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Old 10-02-2012, 09:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
killclimbz
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Originally Posted by rcmaniac31 View Post
1. Loveland
-4 lift tickets for $129!
2. Monarch
-my friend went here and loved it, he said there are no lift lines, even on christmas break.
3. Eldora
4. Ski Cooper
5. A-Basin

Some info I would like to know:
-Crowds
-Lift speeds
-avg. snow in Febuary

Keep in mind that I have my dad with me, who has never skied, so it cant be all black diamonds. Also, I am coming from STL so the closer to denver the better.

Thank You,
Sam
1. Solid choice. Close to Denver, terrain of all ability levels. A little shy on the truly gnar stuff, reasonably priced. Much less crowded than all of the other areas close to Denver. Chances are you will barely have a lift line or no line at all. Decent vertical. Loveland gets one of the higher snow fall averages in the Front Range. They almost hit 600" two seasons ago. Last season, well no one did good...

2. Monarch. Another solid choice. Reasonably priced, fun terrain, and you can find cheap lodging in Salida which is a short drive to the ski area. It is three hours from Denver though, 2 from Colorado Springs. Those are the two closest airports. Snowfall is plentiful on Monarch Pass. It tends to get something from whatever storms roll through the state. Mirkwood Basin is basically a mini golf spot and is a quick hike to spot. Plenty of easy terrain, I would describe it as a family area with some gnar. Not overly extreme but fun. The Vertical is fairly short though. I am not sure if they have anything that breaks over 1k vert. Crowds are non existent.

3. Eldora, I'd skip it. Snowfall in February is usually lacking there. Eldora tends to get it's best storms come March and April. It is a great local hill, but I certainly wouldn't travel to go there. Fixed grip lifts.

4. Ski Cooper. Great for you dad. It is booooorrrring. If you are choosing to go there or Eldora, go to Eldora. Cooper is a kiddie mountain.

5. A-Basin. Plenty of gnar to be had there. It also has runs for less aggressive riders. Though I would say it would be best to be at the intermediate level to enjoy the place. It's small, so it is pretty limiting if you can't at least enjoy intermediate terrain. Great mountain though. Similar snow fall to Loveland. It is awfully rocky, and it takes awhile for the snow to get where you can really enjoy the mountain. February is usually that time. Expect core shots. It can get crowded on weekends.

All of the places you listed have fixed grip lifts. Which means they are not going to be nearly as fast as the detachable quads and such you find at Breck and Keystone. I doubt that will make a difference. Your legs will give out before the day ends if you start near opening time.

Other places mentioned, Copper and Winterpark are great mountains. They also have crowds similar to Keystone and Breck. High speed lifts are standard though. Their four packs are only good for one person. So if it was just two days per person you were looking for, that's $300. Probably not what you want.

It kind of sounds like you want to get away from the usual. I would seriously take a look at Monarch. Salida is a pretty sweet little town. There is a brewery there now, that I have yet to check out. There is also a sweet little winery on the east side of the pass, which means you'll drive by it. Mountain Spirit Winery. There are also decent restaurants in the town. The ski area is close by, but it just doesn't dominate the scene there. You could also just stay at the Monarch lodge. It's a little more expensive than staying in Salida and you don't have the going out options you do in Salida. The restaurant there is fine and it's short drive to the resort from the lodge. They might even have a shuttle.
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