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Opinions: Steamboat vs. Summit County

Edd

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Doing a late January trip to CO. I've never skied there. We only have 3 full ski days, Tuesday - Thursday, non holiday. The two travel days are well timed...arriving in Denver at 10am and on the departure day we're leaving at 5:30pm. BTW, we got non-stop flights from Logan to Denver for $250/person round trip! Thought that was a great deal. It's just me and a buddy, advanced skiers.

Steamboat is further away but seems big enough to keep us interested for 3 days. I like the idea of just concentrating on one mountain and spending some time exploring. Also, it looks like we wouldn't have altitude sickness issues at Steamboat. I've never had that problem out west but I've heard CO is worse than others.

Summit obviously has a lot more choices and is less of a drive. We wouldn't ski Breck because of its reputation regarding crowds but I've heard its a great town to stay in and we could ski the other areas like Loveland and such.

At the moment were letting snow conditions decide. It still a couple of weeks away so anything can happen. We are renting an SUV. I like nightlife but skiing is very much the priority. I can drink beers anywhere.

So, snow conditions being equal, what does everyone think? I'd like to hear your most subjective, biased opinions.
 

JDMRoma

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Steamboat still getting hammered right now, they must have incredible conditions....only complaint was getting there from Denver....I 70 sucks but once there its an amazing town.People are very nice, easy to get around....would move there if I could.
The mountain is plenty big, I skied it for 4 days this year and still feel like I didnt see it all
Didnt have any Altitude sickness but was noticeably dry....drink lots of water. We rented a toyota seqouia ....Big bucks on Christmas week....make sure you get AWD/4WD and get it in writing...bring email with you to pick up....rental agencys can and will play games with you.
Ive only been to Steamboat, but from what Ive been told they are the least busy area.....Loveland and Arrapaho will get more traffic off of I 70
I would think mid week non holiday you will have an awesome time......$250 round trip is Excellent !
 

SKI-3PO

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Tough call - the drive to Steamboat is long for only 3 days of skiing - especially if you get the weather that you want. It's certainly big enough for 3 days. But if you're worried about the altitude, I agree that Summit Co. could be difficult. I wouldn't worry about the crowds midweek at Breck in late January. Given your schedule, I'd probably stay in Frisco/Dillon where you'll definitely be able to find something affordable and have less than an hour drive to a number of great areas. Hit Loveland on the last day to get an extra half day+ with a reasonable drive back to Denver - assuming good weather.
 

jimmywilson69

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I've never been to Steamboat, so my view is skiewed, but I say do the summit County Thing. There are lots of affordable lodgin options in Silverthorne, Dillon, and Frisco. I recommend staying there as it is more "centrally" located to all of the Mountains.

If you have 3 days this is how I'd do it.

A-Basin Day 1
Breckenridge Day 2
Insert Loveland, Copper, Or Keystone on Day 3.

you could do Vail on Day 2 or 3 as well as it is only ~40 minutes from Dillon/Silverthorne area. You really need more than 1 day in vail though.

I have a buddy who lives in Silverthorne, so that is why we have stayed in that area. but what I found is that it is really a great place to say, because everything is a reasonable drive from your lodging. There are TONS of affordable condos to rent in that area as well. You could probably rent something for $100-$150 per day that would accomodate 2 people on VRBO.com.

My restaraunt tip is make sure you hit Q4U in Frisco. DO NOT skip this place, well if you like good barbeque anyways!
 

jaytrem

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Steamboat is a bit of a drive for 3 days. Other than that it would be my preference. It is a good mountain to explore for 3 days. I like the town better also. However if I only had 3 days out there and wanted to focus on one moutain I don't think I would do the drive. I'd probably go to Winter Park, partially due to my love of bumps.

For the summit county option I go with Copper. Fun mountain with lots of variety, even has free cat skiing included. It's always been a lot quieter then Breck/Keystone, though the weekday skiing will obviously help that. Copper can be also done pretty cheap with the Shell 2 for 1 coupons...

http://skifreedeals.com/ski-resorts-colorado-new-mexico.html#copper

You only need 1 10 gallon fillup to get the 2 for 1, and it usually very easy to get people to give you their receipt at the pump.
 

Edd

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Great info, guys. I'll take all I can get.

Given that we have two full travel days with convenient airport times, the idea of driving to Steamboat does not bother me.
 

C-Rex

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I wouldn't worry about crowds at Breck Tues - Thurs. They have some fantastic terrain and if the snow is there I wouldn't miss it. As you said, it's a great town to stay in. We had a blast bar hopping. Breckenridge Brewery has very good food and I haven't had a beer from them I didn't love. The Vanilla Porter is effing delicious.
 

deadheadskier

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I'd audible last minute based upon snow conditions.

Pros for Steamboat: cooler town, unreal tree skiing
Cons for Steamboat: long drive from the airport, no above treeline bowl type skiing. limited challenge

Pros for Summit County: much more variety, easy drive from the airport, lots of above treeline options, plenty of challenge at Breck and A-Basin especially
Cons for Summit County: high altitude can be a problem for some, ski areas can get busy, but probably not when you'll be there.
 

jimmywilson69

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I must be in the minority then, I have never experienced any altitude issues when In summit County. I primarily drink water all of the time though.
 

jaytrem

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I must be in the minority then, I have never experienced any altitude issues when In summit County. I primarily drink water all of the time though.

I think it's a genetic thing. Seems to have minimal effect on me, while it's a different story for one of my marathon running friends. Definitely something to consider if you only have 3 days, that's not much time to adapt if your somebody you is more effected.
 
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I must be in the minority then, I have never experienced any altitude issues when In summit County. I primarily drink water all of the time though.

i drank alot of water, but lost my appetite...i didn't feel better until i shoveled down some bbq my second day there...my advise would be to eat plenty even if you don't feel hungry
 

john1200c

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Skied Vail & Beaver Creek last year. No idea if that's Summit County or not. I had trouble with the altitude the first day. Last 2 I was fine. Went Superbowl weekend. Crowds were not bad.
 

snoseek

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I would keep driving on 70, get a place in glenwood springs (sleep lower) and ski Aspen. Don't forget to stop off in Denver for supplies
 

Edd

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I would keep driving on 70, get a place in glenwood springs (sleep lower) and ski Aspen. Don't forget to stop off in Denver for supplies

I'd dismissed Aspen because it looks a bit further from Denver than Steamboat. A lot of terrain there. If conditions were better there than the others if certainly go.
 

jimk

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Tough call - the drive to Steamboat is long for only 3 days of skiing - especially if you get the weather that you want. It's certainly big enough for 3 days. But if you're worried about the altitude, I agree that Summit Co. could be difficult. I wouldn't worry about the crowds midweek at Breck in late January. Given your schedule, I'd probably stay in Frisco/Dillon where you'll definitely be able to find something affordable and have less than an hour drive to a number of great areas. Hit Loveland on the last day to get an extra half day+ with a reasonable drive back to Denver - assuming good weather.

Concur with above.
Three day trip to Summit Co can be tough due to altitude. Just when you are starting to adjust it is over. Steamboat tops out (10.5') not much higher than where Loveland, Breck, Copper begin and is definitely easier on middle aged Eastern lungs, but if snow conditions are equal not sure it's worth the extra drive. Another possibility not mentioned is stay cheap at Avon Comfort Inn (using Priceline try a bid around $60) and ride free bus 2 miles to Beaver Creek for a few days. It starts at ~7 and goes to 11.5. For me that altitude difference over Summit Co makes a difference. I don't sleep worth crap in Summit Co. And it's not far from Vail for a day over there too. Definitely concur with the idea of hitting Loveland on your last day for a cheap finale even if you have to leave at 130pm. I just got a great sunshine/fresh powder day there on Jan 2nd. I don't think crowds will be much of an issue on a weekday in late Jan anywhere out there. You're gonna have a great time. They've had a pretty good early season out there and it should only get better by your dates. In fact if I had only one piece of advice it would be to stay longer! :wink:
 
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deadheadskier

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I would keep driving on 70, get a place in glenwood springs (sleep lower) and ski Aspen. Don't forget to stop off in Denver for supplies

Conditions being equal, I would do this over driving to Steamboat. It's only about what? 45 minute further drive? My ex spent a winter living in Glenwood and working in Aspen and I went out for a visit. I think the combination of Highlands and Ajax trumps anything Summit County or Steamboat has to offer. Snowmass has some good terrain to, but their lift layout positively sucks. The two areas with the best terrain on the mountain; Hanging Valley Wall and the Cirque both have crappy run outs and require two lifts to get back up and a lot of traversing.
 

steamboat1

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Breck, Keystone & A-Basin are all very close to eachother. Add Loveland & Copper which are also close & you have more than enough to keep you busy for 3 days. If you feel adventurous Vail & Beaver is about an hour drive.

Altitude only affected me the first time I skied Alta/Snowbird about 35 years ago. I got tired real quick & had to go back to the condo to sleep after only a couple hours of skiing. The second day I was better. I've returned to Alta/Snowbird, Summit County & other high altitude areas many times since & wasn't affected at all by the altitude. I live pretty much at sea level being only one block from the ocean.

I've never been to Steamboat even though that's my internet name but have heard good things about it. My internet name is completely unrelated to skiing. It was my nickname at work because my co-workers found out I'm also a licensed captain. I'm sure whatever you decide to do you'll have a good time.
 
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snoseek

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I never really considered Aspen area any further from Steamboat, maybe it is but it's not really noticeable. Once you get over Vail pass the road is smooth sailing and 70 mph. I won't drive that fast on 40 because I'm afraid of wildlife/open range cattle. As far as skiing goes Aspen is a no brainer, snowmass/highlands is absolutely amazing, best in Northern Colorado IMO. Sleeping low is important for me if coming from sea level, Glenwood is under 6k so very ideal.
 
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