sport easier and less tiring because your skis do more of the work than your legs.. At the start, speed is scary. Later it is something that is welcomed.

Enjoy your Summit County stay, and good luck.

3 to 5 inches of fresh is forecast for Thursday, but it'll likely be 7-10 below zero first thing Thursday morning.

pagamony - DCSki Supporter 
February 3, 2016
Member since 02/23/2005 🔗
865 posts

Frontside blues at keystone will be no problem, as Bob implies, let it rip.  On that third day, if you buy a 3 day ticket, A Basin might be a great.  The green terrain is on the same part of the mountain as the blue terrain, just lower, but you can easily meet up at the black mountain lodge in the middle.  You get the thrill of above tree line skiing.  If your confidence is good you can ski down the back side (Montezuma).  It really is a different experience than Brek or Keystone and you can say you skiied the Legend.  

bob
February 3, 2016 (edited February 3, 2016)
Member since 04/15/2008 🔗
707 posts

As pagamony said, you should be able to handle frontside blues at Keystone. Major groomed blues ranked (my opinion) easiest to hardest:

Paymaster - check grooming report as they are not always grooming it this year.

Spring Dipper - one face to negotiate

Flying Dutchman  to lower Jackwhacker - two  small faces to negotiate & some rollers

Frenchman - two faces to negotiate

Flying Dutchman - two faces to negotiate (one if you take the right turn to avoid the first face)

Wild Irishman - rollers and the bottom becomes complicated as it narrows into a gulley

Other blues are available off of the Schoolmarm green trail on the Mountain House side. They are pretty easily negotiable - easier than the ones listed above..

I just got back from Keystone. The snow was nice and there was enough wind that things pretty well filled in between runs, so it was like skiing fresh every run. There was so much wind that the 20-30 mph combined with the 5 degree temp made the wind chill feel like about 20 below. It was pretty brutal.

I may have a touch of frostbite from the day. First frostbite (if that's what it is) since the 2013/2014 season. I'll know tomorrow morning.

 

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