Skiing near Denver in late Feb/early March - Winter Park?

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by zeeede, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. zeeede

    zeeede Long timer

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    My girlfriend and I are thinking about taking a ski trip out west. Flights to Denver are relatively inexpensive, and my girlfriend has a dear friend from high school who lives in Denver. So we're thinking of flying in there, staying for a day to catch up with friends, then skiing for 3 or 4 days. We're leaning toward Winter Park right now.

    A few questions:

    Pros/Cons for Winter Park?
    Where's the best place to stay? We're thinking something close to the mountain, pref. ski in/out, but also inexpensive ($100-$150/night would be great. Cheaper even greater).
    Is it worth it to do a ski and stay package with lodging and ticket wrapped up, or do the four-pass for $169 and book the lodging seperately?


    We're both avid east coast skiers (which means we're great on ice and have no idea what a powder skirt is for). We'd probably fly out with our boots and rent/demo skis out there.
    Thanks for your help!
    #1
  2. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    sounds like you're 1st big ski trip out west.
    i grew up in Delaware and rode (snowboard) the Poconos so i get the ice thing.

    hell as a little kid we used to go ski a depression in the ground in south jersey of all places!
    you started off at ground level, skied down and took a lift up & out. 2 runs & way less than 100 acres. crazy!
    then i thought Elk mtn was big, then went to Whiteface & Killington and then moved west and was blown away.

    don't miss loveland & a-basin. those are unique locals mtns.
    you could add keystone in there too. i'd stay away from Breck as that place is too crowded & cheesy/touristy.
    why not hop around and try a different one each day since this is your chance to explore?
    i've been on every ski hill in the state, save Silverton & Echo mtn, and it's worth moving around.
    Winter Park is big & fun but I like to mix it up.

    you could stay in Georgetown and hit up all 4.
    Winter park is not known for it's killer night life anyway (it's a yawner kinda of town at night) so Georgetown would be just as good.

    Another option is to stay in WP and ski 2 days as 2 days is ideal to explore the size but not get bored.
    Then move over to Georgetown or Silverthorn/Dillon area and ski Loveland and A-basin each 1 day.

    Having done a ton of ski trips over the last 15yrs living in Colo. trust me you'll have a much more exciting adventure & memories if you hit up different areas. Kinda like taking a motorcycle tour and spend each night in a different town and riding new roads (read terrain here) each day.

    Of course if your you or your GF needs the comfort of ski-in/out the whole time (& can't hack driving to an area in the a.m. and putting on your gear) then I think that's your answer.

    after you gotten a taste head deeper in Colo and check out places like Wolf Creek, Monarch, Telluride, Crested Butte & Steamboat and experience the real deal Mtn towns w/o the Summit County/Vail/I-70 Denver mess & crowds.
    #2
  3. jet123

    jet123 Using all my gears

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    Usually best to bundle the lodging with the tickets... and you can get some other included perks in there too.

    WP offers lots of terrain choices, Towns of WP and Frasier are small & quiet.

    You might consider crashing in Dillon & use that as a jumping point for skiing several different areas. No, you will likely not get the best overall deals vs. staying put. But you will get more variety. Local grocery stores and hotels usually some type of discount ticket.



    #3
  4. zeeede

    zeeede Long timer

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    Is Winter Park the kind of resort that we'd get bored skiing at after one day where we'd need to jump around? I like the idea of just having one place to stay close to the mountain so we don't have worry about finding our way there, parking, etc. every day... just roll out of bed, jump in our boots, and go skiing.

    I should also point out that we'd be looking at skiing only 3 or 4 days total on the trip. Probably be out west there for 5 nights, but spending time with the friend for 1 or 2 days.
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  5. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    yeah it's big enough to keep you entertained for sure (lots of terrain), but i'm not sure what kind of skier you 2 are. if you like familiarity then yeah go for the ski in/out thing. i'm all about finding new runs/stashes/lines/ski areas but that's just me.

    if berthoud pass ski area was still open, i'd say go try that for a day too. i've had some great runs up there too. http://www.coloradoskiauthority.com/backcountry/routes/berthoud-pass/ you can still hike>ski>hitchhike runs up there but might not be your thing. same deal on loveland pass.
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  6. jet123

    jet123 Using all my gears

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    If you just wanna slide on snow (cruising, taking it easy, playing tourist), no - you will have enough between WP & Mary Jane. If you don't want to ski the same run twice (or very few) and want to only ski the steeper stuff, then yes - you will be done in 1 good day, for sure by the end of day 2.
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  7. MountainsandRivers

    MountainsandRivers loves dirty things!

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    My vote would be to try a few of the areas, WP or Loveland for the orientation day, then base out of Silverthorne/Frisco/Dillon and do a little testing around Summit County. I always preferred Copper Mtn on most days when i lived on the Front Range, nice variety and spread out...compared to East Coast skiing, you could just stay in Nederland and ski Eldora all day and be perfectly happy!
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  8. GregsDRZ400

    GregsDRZ400 Back Road Explorer

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    If you can, I would try to stay in Frisco. You can go to any number of ski resorts from there and it is a cool town for restaurants and night life when you are done for the day. Winter park is fun too, just not as much to do. A tradition we have every time we go there is to go to Fraser from Winter Park and hit the tubing hill at night, it's a blast.
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  9. dmac1

    dmac1 Long timer

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    I live on the front range so never go spend the night at the Colorado resorts but its obvious that Dillon/Frisco would have way more going on than Winter Park. If you want to go out and party, I suggest not Winter Park. If, on the other hand you wanna cozy up and reflect upon a awesome day's skiing, then WP will be fine.

    Remember guys....they've not skiied on real snow yet. I think WP will have plenty to ski on for 3 or so days. So what if ya do the same run twice? Hell...when I find awesome snow I do a run repeatedly.

    If you go to WP, you'll need to ski on Mary Jane for sure. Thats where I go most of the time anyway. Alot of the Winter Park side is easier...and some of the runs have this constant side slope that gets annoying to me. Plus more kids.

    WP side has some terrain parks if you're into that.

    There are a number of bump runs on Mary Jane (and cruisers too)...if you want to ski some trees, that can be done too. I guess if you're an expert you might get bored after a day, but I'm an average skier and could do a couple days there easily. Want a little more challenge, go hit Deraileur...or the runs between it and Sleeper. They'll get your attention I think but aren't extreme. Be aware....there are some cliffs you need to go around and it gets bumped up.

    I suggest at least one trip up Panoramic Express lift for, if nothing else, the view. Often the run down the ridge from there gets all skied off and is icy but if there is fresh pow, it would be awesome. Then you can drop through some widely spaced trees back to the lift.

    When its crowded, we like the Ironhorse lift behind the lodge. Its slow, but minimal line and you can cruise over to Mary Jane and ski the direct route into it and then branch off onto Arrowhead if desired. Theres another smaller 2 man lift across from the lines for the high speed quad by the base (Pony I think) that we also like when its crowded. You have cruiser or bump run options off it.

    A good lift for cruisers is Sunnyside. It is next to Panoramic but is way shorter and much lower.

    You might check out vacation rentals by owner for some different lodging options. Otherwise, last year they were building a big hotel right next to the resort. The few places I've looked into ski in, ski out, I've found to be pretty pricey.

    I used to have a quest to go to a different, out of state, resort every year. This would be a variation on the theme of hitting multiple resorts in one trip and presumes you'd come out multiple years. If you want variety from WP, Loveland is the closest relatively major resort. There will be hardly anyone there mid week so no lines. Weekends will have crowds everywhere, but Loveland and A-Basin would have the shortest...and sometimes still no lines.

    Lets just hope we get some decent snow this year. So far, not so good. Last year was worst I've seen in 14 years of living out here.
    #9
  10. rob feature

    rob feature Domain Ranger

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    This

    I think you can buy a multi-day pass that will let you ski Breck, A-Basin, Keystone, Beaver Creek or Vail (your choice - pick something different each day or hit 2 in one day). edit: yip - check Snow.com

    It's a good bit cheaper to rent before you get to the hill too. Try Larson's. It's on the way up (right off I-70 at Kipling).
    #10
  11. mylsmkj

    mylsmkj Long timer

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    Whatever you do don't waste a bunch of your time driving long distances to new mountains, a long way away.:deal
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  12. zeeede

    zeeede Long timer

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    Very, very true. I think a westerner's definition of "icy" and "skied off" and our definition of "icy" and "skied off" are in two totally different categories. Out here, I usually sharpen my edges every morning before I ski... when's the last time you've sharpened yours? :rofl



    Yeah, that's what I'm trying to avoid. It's supposed to be a vacation... I don't need the stress of loading up the car and driving an hour every day. Don't necessarily need ski in/ski out access, but something a short shuttle away from the mountain would be idea.

    We're looking at $2500 for a week between airfare, lodging, skiing, etc... not sure if we'll be able to swing that this year... she's still in graduate school, so we've been living pretty much off of just my salary... we'll see how things pan out around the holiday.

    Thanks for everyone's advice... if we end up making it out there, I'll let you all know..maybe we could get a local to show us around!
    #12
  13. 60wag

    60wag Been here awhile

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    I think it'll be tough to hit your target cost for lodging. If you want to be able to walk from lodging to the lifts, it'll def' cost more. While it is fun to hit several resorts on one trip, eliminating a morning drive and parking makes for a much nicer day. Also, traffic is pretty bad on the weekends so leave plenty of time to catch a flight.

    Winter Park is a decent resort but I'd say it's better for skis than snowboards. The front side traverses and catwalks weren't designed for snowboards so getting across the mountain kinda sucks. The MaryJane side tends to be bumped up enough than riding a board is a lot of work.

    I find that if I have a good day skiing, I'm too wiped out to think about going out partying and I live at 5000ft. YRMV
    #13
  14. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer

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    Alright zeeede,

    If none of these other inmates are gonna be honest with you ...........it's time for an intervention, ADV style. :D

    I've read all the comments. "Go to Winter Park, go to Vail, ski Mary Jane, try a different hill everyday, rent skis, blah, blah, blah, blah, These guys are all delusional. Really. They NEVER get out of the house ........... if you don't believe me .......... just look at their post counts. THAT tells all the story you need to know amigo. :huh

    My candid advice ................. is GO TO THE BEACH! You seem like a nice kid. Save yourself some headache and heartbreak. Just go to the damn beach. Skiing is for losers. Everyone knows that. I'd recommend Isla Mujeres right off the coast of Cancun. Get a decent little hotel room at Marias Cabanas Del Mar on North Beach, rent a couple of rusty mopeds and terrorize the malecon, and have the fresh coconut ice cream with warm dark "salsa chocolate" every night at Rolandis for dessert. Oh yeah, they have Leon Negra there too. My favorite Mexican beer. The same folks that try to get you to go skiing ....... are also "the same guys" that will tell you how good Corona, Pacifico, and Tecate are. Cat Piss. They are NOT to be trusted with making any weighty decisions for others. :deal

    Everyone thinks that they'll ski bottomless powder under clear blue skies every day, and then finish up that day by having hours of incredible condo sex on a bearskin rug in front of a crackling fireplace with their hot mama. The reality will be that you barely survived a raging blizzard, skied on rocks, sticks and grass all day for $110 a pop, had to have the local ski patrol drag you off the hill in a sled, visited with some other nice tourists at the local orthopedic clinic, and the sex thing (at altitude) ........... you'll end up "gasping for wind like a mouth breathing flat lander", while fighting off leg cramps in your hamstrings, and looking for some aloe vera because "somebody" tipped over and got a little too close to the fireplace! Seriously, you should reconsider. It's not a pretty picture dude. :lol3


    And really, when has anyone ever looked across at a veritable sea of people teeming with hundreds upon hundreds of upper middle class white folks on desperate, frantic vacations from their stress filled lives and thought, "oh, this is gonna be so much fun spending my week with these folks"? It ain't gonna be that much fun. Go to the beach. Go. To. The. Beach.

    So there you have it zeeede. Candor. Truth. Honesty. It's a rare commodity on ADV these days.

    Well, I got to go. I've got a date to go "skiing" for a couple of hours with a hot mama!

    Rob
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  15. jet123

    jet123 Using all my gears

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    Dang dude :huh

    Go rub one out :lol3

    On the beach!
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  16. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    Rob,
    were you drinking when you posted this? :evil
    I think he wants to go skiing.

    Are you getting cabin fever in Steamboat and thinking it's been along time since you've been to Mexico???

    Why not help the guy out and offer up your place to stay in Steamboat Springs and he can go there for a few days (which I would recommend over WP) and be able to save $ on lodging? :D

    #16
  17. zeeede

    zeeede Long timer

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    Everybody thinks a trip to Mexico is a ton of fun... warm sunny days, cool water, hot senoritas and a coconut water by the beach. What will end up happening is we'll get terrible sun burns on our pasty New England skin, sand in our ass cracks, and swamped when a hurricane takes out our hotel. Then spend the next three days puking our guts out from the enterotoxigenic E. Coli in our water. My girlfriend will be stolen by a suave latin man and my wallet will be stolen by some street thugs. I'll get kidnapped by a cartel and forced into slave labor as a drug mule. After getting arrested trying to re-enter the country with a kilo of coke wrapped in condoms in my stomach, I'll be made someone else's girlfriend in prison, where I'll be serving 15-20 years of hard time.

    No thanks!

    :lol3
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  18. zeeede

    zeeede Long timer

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    I think he's sick of tourists like my flocking to his home town every winter, so he's trying to get us to stay away. :deal
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  19. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    could be, but Steamboat lives on tourism as does as does the work Rob does in a trickle down effect and most all of his friend's work.

    ...i'm going with he was drunk. :freaky

    truth be known Rob is one of the most standup kinda guys I know and a great person to have as a friend.
    #19
  20. ROAD DAMAGE

    ROAD DAMAGE Long timer

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    Well played zeeede, well played! :thumb


    No, in reality I was just trying to have a little fun and be a little contrary and irreverent.

    But with your Mexico trip scenario, at least you'd have your room and board taken care of for the next 15-20 years, and steady sex. That's not nothing, ya' know.

    And Eakins is right, (dammit, he's ALWAYS right) if your trip takes you to Steamboat, get in touch. I might could help out a fellow ADVer a little. Seriously, PM me if you head up this way.

    Safety Third!

    Rob
    #20