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KJJ Nov 13th, 2003 09:29 AM

Aspen, Vail, or Breckenridge?
I will be in Denver during Christmas week, and wanted to go to a ski resort in the mountains for a Day Trip. I'm looking to site-see, but not ski. I'm looking for the quintessential Colorado ski resort experience-- which one should I go to-- Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, or other?

cmeyer54 Nov 13th, 2003 09:41 AM

Aspen is out for a day trip - Breckenridge is an old victorian mining town with lots of shops, atmosphere, etc. Vail is glitzy-er - not the old victorian type place but has lots to see and do. Breckenridge is close to Denver than Vail by maybe 30 minutes

Faye Nov 13th, 2003 09:44 AM

My favorite of the three is Vail. The village area is very beautiful with all the shops and restaurants, especially at night.

Strive Nov 13th, 2003 09:49 AM


This is a tough question to answer because everybody in Colorado has a different idea of just what the "quintissential" Colorado ski resort experience is. Of the three you mention, Aspen is my favorite, however, for a day trip you'd be looking at a seven hour round-trip drive (possibly more--depending on the weather) which would eat up most of your day.

Although it's the closest of the three I've never been a big fan of Breckenridge (Oh God, am I in for it now!). Vail is only a little farther than Breckenridge (about two hours from Denver--depending on conditions) and definitely fits the bill of what your looking for. Anyway, below I give my views on the three towns:

1. Vail--Kind of a faux replica (I know that's redundant) Alpine town. Very commercial, quite expensive but with incredible skiing, restaurants, shopping and hotels. Don't get me wrong, I like it very much but it's kind of a Disney-ized version of what an Alpine town looks like. Very pretty though--especially during the holidays.
2. Aspen--Different feel altogether. More of a glorified mining town feel to it. Still very expensive and commercial but not in as overt a manner as Vail. I used to live there and am still partial to it overall: to me it's much more diverse and interesting. Also features great hotels, restaurants, shopping and incredible skiing at four different ski areas--all in close proximity (although from Vail you can also visit Beaver Creek).
3. Breckenridge--Having owned a townhome in nearby Frisco I've spent a fair amount of time in Beckenridge. Although extremely popular, it is simply not to my tastes. Faux Victorian in style with some good restaurants, good skiing (IMHO though nothing compared to Vail or Aspen) and a few decent hotels. Unfortunately it's growing out of control and it appears as if all zoning restrictions have gone out the window.

Given your limited time and criterion, I would suggest visiting Vail. It has everything your looking for and will make a big impact for a day trip.

Have a great time!


mrt Nov 13th, 2003 02:15 PM

Aspen is the best choice but too far for even two days. Vail is fun but it is artificial and it only takes about an hour to see the village. Breck is the closet to a real town but it really is one tourist shop after another. Maybe you should consider Estes Park. it is much closer (about 1 &3/4 hrs from Denver) and will offer you the same type of experience as Breck.

BLYVAIL Nov 13th, 2003 04:23 PM

Ok - I'm biased, BUT...
Aspen is too far for a day trip. Vail and Breck both have advantages/disadvs, but because Vail was designed as a resort (thus the artificiality) its much more accessible than Breck. You park once (pay in the structure) and everything is within walking distance and its a pedestrian village. Yes, its faux European, but its still beautiful.
Just in Estes last month - very disappointed-lot of t-shirt, trinket, fudge shops. Thought Grand Lake, while touristy, much cuter with better scenery than Estes. (probably too far for a day trip though) FYI - Xmas/New Years are by far the busiest time of the year at the resorts. Take your day trip during the week. If you try driving up Saturday am, or back Sunday pm, you'll be adding on a couple hours drive time.

Coskier Nov 14th, 2003 07:38 AM

Pretty much what Bly said. Vail.

paige Nov 14th, 2003 07:53 AM

I agree with what everyone has said. Aspen would be the best option but too far. Are you looking for a fine dining and upscale shopping experience? Then choose Vail. If your budget is more limited choose Breckenridge. If you are into people watching I'd choose Vail. You can see a much more diverse and international crowd in Vail. Breckenridge would be more family-oriented.

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