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Old 08-16-2014, 07:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Smile March CO trip

Intend to spend some days next spring in CO (arrive in Denver Thursday March 19th evening, pick up the rental car and drive westwards; leave Saturday March 28th). Never been there, I've very limited knowledge from google and this forum. Our resorts can be pretty hard to reach, long drives on narrow icy passes. Try to get a feeling for travel distances/time and how to proceed to avoid spending more time on a highway than on the slopes

- Assuming we're lucky and a storm will hit that week. Do storms usually hit very locally (= mtn A will have fresh, mtn B not; this would mean that we'd need to be very flexible) or it usually dumps pretty evenly (= no need to run to A cos B will also have fresh to ride).

- I assume that if a storm hits, it's preferable to be in the town already rather than drive there a) due to impeded traffic and b) cos you want to catch the first lift cos the fresh will be chewed up soon?

- Spots in mind so far are Berthoud Pass (hike), Loveland (ridge cat), maybe Silverthorne (snowkite on a windy non-fresh day), and Vail. On google maps, they look pretty close and doable in the morning... true? I assume that driving to Silverton is kind of out of scope if a storm hits, therefore I've concentrated on spots close together...?

- Are accommodations along the I-70 corridor a) available at short hand at b) still reasonable rates or is it better to chose a hub, book well in advance and then drive from there to the different spots?

- Even if it's better to book last minute, having the first night settled in advance is a must... (don't wanna ground the same way as in Fairbanks last year ). Comming from Denver, I thought of riding Loveland first (not as crowded on weekend) or hike Berthoud Pass, depending on weather; then proceed further west. Any recommendations in this area?

- I've looked at Vail pass prices (ouch). Then checked the epic pass site. Made me thinking that a 4 day epic pass might be a good idea...? (3 days vail is the same price as that pass with the additional opportunity to ride other spots - if that's an advantage...?). Are they only available a certain timeframe or limited number or still available in March?
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Old 08-16-2014, 07:51 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The main issue you are looking at is probably the most crowded time (to the week)for CO snowsliding. (the whole country, from age 4-22 is on spring fucking break, and they love beginner ski and falling leaf). Weekdays are not much less crowded than weekends at this time.

We typically have great snow this time of year, and all the resorts you mentioned will usually share storms but for sure not always, plus everyone lies about snow totals. South is a whole different destination/weather system (Wolf Creek, Silverton, etc).

Probably have to book your lodging now.

Getting out of the i70 corridor is your only ticket to less crowds, but again, the lemmings will be everywhere!
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Old 08-16-2014, 07:51 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Epic pass products will only be that price until MAYBE November. If you can plan and purchase ahead of time, that's the best way to do it. Even the epic local pass......

Denver airport to Vail is 2 hours in decent winter driving conditions. If there is weather or traffic, 3 hours is not abnormal.

My house to Silverton is 4 hours in winter weather.

I would book your first weekend in advance, weekends fill up everywhere. If you get in a pinch you are welcome to a bed here. Frisco is central but not at the resort base. It is also relatively inexpensive.

Storms will hit the whole area but some mountain might gut 20" while the rest get 2". The roads will be kept clear, not like Europe were you can have a road closed for days. Usually if you get an early start you will avoid road closures too. Every resort has free parking options of sone sort too, make sure you get that info to save $10 or $30 a day.
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:15 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Epic pass products will only be that price until MAYBE November. If you can plan and purchase ahead of time, that's the best way to do it. Even the epic local pass......

.....Usually if you get an early start you will avoid road closures too. Every resort has free parking options of sone sort too, make sure you get that info to save $10 or $30 a day.
I do not want to jack this thread for neni. I just was shocked to read that resorts that can charge $100 a day or more for lift tickets will actually charge for parking as well. Damn!

(...my sincere apologies nen's if my comments wind up sending this thread sideways! Not my intention!)
But,... Damn! $30!???
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:03 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I do not want to jack this thread for neni. I just was shocked to read that resorts that can charge $100 a day or more for lift tickets will actually charge for parking as well. Damn!

(...my sincere apologies nen's if my comments wind up sending this thread sideways! Not my intention!)
But,... Damn! $30!???
he didn't even mention the mandatory fisting!
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Old 08-16-2014, 07:46 PM   #6 (permalink)
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- Assuming we're lucky and a storm will hit that week. Do storms usually hit very locally (= mtn A will have fresh, mtn B not; this would mean that we'd need to be very flexible) or it usually dumps pretty evenly (= no need to run to A cos B will also have fresh to ride).
Depends on the storm. Keystone can get fuck all but the Basin will report 2 feet. The thing to look at is how the storm is setting up and the way the winds are blowing. East to West go to the Basin, Vail, or Beaver Creek. South to North go to Breckenridge. Keystone well that place sucks dick and never gets snow.

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- I assume that if a storm hits, it's preferable to be in the town already rather than drive there a) due to impeded traffic and b) cos you want to catch the first lift cos the fresh will be chewed up soon?
If you're in Summit County you're pretty much within 15 to 20 minutes of wherever you want to go. Sometimes the pass up to A Basin can suck with traffic as every idiot and their brother tries to paw their way to Keystone to get that epic 3 inches! If in doubt just take the free bus.

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- Spots in mind so far are Berthoud Pass (hike), Loveland (ridge cat), maybe Silverthorne (snowkite on a windy non-fresh day), and Vail. On google maps, they look pretty close and doable in the morning... true? I assume that driving to Silverton is kind of out of scope if a storm hits, therefore I've concentrated on spots close together...?
Berthoud is all Gary. Ask him about that place. Definitely do a day at Loveland for sure, just be prepared to drive either over the pass or through the tunnel, so plan accordingly for the weather. Silverthorne sucks, go to Farmers Corners outside Breckenridge, that's where everyone snow kites. Silverton is a bit of a drive and that's like a serious day trip from where you'll be.

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- Are accommodations along the I-70 corridor a) available at short hand at b) still reasonable rates or is it better to chose a hub, book well in advance and then drive from there to the different spots?
Book your rooms in advance, it will save you the headache. I would recommend the rustic Best Western in Dillon or maybe try the Bivvy outside Breckenridge.

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Originally Posted by neni View Post
- Even if it's better to book last minute, having the first night settled in advance is a must... (don't wanna ground the same way as in Fairbanks last year ). Comming from Denver, I thought of riding Loveland first (not as crowded on weekend) or hike Berthoud Pass, depending on weather; then proceed further west. Any recommendations in this area?
You're correct on Loveland not being as crowded on the weekend. Hiking the pass I would say talk to Gary about that he'll know more than anyone else. You are correct in getting your lodging set up first.


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- I've looked at Vail pass prices (ouch). Then checked the epic pass site. Made me thinking that a 4 day epic pass might be a good idea...? (3 days vail is the same price as that pass with the additional opportunity to ride other spots - if that's an advantage...?). Are they only available a certain timeframe or limited number or still available in March?
This is the best bang for the buck, plus if you get the full blown epic there are bonus days over in France, Southern Hemisphere, Japan, plus Utah and California. So take that into account, just remember to buy it before November otherwise that price goes out the window. Realistically I would do 2 days at Vail, 2 days at Beaver Creek, a day at A basin and a day at Breckenridge with this pass.
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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This is the best bang for the buck, plus if you get the full blown epic there are bonus days over in France, Southern Hemisphere, Japan, plus Utah and California. So take that into account, just remember to buy it before November otherwise that price goes out the window. Realistically I would do 2 days at Vail, 2 days at Beaver Creek, a day at A basin and a day at Breckenridge with this pass.
No joke, you can grab 5 days in verbier and 5 days in les 3 vallees..... Those are both close to home for you
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The main issue you are looking at is probably the most crowded time (to the week)for CO snowsliding. (the whole country, from age 4-22 is on spring fucking break, and they love beginner ski and falling leaf). Weekdays are not much less crowded than weekends at this time.
Are you certain about that week though? Easter is the 5th, typically break for us is the week prior so that it includes Good Friday. Which would have her leaving just as things start to heat up.

Actually I just looked, my youngest has a week in Feb and a week in April. Nothing off in March. My oldest in college has the week of the 20th for her Spring Break. Though if I remember correctly her school always seems a week off from most so I looked at the main Umass campus and they are actually the week of March 14th. Shrug.

Last edited by f00bar; 08-16-2014 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 08-16-2014, 11:16 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info guys, highly appreciated

I've to check with epic pass, what their restrictions "staying at in-resort lodging" means exactly. Could be an deal, depending on where one has to stay... wanted to hit Verbier anyway this season.

Oh... there's a tunnel. A long one. Wasn't visible on google maps. If ppl at yours are anything like here, this means slow traffic. Tourists here seem to freak out when they enter a tunnel and crawl instead of just drive! Drives me nuts each time we drive to our mtn.
BTW: how harsh are they with speeding controls/penatly?

"The Bivvi is designed for adults and openly serves alcohol throughout the building. *Due to this, we currently do not accept children under the age of 12."
That's among the weirdest things I've ever read... I like that place. Looks cosy.

Further read this: "Colorado Law does not permit outside alcohol on the premises." ...?
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Old 08-17-2014, 12:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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It's your own risk if you want to speed. I usually stick to 10 over the limit.

It just means you can't buy your own alcohol from a store and bring it there to drink it.
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