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Old 05-10-2014, 08:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question 2014/15 Winter Park Trip??? Help...

Hey Gang,
Slow time of yr for most of us so I thought I'd do some mild investigating for a trip I wanted to take my boys on. Most of you know me, my kids and our abilities. I've always wanted to go and now the boys are at a point I think this would be a great trip for us. I'm not set on WP but I thought any mountain for us would be way more than we have ever ridden so why not here.

End of Feb one of the last 2 weeks, as Valentines Day weekend is a black out for specials per the website

I'm considering driving vs Amtrak
Driving: $400 in gas
Train : $441 + baggage fees (I'm guessing)
  • Drive: 15 hours ish Leave Fri midnight get there Sat early afternoon
  • Train: 22 hours Leave Fri early lunch get there sat early afternoon & 1.5 hr lay over in CHI

Both boys drive but weather and late night driving I'm not comfortable sleeping while one of them drives cross country in the winter mainly at night since we'd be leaving around midnight.

The train option is only slightly more expensive, way less hassle, arrive time is the same, departure is a tad different with a lay over and sleeping in coach. HELL I can't sleep in a car for shit anyway. Plus I have a sports car with snow tires, worried about weather....a car rental cost wise isn't an option for me.

How do I get from Fraser Amtrak station to resort/hotel, taxi or do the resorts have shuttle service?
Has anyone used Amtrak from Midwest or Chicago to Denver ish, what were your thoughts?

How about accommodations. I won't have a car so I want to be able to basically ski in/out or small walk to the hill. Grocery shopping to help save on food would be great, night life is not a concern as the boys are 18 & 17 (will be) Hot tub of course but what resort/hotel in CO doesn't have one.

I have not looked into package deals at WP yet I'm sure they have them. Does anyone know when the best time to book a package deal is? Summer, early spring, late fall?

Gear? We are set up for hard pack Midwest groomers and ice. Short boards lots of park riding. We have ridden in weather below zero so I think our clothing will be fine.
Will we be ok gear wise? Will I need to adjust stances for powder, since we have never truly ridden powder or in mountain terrain. Our highest elevation was 1200 feet, equivalent to your bunny hills !!!!

I'm sure I missed a ton of questions as I'm doing this over my morning coffee and on a whim here so I'm sure I'll have more questions at a later time

Any tips, recommendations, or general helpful info that you have, can share, or what-not would be great.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:37 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think they start offering next season booking deals around August. Maybe earlier.

There is a new village at the base of Winterpark. Lots of accommodations there. That is where you want to stay. Check with Amtrack, they may not have baggage fees. Not sure if that has trickled down to trains or not. During the season, a free bus service runs up and down the valley.

Mount you stance back is all you need for powder.

Now for the downer. Having lived in Colorado for 24 years now, and Winterpark is probably my favorite front range area. NOAA is calling for an El Nino year. Pretty much every past El Nino has sucked for I70 corridor resorts. Sometimes the spring is awesome. Sometimes it is just one month that is good. In 98 the only good month was January. Then it snowed like hell after the resort closed. Areas in the Southern part of the state tend to do better during these seasons. Telluride, Silverton, Crested Butte.

Now there have been good El Nino years too. 6 or 7 years ago was a great one and Winterpark-Berthoud Pass did great. So it is not always bad. I would try to make sure you have an acceptable cancellation policy for your trip just in case is all. I guess that is true for any year.

Time of year to book for? March is usually the snowiest month and the temps are not as cold as in January. Much more mild. Last week or two of February can be really good and so can the first week of April. Bonus for April, the crowds go way down.

Hope that helps.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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It does help, I will update my initial post but I was thinking last weekend of Feb'ish
Room was a grand for 7 days. It was called Vintage Hotel studio w/kitchenette
I assume this was just lodging and didn't include lift tickets?

I can always move the set back when we are there. So that is fine.

I have a buddy that lives near Crested Butte, when I was looking at their trail map it seemed much smaller. Less terrain and trails than WP is this the case. That was the appearance from the 2 trail maps.

I may call the resort to see if they have pkg deals lodging/lift all together

The El Nino sucks even though I don't know much about those things so I'll take your word.
The unfortunate part is I must schedule my vacation a year in advance and I can't change it. So we would have to go and make the best of what ever riding is available to us.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:51 AM   #4 (permalink)
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With kids I'm guessing your gonna go in December or March during school breaks? I'd go with march break personally. February is great.....

Get a Colorado super pass and get some hotels.com or bookings.com lodging nearby. We travel a lot and this works out the cheapest usually. If you can find some ridiculous deal for lodging and riding then that works too...... Usually for multiple days, like 6+, season pass is cheaper.

Last edited by Argo; 05-10-2014 at 09:54 AM.
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Old 05-10-2014, 09:53 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Crested butte is small. Aside from having a cute town 5 miles from the mtn village base, it was quite underwhelming. Telluride is awesome.....
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:01 AM   #6 (permalink)
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A guy I used to know from another forum has done Michigan <-> Winter Park by train several times (also through Chicago, I believe). He said one strike against the train is the return trip Colorado -> Michigan. Apparently the train on that route originates in California. If there are any delays along the way from California to Colorado, that affects your departure time at Fraser. He mentioned having a scheduled departure at Fraser for 11:00 or so at night that had him staying at the train station until 3-4 am.

Me, I'm doing a family driving trip to Colorado this summer from Michigan (Detroit area) as a test run to see how bearable/unbearable it is -- to gauge the possibility for future snowboarding trips to Colorado by car. My kids (5 and almost 8) are excellent car travelers, but Colorado will be two solid days in the car for us -- 20ish hours to Summit County I think. (I don't drive overnight.)
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:16 AM   #7 (permalink)
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The car trip is still a consideration. But with weather and cost nearly equal I thought the train made more sense and much less hassle.

As to the time I am not opposed to pulling the kids out of school for a week for this. I am flexible in when we go. I just need to pick a week and schedule it. Like I said I must pick my vacations for the full year and I set these in the end of October

Again in the exploration phase of all this
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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The drive fucking sucks. Mainly for lack of scenery to keep you engaged.... Have some good tunes on a play list if you drive. I have done the drive a few times. It's easy in the fact that it's all interstate, those roads in winter can get really bad though with the strong winds that blow over the highway causing serious ice.....

I would drive over train but I drive a lot....
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:22 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I also like night driving in bad weather since no one is on the road.
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Old 05-10-2014, 10:42 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I also drive for a living hence why I am more prone to opt for the less stressful way plus with weather I really can't afford nor miss time at work with a weather delay or unexpected hotel stay or 2 from a freak snow storm.

I would love to fly but the cost is just out of my means
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