First timers to colorado ski resort

Old Mar 14th, 2006, 07:51 AM
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First timers to colorado ski resort

Hi!
I'm trying to help my brother and fiancee plan their honeymoon for mid January of next year. They want to go from SFO to Colorado for 4 days of skiing. They are both intermediate skiers (blue runs mostly) and have never been to Colorado so they need a bit of help figuring out the best place to go.

We've browsed other posts and it seems the most popular places would be Vail, Aspen, Steamboat and Breckenridge so they would like to stick to one of these. Here are the questions:

Whick resort has the best activities? (nightlife, shopping, sightseeing, nicest town)

which resort has the best location that would allow them to move around and maybe spend a day visiting/skiing in another resort?

Which resorts would you recommend for their ski level?

What is the best place to buy skiwear at reasonable prices? and where can they rent their ski gear?

They're travelling on a budget but are willing to spend a little extra on a nice hotel. Any recommendations that won't turn out too expensive?

Where do they find the best rates for lift tickets? on site or on line?

Any dining recommendations? o anywhere they shouldn't miss going during their stay?

Lots of questions, so thank you for your help!
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Old Mar 14th, 2006, 08:21 AM
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Hi Paula,

Any of these areas would be wonderful. Steamboat is off by itself, so they would just ski Steamboat. Breckenridge is near some of the other Summit Co. areas. Vail and Beaver Creek are next to each other and huge. Aspen has 4 areas to ski, Snowmass having the most blue runs.

There are unlimited options for lodging, dining, renting. Start at the web sites for all these areas for info and lift rates.
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Old Mar 14th, 2006, 08:42 AM
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Aspen Mountain is a tough mountain to ski- no beginner runs. However, the nearby ski areas of Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass have miles and miles of green (beginner) and blue runs). I think Aspen is the nicest town- lots of dining, shopping and nightlife options. It's the one I'd pick if it were my honeymoon. I think of Aspen as the most "adult" of the ski resorts you list. There are lots of families at Snowmass but you just don't see as many in Aspen as you would at Vail or Breck.

Vail is great. It's has so much terrain for all levels. I love the back bowls. The only drawback is its location along Interstate 70. Ski runs on the front side of Vail with views of the interstate are just not my idea of "getting away from it all". They can easily go over to Beaver Creek to ski from Vail, and the Summit County resorts of Breck, Copper, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin are a doable day ski trip from Vail.

Breck would be my 3rd choice. It gets a lot of day skier traffic from Denver on weekends. It would probably be the cheapest of the resorts you list but I hesitate to use the word "cheap" to describe the expensive sport of skiing.

Steamboat is a great western town. It's the most isolated of the resorts. There would be no other ski resorts nearby. Dining is most limited at Steamboat as well. Howefver, for 4 days, they'd have plenty of choices. While Steamboat does a few nice restaurants, I would describe the dining as mostly "burgers, steak, and beer" (jmho).

As for rentals, it's easy to rent skis at any resort.

When they've picked a destination, try www.epicski.com on the resorts board, where many more skiers who can answer their specific questions.
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Old Mar 14th, 2006, 08:43 AM
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We went to Snowmass for 10/12 years in a row when the kids were just starting to ski. There are "tons" of things to do in the area. You can visit Aspen for outstanding food and shopping. There are great restaurants all over the area. Snowmass has more intermediate ski runs that any place I've been. Fly to Denver from SFO and rent a car then drive to Snowmass. It's about 4 hours but much easier than flying into Aspen on a small plane in the winter. Bad weather can cause you to miss your flight and you will need a car anyway. SB is out of the way. Vail and Beaver Creek would be good choices but Snowmass has more I think. You will not run out of fun things to do at SM and Aspen. We used to stay at The Silver Tree at Snowmass as you could ski in/ski out. I have not been there in several years though. If you stay at SM you can ski 4/5 other areas close by. Go to www.chowhound.com for restaurants. Good luck.
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Old Mar 14th, 2006, 08:52 AM
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I agree that Aspen would be #1 and Vail would be #2 on my list. Don't let people start telling you that Aspen is too expensive. It CAN be but it doesn't HAVE to be expensive.

Go to www.aspensnowmass.com for a plethora of info- lodging, restaurants, ski resorts, etc. Ski rentals are reduced 20% when ordered online, lift tix for non holiday/peak times are discounted from the window price when purchased online in advance. Ski at Snowmass, eat in Aspen.

If they fly to Denver and drive the 4 1/2 hrs to Aspen they can stop at Gart Sports at the Silverthorn exit and outfit themselves at reasonable prices with a great selection. Then go a little farther down the road and eat lunch at Beavercreek before heading through Glenwood Canyon (lovely part of the drive) to Aspen.

Silvertree and Wildwood Hotels are both close to the runs at Snowmass and to the Snowmass Mall area. Also, check out www.vrbo.com for Snowmass and Aspen area condos.
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Old Mar 14th, 2006, 08:54 AM
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BTW, a great wedding present would be to get them a lunch or dinner at Pine Creek Cookhouse on Castle Creek Rd. outside of Aspen. They meet at the nordic center, take a sleigh ride or cross country ski to a beautiful log lodge and enjoy a wonderful meal. The view during the day is gorgeous. Check out their website.
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Old Mar 14th, 2006, 09:06 AM
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I agree with amwosu, Aspen would be #1 and Vail #2. I just returned from Aspen and had a great time. I think they could ski Aspen with no problem. There are plenty of trails for the intermediate skier and there are the other mountains very close by. I stayed at the Sky hotel and loved it. I posted my trip report about a week ago. You may want to check it out.
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Old Mar 14th, 2006, 12:19 PM
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Thank you everyone for your replies!

I really appreciate the information and will start browsing the sites you all recommended. Since Vail and Aspen seem to be the most popular resorts, they will probably choose one of the two.

Cheers!
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Old Mar 14th, 2006, 12:40 PM
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It's me again...

Apparently my brother is leaning more towards Vail and he has a couple more questions that maybe you could help us with:

Is a car recommended for 4 days in Vail? or can he do without one and still move around easily?
Is there a shuttle service he can use from Vail to nearby resorts for a day trip?

Thanks again!!
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Old Mar 14th, 2006, 05:52 PM
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I'm not sure where they're thinking of going. I stayed at Beaver Creek when I was out there. It's about 15-20 minutes and there's a shuttle between there and Vail. I'm not sure how far Breckinridge or Keystone is, but I find I don't really need a car when I go to resorts. There's usually an additional parking fee if staying at a hotel as well.
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 04:35 AM
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Are they going to fly into Denver or directly to Eagle/Vail Airport? From Denver's airport they can rent a car to drive to Vail or they can take a shuttle service.

If they fly into Eagle they don't need a car. Vail definitely does not warrant a car, plenty of shuttles to the various vase villages at Vail.

I would do some homework as to which base village area would be best for them based on restaurant availability and maybe even which has lifts to mostly blue runs. No sense wasting time going to a different base area every day....

With such a short trip I don't think they should try to go to Summit County too. Just stick to Vail (and maybe Beavercreek) for skiing and dining.
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 09:19 AM
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Definitely try to fly to Vail/Eagle. It will save hours of driving.

One thing I did while at Vail/BC was eat dinner at Beano's Cabin. It's at BC, but I think Vail has something similar. You take a sleigh ride up to the cabin and have a 5 course meal. It's kind of pricey, $89/person, but I thought it was worth it.
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 09:47 AM
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I think there are message boards at www.epicski.com that might be helpful to you in your research.
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 09:48 AM
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Colorado Mountain Express is the main shuttle service from Denver or Eagle airports to Vail. ridecme.com They should definitely fly into Eagle if possible (EGE). It will save 1/2 a day in travel.

Once in Vail, there are free shuttles within town so a car is not necessary. If they want to check out a different resort, Beaver Creek is only 8 miles away on the public bus system. About $2/one way. The lift ticket is interchangeable.Because Vail is so large, they won't even come close to skiing the entire mountain in 4 days, but BC would be a fun change of scenery.

I would skip the Summit resorts this trip - you're looking at a 45 drive over a mountain pass to Keystone/Breck
or A Basin. 30 min. to Copper.

In town & Inexpensive for lodging is virtually non-existent. Sonnenalp is my favorite hotel. The Lodge at Vail and the Christiania are runners up. There's a Marriott in Lionshead thats been completely renovated in the past couple years. The Evergreen Lodge is a more basic hotel (used to be a Doubletree). Its about 500 yds to lifts - theres a free shuttle though to lifts and shops and restaurants. Easy walk w/o ski boots.

Sweet Basil, Larkspur, Montauk and Terra Bistro are my favorite in-town restaurants. They should get reservations as soon as they get in town.

Adventure Ridge is fun - even for adults. Take the gondola to the top of the mountain at night. Have drinks or dinner, go ice skating or tubing.
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 12:48 PM
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Thank you everyone for your tips!! they have been very useful and we appreciate all your comments.

They will definitely try to arrive to Eagle airport instead of Denver and take the shuttle to Vail. As many of you point out, there won't be much time for visiting many other resorts so they'll stick to the back bowls and front side and maybe one day head out to beaver creek.
We were checking out hotels and I can see now that most of them are quite on the expensive side. I guess we'll have to look around until a good deal comes along at one of the hotels you have recommended.
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 02:56 PM
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I've been finding the best deals by going through airlines' vacation packages (air/hotel/skiing), admittedly, I probably don't spend the time others do looking for the best deals.

Also, in case they decide they may want to stay at Beaver Creek, I stayed at the Inn at Beaver Creek. It was outstanding. I never had such personal attention.
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 04:05 PM
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You might try ordering an Entertainment book online for Denver as it will have discount coupons for lift tickets as well as discounts for restaurants and possible lodging. You will more than likely save more than the $25 it costs.
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 04:12 PM
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The entertainment book does not offer discounts on lift tickets for Vail. The lift ticket discounts it does offer are mainly for early and late season skiing. Save the $25.
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