First time trip to Colorado

Old Jan 29th, 2006, 01:08 PM
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First time trip to Colorado

Hello Everyone,
Husband, son(14) and I are planning a week trip to Colorado mid April, 2006. (Sunday-Sunday. We have tickets to the baseball game in Denver. We would like to try some skiing first (as our Denver game is not until the end of the week)Very beginner skiers. We are interested in the Aspen area (Buttermilk). Plan on flying into Denver and driving up to Aspen and then back to Denver. Is this reasonable? Not great mountain riders (city folk). Is there an easy route? Any advice on hotels both in Aspen and Denver. We prefer to stay in the heart of everything. All suggestions will be appreciated. Thanks,
joemig is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2006, 06:53 PM
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Most of colorado's ski areas will be closed by Mid April. Arapaho and a few other will stillbe open.

BeanMan is offline  
Old Jan 29th, 2006, 07:19 PM
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I doubt that Aspen will be open, plus it's too long a drive (5 or more hours EACH way). Stay close to Denver by going to Arapaho Basin ski area; it will be open most likely til early June, if not longer, and is a fairly easy day trip. There's enough beginning slope there to keep you occupied.
sylvia3 is offline  
Old Jan 30th, 2006, 09:31 AM
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I agree that you don't want to drive to Aspen if all you want is skiing. A-Basin (Arapahoe) should still be open. With the great snow this season, a lot of ski areas may still be open in April, but not for sure. A-Basin is always the last one to close, so you can pretty much count on it.
We love Aspen, and it would make a nice place to visit for two or more nights, as there's lots to see and do there, even without skiing. But don't try to drive up and back in a day!
Old Jan 30th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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As already said, Aspen is way too far from Denver for a one-day ski visit.

Per Vail Resorts' website, here are the scheduled closing dates of some ski resorts that are within 2 hours drive of Denver:

Vail - April 23, 2006
Beaver Creek - April 16, 2006
Breckenridge - April 23, 2006
Keystone - April 16, 2006

I know there are beginner runs at Arapahoe Basin, which is the resort that usually stays open the longest (because it's at the highest elevation), but A-Basin is not known as a beginner's mountain.

I would suggest trying out one of the other resorts; those mentioned above (as well as Copper Mountain) are all an easy drive on I-70 from Denver. That late in the season, you'll have warm weather as you ski and there should be great deals for lift tickets and lessons. You will enjoy your day more if you take a lesson.
Lexma90 is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2006, 11:31 AM
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It is easy to get to Aspen from Denver and is usually a 4 1/2-5 hr drive but there will definitely not be skiing mid April as others have stated. I agree that Vail or Copper might be your best bet as beginners.

I would also suggest hiring a private instructor for the three of you. You will have a much more satisfying experience on the mountain. Yes, they're expensive but well worth the expense!
amwosu is offline  
Old Feb 3rd, 2006, 01:31 PM
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Thanks for all your good advice. We decided to spend five days in Vail and three days in Denver both at the Marriott. Any suggestions as to restaurants and must see places. Thanks,
joemig is offline  
Old Feb 3rd, 2006, 03:07 PM
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hi joe, i am sure you will enjoy vail. an easy drive from denver on I70 all the way!! biggest excitement will be eisenhower tunnel. its very long and an was an incredible project to build. vail is a very condensed village. town is on foot or shuttle. loads of great restaurants - ask locals for their fav place to eat that is open. you might enjoy a scenic drive one day. head east to copper mtn then turn south (a right) onto hwy 91 to leadville. this is the highest (10,430')incorporated city in the us. an old mining town. where molly brown came from. was once the largest city and almost named capitol. has view of highest peak in state, mt. elbert at 14,433'. has best mexican food in state at the grill on elm street. family owned and operated - they roast their own chiles every year! has a mining museum if that interests you. not a pretty town but stunning views w/mtns 360 surround.
to go back to vail head back out of town past the grocery and turn left on hwy 24 to minturn. you will drive past cooper hill ski area. then through camp hale where the 10th mtn division trained during ww11. (this is why most of the colo ski area industry happened. the men returned from war with a love of skiing and the central rockies and then started the ski areas). then over battle mtn which is kinda scary but you will be on the inside if you drive it as above so no biggie. into minturn and back onto I70 to vail.
another mtn day trip is drive west on I70 to glenwood springs for the day and go to the hot springs pools.
if you are not set in stone about the marriott in denver please at least look at they are right in the heart of downtown. the most historic hotel in the city. it is a beautiful hotel and a unique experience to stay there. it pricey but you are only there 3 nights and its truly worth it.
have fun at the game!! GO ROCKIES
virginia is offline  
Old Feb 4th, 2006, 06:46 AM
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I'm not sure the Brown Palace is really worth the price. It gets pretty terrible reviews on DH stays there for conferences held in the hotel and doesn't think much of it... Kind of living on past glory and if you get stuck in a room that hasn't been renovated recently its very overpriced.
amwosu is offline  
Old Feb 5th, 2006, 03:19 PM
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From a Vail local here>
Vail has so many fabulous retaurants it's hard to miss, but for your 14 year old son you might want to try some that have him in mind. I would recommend Fiesta's (best Mexican!) located in Edwards (a 10 minute drive on I-70 west of Vail) Pazzo's in Vail or Avon has the best Pizza in the Valley, Red Lion (great sports bar with a ground-zero, center of Vail location)
Take a day trip to Glenwood Springs (56 miles west on I-70 through a breathtaking canyon) and go to the famous Hot Springs. They also have a terrific cave there, if you are into that. In Glenwood, try Juicy Lucy's for lunch or dinner. Florinda's for dinner.
Your son will love Adventure Ridge on top of Vail mountain. Check out
Have FUN!!
localgal is offline  
Old Feb 6th, 2006, 08:07 AM
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There is a brand new Hyatt at the convention center in Denver that has good rates because it is brand new. Also Hotel Teatro gets rave reveiws and Hotel Monaco is lovely. some of my favorite Denver restaurants are: Rioja, Zengo,Bistro Vendome and Vesta Dipping Grill. go to:

milliebz is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 11:18 AM
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While in Denver, you should take your son to Casa Bonita. The food is mediocre but it is an amazing place, super campy with cliff divers, folks in gorilla suits, magic shows and the list goes on and on. It is one of my best childhood memories and I took my four teens there last year when we were en route to Breckenridge and they adored it. It is the "Disney World" of Mexican restaurants!
BellaD is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 11:50 AM
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Casa Bonita is HORRIBLE! The food is bad, the entertainment weak and the place looks like it needs a good cleaning.

Milliebz gives you some excellent dining choices. Vesta Dipping Grill is my favorite.
wtm003 is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 12:13 PM
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Try Loveland Ski resort. Much closer to Denver and pretty good trail selections (reasonalbe price too). It's before the Eisenhower tunnel, so you might miss the different scenery as you may encounter once u pass the tunnel. After skiing in the afternoon, it's worthwile to drive to Silverthorne, Frisco or Vail to stroll and have early dinner.
Avs19 is offline  
Old Feb 21st, 2006, 02:43 PM
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Localgal's got some great recs - Pazzo's, Red Lion, Adventure Ridge. If you go into Minturn - OOT Guests always have fun at the Minturn Country Club (not a real country club) or The Saloon (not big on the food at the Saloon - but the atmosphere is fun).

I do think that Fiesta Jalisco has better food than Fiesta's now. Fiesta's has a great staff that's been there forever and better atmosphere, but I'm leaning more towards Jalisco on food...this could lead to anarchy! blasphemy!

For more upscale dining - Montauk in Lionshead for seafood. Easy walk from the Marriott. Sweet Basil, Terra Bistro in the Village - great food. Sapphire was pretty good last time I was there. Larkspur is great, over in Gold Peak.

to Localgal-where is Juicy Lucy's?? I hear the ad on the radio all the time for it.
BLYVAIL is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2006, 01:36 PM
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You missed the point of Casa Bonita! It is not for fine dining! It is for a campy, fun memory! A family place. Kids just love it! It is like going to Wall Drug, or Ruby Falls. You gotta say you've been there! I like fine dining but this is just for fun.

BTW, the Chop House is very good. It is a converted Union Pacific Railroad building that is also a steak house/brewery. It is dark, relaxing and the food is good!
BellaD is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2006, 01:42 PM
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Even our little granddaughters are not all that fond of Casa Bonita.
Gretchen is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2006, 04:25 PM
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No Bella, I did not miss the point. I did not only mention the food. You must have missed the part about not being clean and the lame entertainment. I have been there with kids who did not love or enjoy it.

I agree that the Chop House is good.
wtm003 is offline  
Old Feb 24th, 2006, 06:43 PM
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Thanks again for your great responses, especially localgal and virginia. My son is now bringing his friend on the trip, so we need to entertain two 14 year olds. Denver is pretty set with what to do (baseball and basketball games). We will definitely go the restaurants you suggested. In Vail, we will take ski lessons. I would also like to try dog sledding. Glenwood Springs is on my list also. Any other day trip suggestions to do with the boys outside of the Vail area.
joemig is offline  
Old Feb 25th, 2006, 06:15 AM
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If you are beginner skiers I'd suggest Vail. I have always loved Vail for the fact that you can ski greens at the top of the mountain and if you want, take the gondola down to the bottom. Closer than Aspen/Buttermilk.
You might bid on Priceline in Denver--keep the "stars" high for midtown. Could save some major bucks.
Gretchen is offline  

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