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Trip Report - Colorado Road Trip 2020

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
We've been home from our 2020 Colorado road trip for a few weeks and I've been reflecting on what an adventure it was! I needed to fill some time on the overnight flight home so began to write a trip report. However, it became rather lengthy and I didn't manage to finish it on the flight. But with this awful virus and lockdown I've done a bit more work and have (at last) managed to finish it. I was thinking about shortening the report but, in view of little news other than Coronavirus, thought I would leave it unshortened to give housebound Snowheads something to read.

I hope you enjoy it.

(For info, day 1 was 7th February - which, in the current climate, feels like a lifetime ago).

Day 1
We took a 4.30am taxi from home, as we were booked on the 7.00am BA flight from Newcastle to Heathrow. The 3 hours between flights passed relatively quickly and we were on our way to Denver. It was a great flight and I watched a couple of films - the highlight being a fly on the wall documentary of Diego Maradona's life story. What a film and what a player! (Hand of God excepted...) I knew he was good but some of the footage was just unbelievable. We landed at Denver at 3.15 pm and (surprisingly - given our record with lost luggage over the years) both our ski bags appeared on the luggage carousel. We each took with us a pair of piste skis and a pair of fatties (106 mm underfoot). However, clearing immigration, waiting for the luggage, taking a bus to the car rental desks and queuing for the car meant we didn't pull away from the airport until after 5pm. It was snowing heavily and folk in the car queue informed us that I-70 (the motorway to the mountains) was closed westbound. That was bad news, as we had a motel booked that night in Georgetown, 68 miles away via I-70. Unsurprisingly, given, the road conditions, the Budget Car Rental salesperson went for a very hard sell, in trying to get me to upgrade to a 4 wheel drive - for an additional $1300 (when I had paid only $450 for the car in the first place...) I resisted the attempts (despite the final offer being an upgrade for "only" $500...) and we decided to press on anyway (with our all season, M+S tyres) and see how far we could get (with me as driver). Road conditions were awful, with snow cover on I-70, combined with blowing snow, and traffic crawling at max 30 mph. After 90 minutes of stop-start driving we had covered only 30 miles and were still on the outskirts of Denver, so we decided to call it a night and find a motel. We pulled into Lakewood, with the blizzard still raging, and found a great motel for $77. It was close to a few restaurants so we walked out, in a foot of snow, to a lovely Mexican. We were hungry - but flagging, as, despite it being almost 8pm locally, it was 3 am UK time and almost 24 hours since our alarm had gone off at home. We shared fantastic beef Chimichangas and I had a lovely Mexican pint. Not bad for $23. Then it was off to bed.

Day 2
We awoke bright and early (at 6 am) to glorious sunshine and fresh snow and were excited to drive to Loveland, about 55 miles and 50 minutes away, to sample the powder skiing. However, the TV traffic news soon dampened our enthusiasm... They were reporting that it would take 3 hours to drive to Loveland due to the road conditions and volume of traffic, with a Saturday powder-stampede from Denver.

I didn't want to sit in traffic so we decided to wait a while before setting off and, instead, had a walk to the nearby retail park for breakfast. We discovered a chain restaurant ("Modern Market"), where we sat with a beautiful mountain view and enjoyed lovely scrambled eggs on toast, with coffee, for a bargain $12 for 2. Happy days!

We planned to leave at noon and ski Loveland from 1pm, so, in the meantime, I tried to fit my UK snow chains (which travelled in a ski bag) to the rental car, as a test run. My Citroen Berlingo (at home) has 16" tyres but the (smaller - Kia Soul) rental car surprisingly had 17" wheels. Despite the size difference I managed to fashion a fit for the chains by tensioning them with a couple of bungee cords on each wheel. A couple of test laps around the steep (in parts), snowy motel car park saw the job sorted satisfactorily. Although I didn't need to use the chains on the roads at that time, I was satisfied (and relieved) that I was prepared for later in the trip, if required.

We left for Loveland at 12 and it was stop/start traffic all the way, meaning we took nearly 2 hours to get there. It was worth it however, as we had a 2 hour ski on tracked or packed powder. No lift queues and great snow meant we had a brilliant couple of hours and from there we drove half an hour to Dillon and our Super 8 Motel. We had bought our Loveland lift passes on line (before Christmas) and paid $42 per person for 4 lift tickets, with the intention of using the remaining 2 tickets at the end of our trip.

Day 3
We enjoyed a (n included) buffet breakfast after we awoke to 8" of fresh snow; and left at 8 am for the short drive to Arapahoe Basin. Road conditions were tricky, traffic was heavy and the drive (of usually 20 minutes) took almost an hour. It was worth the slow drive, however, as snow conditions were fantastic! It snowed heavily all day and we skied the new (to us) Beavers area repeatedly as we loved it - with good visibility in trees and lovely powder bumps to go with it. Our lift tickets cost us a bargain $50 - bought in advance, on line via Liftopia. From A-Basin we drove to our motel at Glenwood Springs, which google maps had said would be a 1 hour 45 minute drive. However, the first 75 miles of the route were entirely snow covered, traffic was very heavy, Vail Pass was tricky and I-70 was closed twice (due to accidents), so we sat in the dark with the engine off for a total of 40 minutes, as the snow continued dumping. We were concerned as to whether we'd make it but eventually did so - after 3 and a quarter hours on the road. In a final twist, the police had the road closed again 300 yards from our hotel in Glenwood Springs and we had to do a 3 mile detour to get there... Tired, we dined in our motel room and enjoyed a microwave chilli.

Day 4
We drove 25 minutes to Sunlight Mountain (on clear roads) and found only 10 cars in the car park - where a chatty local (pensioner) offered me a puff on his marijuana pipe in the car park (which I politely declined). Wow! What a day we had! Only 3 slow chairlifts - but 50 odd runs to choose from, blue skies and up to a foot of untracked powder! We were still getting lots of fresh tracks at 4pm and were usually the only 2 on each run we skied. The tree skiing was fantastic, ranging from very mellow to ferociously steep, with powder on every run. We were disappointed when the lifts had to close! Again, we had purchased our lift tickets in advance, on line from Liftopia. $55 pp most certainly well spent! From there we drove an hour to Parachute - a classic one horse town, in the middle of nowhere, if ever there was one (but with 2 marijuana dispensaries). Luckily there was a Mexican restaurant opposite our hotel, where the $12 burritos and a couple of pints of Dos Equis (dark) hit the spot! On reflection, it would have been nice to have had an extra night in Glenwood Springs and sample the hot springs there, as well as the brew pubs (which locals recommended to us). Maybe next time...


Day 5
We drove 45 minutes to Powderhorn Mountain, via a quiet desert road with stunning scenery; and all roads were clear of snow by then. On the way, 2 deer crossed the road immediately in front of us and we spotted two white-headed eagle chicks in a nest at the roadside. Lovely to see! Powderhorn was deserted and, although the snow was relatively hard packed, we had a great day skiing moderate bumps in the sun, on runs lined with aspen trees, while admiring the distant desert scenery (like something out of a cowboy film). Our lift tickets cost us $51 pp - again advance, on line purchases - this time via Powderhorn's own website. After skiing we drove an hour to the town of Delta, where we went straight to a brew pub and sampled their home made burgers and lovely beers. The food was gorgeous and prices very reasonable - the bill being $36. Things were catching up with us by then, so we crashed out for a very early night in out motel room.

Day 6
We had the day scheduled for travel, allowing plenty of time to get over Red Mountain Pass and on to Silverton, 2 hours away. After a bit of a lie-in we had a lesiurely (included) motel breakfast then drove in the sun to Ouray at the foot of Red Mountain Pass. The road over the pass was completely clear of snow and the drive was stunning. Mrs B didn't appreciate it as much as I did, however, as the 1000 foot drop (and no crash barrier) was on her side of the car!

We arrived in Silverton by 3 pm and went for a wander and a coffee. It's a lovely old town, with character and, although there is not a lot there, there were enough bars and restaurants to keep us happy during our stay.

That night we ate in our motel room, using the cooking facilities to enjoy a veggie curry washed down by a couple of local beers.

Day 7
Despite the 6.30 alarm we woke up excited - as Silverton Mountain was calling and we were anticipating what lay ahead. A DIY breakfast of porridge, fruit and coffee set us up nicely and we left at 7.45 (after de-icing the car of a thick coating) for the 7 mile drive to the mountain. Although the roads in town were clear, as soon as we turned off onto the ski road we were onto full snow cover for the last 6 miles. The forest road undulates slightly, with only a couple of short, sheepish sections, and the all-weather M+S tyres managed ok on the very scenic drive.

We checked in at the baselodge (which is actually a tent), picked up our rental airbag rucksacks ($45 per day) from the rental bus and assembled at the lift to be assigned to our group and guide. The meeting point was next to the portaloos in the car park - as the place has no running water... The basic set up somehow all adds to the charm! We were given options of fast hike and ski, or moderate hike and ski - so opted for the latter. Though we are keen mountain walkers we didn't relish the prospect of a quick hike from the top of the chair at 13,000 feet, carrying our skis. (For those who don't know Silverton - it's a 1 chairlift, back country operation and every run involves hiking up a ridge, with a guide, from the top of the chair while carrying skis, either on your shoulder (for short hikes) or fastened to your rucksack (for longer hikes). Hikes last between 10 and 40 minutes and groups usually comprise a maximum of 8 guests, plus guide. On our first day we joined a mixed group of 50/50 snowboarders and skiers and after a detailed safety/avalanche briefing we were off. Wow! What a day! Sun and untracked powder for all runs and a great group of fellow guests. Each run was skied one at a time (because of the avalanche risk) and that, plus the hiking, and a bus pick up at the end of each run, meant that we skied only 4 runs in the day. Each run was steep (but not intimidating), snow conditions were fantastic - and the wide, open runs above the treeline, were indescribable. Despite only skiing 4 runs we were very tired by the end of the day and my apres beer in the tent hardly touched the sides! The lift ticket (with guide) cost us $180 each per day and it was most definitely worth every penny.

That night we ate-in again in the motel room and slumped into bed by 9.30 pm.


Days 8-10
We had a further 3 fantastic days at Silverton, with untracked powder on most runs despite there being no fresh snow. On one run (ironically, our longest hike - of 40 minutes) we had a lengthy stretch of windblown crust in flat light. While that was slightly disappointing the challenges (of both the hike and the skiing) were very rewarding and made it feel like an even more remote wilderness experience.) We had 4 different guides over the 4 days and all were fantastic - first and foremost very safety conscious, but also very mindful of guest desires re hiking and skiing and finding untracked snow. All in all it was a brilliant experience, with 4 runs on each of the first 3 days and 5 runs on day 4. On 3 of the 4 days we were offered an upgrade to heli skiing for an additional $180 per heli ride (which is not a bad price for the experience but we decided to stick with the hiking...) If you fancy a wilderness experience with some great skiing I recommend you try Silverton. That's 2 years in a row that we have skied there and we can't wait to go back. Our final day there saw moderate snow falls all day, so we were keen to get away soon after skiing to ensure we crossed Red Mountain Pass in daylight (and hopefully in decent road conditions). We left at 4.15 pm and crossed the pass without any problems as the road was under only a dusting of snow. We had no accommodation booked that night, to give us flexibility with travel, depending on road conditions, and drove 2 hours to the town of Delta. The Days Inn there were offering rooms for $70 - but I managed to use their wifi to book a room (including breafast) via Hotels.com for £35. And what a room it was. One of the best of the trip - and definitely THE bargain of the trip! We ate out at a lovely Mexican restaurant opposite and, although I was ravenous, I failed my audition for Man v. Food. The serving of chicken fajitas was just too big for me to finish. I also discovered a new beer - Modela Negra on draught- and was well impressed. $40 all-in represented a good deal and we didn't have far to drag our weary legs back to the hotel and crash out for yet another relatively early night.

Day 11
A travel day was planned for today, with no skiing. We had a leisurely breakfast (very good buffet) and were checking out when the receptionist asked if we were visiting the nearby Black Canyon of the Gunnison. We hadn't heard of it but decided to drive the 20 minutes there (albeit in the opposite direction to the one we had planned), on his recommendation, and were so pleased that we did. We called at the visitor centre and did a 1 hour (there and back) walk along the snow-covered edge (though not exposed) of the 2000 feet deep canyon. It was stunning. And, incredibly, on the walk we bumped into 3 lads from Quebec who had been in 1 of our ski groups at Silverton. A small world indeed! From there we drove 3 hours to Vail amidst the most stunning desert scenery and the beautiful Glenwood Canyon. The last 20 miles saw us hit another storm and we crawled into Vail in heavy snow and awful road conditions. After we'd checked in to our accommodation in West Vail we headed straight out for food at the nearby Ale House brew pub. It had a great atmosphere, though prices were noticeably higher than elsewhere on the trip to date. We had Bison Burgers (& fries), which were great, as was the draught wheat beer and pilsner I sampled. The 2 pints (oddly 22 oz) and 2 meals set us back $55. Not bad for Vail.

Day 12
We awoke to blue skies and 6" of fresh snow and took the free bus to Vail bus station, from where we strolled through the town to the lift. We spent the first couple of hours skiing above Lionshead and lapping untracked powder runs, which others seemed to be ignoring. We had 6" of fresh to ourselves, with a great mix of powder on bumps and untracked pisteside powder. Then we headed to Blue Sky Basin and had more great powder, in the trees and in the back bowls, on the way. BSB was excellent and we spent the afternoon there, skiing in the trees and skiing Lovers Leap 3 times in fantastic snow. We strolled back through the town and, on entering the bus station, couldn't resist the lure of the Mexican restaurant in there, having read great reviews of it online. It didn't disappoint and the $9 (+ tax) pork burritos were up there with some of the best Mexican food we'd ever had. Not to mention more Modelo Negra - my new favourite beer! Another early night...

Day 13
Our second day at Vail saw yet more great skiing under blue skies - and another Burrito at the Mexican in the bus station to round off a fantastic day.

Day 14
We drove 10 minutes to Avon, to park, then took the free bus from there to Beaver Creek. If we thought Vail was quiet, Beaver Creek was totally deserted in comparison. We had perfectly groomed pistes to ourselves and stepped straight onto every lift; and had an afternoon of skiing big bumps on perfect packed powder, with only the 2 of us on most runs. It was incredible. The town is beautiful and very upmarket, though we didn't have time to see a lot of it on this trip. The piste-side houses have to be seen to be believed, with prices in the tens of milllions of dolllars. Some were advertised at $30m. (We are waiting to hear back on our cheeky offer of $25m... Fingers crossed!) We even saw a slopeside covered parking spot advertised for $250k.... After skiing we drove 50 minutes to our hotel at Dillon, which was to be our base for 4 nights. That night we walked 20 minutes from the hotel, in sub-zero temperatures, to the Dam Brewery. It was packed but we waited only a few minutes for a table. I had a pulled pork sarnie & chips, and Mrs B had beef stew. Both meals were delicious (& only about $13 each) and I was spoiled for choice with the draught beer selection. At $6 a pint the Hefeweizen and Dark Pilsner went down very well.

Day 15
Was spent at Keystone, skiing in the sun on great, packed powder. We filled the day skiing the Outback and did nothing but fantastic bump runs in the trees. We particularly loved Oh Bob! Bushwhacker, Badger, Wolverine, The Grizz and Cat Dancer, where we spent the majority of each day. We were worn out at the end of the day but wish Europe had skiing like that - nicely spaced trees, interspersed with moguls and the place to ourselves. If Carlsberg did bump runs... We drove the 15 minutes back to the hotel, had a quick turnaround then staggered next door to sample another brew pub (Baker Bros). It was absolutely rammed and we had a 40 minute wait for a table. That wasn't too much of a problem, however, as it gave us time to sample the atmosphere and me time to try yet more lovely draught beers. I couldn't resist another pulled pork sandwich & chips and Mrs B had the same. Again, both meals were fantastic (& a similar price to last night).

Day 16
Another fantastic day at Keystone, skiing nothing but bumps again - more or less repeating the day before. We really love the Outback! This time it was followed by a night in with a veggie curry and rice, a couple of beers (Blue Moon) and an early night.

Day 17
We were enjoying breakfast in the hotel (with its good selection of cereals, yoghurt, toast, muffins, waffles, eggs and bacon) when Mrs B decided to pop out to the car for something. A few minutes later a man approached my table and asked, "Are you John? Your wife is hurt in the parking lot." I leapt up and ran out, to see Mrs B lying in the (6" of fresh) snow, motionless behind the car. It was awful as I hadn't a clue what had happened and didn't know what was wrong. As I approached all sorts of things went through my mind - mostly involving broken bones... I asked what had happened and she advised me that her (ACL-less) knee (she skis with a brace) had collapsed when she slipped on the sheet ice under the snow. As I bent down to help her up, my legs shot away on the ice and, in a split second, I also slammed down into the snow. Luckily I was ok and as I looked up the man who had raised the alarm was asking, "Do you guys need me to dial 911?" It felt like a moment of black humour and I declined his offer. Mrs B wasn't so lucky, however, and her knee stiffened, bruised and swelled considerably. We managed to put some ice on it and elevate it in the hotel room but unfortunately that was the end of her skiing on the trip. It was ironic. After 12 days of challenging skiing Mrs B had hurt herself in the hotel carpark. That afternoon we drove to Breckenridge, where I managed to get in a couple of hours skiing, while Mrs B had a coffee and read in the restaurant at the top of the gondola. I mostly skied off Chair 6, while it was dumping with snow, and had some fantastic powder turns on runs like Tom's Baby and The Devil's Crotch. Mach 1 wasn't so enjoyable, however, as it I encountered powder on top of a baked, icy crust. I had chosen the wrong orientation for that run - south facing, I think. It was a brilliant couple of hours but, enjoyable as it was, I was disappointed that Mrs B missed out on a fantastic powder experience. I planned to ski the 4 o' Clock run to meet Mrs B at the bus station but in my dash for the last lift, which I made with a minute to spare, took the wrong lift of the two. I decided to follow my nose and went for a high level traverse to join the 4 o' Clock run. That took me off piste between runs, and through trees a couple of times, and I eventually emerged on piste - but too low and the wrong side of a ridge. My only option was to shoulder my skis and hike up. It was strangely enjoyable, as the lifts were closed and I had the place to myself; and my hike up to the correct piste was less than 10 minutes. From the bus station we took the bus to the satellite (free) car park and drove the 20 minutes or so back to the hotel, where we had another night eating in our room as Mrs B wanted to rest (& elevate) her knee.

Day 18
We had liftpasses (bought on line) for Loveland for today but I wasn't desperate to ski alone again, not least as it was snowing heavily - and horizontally in a ferocious wind. After breakfast we therefore decided to give skiing a miss, drove to Loveland and sold the lift tickets in the car park, where 2 visitors bagged a bargain.

We mostly stayed in motels on our road trip and booked all in advance (except for 1 night) via Hotels.com. All were clean, most included a buffet breakfast and most were very spacious, usually with 2 queen beds per room. Average costs were usually £60 - £70 per room per night, with our Delta hotels (both Days Inn) costing only £35 and £42 (including breakfast).

We then became sightseers for the day and, en route to Denver Airport, visited Buffalo Bill's grave and museum. Unfortunately the museum was closed (on Mondays) but it was nevertheless a very scenic drive and worth the visit. We had great views of Downtown Denver from the hilltop grave site and also saw the Denver buffalo herd nearby, which was good to see. We then drove to Red Rocks Amphitheatre, which was fantastic. It's an outdoor concert venue (10,000 seated capacity) in a natural (red) rock amphitheatre and is stunning. We would love to see a concert there. Artists who have played there include the Beatles and U2 - but our pick of the bunch would have been the Clash, who played there 35 years ago. We arrived af DIA in good time for our 7.20 pm flight to Las Vegas but then discovered that our plane had broken down and United were trying to find a spare one... Luckily they managed to do so, meaning we were delayed by only about an hour. On arriving at Las Vegas (after a 2 hour flight) we took the shuttle bus to the car rental office and picked up our rental car (which I booked only the night before, for one day for $40. Not bad). It was great to drive the full length of the dazzling Strip to our hotel at the far end of it - the (renamed) Strat. We arrived at about 11pm at the hotel - tired, but excited to be in Las Vegas. Car parking was free in the hotel's multi storey car park, but the downside was that the hotel was so big that we had a hell of a trek (with me lugging 2 double ski bags stuffed with kit) just to reach reception. After checking in we popped back down to the casino floor to find some grub in the 24 hour Strat Cafe. There was a good atmosphere and it was busy, despite it being midnight. We opted for the all day breakfast, which was good value at $13, although my (330ml) bottle of Bud wasn't such good value, at $6.50 plus tax... (It made Val Thorens look cheap).

Day 19
The trip was catching up with us and we were flagging, so treated ourselves to no alarm - waking up at nearly 9am, which was nice. The hotel room was lovely (and massive) and fantastic value for $66 per night - including a compulsory $37 per night "resort fee." They've introduced such charges in all hotels since we were last in Las Vegas and it felt like a bit of a rip off. Apparently the cost covers "free" things like car parking, use of the casino, free local calls from your room telephone, use of the pool (which was closed) and wifi (which we couldn't get in our room). Nevertheless, we loved the hotel.

We had a leisurely DIY breakfast (of porridge, fruit and coffee) in the room then went up the Strat tower for the view from the 1100 ft observation deck. That was offered to hotel guests for a bargain $5 (as opposed to $20) but then they slap on a $4 tax/admin fee.... It would be better if they had just told us it was $9! From the top the views of Las Vegas, the desert and the distant mountains were fantastic and we sat with a coffee, taking it all in. Up there I got chatting to 3 young lads from the UK who had been to the Tyson Fury fight the weekend prior. They had paid £400 for a ticket and said the atmosphere and experience had been incredible. We then headed out in the hire car and within 10 minutes of leaving the hotel we were in the desert. It took only 50 minutes to reach the Valley Of Fire State Park and what a place it was. With amazing red rock formations amidst desert scenery it was simply stunning! We were in awe of the place. Mrs B's knee would not have been up to skiing but she wanted to try a short hike, so we drove to White Domes Road where we did a fantastic, 1 hour circular hike through a slot canyon. We finished at dusk and had the incredible place to ourselves. It felt like a vast wilderness and it was hard to believe that we were only 50 minutes away from the lights of Las Vegas. We drove back in the dark and dropped off the hire car before heading out onto the Strip. We loved the buzz on the street and called into Panda chinese restaurant (basically fresh, fast food - delicious) for a bite to eat before walking 2 miles back to the hotel. Though we were tired from the days exertions we used our still-valid tower tickets to visit the Strat viewing platform for a second time that day - for the view in the dark. It would have been a shame not to take advantage of the 2 for 1 offer on drinks at the top of the tower. And Mrs B doesn't drink so I had to "force down" 2 pints of beer (which were a bargain $8.50 for 2) while she had a coffee. We had great views again and enjoyed a relaxing end to a lovely day. We rolled into bed after 1am for the second night in a row.

Day 20
We had another leisurely start to the day and went for a wander along the Strip, calling in various hotels to sightsee. That may sound odd to Snowheads who have not visited Las Vegas, but the hotels are so impressive and so big that there is a lot to see inside (and outside) each one. Over the next couple of days we walked miles along the Strip (it's 4 miles from end to end) and called in to various hotels and their giant shopping malls and cafes. Highlights included the Bellagio fountains, the Roman Forum of Caesars Palace (with its themed indoor streets), Paris Hotel's French streets and St Mark's Square, canals and gondolas, in the stunning Venetian hotel. I'm usually the world's least enthusiastic shopper but really enjoy wandering round Las Vegas. That night we went to the Luxor Hotel to see the new Cirque du Soleil show, R.U.N. It was very different to the usual Cirque shows and was billed as a live thriller. Whilst it was entertaining and (at times) spectacular (with motorbike stunts on stage and in the aisles...) the plot was very thin (with gang fight after gang fight) and left us feeling somewhat underwhelmed. The theatre was only half full and the audience response at the end was, sadly, only lukewarm. Though the show cost £62m to put on (in a specifically designed theatre) and started only last October, scathing online reviews (which we read on TripAdvisor after the event) and poor ticket sales led to the show being pulled a week after we saw it.

Day 21
Saw us having another day on The Strip, this time making use of an $8pp 24 hour hop on-hop off bus ticket, which was great. We visited a few casinos/ hotels (mentioned above) and dropped into a Starbucks on the Strip, when we needed a reviving caffeine shot, where we were relieved of $15 for 2 medium coffees. Mind, Mrs B did have a special(i)ty of white chocolate and raspberry (which she said was indeed lovely), though mine was a regular latte. When we checked out of the hotel we complained that the wifi hadn't worked at all in our room during our stay. We expected a shrug of the shoulders but were surprised (and pleased) to be offered 2 days refund of the resort fee, amounting to $75.

The one downside of las Vegas since we were last there (9 years ago) is that prices have gone through the roof. Although a weak pound doesn't help, it was far more expensive there than our prior destinations in Colorado - even Vail.

But still, it's somewhere that has to be seen to be believed and is somewhere we really enjoy, despite not being gamblers (other than my occasional betting on football in the UK - but that's a different story...)

We took a shuttle bus from the hotel to the airport - which is as close as you will ever get to a major city (the airport is at the end of the Strip) - and made it in good time for our 9pm flight to Heathrow. The only downside of the return journey was that we had 4 hours to kill at LHR before our flight to Newcastle. Still, it was worth it.

It's difficult to believe what's happened in the few weeks since we arrived home. Roll on the end of this pandemic and roll on next ski season!

In the meantime I hope all fellow Snowheads stay safe and well.
ski holidays
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Bergmeister, great TR, I really enjoyed reading your experiences, hope to do it myself one day...hope your wife is better now?

BTW, go to Mexico for some great comida y bebidas too!
snow conditions
 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?
Thanks for putting this together.

Pics !!??
snow report
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Layne,

I'd love to post some pics but haven't fathomed out how to do it.

Our laptop is knackered so I have access only to an android phone and an iPad. Is it possible to post pics via those? Puzzled

I've read various reports that suggest I will need access to a laptop to post photos to a trip report. Is that true?

We are planning to buy a new laptop once we get back to normality... rolling eyes
snow conditions
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Bergmeister wrote:

I've read various reports that suggest I will need access to a laptop to post photos to a trip report. Is that true?

That's been my experience.

I'm able to upload my pictures from the phone. But had to wait till I get to my laptop to cut and paste the photo link into the post.

Haven't figured out how to get the link from the phone.
snow report
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
The "resort fee" scam seems to be taking hold in plenty of ordinary hotels across the US - it's a way of getting listed highly/cheaply on Priceline/Hotwire/Booking/Hotels.com without disclosing the true all in price. Got charged it for a fairly crappy hotel in Downtown LA once - the most expensive complimentary bottles of water I've ever had!
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Awesome and very useful report. The main thing at the prices is everything is painted. But such a long journey doesn’t tire? I have enough for 10 days, then I want peace. Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
ski holidays
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Great report. I'm very jealous of all that powder you found on your travels! Sounds like you timed it to perfection.
snow report
 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Ivan111,

Yes. A tiring trip - but well worth it!

No pain. No gain. wink

We (or I should say, I) drove exactly 1,000 miles in Colorado - though I really enjoy driving, so didn't find that onerous at all. The stunning and varied scenery certainly helped, ranging from deserts to mountains.

Thanks all - I'm pleased you enjoyed reading my report. Very Happy
ski holidays
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Bergmeister, I upload to imgur.com and then imbed it in a post but I tried to do the imgur thing on my phone and it doesn't work the same.

Not sure about iPad. We have one but it appears to have gone missing!
latest report
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Nice report. Though I must say reading it feels exhausting enough. All the drivings! Embarassed

Quote:

trying to get me to upgrade to a 4 wheel drive - for an additional $1300 (when I had paid only $450 for the car in the first place...) I resisted the attempts (despite the final offer being an upgrade for "only" $500...)

For 20 days, that "extra" $500 would have bought a lot of peace of mind.
ski holidays
 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.
Layne wrote:
@Bergmeister, I upload to imgur.com and then imbed it in a post but I tried to do the imgur thing on my phone and it doesn't work the same.

Not sure about iPad. We have one but it appears to have gone missing!


Both snowmediazone or imgur links work fine from a phone for me?

With imgur click on the link button, copy it and paste between [img][/img] Tags removing the space



Add an l at the end of the code to reduce the picture size
snow report
 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
@BobinCH, on android if I try to connect to my user page https://imgur.com/user/username it just says "Oops! We couldn't find that page" and takes me to their standard home page
snow conditions
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
"For 20 days, that "extra" $500 would have bought a lot of peace of mind."

Once I was underway, and the car handled well enough with the all season tyres on the snowy road, I was quite relaxed. And after I'd managed to fit the snow chains (on day 2) I was totally at ease, as I've driven several times in Europe with chains and appreciate how good they are. I didn't spend time on the trip worrying about the driving, or wishing I'd upgraded to 4WD, as my contingency plan (in the event that my chains didn't fit the rental car) was to buy new chains and ditch them at the end of the trip.
snow conditions
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Thanks for the mentioning of the Maradona documentary. Found it online and just finished watching it. Very enjoyable.
snow report
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
abc,

Incredible viewing, isn't it?

It's currently available in the UK on Channel 4 catchup and (for a limited time) online on All 4.

Highly recommended to anyone (even remotely) interested in football as it's a character documentary, as much as anything.
snow conditions
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Bergmeister, what a wonderful TR. Sounds like a fantastic trip, and very well planned.

I was pleasantly surprised by the lift ticket prices. As you bought (most of?) them online in advance, presumably they're tied to specific days?
snow report
 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?
Thank you denfinella.

I'm pleased you enjoyed my report. We certainly had a fantastic trip! Very Happy

Yes - the lift tickets for A-Basin, Powderhorn and Sunlight Mountain were tied to specific days. However, Loveland tickets were bought via their online "4Pak" offer, which gives 4 lift tickets that are valid for the entire season and which may be used on separate days (at any time by anyone), or all together on the same day. Those tickets worked out at less than half price - a bargain at $42 pp, versus $89 on the day.

We didn't turn up anywhere and buy tickets at the (full) window price on the day and, on average, we saved between $30-$47 pp per day ticket by buying in advance for the above areas. wink

We'd love to go back - and next time try other cheap/smaller areas like Cooper and Monarch, which we have yet to visit.

But fingers crossed for the end of this virus first...
snow report
 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
Nice TR overall and entirely consistent with what to expect from a US roadtrip from Car hire upsells to variable weather challenges and the adventure/discovery. I like Buffalo Bill's/Lookout Mtn as a stop on return too. Better than killing an hour or two at a stripmall before going to the airport (& you usually need that 2 hour "cushion" to allow for I70 problems)
latest report
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I thought I had the ski Colorado routine down pack, after more than 10 years of going there each winter. But I still got caught up by I-70 road issues once.

I don't pre-book hotels, I don't pre-buy lift tickets months or weeks ahead. I would however, start looking at weather forecast a week prior to the start of the trip. And would book hotel or even lift tickets if the weather looks like it's a clear sailing.

Still, if a storm is coming, I leave everything till the day of, or morning of. For there's no guarantee I'll be able to get to where I wish to go.

But one year, I saw the storm exiting the morning of my flight, which arrives at Denver at 8pm. So I thought I'd be in the clear. Wrong! A tractor-trailer jackknifed right outside of Denver proper, blocking westbound I-70. Fortunately, my buddy works in the Colorado transit system and sent me a text alert to that effect. I couldn't get to Georgetown. I checked into a hotel at Sandy (outskirt of Denver).

Called the hotel and explain my dilemma. They were understanding and agree to cancel my booking with a full refund. Very good customer service. I put in a good review on tripadvisor.com (even though there's already quite a positive overall impression already Little Angel )


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Mon 20-04-20 17:29; edited 1 time in total
ski holidays
 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
Bergmeister, Great report, I keep thinking I should find the time to do the same.
Monarch a great local place, and if you can when in the area head down to Wolf Creek too - doubt you'd be disappointed Madeye-Smiley

When we were there last season base dining was Brisket with potatoes n veg + dessert for a whopping $11 each - refill coffees were an extra $1.50 though Toofy Grin
In comparison Monarch was a bit more costly.
ski holidays
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Bones,

Thanks for the tips. We'd like to visit both Wolf Creek and Monarch and have added them (along with Cooper) to our "to do" list. wink
ski holidays
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Bergmeister, If you do go to Wolf Creek the pass from Pagosa Springs can get closed due to snow, we stayed in a great B+B in South Fork just in case. A wonderful place, the same distance to drive but Sth Fork is a bit 'rural' that time of year Toofy Grin Monarch had us in another B+B in Salida which was more of a western town, especially the old part. Well worth a look tbh.
If you are in that area, go check out the screen at the Movie Manor hotel near Monte Vista, the only hotel of its type in the US Madeye-Smiley
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Great trip... Very Happy - but we need pics!! Laughing

Re. Posting photos: I have no problem using my phone to add pictures to the Snowmediazone...But then cannot see the code that is needed to post photos onto Snowheads proper Puzzled

The code appears to the right of photos when I look at Snowmediazone on a laptop... Confused
snow conditions
 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
@Bergmeister, great trip report!! Very jealous as I was due to do a Vegas/G Canyon trip (non-skiing) at Easter, but it got cancelled due to Corona.

Sorry to hear about MrsB's spill, hope she's recovering well. I've often told non-skiing friends that the most dangerous thing about skiing is walking around icy pavements & car parks!

Sounds like you managed to navigate a lot of the weather issues and made some useful savings on lift tickets, well researched!!

I second the call for pics, if you can!! snowHead
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