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Breckenridge V Steamboat?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Following on from an earlier topic we have narrowed the choice of resort in Colorado (14 Feb - 21 Feb 21) to either Breckenridge or Steamboat. We have options of accommodation which is similar in price and quality in both resorts. I recognise that Steamboat is further from Denver (so more driving there/back) but there are pros and cons of being further away.

My daughter has read that the skiing in Steamboat is better than Breck (forgetting the nonsense about champagne snow in Steamboat etc), while I have assumed that Breck is a more developed resort and so will have better lift infrastructure and more Apres options?

Any views on comparing a) the skiing and b) the towns. This will be our 1st trip to Colorado.

Thanks. snowHead
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
1556garyt,

We've been to Breck (& love it) but haven't visited Steamboat. The town is great and the skiing is top class - especially if you also ski Vail, Beaver Creek and Keystone (which are all covered by the same lift pass).

Have you looked at lift ticket prices? That could be a significant factor in your decision making (or not, depending on your finances...).

Vail resorts (who own Breck) are now advertising their Epic passes for next season, so you could go online now to check prices. If you go for a week you will be paying over $100 per person per day for a lift pass in Vail resorts. Day tickets in those resorts were up to $219 when we were there last month Shocked . If you have a car, and want to reduce the cost of your skiing, you could ski at Loveland on the way to (or from) Breck. They sell cheap lift tickets online, if bought by mid November (4 tickets for about $180; and they are shareable between friends/family). And you could also ski Arapahoe Basin, about 35 minutes drive from Breck. Their lift tickets are available via Liftopia website for about £55 pp per day. Both areas are well worth a visit.

I'm sure others will be along soon to advise further.
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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?
@1556garyt, what you've read is generally correct. The Boat has more soul, and a real town. More isolated, with the usual plusses and minuses from that. Breck is close to other big resorts, giving you the option to sample some others. But also close to Denver, so you won't have it to yourselves.

While it is indisputable that lift costs are comparatively exorbitant in NA, you are presumably coming a long way and making a big investment in time and money. If you can afford to ski where you want (as opposed to where the lift ticket game suggests you should go), do so. Life is short.
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Breck is a pretty standard tourist town, long main street but also still havey tourist traffic at bars and restaurants (you may wait for a table often in the evenings) Ski hill starts from one end of town (Peak 9 & there is a gondola from basically the other end of mainstreet to Peaks 7 & 8 ). The mountain skis big and intermediate groomers are the sweet spot but there is also more challenging terrain (e Chair, 6 chair and Imperial particularly plus Peaks 6 & 10). It is close to Denver so mobbed at weekends (& possibly the Monday of your dates is Presidents Day public holiday) Lots of tourists from around the world and Texas. Tops out very high so altitude sickness/disrupted sleep can be a factor.

Steamboat is a little more rootsy. Still skis pretty big but fairly consistent pitch. Heaps of tree skiing. A bunch of accommodation on the hill then more in town maybe 2 miles away. Driving there from Denver usually involves Rabbit Ears Pass which can be snowbound though you can get there from I70 via McCoy which involves fewer high passes (though Vail pass on I70 can be challenging in heavy snow/traffic). Because it is further from Denver and major international airports tends to be a bit quieter although long lines for the gondi should be expected in the am (replaced this year so shift people pretty fast).

Snowfall differs between resorts - Steamboat benefits most from storms from the North whereas Brec can be hit by SW systems.

If it was my choice I'd go Steamboat because its a bit more real although the Champagne Pow boasts are both often untrue and irritating at best.


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Wed 11-03-20 19:40; edited 1 time in total
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Steamboat is on the Ikon Pass, Breck is Epic as someone else mentioned. Both are on sale now for next season. Definitely consider purchasing. The week you are going is Presidents' day week, the American equivalent of half-term. For that reason alone I'd choose Steamboat. It is likely to be significantly less crowded. Breck however offers the possibility of skiing Vail and Beaver Creek which are about a 30 minute drive away.
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I prefer Breck, but its now 15 years since I was in either.

As you are only going for a week, consider altitude. Breck village is at 2900m and the lifts all go up from there. A good number of folks experience mild altitude sickness at that height for a day or 2. Going to Steamboat at 2050m, the same altitude as Tignes (ish) would remove most of the problem. If you only have 6 days skiing then you don't want to feel crap with 2 of them (plus the added jetlag).
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Thanks all.

So from the above responses it seems like a no-brainier; Steamboat all the way? The only downside is the drive is 1-2 hours longer which is no huge stress.

@chocksaway, why did you prefer Breck?
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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!
Drive to Steamboat is very pretty. It's worth the drive. Steamboat should also be less crowded during that US holiday week, but will still have a decent crowd.

I prefer the skiing at Breck to the 'boat. But if all you are after are groomers, then the 'boat will suffice.

Ironically I have never skied champagne powder at Steamboat but have had that pleasure at Breck on several occasions.
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@1556garyt, from where we were stopping it was much more convenient for skiing. We also did most of Summit County. I also like the old silver town buildings. Not a scientific explanation, but then it never is with ski resorts!
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and lets be fair, steamboat springs is a prettier name.
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Check that none of the big groups like the nbs are there that week, although I think they did steamboat a few years ago, as it means the slopes and bars get packed out.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
What is the nbs? How would I find out if big groups are there that week?
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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
The NBS is the National Brotherhood of skiers and it’s a big ski trip that admin dreams about emulating Smile - about 5,000 people. http://www.nbs.org/summits/

When I used to live in Whistler they came for a week and took over the entire resort pretty much. They spent 1-2 hours skiing from 10-11.30 and the rest of the time partying - so great for slopes being empty but not so good if you wanted to get a drink at the bars or food at the restaurants as they were packed but absolutely great atmosphere while you waited for service.

I’d suggest a quick call to the tourist office to see if they have any big groups booked in (2,500+)From what I recall the only two big groups we had through there were the NBS and the LGBT but there may be more.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Also seems to be lots of silver surfer groups in NA who generally hog the hot tubs, leave their beer cans all over the place and make loads of noise - hooligans the lot of 'em!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Gainz wrote:
Also seems to be lots of silver surfer groups in NA who generally hog the hot tubs, leave their beer cans all over the place and make loads of noise - hooligans the lot of 'em!


It's the shagging in the hot tubs you need to watch for - the paramedics attending the displaced hips can really disturb your evening with those sirens
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I’ve been to both and would choose Breck. Steamboat seemed to be full of seriously up themselves people that didn’t really want tourists coming in and spoiling their little town.

The altitude factor along with a bit of jet lag might sway me on a week trip. You could easily be under the weather for 2-3 days at Breck. You might not be but who knows.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Thanks. Will watch out for shagging silver surfers!

@andybomb1, interesting that you prefer Breck - most people seem to say the opposite.
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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?
@1556garyt, overall probably Breck has more variety and certainly more other places to visit on the same pass. It's also indisputably a tourist/ weekend warrior town with all the pluses and minuses involved. Steamboat does actually have some real ranchers etc.

Breck can be great skiing but you need to know how to work the mountain around the crowds. And the altitude might mean the cold/wind is a problem on occasion.

Steamboat does feel a bit samey by comparison.
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I arrived in steamboat today from aspen, and before that from A Basin and Copper. Went to Breck a few years ago... pre epic... and really enjoyed it.
Steamboat is much smaller ... but really enjoyed the tree skiing this pm.
Drive there was superb ... as was drive through Glenwood Canyon to and from aspen.
No corona in steamboat ... yet.
Let you know more tomorrow.
Going to winter park Monday - that looks good too.
If you have epic pass that means vail and Breck ... and not copper which we really liked. But steamboat is much more isolated unless you have a car and want to do a road trip.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Correction 2 Coronas in Steamboat !
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All Colorado resorts shut
Steamboat was really good ...
We looking at coming home early
Real shame for everyone
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@1556garyt, break it down to simplicity . . .

Breck' is a bigger area populated by self entitled, trust fund, bumholes . . . that is a generalisation . . . but go fer a week and confirm rolling eyes

Steamboat is smaller, more 'party' and less judgemental. Still has plenty of TFBs, but they bray less.

Now . . . Leadville is cheap, downmarket, uterly, nutterly(sic) charming and now with a seriously expanded ski area.

If you want European style skiing . . . go to Copper.
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all closed Shocked
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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!
Both are good, have good towns, Breck is an easier transfer, and easy enough to do Keystone, Beaver and Vail on the same trip. Break is busy on a Saturday, but not Alps holiday busy!
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