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Recommendation for ski parks close to Denver?

Discussion in 'Rocky Mountain' started by rob lay, Feb 6, 2006.

  1. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    Dec 1, 2000
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    Jennie and I want to ski just a couple days. A Sunday, Monday, and maybe Tuesday. Needs to be relatively close to Denver as we'll be there that Friday and Saturday.

    Neither of us are much of skiers. I never skied until college and maybe went only 3 times total. So want something novice friendly, but fun. Good lodging, restaurants, and bars required.

    What would you recommend?

    Thanks,
    rob
     
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  3. EspritSE

    EspritSE Formula Junior

    Dec 1, 2003
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    Drive the extra 30 minutes to Vail, (100miles from Denver) for the facilities you are looking for....Not to mention the terrain.

    Craig
     
  4. quickchickleslie

    May 17, 2004
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    Leslie
    We always ski Beaver Creek. Check out snow.com look it over and if there is anything you need assistance with give me a call.

    Leslie
     
  5. jimpo1

    jimpo1 Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Jul 30, 2001
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    For what you're after, I'd suggest Breckenridge or Copper Mountain. Keystone isn't bad, but I swore I'd never go back there, even if it's free (long story). All 3 are only 1.5-2 hours from the Denver airport, and it's an easy drive. Copper is probably the simplest, it's literally right off of I-70. Breck is nice because it's an actual town and you can do things at night.

    A good alternative might be to stay in Frisco/Dillon/Silverthorne. There are quite a few relatively cheap hotels (Days Inn, Super 8, Best Western) and it's not over 20 minutes to any of the above ski areas. The bad news is, you'll have to drive every day to get to the ski area, unless you want to shuttle which I don't recommend. The good news is, you can try 3 different ski areas. Vail isn't far from Copper, maybe 20 miles, and it can be fun to go there in the evenings too.

    Let me know as you get closer to getting something booked, I might be able to swing some cheap lift tix at Copper for you. Otherwise, plan on ~$65/day each for lift tickets alone.
     
  6. quickchickleslie

    May 17, 2004
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    Leslie
    Try Beaver Creek on Sunday, and over to Vail on Monday. Let me know what days you are in we might be up there, maybe I will grab my board and join you! :)
     
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  8. Matt550

    Matt550 Formula Junior

    Dec 2, 2003
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    I second this. Although if that isnt going to work for you, Keystone is a good resort IMO. One of my favorite actually. Breckenridge is also very nice. Loveland is the closest (60 miles from Denver), but ive never been a fan of it.
     
  9. Derek at FoD

    Derek at FoD Formula 3
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    Jun 10, 2004
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    As Jim said, go with the Breckenridge area...Keystone has good novice terrain and there's plenty of great places to indulge in Apres skiing:)
     
  10. Mike328

    Mike328 F1 Rookie
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    Oct 19, 2002
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    Sharon and I will be staying/skiing/boarding in Vail Thursday - Sunday, Feb 16 - Feb 19. Let us know where you end up, we might be able to meet up!

    Pretty much most of the big resorts near Denver have been mentioned in this thread. How are you ever going to choose? :) Pretty much any of them will show you a good time. All of those resorts are world-class places if not close to it, and area going to be some of the best skiing in the U.S., period. So you really can't go wrong (not familiar with the "Keystone" incident mentioned earlier). Most ski resorts really have their act together when it comes to beginners--lessons, healthy amounts of green/blue terrain, etc. are all an important part of the picture if you want to "build" a skiier base.

    Ski lift prices are going to vary, so if that's a factor (and they can be expensive), would suggest checking on that. Other than that, go to the web sites of each of the mountains mentioned, and check out their ski map. Is there enough green and blue terrain (beginner/intermediate) to keep you occupied for two or so days of skiing?

    The other thing to consider is--and this applied doubly so if one or both of you are going to try "snowboarding"--you're going to be sore the next day since this is your first time out in a while! You just might not feel like doing a third day of skiing!

    Also, if you have a free moment, you should let the Boulder/Denver/Ft.Collins/etc. gang take you and Jennie out to dinner!


    --Mike
     
  11. Hotzos

    Hotzos Formula 3
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    Oct 19, 2004
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    Winter Park is a local favorite......nice variety of terrain from Green to Double Black.
     
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  13. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    Not sure what kind of a skier I am. Either really bad, or just a little bad. :D

    Only skied Massachusetts and Vermont. 1st time I went slopes were iced and I couldn't stay up to save my life. I thought it was just me and almost never tried again. Next times I went the snow was probably more normal and I didn't fall hardly at all, think we were even taking "blacks?" slowly by afternoon.

    Anyway, I just want to see snow at least once a year. :)
     
  14. Alex_V

    Alex_V F1 Rookie
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    Apr 8, 2004
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    Breckenridge is my reccomendation. My family has a condo up in that town and its a great little place that has OTHER things to do when you arent skiing. From Denver, I would say its about an 1 1/2 drive.
     
  15. Imola2001

    Imola2001 Formula Junior

    Jul 17, 2005
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    Snowboarding :)

    When are you going to be around?

    The kids and & I (and possibly my wife) are looking to hit the slopes several more times this season, even if I have to use one of my old boards due to getting my new one swiped from Monarch a few weeks ago. (yes, I'm still bitter)

    We like Vail, and if you are from out of town you can't get lost trying to find it, take 70 west.

    I second the comments about not making it 3 full days on the slopes w/o regular ski/boarding.

    Real rusty = spend a few $$$ on lessons so that you spend less time on your a$$.


    Mike-
    Is your Vail trip a lock? If yes, perhaps we could try to hit the slopes that weekend now that I'm back from being on the right coast.
     
  16. bottomline

    bottomline Formula 3

    Mar 10, 2004
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    Copper is my favorite. It's close, clean, modern, and wide-open. You can't go wrong.
     
  17. Mike328

    Mike328 F1 Rookie
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    Oct 19, 2002
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    Hi Mike, Vail is indeed locked in. Some of our friends from Albuquerque are flying up and the five of us are staying in a condo.

    Because of the wedding, and the fear of being in a body cast while at the altar, there has been no skiing for us this season yet unfortunately, so we're definitely a bit rusty as well. It will be a mostly blue-terrain weekend for us. (BTW, this is our first time to Vail.)

    We'd love to meet up, I'm not sure if I'll be able to break away slope-wise from wife and friends--if you decide to do Vail, maybe we could plan on some apres-ski? Any thoughts on where?

    Mr. Lay, what did you decide?
     
  18. jamesw

    jamesw Karting

    Nov 7, 2005
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    Go to Vail!!!! Its worth the drive. Spend the money on lessons its worth every penny. James
     
  19. Imola2001

    Imola2001 Formula Junior

    Jul 17, 2005
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    We will be in Albq this weekend for a soccer tournament.

    I have just been informed that the in-laws are coming to town the following weekend, so I'm not sure if we will be able to break away (I will still try for 1 day at least).

    -Mike C.
     
  20. greg512tr

    greg512tr Formula Junior
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    Feb 19, 2002
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    I grew up in CO we hated seeing all those Texans on the ski slopes, now it has changed to a backlash against Californians. Texans come, spend their money and go home while Californians use their real estate gains to move to CO and drive up real estate prices.

    DON"T call it SNOWskiing while in CO, just say skiing and the other type is WATERskiing:). As far as resorts I would go to Vail. Not that much farther and the town is a lot more fun. The other areas will be less money. Breckenridge is a cute town but not much night life in comparison.

    Since you will be in Denver it used to be less money to buy lift tickets in town (the local grocery stores sold them). Not sure where the deals are now but they are out there to prevent paying tourist prices. Same with ski rentals.
     
  21. Boxer12

    Boxer12 Formula 3

    Jun 1, 2003
    1,672
    I recommend getting a Van shuttle service to Vail, as driving in the Mtns in winter can be pretty hairy for a flatlander, even a race car driver like yourself. If you insist on a rental car, you need to specify that you will be going into the mtns or you won't have decent snow tires. Beaver Creek has no nightelife to speak of, and restaurants are nothing compared to Vail. Stay at the Sonnenalp if you can get a room there and everything is in walking distance. Definately sign up for a lesson, at least the first 1/2 day, and order your ski tix when you get your lodging and you will get a discount. Have fun and drink lots of water (about gal/day ...the #1 cure and prevention for altitude sickness). If its sunny or not, use sunblock on your face (or get 'coon eyes). If its windy, or its cold (below 15F), use a ski mask (about $12). Always use goggles (get yellow) and wear a helmet (or you will look like a poser from TX). And don't worry about lift lines, the wait is a well needed rest. You will spend more time in lift lines than skiing at Vail (one drawback) on front side of mtn, but don't worry about it, you will get plenty of skiing in over two or three days. One last thing, make sure to bring your swim suits for the hottub and don't forget to hottub and take Vit C for the muscle cramps! As for Martinis, shaken, not stirred! I think that covers it. ;)
     
  22. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    Dec 1, 2000
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    Thank you Jim for the advice. I didn't think about some of those things.

    I can't ski, but growing up in Kansas and college in Massachusetts taught me how to drive in the snow and ice. Without ABS, when locking the wheels, hold down on the brake pedal and don't let up! :D;):D

    I'm in OK shape right now and actually have a half-marathon the weekend before, but I guarantee skiing will find some muscles I haven't used before. :)
     
  23. Imola2001

    Imola2001 Formula Junior

    Jul 17, 2005
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    Rob,

    In the past I have picked up a rental 4x4 Explorer from Hertz, and have had no problems making it to Vail, as it is right on 70 (or Winter Park for that matter).

    I agree with the comment on drinking far more water than you do back home, and that goggles are a must have (mine are orange lens, not that you care). With the longer runs that Vail has vs places back east, your legs will get more of a workout, and those lines will be a nice rest. The gondola moves fairly fast, and is a nice break where you can relax.
     
  24. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    Dec 1, 2000
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    As far as ski clothing and equipment I have nothing. However, this is a trip Jennie and I would like to do at least once a year.

    What do I need to buy?

    Goggles?
    Mask?
    What type of clothing (jacket, pants)?
    Best to wear under jacket and pants?
    Special socks?
    Gloves?
    Helmet?

    What all do I rent?

    What size skis would you recommend? I'm 6'1".
     
  25. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    Dec 1, 2000
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    Thank you everyone for the advice. We shopped around and I think found what we're looking for without overpaying.

    Might even be time to hit a family friends cabin NW of Fort Collins (Red Feather). I never skied growing up, but spent a week each year up there in the summer riding, hiking, and fishing. Trips into Fort Collins or Laramie were about the only people seen.
     
  26. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    Dec 1, 2000
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    Jennie and I had a great trip. Thank you everyone for the advice. Jennie was here for a conference and I flew in Friday night. I went over to FoD Saturday and Derek gave me the grand tour. Thank you. Jennie was done at 5 and we were at Copper by 6:30. We hired a private instructor for Sunday morning and that's one of the best things we could have done. A great guy named "tiger". X-corporate suit now is a ski instructor. I think this guy has life figured out. Jennie was pretty confident from the beginning, I was very slow. It has been 10 years since I skied and wasn't very good then. However, Colorado snow is 10 times better than Vermont and that helped a bunch! In 3 hours I went from not being able to stop and snow plowing to nice relaxed parallel sweepers down Coppertone into Carefree on our last run with the instructor. I had been all morning without dumping, but ended my streak for all to see on that last part of Carefree that's really steep. Just the sight of the moguls on the side got me nervous and splashed right on them. Jennie and I got some lunch and skied all afternoon. First thing we noticed was how quickly you get tired when going straight through not stopping often for quick pointers with the instructor. This morning we were a little sore, but didn't think it would impact us much. However, the first run really shot both of our confidences. Muscles just weren't sharp. We got our confidence back quickly doing a few runs on the lower greens and then successfully went back up to the higher runs. We were just too tired and called it the day by 3. A great time, our clothing was appropriate and worked well, the instructor started us off with good technique, the restaurants and bars were great, and no broken bones! Very successful trip.

    Now the question is anyone have advice about owning one of these resort condos for personal use and investment? I'm more into cycling and fishing than skiing, so could really take advantage of a place like this year around. When not using we could rent out. A FerrariChat.com condo? :D
     
  27. Imola2001

    Imola2001 Formula Junior

    Jul 17, 2005
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    Sorry I was not able to catch up with you and say "Hi!".

    Glad to hear you had a great time, next visit- SNOWBOARDING!
     
  28. rob lay

    rob lay Administrator
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    Dec 1, 2000
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    That's all my fault. I didn’t contact anyone to meet up like I usually do on trips. This was a little rushed and really just for Jennie and I to get away. Don't worry, I have nothing against people from Colorado, you are all sane unlike some bordering states. :D
     

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