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Yet Another Solicitation for Colorado Info

Zand

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I've seen some great information in other threads and basically just looking for the latest info. Looking to head out the week before Presidents' seeing as it looks like it's gonna suck here for the next couple weeks and they're getting the goods out there. Looking to do that stereotypical MAX Pass swing. Heading out by myself so a few questions for anyone who may have done this trip already. Looking to fly out on Sunday, ski Monday-Thursday, and fly back Friday (maybe red-eye so I can ski Friday as well).

What would be the better option: 2 days at Winter Park and 2 days at Copper, or 1 day at Winter Park, 2 days at Steamboat, and 1 day at Copper? I want to get a good variety of glades, bumps, and bowl skiing so if it's easier for me to just stay at Copper and WP and skip Steamboat for another time I don't mind doing that. But if Steamboat is that spectacular then please tell me to go there too.

SUV rental looks to be ~$500 on Expedia for that length of stay. Seems decently reasonable to me but does anyone know if any cheaper options? I've also read about various other ways to get around such as shuttle but if it's a pain in the ass I'd rather pay for the convenience of having a car.

I've read that people shipped their skis and equipment out and picked it up when they got there. What is the cost of this and how do I go about doing that? I don't have a ski bag or anything like that. If it's easier and not too much more expensive for me to rent the skis and just take the rest with me I don't mind doing that.

If I'm good enough to ski the black diamonds at Wachusett without falling too much, I should be able to ski the black diamonds out there right? :spin: :D

If I do that extra day should I do it at one of the MAX mountains or is A-Basin really so awesome that I should buy a ticket and check it out?

Anything else I should know? I've been going through a lot of threads and TRs so hoping that all you experienced people can help a Colorado first timer save a few bucks and help me manage my time as best as I can. Super pumped to finally be able to experience some of that great western snow.
 

nycskier

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Buy a double ski bag. Airlines count skis and boot bag as 1 luggage item and only charge you once. So if you pack all your clothes into your ski and boot bag it saves money and is easier to carry.

When I do Denver trips I like to fly out the night before after work, rent a car and drive to foothills and stay in a cheap hotel before driving to the mountain in the morning. It saves the hassle of driving I-70 at night and you can save a few bucks on 1st night lodging.

Steamboat is about a 3 1/2 hour drive from the Denver airport and about 2 hours from Winter Park. Going there really depends on how much driving you want to do. If you so the extra drive to Steamboat try and maximize your days there.

Abasin is a lot of fun. Usually if I have a late afternoon/early evening flight back around 6pm I would ski Loveland or A-basin and to save a couple minutes on the drive back to the airport.

If you want a spot to stop for food on the drive to and from the Airport on I-70 I would recommend stopping in Idaho Springs.

As for car rentals I would recommend looking for coupon codes and booking directly with the car rental company. Booking your car rental by linking to it or to sites like Expedia through cashback sites like www.mrrebates.com is an easy way to find coupon codes and get cash back and save on rentals.

Have fun and enjoy the Rockies.
 

BenedictGomez

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Buy a double ski bag. Airlines count skis and boot bag as 1 luggage item and only charge you once. So if you pack all your clothes into your ski and boot bag it saves money and is easier to carry.

Agree with this. Dakine makes one that's solid quality with wheels (you WANT wheels) and only about $130.
 

Edd

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For rental cars: Try using Autoslash.com. I’ve only used the service once last year, on a trip to Maui. I got a mid-size SUV for 7 days and it came to $230, which I found very cheap.

CO during ski season is one of the pricier places to rent an SUV. I haven’t tried Autoslash there yet so I’d be curious to hear how you do.


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JDMRoma

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For rental cars: Try using Autoslash.com. I’ve only used the service once last year, on a trip to Maui. I got a mid-size SUV for 7 days and it came to $230, which I found very cheap.

CO during ski season is one of the pricier places to rent an SUV. I haven’t tried Autoslash there yet so I’d be curious to hear how you do.


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One year at Christmas showed up at Denver and the rental place my brother used ACCIDENTALLY messed up his reservation and tried to give us a front wheel drive. After fighting with said rental agency they put us in a ford Excursion for just over 2k for the week, yes thats 2000 ! but it was a snowstorm and no way to get to Steamboat without 4 wheel drive. glad it wasn't coming out of my pocket !!!
So if you rent make sure you print all of your info and make sure you get 4 wheel drive in Writing !!!
We were calling all around trying to find something and everyone was quoting the same bullshit price !! Lesson Learned !
 

jimk

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I PUT SOME COMMENTS IN CAPS BELOW. YOU'LL HAVE FUN NO MATTER WHAT!
I've seen some great information in other threads and basically just looking for the latest info. Looking to head out the week before Presidents' seeing as it looks like it's gonna suck here for the next couple weeks and they're getting the goods out there. Looking to do that stereotypical MAX Pass swing. Heading out by myself so a few questions for anyone who may have done this trip already. Looking to fly out on Sunday, ski Monday-Thursday, and fly back Friday (maybe red-eye so I can ski Friday as well).
IF THE MAX PASS GIVES YOU FREE SKIING AT WP, STEAMBOAT AND COPPER, THEN I'D STICK WITH THEM. ALL THREE ARE GOOD, HUGE SKI AREAS AND IN GOOD CONDITIONS YOU COULD SKI 3 OR 4 DAYS AT JUST ONE WITHOUT GETTING BORED.
What would be the better option: 2 days at Winter Park and 2 days at Copper, or 1 day at Winter Park, 2 days at Steamboat, and 1 day at Copper? I want to get a good variety of glades, bumps, and bowl skiing so if it's easier for me to just stay at Copper and WP and skip Steamboat for another time I don't mind doing that. But if Steamboat is that spectacular then please tell me to go there too.
YOU CAN'T LOSE AT ANY OF THESE MTNS. HOWEVER, STEAMBOAT IS NOT KNOWN AS A SUPER CHALLENGING SKI AREA, IF YOU ARE MORE INTO SINGLE BLACKS AND BLUE SQUARES IT MIGHT BE A FUN CHOICE FOR 2 DAYS AND IT HAS GLADES THAT ARE NOT TOO TOUGH. THE TOWN OF STEAMBOAT IS ABOUT 3 MILES FROM THE SKI AREA AND IT IS MORE INTERESTING FOR A STROLL/VISIT THAN THE BASE AREAS AROUND COPPER AND WP IMHO. COPPER HAS MORE BOWL SKIING THAN THE OTHER TWO AND IS A FINE ALL-AROUND MTN. WP IS A GOOD MTN, PERHAPS MOST RENOWNED FOR THE STEEP BUMP RUNS IN MARY JANE TRAIL POD.

SUV rental looks to be ~$500 on Expedia for that length of stay. Seems decently reasonable to me but does anyone know if any cheaper options? I've also read about various other ways to get around such as shuttle but if it's a pain in the ass I'd rather pay for the convenience of having a car.
$500 SOUNDS REASONABLE FOR SUV. BUT I AGREE WITH JDMROMA, BEWARE THEY MAY SET YOU UP WITH AN SUV THAT IS NOT 4WD. (WHAT'S THE POINT OF AN SUV THAT'S NOT 4WD???) I'M KIND OF A RISK TAKER WITH CARS AND IF THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENTIAL BETWEEN CAR AND SUV I WILL RESERVE CHEAP ECONOMY CAR A FEW DAYS BEFORE TRIP IF NO SNOW IN NEAR TERM FORECAST. EVEN IF THERE IS SNOW, YOU CAN OFTEN BUY CHAINS FOR $50. BUT AS WE ALL KNOW CHAINS SUCK IF YOU HAVE TO DRIVE WITH THEM FOR MANY MILES. HAVE YOU TRIED PRICELINE FOR SUV RENTAL TO SEE IF BETTER THAN EXPEDIA? USUALLY HAVE TO PRE-PURCHASE TO GET BEST DEAL.

I've read that people shipped their skis and equipment out and picked it up when they got there. What is the cost of this and how do I go about doing that? I don't have a ski bag or anything like that. If it's easier and not too much more expensive for me to rent the skis and just take the rest with me I don't mind doing that.
I USE A CHEAP SINGLE SKI BAG, BUT ADVICE ON DOUBLE BAG IS GOOD. I HAVE EVEN JUST USED THE FREE PLASTIC BAG THE AIRLINES GIVE YOU AT THE AIRPORT IF THE SKIS I'M BRINGING AREN'T SACRED.

If I'm good enough to ski the black diamonds at Wachusett without falling too much, I should be able to ski the black diamonds out there right?
JUST MY OPINION, BUT IF YOU ARE A NOTCH BELOW DOUBLE BLACK DIAMOND SKILL LEVEL I THINK YOU'D LIKE COPPER AND STEAMBOAT OVER WP. BUT WP HAS LOTS OF BLUES AND SINGLE BLACKS TOO.

If I do that extra day should I do it at one of the MAX mountains or is A-Basin really so awesome that I should buy a ticket and check it out?
MANY FINE SKI AREAS OUT THERE, BUT NOT REALLY ANY NEED TO DO OTHER MTNS IF WP, STEAMBOAT AND COPPER ARE FREE FOR YOU. ALL THREE ARE GOOD AND HUGE.

Anything else I should know? I've been going through a lot of threads and TRs so hoping that all you experienced people can help a Colorado first timer save a few bucks and help me manage my time as best as I can. Super pumped to finally be able to experience some of that great western snow.
WHICH AIRLINE ARE YOU USING? SOUTHWEST IS GOOD FOR SKIERS BECAUSE TWO FREE BAGS. HOW MUCH DO YOU LIKE YOUR SKIS? IF THEY ARE OLD AND NARROW YOU MIGHT CONSIDER RENTING WIDER PAIR IN CO. HOWEVER, BOUNCING AROUND TO SEVERAL MTNS IS A PAIN TO KEEP GETTING NEW RENTAL GEAR. IF YOU RENT FROM ONE PLACE IN DENVER YOU ARE STUCK WITH SAME SKIS WHOLE TRIP AND WHAT IF YOU DON'T LIKE THEM? FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS:)
 

Zand

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Thanks for the info so far folks. Seeing as I'm going solo and going for the first time, I think I'm gonna cut out Steamboat. Sounds like 2 days each at Copper and WP will do the trick. Figure the first night I'll stay in Golden by the highway somewhere. I'll head to Winter Park first and stay at the resort (only $129...very nice). Ski there 2 days then Copper 2 days staying in Silverthorne or Frisco. Depending on how much my ass is kicked by then I'll either just do one more day at Copper or if I'm really feeling it I'll check out A-Basin on the way back to Denver.

I did a little more searching around and found cheaper rental car sites. HOWEVER, I can't for the life of me find where to request a 4WD. Can't just assume "mid-size SUV" is going to come with 4WD so where do I make sure I'm getting one equipped with that?

Also, thanks for the ski bag recommendation, I have Nordica Steadfasts which certainly aren't powder boards, but I'd say wide enough to ski powder. Embarrassingly, I've had them 5 years now and still haven't skied more than 6" of powder with them. Hopefully I'll get the chance. I'll look into getting a double ski bag and that should be more than enough for me for 5 days.

Jim K - the Wachusett thing was a joke :D I'm comfortable with pretty much anything in the east as long as the conditions aren't terrible. Jay taught me well for a few years. I know it's a totally different animal out there though. Since I'll be by myself if I want to get anything crazy I'm sure I'll be able to find some folks to follow, but otherwise should be good to go.
 

meff

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Call the rental company, everyone I have called has stated in CO they must provide AWD if you rent an SUV in 20 trips never had an issue getting AWD/4WD. If you have AAA there are some good rates on SUVs at Hertz right now for next week and the week after.
 

JDMRoma

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I did a little more searching around and found cheaper rental car sites. HOWEVER, I can't for the life of me find where to request a 4WD. Can't just assume "mid-size SUV" is going to come with 4WD so where do I make sure I'm getting one equipped with that?

Yes Id say Call rental agency and specifically ask for AWD/4wheel drive, and no they'll try to get you into a front wheel drive trust me its NOT a given.
Also get a confirmation email that states what your renting and Print it out so you have proof on you when you arrive, better to be prepared.
 

nycskier

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Most rental companies will not guarantee you a 4WD vehicle. I found this out the hard way when I had to drive a Chevy Impala through a snowstorm from San Fran to South Lake Tahoe because the SUV they tried to give me was 2WD. My advice would be to make two reservations for cars. In case the 1st place tries to give you 2WD go to the other rental agency!
 

xlr8r

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I went to Winter Park in March 2015, Steamboat in February 2016, and am booked to go to Copper this year in February on my MAX pass.

Winter Park has a lot of expert terrain, and beginner terrain, with actually not much for intermediates besides Parsenn Bowl and the Olympia Express area. Barely anything on the front-side of Mary Jane (the Super Gauge Express area) is groomed. Parsenn bowl, while intermediate in pitch is a fantastic area where open bowl skiing feeds into glades with varying degrees of tree spacing, I spent roughly half my time at Winter Park skiing in this area off Panoramic Express. Eagle Wind has steeper glades again of varying tree spacing, but everywhere else on the mountain there a glades to be found as the beetles have killed a lot of the trees on the mountain. Did not do the Cirque, my major regret of that trip. The Winter Park and Pioneer Ridge areas are a bit bland in comparison and tend to have long run-outs.

Steamboat is easier than Winter Park, but has a much better layout, has more continuous vert, and very few run-outs. I would recommend doing Steamboat as its own trip someday, as IMO it is best to fly into Hayden if you are going to Steamboat and take the airport shuttle. Once in town you do not need a car as the free public transportation there is great. One of the best aspects of Steamboat is its isolation from the rest of the ski areas in CO, so I agree that it is best to avoid Steamboat on this trip if you are flying into Denver.

This year I am going to Copper which looks to be the most well rounded mountain terrain wise. I considered going back to Steamboat but that would have required an extra vacation day to get there as there are no direct flights to Hayden from Boston.

If possible, try to fly on Southwest as 2 checked bags are free. I booked my trip with them a month back and got round trip for under $300 direct from BOS. In my trips I have not rented a car, I use airport shuttles and then rely on free area transportation, so good luck getting 4WD. Also one key thing if it is your first trip out west, do not forget to bring sunscreen, the higher altitude makes the sun much stronger, I got a bad sunburn all over my face on my trip to Winter Park.
 

speden

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I have Nordica Steadfasts which certainly aren't powder boards, but I'd say wide enough to ski powder. Embarrassingly, I've had them 5 years now and still haven't skied more than 6" of powder with them. Hopefully I'll get the chance. I'll look into getting a double ski bag and that should be more than enough for me for 5 days.

Sounds like a great trip; you should have a blast. I've done a few trips out west and have never been lucky enough to hit a true powder day. Usually the resorts I was at will get a big dump of snow the week after I was there, so resist the urge to check their snow reports after you get home. :) My east coast all mountain skis have always been fine for the tracked out or packed powder conditions I've had. I figure in the unlikely event that they get a 20" dump while I'm there, then I'll rent true powder skis. It's funny that you mentioned Wachusett, because the deepest powder day I ever skied was there during a freak storm. Very memorable day.

I use the double ski bag method for traveling west. I pack all my clothes and stuff around the skis to protect them and then I don't need a suitcase. I usually carry my boot bag on the plane with me and try to put enough stuff in there so that I could ski even if my ski bag gets delayed. But the boot bag is damn heavy and maybe I worry too much about lost luggage and should just check it in.

I see a lot of other travelers use a different method. They use a single unpadded ski bag that looks like just canvas, and it's so light they can sling it over their shoulder and then they have a regular suitcase with rollers for all their other stuff. That looks more comfortable for walking through the airport, but I think they must be paying for two pieces of luggage instead of just one, so I haven't gone that route.

On my last trip I flew United, and they have those self check in kiosks at the airport where you get your own luggage tags and attach them to the ski bag. The kiosk will ask you questions about the luggage dimensions and a double ski bag clearly violates the normal dimensions. If you say your bag is outside of those dimensions, they will try to treat your ski bag as oversized luggage and add on a huge surcharge, so I just said the bag was under those dimensions and got the normal $25 fee, and no one seemed to care. The only thing they actually check is the weight of the ski bag, so make sure your ski bag is under 50 pounds.

I look forward to some epic trip reports from this trip. :) I skied at Copper a few years back and loved it. The stuff on lookers right side of the mountain is pretty flat and boring if I remember right, but everything else was nice.
 

jimk

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Thanks for the info so far folks. Seeing as I'm going solo and going for the first time, I think I'm gonna cut out Steamboat. Sounds like 2 days each at Copper and WP will do the trick. Figure the first night I'll stay in Golden by the highway somewhere. I'll head to Winter Park first and stay at the resort (only $129...very nice). Ski there 2 days then Copper 2 days staying in Silverthorne or Frisco. Depending on how much my ass is kicked by then I'll either just do one more day at Copper or if I'm really feeling it I'll check out A-Basin on the way back to Denver.
Above sounds like a good plan. Now that I have a better idea of your interests and skills WP and Copper should be a nice combo. The snow situation seems to be coming around out there. IMHO A-Basin is a little more impressive and scenic than Loveland, but Loveland is also very nice and definitely handy to I70. The bumps at Mary Jane at WP will prepare you for the Pali Chair at A-Basin. Just because you have a rental car, don't disregard the free Summit Stage from Frisco area to Copper. I was out there once in a blizzard and it was great to catch the bus instead of drive myself even for just the 7 or 8 miles from there to Copper: http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_article.php?article_id=1212&..

PS: driving over Berthoud Pass from Denver to WP might pay for the SUV.
 

Zand

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Started booking things today. Jetblue was $265 round trip. Arriving in Denver Sunday PM at 10:30 and grabbed a room in Golden for the night. Reserved 2 nights at Winter Park Mountain Lodge which is right across the street from the village so that should be a good spot. 2 more nights at Hotel Frisco which is right smack in the middle of Frisco which I've heard is a good place. Have all day Friday to ski a little more and then mosey back to Denver, red eye flight leaves at 11:59PM .

Still need to work on reserving an SUV. Otherwise looks like everything is good to go.
 

Edd

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I’ve stayed in Frisco for a couple of trips. Numerous restaurants around; I recommend Tavern West.


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Zand

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Also bought the Dakine ski-boot bag. Good investment to have for future trips as well. Seeing as it's a direct flight to Denver I feel pretty comfortable checking my boots and gear instead of lugging them. Sounds like Jetblue easily passes them as a regular $25 bag.

Seeing a lot of awesome things about Copper. Maybe I'll like it so much that I won't want to pay for A-Basin the final day. Winter Park sounds a little more mellow but maybe the perfect place to find my western ski legs and get used to the altitude. Now just gotta hope for lots of snow in the next 3 weeks (except on Sunday the 11th :D)
 

BenedictGomez

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Also bought the Dakine ski-boot bag. Good investment to have for future trips as well.

Nice. You'll love it. Your shoulders will thank you as those wheels make a difference in the airport.

Seeing a lot of awesome things about Copper. Maybe I'll like it so much that I won't want to pay for A-Basin the final day.

Unless you're tight on funds, go to A-Basin, it's worth it. Or Loveland, which I liked better than A-Basin, but they're all worth checking out. I personally like both of those over Copper for terrain, though Copper's base area is top-notch for apres-skis with nice bars & restaurants.
 

abc

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I would leave A-basin alone. No sense pay for skiing when you can ski similar terrain for free.

The reason to ski A-basin is for the vibe. The terrain, while different and probably "better" for expert level skiers, aren't at their best right now due to the low base. Friend of mine who ski A-basin a lot love to say: "80 inch base may sound impressive, but there're a lot of 81 inch rocks"!

When you're bored with Copper and WP after using up your 5 free days, A-basin/Loveland would be a good diversion. Otherwise, save your money.
 

SIKSKIER

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Agree with this. Dakine makes one that's solid quality with wheels (you WANT wheels) and only about $130.

I have a double wheeled Dakine and love it.https://www.skis.com/Dakine-Boundar...MI8fjJy-rz2AIVArnACh3NowE6EAQYBCABEgKAzvD_BwE 2 pairs and plenty of clothes fit in it.Nice fat soft pull handle makes it so easy to pull around airport terminals.Multiple interior and exterior straps really secure everything.Wouldnt travel without one now.I also swear by this Dakine roller bootbag.Bulletproof with pullout handle and wheels.
 

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KustyTheKlown

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^love that bootbag backpack, I have that very one

I'm nervous about committing to Colorado right now. my buddy who lives in Denver is trying to steer our group towards crested butte in early march, and I'm trying to steer the group to kicking horse. I'm just not sold on this season's Colorado snow, and fear that it won't get substantially better.
 
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