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Colorado at Christmas

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi,

Got some cheap direct flights to Denver with BA so am heading out there for 10days over Xmas and New Year. The first half is sorted as we’re heading to Steamboat with some friends who live out there, but we’re heading off on our own from 27/12 - 1/1.

I know that the snow wasnt great this year but would be grateful of any pointers or advice/local knowledge for the second half of our holiday based on a typical snow fall. We’re hiring a car so can travel. I’ll ski anywhere and the other half will now happily ski most stuff except blacks in Europe. Both our preference would be for no queues over the ultimate skiing experience.

I’ve heard that Breckinridge can be busy at this time. Vail accommodation looks pretty pricey. Any other useful info/ideas gratefully received.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Did you buy an Ikon pass or are you contemplating buying? The base pass will be blacked out from 26-31/12 so only of use to you if you go to Copper or Winter Park for your second leg (both within a fairly easy drive) but the full pass would let you spend your last few days in Aspen which is well worth it and a good break from the I70 insanity. Aspen accomodation is $$$ but you can stay downvalley in Basalt or Carbondale fairly easily
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Aspen was fab a few years ago. Like a US version of Courchevel. Great skiing. A tad pricey though!
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They even have their own version of the Folie


http://youtube.com/v/GnZ2RJUnqmA


though word is its rather dominated by rich kids showering genuine Veuve Cliquot
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Beaver Creek will be quieter than Aspen or Vail.

If you stay at Dillon / Silverthorne A Basin Lovelands Keystone Breck Beaver and Vail are all within easy driving distance unless there is a heavy snowfall that morning.

I have skied all ot the above and Beaver is my favourite. But note that the walk up ticket price is nosebleed high at $175 and to add insult they charge for most parking!

I also like A Basin which has a totally different ambiance think dogs beer and funky stoners. https://www.arapahoebasin.com/the-mountain/the-beach/

I am retired so can pick my times to avoid blackout dates and buy a restricted Epic pass which makes Beaver and Vail about 40$ a day
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I was at Aspen/Snowmass a couple of years ago at Christmas and New Year. There were absolutely no crowds. Didn’t wait in a lift line at all.
The snow was great and the whole mountain(s) was open.
A grand experience.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Out of Vail, Breck and Keystone, I preferred Breck for my first Colorado experience. That was last Christmas, with the bad snow, who knows how I would have felt if Vail as a whole was open.

Then again in one occasion there I probably had the longest queue waiting time since I was skiing in communist times in Poiana Brasov, Romania. I guess I picked the wrong lift at the wrong time, it wasn't that bad otherwise (but not deserted, definitely - and neither was Vail).
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
imull wrote:

Both our preference would be for no queues over the ultimate skiing experience.

I’ve heard that Breckinridge can be busy at this time. Vail accommodation looks pretty pricey. Any other useful info/ideas gratefully received.

All your requirements point to the direction AWAY from Vail corp!

Of the Vail mountains in Colorado, Breckenridge notorious for long lift queues during holiday period. Keystone? It's notorious for busy and icy piste because due to too many skier ON the piste (good uplift capacity couple with insufficient pistes per skier). Vail itself is quite spacious, except some key lifts can have painfully long lift queues. About the only mountain that isn't mobbed by holiday crowd is Beaver Creek and A-basin which is strictly for advanced skiers.

More over, there're better options, possibly less expensive....

Quote:
The first half is sorted as we’re heading to Steamboat with some friends who live out there

If you're skiing in Steamboat in the first half, it's a no-brainer to get the IKON pass! But you have to move fast...

There're two versions, both of allows you to ski at Steamboat during the time you'll be there except 1 day: With the cheaper "base pass", it's blocked for 12/26.

The "regular" pass cost a whopping $1000! But if you look up the day prices of Vail resorts? It's well over $100/day. So your 10 day will be quite a lot over $1000!!! And you still have to fight the crowd on the lift queue or jostle for elbow room on the pistes too.

The "base" version of Ikon pass currently cost "only" $699. But the price will go up as time goes by.

The biggest difference between those two version of the Ikon pass is where it allows you to ski on 12/26-1/1: The "base" version allows you to ski only at Copper Mountain and Winter Park (including Mary Jane). The "regular" allows you to ski at Aspen in addition!

If I were crossing the pond to ski in North America, I'd swallow the extra cost of the regular IKON pass to go enjoy the uncrowded paste of Aspen 12/27-1/1. You'll still come out ahead cost-wise against any of Vail Corp's mountain.

Now, if you were NOT hanging out with your mates in Steamboat, a case can be made for the $899 Epic pass and fight the crowd in Vail mountains. But with Steamboat a "must have", IKON pass is the pretty clear winner.
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
If you're already going to be in Steamboat, you're already past Vail (puke ugly village, monster crowds) and Beaver Creek ($$$$$), I would recommend checking out Snowmass.

It's far enough away from Denver to avoid the day trip crowd (unlike Vail/Breck/Copper)

I lived in Aspen for 3 yrs in early 90's, and as a boarder Ajax was not an option (boards allowed after I left town), so I spent a ton of days @ Snowmass & Aspen Highlands.

Snowmass has something for everyone, just get out early and stay away from the village base to avoid lines and you will typically ski onto the chair.

On a pow day Highlands cannot be beat, and you will ski yourself into jello by lunch if you do it right. Just keep lapping on Loges chair, drop into anything under it:
http://www.skilifts.org/old/images/resort_images/co-highlands/logepeak/liftline7.jpg

Buttermilk is great for a low key, hangover (it is Aspen after all) fast cruiser day too

Free buses b/t the resorts makes it easy to get between the mtns,
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Or leave Colorado? Have you considered Ogden, Utah? 6 hours from Steamboat and has Powder Mountain and Snowbasin, both of wich are lower profile, more affordable resorts.
And indeed, do the math on Ikon, Ikon Base and Mountain Collecive passes, vs buying a 4 pack of tickets at the resort you are thinking of.

Best snow.net hass good stats and info on the resorts.
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Slim wrote:
Or leave Colorado? Have you considered Ogden, Utah? 6 hours from Steamboat and has Powder Mountain and Snowbasin, both of wich are lower profile, more affordable resorts.
And indeed, do the math on Ikon, Ikon Base and Mountain Collecive passes, vs buying a 4 pack of tickets at the resort you are thinking of.

Best snow.net hass good stats and info on the resorts.


Why start from Steamboat if skiing in Utah. Fly into Salt lake City and it is an hour to Ogden Powder Mountain Snowbasin. But better still would be Park City. Excellent kids ski school and style flattering easy runs. Lots to do and see in Park City too.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Utah is great. However, it seems rather unecessary to drive all that way from Denver to Utah and back when there is plenty of great skiing in Colorado.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
boarder2020 wrote:
Utah is great. However, it seems rather unecessary to drive all that way from Denver to Utah and back when there is plenty of great skiing in Colorado.


Agreed. The only reason I mentioned Ogden, is that the OP wanted quiet, non busy, between Christmas and New Years. Since that’s a very busy week, it cuts out most of the popular resorts(Like Vail, Winter Park and Copper Mountain). Besides that, Colorado tends to be less of a good choice for Christmas break rather than Spring, since it’s cold, high altitude and doesn’t dump much snow. They do better later in the season when the steady accumulation and good preservation of snow means good coverage. Also, many of the quieter resorts are pretty far from Steamboat anyway.

Here is the article from bestsnow.net.
And a summary for the Christmas break, snow quality:

Colorado:
Steamboat: 5/5
Vail, Winter Park:4/5 (But VERY busy!)
Copper, Loveland, Telluride, Aspen and most others: 3/5
A-Basin, Crested Butte: 2/5

Utah:
Alta,Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude: 4-5/5, but VERY busy, especially Little Cottonwood Canyon
Powder Mountain; 4/5 (and very quiet)
Park City, Snowbasin: 3/5 (And Park City VERY busy)

Wyoming;
Grand Targhee: 5/5 - “Grand Targhee is the only US resort with a perfect Christmas record”, also pretty quiet. But indeed, long drive.

So yes, my first choice would have been staying at Stemabot a bit longer, than doing 2 days at Winter Park, since it’ right on the way back to the airport, AND has good winter conditions. But, the OP specifically said no busy resorts.
Another good option would be just to sit tight in Steamboat. Certainly the least driving and not crazy busy combined with good snow. It’s not a huge resort though if that bothers you.

-Good snow early season-, -close to Denver-, -quiet during the busiest week of the year-: Pick two (to paraphrase cheap, light, strong: pick two)


Last edited by So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much on Fri 28-09-18 18:22; edited 6 times in total
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
[quote="TQA"]
Slim wrote:

Why start from Steamboat if skiing in Utah. Fly into Salt Lake City


Only because he’s already booked the plane ticket and arranged to spend time with friends in Steamboat!
Otherwise, of course, fly into SLC.

TQA wrote:
But better still would be Park City. Excellent kids ski school and style flattering easy runs. Lots to do and see in Park City too.


Hmm, I would never pick Park City over other SLC region resorts.
They are busy, expensive and get by far the least snow. I don’t need to ‘see and do’ anything in town other than eat and sleep, but if that matters for you, then absolutely, Park City hands down.
I think there is a good ski school and beginner terrain in almost every resort. If anything my friends from Park City tell me the main runs down to base can get busy which can be an issue for kids (But the OP didn’t mention kids I believe)
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Snowfall in the US ski areas has been bad (very) last few seasons
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

Snowfall in the US ski areas has been bad (very) last few seasons


Yes. Snowfall across the entire USA has been terrible the last few seasons rolling eyes
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
TQA wrote:
better still would be Park City. Excellent kids ski school and style flattering easy runs. Lots to do and see in Park City too.

Did you read the OP's preference???

Quote:
Both our preference would be for no queues over the ultimate skiing experience.

Park City is one of the most crowded mountains in the Utah area.

As for "style flattering easy runs" and kids ski school, all the Colorado mountains have just as much. Apart from lift-connected acreage, there's nothing Park City has that Vail/Breckenridge/Keystone/Beaver Creek don't. But if the OP wants huge lift-linked acreage, he doesn't have to take the exhausting flight across the pond.

Park City will be alright come mid-January, when the crowds are gone. But not during Christmas/New Year. This is about as unsuitable a destination to the OP's requirement as it can be.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
abc wrote:
TQA wrote:
better still would be Park City. Excellent kids ski school and style flattering easy runs. Lots to do and see in Park City too.

Did you read the OP's preference???

Quote:
Both our preference would be for no queues over the ultimate skiing experience.

Park City is one of the most crowded mountains in the Utah area.

.


Come with me and I will show you how to avoid queues at Park City at Christmas/New Year and even Presidents Day Weekend.

Get to the lift at 8.50 and stay high. Have a light quick snack at 11,15 and ski through lunch time.

Better still do the above but from the Canyons side. you will find me at Canyons on weekend powder days when my beloved Alta is uncivilised.
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@TQA, I skied Canyon many, many years. I know how to get around. But will YOU be skiing with the OP?

I've also skied Breck, Keystone and Vail a lot lately. I had a Epic pass 2 years ago and spend several weeks at Utah and 2 months in Colorado. I can say Colorado is better.

Equally crowded, equally flat, equally good ski schools. I could go on with more detail pros and cons. But bottom line is, they're much closer to Denver, where the OP had found some cheap flights to.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
stanton wrote:
Snowfall in the US ski areas has been bad (very) last few seasons


Last year south of Jackson was bad. The previous year was epic. We nearly missed our flight out due to being snowed in. Search ‘Januburied’.
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