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Finally pulled the trigger - Colorado ski trip in Feb

Whitey

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Been making noise about doing a western ski trip for a couple of years now. Both of my boys, ages 14 & 17, are good skiers who have never skied anywhere but the northeast. I've been wanting to take them out west as they are both aggressive, confident skiers who will mess around in the T-park but are happier skiing trees & bumps. I think they will love western skiing.

I actually used a lot of the info that goes around here in these forums to put this trip together (thanks!!). I am doing some things to save $ and some other things to have a great vacation (like a ski in/out condo in SS) and not worry too much about the $. I'd be interested in any feedback if you think I am missing anything here or if you have any suggestions.

  • Fly into Denver Sunday 2/19, get in 10:30PM their time.
  • Rented a SUV/AWD for the week
  • Bought Max Passes for me and family, will use those in CO to help keep the lift tix price down.
  • Staying that 1st (Sunday) night at a Holiday Inn in Golden, CO. We just need a place to crash that night, figured I'd save some $ getting away from the airport and Denver. Plus getting to Golden that first night gets us a half hour closer to ski country.
  • Shipping our skis to the hotel ahead of time (I get a major discount on shipping). Will be there when we get there.
  • Monday AM, get up and drive to Copper Mtn and ski there
  • Monday night after skiing Copper - drive to Steamboat Springs
  • Stay at Steamboat and ski there Tues-Sat
  • Catch a red-eye flight back to east coast Sat nite.

Both Copper and SS are on the Max Pass. I am figuring that the; airport -> Golden -> Copper -> SS drive segments are all moving us in the right direction towards Steamboat so we are spreading out some of the driving to SS that way. Plus, getting in so late on Sunday - there's no way we could make it all the way to one of the CO ski areas that night. We need to crash somewhere near Denver that night. On the Saturday when we fly back we'll just make the entire drive back; SS -> airport, in one shot. If weather cooperates we'll ski the AM and then head out later on Sat. If not - we'll leave Sat AM and make use of the SUV/AWD to get back to Denver. Our flight doesn't leave until 11PM Denver time.

I've got the car rented, plane tix purchased, etc. The only piece I have left to nail down (i.e. identify, reserve, & pay for) is a place to stay at Steamboat. We are looking at renting a condo or house. We are looking at the usual VRBO & AirBnB stuff and there a lot of options (all expensive). If anyone has any ideas. . .
 

4aprice

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Certainly not a bad plan. Just cause you mentioned bumps, Winter Park should not be overlooked. You and your kids will enjoy. Caution the west becomes addictive.

Alex

Lake Hopatcong, NJ
 

RISkier

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Seems you've though of most everything. I think staying in Golden or somewhere relatively close to the airport the first night is a good idea. Base at Copper is in the vicinity of 9500' and it takes some folks some time to get acclimated. Altitude shouldn't be much of an issue in Steamboat. Curious how much you're spending on the SUV? When I've looked at rentals from DIA they are not cheap. If you're going to ski Saturday, I might consider skiing at Copper, or A-Basin, or Loveland, or Keystone. Don't know the route from Steamboat to Winter Park but that could be an option as well. Just thinking you could drive part of it in the morning, ski, and then head for the airport. Though with flights at 11:00pm you might be better off just skiing a while at Steamboat. Don't have any lodging recommendations at Steamboat. Have a great trip.
 

dlague

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CS, Colorado
Been making noise about doing a western ski trip for a couple of years now. Both of my boys, ages 14 & 17, are good skiers who have never skied anywhere but the northeast. I've been wanting to take them out west as they are both aggressive, confident skiers who will mess around in the T-park but are happier skiing trees & bumps. I think they will love western skiing.

I actually used a lot of the info that goes around here in these forums to put this trip together (thanks!!). I am doing some things to save $ and some other things to have a great vacation (like a ski in/out condo in SS) and not worry too much about the $. I'd be interested in any feedback if you think I am missing anything here or if you have any suggestions.

  • Fly into Denver Sunday 2/19, get in 10:30PM their time.
  • Rented a SUV/AWD for the week
  • Bought Max Passes for me and family, will use those in CO to help keep the lift tix price down.
  • Staying that 1st (Sunday) night at a Holiday Inn in Golden, CO. We just need a place to crash that night, figured I'd save some $ getting away from the airport and Denver. Plus getting to Golden that first night gets us a half hour closer to ski country.
  • Shipping our skis to the hotel ahead of time (I get a major discount on shipping). Will be there when we get there.
  • Monday AM, get up and drive to Copper Mtn and ski there
  • Monday night after skiing Copper - drive to Steamboat Springs
  • Stay at Steamboat and ski there Tues-Sat
  • Catch a red-eye flight back to east coast Sat nite.

Both Copper and SS are on the Max Pass. I am figuring that the; airport -> Golden -> Copper -> SS drive segments are all moving us in the right direction towards Steamboat so we are spreading out some of the driving to SS that way. Plus, getting in so late on Sunday - there's no way we could make it all the way to one of the CO ski areas that night. We need to crash somewhere near Denver that night. On the Saturday when we fly back we'll just make the entire drive back; SS -> airport, in one shot. If weather cooperates we'll ski the AM and then head out later on Sat. If not - we'll leave Sat AM and make use of the SUV/AWD to get back to Denver. Our flight doesn't leave until 11PM Denver time.

I've got the car rented, plane tix purchased, etc. The only piece I have left to nail down (i.e. identify, reserve, & pay for) is a place to stay at Steamboat. We are looking at renting a condo or house. We are looking at the usual VRBO & AirBnB stuff and there a lot of options (all expensive). If anyone has any ideas. . .
Sounds like a good plan! We wanted to stay slope side but found something in town to be more economical. We also were not skiing Steamboat. Not sure about that area yet but AirBnB and VRBO are good plays.

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Whitey

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Seems you've though of most everything. I think staying in Golden or somewhere relatively close to the airport the first night is a good idea. Base at Copper is in the vicinity of 9500' and it takes some folks some time to get acclimated. Altitude shouldn't be much of an issue in Steamboat. Curious how much you're spending on the SUV? When I've looked at rentals from DIA they are not cheap. If you're going to ski Saturday, I might consider skiing at Copper, or A-Basin, or Loveland, or Keystone. Don't know the route from Steamboat to Winter Park but that could be an option as well. Just thinking you could drive part of it in the morning, ski, and then head for the airport. Though with flights at 11:00pm you might be better off just skiing a while at Steamboat. Don't have any lodging recommendations at Steamboat. Have a great trip.

I got the SUV for 6 days for $750 ($125/day), that includes all taxes/fees and a ski rack. I figured that wasn't a bad price for school vacation week. I get some discounts through work, so I am not sure that my price is the same as the "walk up price" would be for that week. I may see if we can get some better prices if we go outside of the airport. But getting in that late - I really don't want to be fooling around too much. Just want to get in the car and go.

Winter Park may be an option for us too. I hadn't thought of the altitude question with Copper and maybe on day one that could be an issue. My boys will be fine, they are athletes. I'll probably be sucking wind like a champ though. My wife doesn't ski hard enough to worry about getting winded. She's a "2-3 runs and then go hang in lodge for an hour" (lather, rinse, repeat) kind of skier.

I just checked and Winter Park's base elevation is about 9K too. The nice thing about day 1 is that we are basically day-trippers that day so we can go anywhere as long as it gets us in the general direction of Steamboat. WP is on the Max Pass too, so it's an option.
 

snoseek

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Golden is my old hood. There's a decent Mexican restaurant called Tequilas in town. Also Woodys wood fired pizza does a pizza buffet that's pretty cheap and not bad IMO. Take a stroll around town along clear creek for me.

Me personally I like Winter Park the most out of Copper, Steamboat and Winter Park but Steamboat is pretty awesome with Fresh snow...All three are good times. Copper and WP have better snow preservation and sit higher FYI. I'm jealous for your kids having their first western experience, you sound like an awesome dad. Drink lots of water, supplement electrolytes and eat well.

Edit don't underestimate the altitude thing....I've had very athletic friends visit me out there and not keep up with the water and get their asses kicked. That first night is a good call down low to help acclimate

Edit 2-if your flight back is a late afternoon or evening don't gamble on 70 being free and clear....is Eldora on the max pass? If so maybe finish there

edit3 11 pm yeah I would just hit winter park that day...Eldora is only good if you need to be close to the airport or an upslope
 
Last edited:

dlague

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Seems you've though of most everything. I think staying in Golden or somewhere relatively close to the airport the first night is a good idea. Base at Copper is in the vicinity of 9500' and it takes some folks some time to get acclimated. Altitude shouldn't be much of an issue in Steamboat. Curious how much you're spending on the SUV? When I've looked at rentals from DIA they are not cheap. If you're going to ski Saturday, I might consider skiing at Copper, or A-Basin, or Loveland, or Keystone. Don't know the route from Steamboat to Winter Park but that could be an option as well. Just thinking you could drive part of it in the morning, ski, and then head for the airport. Though with flights at 11:00pm you might be better off just skiing a while at Steamboat. Don't have any lodging recommendations at Steamboat. Have a great trip.
The route back to the airport that takes you past Winter Park takes a bit longer. Driving half way to ski for a few hours might be a nice way to break up the trip. A Basin or Loveland would give you some open bowl skiing. They both have different challenges in terms of bump runs and Loveland has some nice tree lines.

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4aprice

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I got the SUV for 6 days for $750 ($125/day), that includes all taxes/fees and a ski rack. I figured that wasn't a bad price for school vacation week. I get some discounts through work, so I am not sure that my price is the same as the "walk up price" would be for that week. I may see if we can get some better prices if we go outside of the airport. But getting in that late - I really don't want to be fooling around too much. Just want to get in the car and go.

Winter Park may be an option for us too. I hadn't thought of the altitude question with Copper and maybe on day one that could be an issue. My boys will be fine, they are athletes. I'll probably be sucking wind like a champ though. My wife doesn't ski hard enough to worry about getting winded. She's a "2-3 runs and then go hang in lodge for an hour" (lather, rinse, repeat) kind of skier.

I just checked and Winter Park's base elevation is about 9K too. The nice thing about day 1 is that we are basically day-trippers that day so we can go anywhere as long as it gets us in the general direction of Steamboat. WP is on the Max Pass too, so it's an option.

I can't speak for other's but a night in the Denver area (Golden) is generally enough of an adjustment for me. Going from sea level to Loveland (10,800 ft) in one day would be tough though.

I'll be interested in what you find for lodging up in the Steamboat area as my plans in March are for a couple of days there on the way to Utah.

Alex

Lake Hopatcong, NJ
 

keyser soze

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Sounds like a great trip. I like the idea of shipping the skis ahead rather than lugging them through airports. If you get a good discount it probably is not much more than the now ridiculous baggage fees if you are not flying SW. They are a couple of hours behind us so getting in so late will not be bad.

Are you sure you are getting a 4WD SUV? I heard it is not a given at DIA even if you rent a SUV. All rentals at DIA require a shuttle to the rental pickup and renting off site will surely be cheaper, but you are probably right about doin that late at night. I found that Costco has some cheaper rates and there is a free shuttle to the Doubletree on Quebec St where it is much cheaper. You may want o call the Doubletree and see how late the rental counter is open. Maybe stay there overnight instead of Golden. We saved a chunk of change doing that.

Have a great trip.
 

JDMRoma

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If your renting an AWD get it in writing. And be sure to have a copy with you when you show up to pick up.
Make sure it specifically says AWD

Showed up one year during a decent storm and rental agency tried to get us to take a front wheel drive. Stated that's what we reserved. Going through Rabbitears pass would have been fun ended up going to another rental place and paid just over $2000 for an excursion for the week.
Glad it wasn't my dime but they'll screw you if they can.

Steamboat is Awesome. Glades are amazing and whole town has an awesome vibe. Very laid back ski town
I was lucky enough to stay at One Steamboat place.great location but kinda pricey.
Trip of a lifetime for me both times 😎



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jimk

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Good plan. 1st night in Golden will help with altitude adjustment. Copper, then Steamboat sounds fine. Tons of condos around base of Steamboat, I'm sure you'll find something that will work. If your not quite ski-in/ski-out it's not that big a deal because they have tons of free shuttles. On return to Denver it would be fun to hit Winter Park for variety. Your kids might enjoy its batch of bump runs in the Mary Jane section, but if you love Copper (very straightforward trail layout) you could just go back there again. The drive from either to the airport is about the same, about 90-100 miles, but from Copper is all interstate which might be better if any snow is in the forecast.
This trip report from 2012 might give you a few ideas on Steamboat: http://www.dcski.com/articles/1330
 

dlague

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Good plan. 1st night in Golden will help with altitude adjustment. Copper, then Steamboat sounds fine. Tons of condos around base of Steamboat, I'm sure you'll find something that will work. If your not quite ski-in/ski-out it's not that big a deal because they have tons of free shuttles. On return to Denver it would be fun to hit Winter Park for variety. Your kids might enjoy its batch of bump runs in the Mary Jane section, but if you love Copper (very straightforward trail layout) you could just go back there again. The drive from either to the airport is about the same, about 90-100 miles, but from Copper is all interstate which might be better if any snow is in the forecast.
This trip report from 2012 might give you a few ideas on Steamboat: http://www.dcski.com/articles/1330
Funny things is, I live at 6800 ft higher than Mount Washington, yet still find the altitude at 10000-12000 feet to be a huge difference. At 700 ft or lower little impact but skating with skis at above that or even steep hikes breathing is tough some times. For some reason though while skiing a run we do not notice it that much.

We took Ginko before coming out here look it up it helps. Improves blood circulation.

While on vacation we took Altitude Adapt found in most ski shops. Sleeping at over 9000 (Dillon) feet was tough for us.

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dlague

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Altitude can affect fit people the same or worse than unfit sometimes. It is a strange thing.
Also has different effects of different people. While for me it is more about catching breath, my wife felt light headed and had breathing issues, my youngest son felt fine then on day three started feeling altitude sickness. Our son from California visited and he too started having issues after day 2 with altitude sickness.

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Whitey

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Thanks all, good tips/feedback. Gonna need to be sure I lock down that the rental company is giving me a AWD SUV. The tips on the altitude and liquids are good ones too.

Regarding the liquids/electrolytes, general questions: Do you do a Camelback, put some drinks in a backpack and take that up the chairlift, or do you just grab something in the lodge when you take chairlifts? My oldest has a Camelback but he's the only one in the family. I am thinking that I'll just throw some drinks in a backpack and leave that somewhere strategic near the top of a lift. Also on the drinks, do you just do Gatorade/powerade kind of stuff or do you go further and do Pedialyte or something like that?
 

snoseek

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just drink lots of water and maybe drop a nuun tablet or better yet an emergenc like once a day to keep up with electrolytes. Also eat decent food that will actually give you energy and make you feel good.
 

Smellytele

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Right where I want to be
Thanks all, good tips/feedback. Gonna need to be sure I lock down that the rental company is giving me a AWD SUV. The tips on the altitude and liquids are good ones too.

Regarding the liquids/electrolytes, general questions: Do you do a Camelback, put some drinks in a backpack and take that up the chairlift, or do you just grab something in the lodge when you take chairlifts? My oldest has a Camelback but he's the only one in the family. I am thinking that I'll just throw some drinks in a backpack and leave that somewhere strategic near the top of a lift. Also on the drinks, do you just do Gatorade/powerade kind of stuff or do you go further and do Pedialyte or something like that?

I have had the camelback hose freeze. If you use it make sure you blow the water back into the bladder after you have a sip.
 

xlr8r

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The last two years I have done trips to both Steamboat and Winter Park. For an overall vacation Steamboat is better as it has the better fresh snow, great town, a nice relaxed atmosphere, and less crowds due to its remoteness. Winter Park has better terrain and snow stays in better shape days after snowfall due to its elevation and exposure, but the town is really lacking, and the vertical drop skis short. Both excellent mountains, and both have excellent trees if if you are just focused on the skiing. Both trips I was by myself so I just used shuttle services instead of renting cars. For Winter Park I flew into Denver, but for Steamboat I flew into Hayden. You said you are going vacation week so I bet prices are high to get into Hayden, but look into it if you have not yet as it is only 30 minutes to Steamboat. I went the week after vacation week last year and it was surprisingly cheaper to fly into Hayden than Denver.

In steamboat I stayed at the Hampton Inn which was really nice, but rooms are probably too small for families for a whole week. As far as hydration is concerned, I do recommend getting a Camelbak, as I would drink several ounces almost every lift ride up. Camelbak makes nice skiing specific versions that are thin and lightweight with the tube insulated to help keep it from freezing on you, but still blow back after every use. Also both mountains had water stations to fill up in every lodge.
 

dlague

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just drink lots of water and maybe drop a nuun tablet or better yet an emergenc like once a day to keep up with electrolytes. Also eat decent food that will actually give you energy and make you feel good.
Great advice - we have visitors take Ginko and EmergenC and drink lots of water as well. There is lots of information on this topic online.

Bananas are good for energy and high in potassium.

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