late december family trip

Old Jul 8th, 2019, 11:27 AM
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late december family trip

we are in the stages of planning a trip to Colorado starting in December 23-Jan 3. we will be traveling with two teens and a dog. I'm looking for advice on great areas to stay - we will be renting a pet-friendly house/cabin, that has activities for families. We have never been skiing before and I know at least my youngest (13) and I would like to go preferably somewhere not super crowded. Also, we both drive Priuses and will be driving out and back from Ohio, and while we usually don't have a problem in Ohio weather how likely are we to have issues driving out there?
thanks
Lauren
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Old Jul 8th, 2019, 11:45 AM
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You are coming in the high high holiday season and few places will NOT be crowded. . It will also be a 2 day drive from Ohio. For anyone skieng you will want to take lessons and it may be advisable to make reservations for them in advance of your arrival to e sure you can have a place.
You may want to acclimate to the altitude for a day or so before embarking on skiing.
You need to get your reservations as quickly as possible.
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Old Jul 9th, 2019, 12:17 PM
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I am sorry and I apologize in advance if you think I am being negative. BUT --- your expectations really need to be adjusted. ....... somewhere not super crowded....... does not fit anywhere in Colorado during your time -- Dec 23 - Jan 3. The week between between Christmas and New Year day is not just super crowded -- it is jammed packed. It is the busiest time of the year. Even the locals have enough common sense to stay out of the ski areas at that time of years. And the prices are the highest -- there are no deals. It is a poor time to learn how to ski because the ski schools are packed and you will need advance reservation. And you need to be booking your accommodations right now -- for obvious reasons.

Your Priuses will do fine provided that there is not active snow. CDOT does an excellent job of keeping the road open and well maintained because we want all of those tourist dollars and cannot have any tourist stuck in a snowstorm somewhere. We do have snow tire restrictions. Under certain conditions -- always announced with flashing signs along the I-70 corridor -- you must have adequate snow tires in order to use I-70 through the mountains. And there are inspection stations. The fine is substantial if you don't and if the lack of snow tires causes an accident or a traffic delay, it will cost your first born. CDOT is dead serious about snow tires when snow is falling and/ or snow packed and icy roads after a storm. To be safe you probably should come with snow tires. All season tires do not count. Must be a true M&S tire. Personally I would be more concerned with I-80 through western Nebraska.

The mountains towns like Breckenridge, even Vail, and especially Aspen can be almost magical at that time of year especially if the snow is falling. It is great time but it also enjoyed by millions. So plan accordingly.

Last edited by fmpden; Jul 9th, 2019 at 12:31 PM.
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Old Jul 9th, 2019, 05:04 PM
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My bit of experience of a Prius in snow, I live on a VERY slight hill, down slightly from my house to the road. My neighbor across the road is down slightly from the road. When it snows she parks in my drive as sometimes she can't get up the minimal slope of hers, really minimal. It may be her tires but still, I can't imagine driving in weather in the Rockies in a Prius.
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Old Jul 12th, 2019, 06:21 AM
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I believe Gretchen and fmpden are referring to ski areas closer to the Denver area. Over here on the western slope (Telluride and Purgatory/Durango), even during holidays we are not “jammed packed”. Both resorts have good ski schools. Purgatory is very family friendly and you would not need to plan way in advance to get into ski school or find slope side lodging. There are a variety of other winter season activities including snow shoe tours and sleigh rides. Check out each resort’s websites for more info.
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Old Jul 12th, 2019, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by bailey123 View Post
I believe Gretchen and fmpden are referring to ski areas closer to the Denver area. Over here on the western slope (Telluride and Purgatory/Durango), even during holidays we are not ďjammed packedĒ. Both resorts have good ski schools. Purgatory is very family friendly and you would not need to plan way in advance to get into ski school or find slope side lodging. There are a variety of other winter season activities including snow shoe tours and sleigh rides. Check out each resortís websites for more info.
thank you for the information I will check out those areas. I had hoped there would be some areas that werenít super crowded (I do expect a some that time of year).
We also do pretty ok driving our Priuses in the snow - knowing Colorado has more then us- we both drive 60+ miles one way to work and have rarely had any trouble getting around in the cars. I just wondered more how the roads were kept up etc.
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Old Jul 12th, 2019, 08:38 AM
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Are you driving in two Prius cars, with four people and a dog? If so, that's a fair amount of money for gas, and a lot of time on the road. Maybe you're better off flying someplace where you don't even need a car.

Can you board the dog at home? Because having the dog will severely limit your lodging options.
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Old Jul 12th, 2019, 02:08 PM
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Again, lets be realistic. First you stated your dates as Dec 23 to Jan 3. Is that the time in Colorado or does that include your drive time from Ohio? You are looking at two days of hard driving just to get from Ohio to Denver. And that assumes good weather. For over ten years we routinely made the run from southern Indiana and later the Chicago area to western Nebraska over Christmas. That was a 16 hour run and later about 12 from Chicago with Denver another six hours further down the road. And twice in those ten years we were forced off the road when I-80 was closed. Your Prius is no different than any other light-weight compact car and will be fine as long as the roads are relatively clear. Just do not dismiss the M&S tire requirement. I believe it is a $1000 fine if you cause an accident or block the road because of inadequate tires.

While I would agree with Bailey about resorts on the western side of the state, you have to get there. That is another six to eight hours from Denver or for all practical purposes another day of travel. Depending on the route you have to deal with some high mountain passes and weather can be a bigger issue. But even Beaver Creek has less pressure because it is further from Denver.
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Old Jul 12th, 2019, 06:27 PM
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Agree with fmpden that it will be a long and possibly daunting drive. Even though you don’t need to drive the more northern route through Denver described by fmpden, it’s still long and you will have to cross Wolf Creek Pass which can be pretty challenging that time of year for any vehicle. No one has a crystal ball for the weather especially that time of year. If you can do it, mobro’s suggestion to fly makes a lot of sense wherever you happen to go in CO
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Old Jul 13th, 2019, 03:15 AM
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Crowded has many meanings and for non-skiers who will be in a lesson it "may" be OK--you will be taken care of by the instructor and will be practicing on ski school runs and allowed on lifts.. In NC there are nothing but crowds and we are talking LONG long waits for the lift.

The drive to the western slopes will be close to 24 hours (that is DRIVE/car time). I have driven to Denver many times and IF the weather is such that there is a warning, just get off the road and get a motel. After I slid slowly off the road in Kansas twice because of ice, I just stopped and holed up 'til the next morning. Colorado IS good about clearing snow but stuff happens. So stay tuned to
Personally I think you need to decide where you are going to stay--find your VRBO with pet if you can. From the distance point of view, I would think Summit County would be best if you are driving. If you decide to fly, then see what VRBO has for those areas.
And I also didn't understand if two cars were being driven. Do Priuses have tires that make driving in snow different?
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Old Jul 13th, 2019, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Gretchen View Post
Crowded has many meanings and for non-skiers who will be in a lesson it "may" be OK--you will be taken care of by the instructor and will be practicing on ski school runs and allowed on lifts.. In NC there are nothing but crowds and we are talking LONG long waits for the lift.

The drive to the western slopes will be close to 24 hours (that is DRIVE/car time). I have driven to Denver many times and IF the weather is such that there is a warning, just get off the road and get a motel. After I slid slowly off the road in Kansas twice because of ice, I just stopped and holed up 'til the next morning. Colorado IS good about clearing snow but stuff happens. So stay tuned to
Personally I think you need to decide where you are going to stay--find your VRBO with pet if you can. From the distance point of view, I would think Summit County would be best if you are driving. If you decide to fly, then see what VRBO has for those areas.
And I also didn't understand if two cars were being driven. Do Priuses have tires that make driving in snow different?
we don't mind the drive - my husband just drove with our son to Iowa for a 1day football camp. No the tires arenít different - my regular Prius has a large battery that sits on the back tires, so that helps. We would take two cars so the dog would fit - we have boarded him before but he always gets sick after and has to be watched extra close for peeing in the house after peeing in a cage for - heís not neutered so they wonít allow him out wit the other dogs.
Thank you for the info about the roads and the areas.
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Old Jul 13th, 2019, 08:27 AM
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You have Colorado natives on the board so I won't speak to what they've answered well. But I just have to address a couple of things.

First: I agree, your dog would be less miserable going with you than being boarded in those particular conditions. But a lot of VRBOs don't want you to leave the dog unattended. So who is staying home from the slopes? I really think finding a pet-sitter would be an even better choice.

Do you know about Rover.com? You can find a pet-sitter who will take your dog into their HOME and there's no hanging out in a cage for 9 days. As my friend said who used it in San Francisco, the petsitter she got was willing to let the dog sleep in bed with her. She loved animals that much.

Second, the drive. I have lived in the Midwest and I am from the West. I have been to Colorado in both summer and full February winter.... Snow in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, is either in flat fields and roads, or hills. The Rocky Mountains are another story. There's a reason why all those people died up there on the Oregon Trail. Even the full freeways are much tougher conditions. If you go west on I-70 to where those "less than jam packed slopes are" you have to go through this crazy tunnel on a steep incline, and a canyon to get out there.

Is there any way you could rent an all-wheel drive SUV? You could fly/drive to Denver and rent it. I don't know if you could rent one with snow tires in Ohio. Maybe the Colorado folks can address this idea more if you're interested.

Last edited by 5alive; Jul 13th, 2019 at 08:29 AM.
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Old Jul 13th, 2019, 09:04 AM
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Not to put too fine a point on it but I wasn't really talking about not "minding the drive"--just pointing out the length to various places--and at best you will be arriving on Christmas Day and leaving New Year's.

Just for kicks I looked on VRBO and am not too sure about your choices with a pet. I hope it works out for you. And when you do have an area in mind DO make reservations for ski school as early as they will accept them. Equipment also.
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Old Jul 13th, 2019, 09:53 AM
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https://www.vrbo.com/749671?adultsCo...tIncluded=true

I looked on VRBO for rentals in Grand County, with which I am very familiar. This one in particular is very affordable, probably because it is at lesser-known and smaller Silvercreek, which is not near the main Winter Park/Mary Jane ski area. It’s between Winter Park and Granby. It has a small ski area called Ski Granby Ranch now, I think (used to be called Silvercreek). It's also an easy day-trip to Grand Lake from there. The Silvercreek development has a restaurant and a 'front desk'.

This location would take about the same amount of time to drive to, as would Summit County (Breckenridge, Frisco, Copper, Keystone). You’d drive Berthoud Pass, instead of Eisenhower Tunnel. Both have pros & cons. We have always preferred Grand County over Summit and have driven Berthoud Pass thousands of times since the 70s. Don’t let it scare you. We think the tunnel is much more difficult driving in bad weather.

Personally, I would never consider that cross-country trip in two cars during the holiday season. But you sound set on that plan, so here's one idea to make it work.

Last edited by MoBro; Jul 13th, 2019 at 09:57 AM.
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Old Jul 13th, 2019, 10:09 AM
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Another off-the-beaten-track ski area is Eldora. https://www.eldora.com
I haven't skied there in many years, but the CU ski team trains there and it's decent. Not sure about lessons, but you could easily find out.

I don't know if it has much in the way of condo rentals right there, so you'd want to look at staying in Boulder or smaller Nederland. Your teens might enjoy Boulder.
It would be a shorter drive to Boulder than to Grand County or Summit County.
Just an idea.
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Old Jul 14th, 2019, 03:31 AM
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I think I probably looked at that rental because there seemed to be so few that were even close to ski areas.
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Old Jul 15th, 2019, 04:46 AM
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Have you ever driven your Prius with chains on the tires? Are you aware that they are required in some areas during storms?

In any case, I hope you have good weather, but are prepared with a plan B if you do not.

It might be more cost effective to rent one larger 4wd vehicle and all go together. The two drivers could share the driving and reduce the need for as many nights on the road.
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Old Jul 15th, 2019, 09:03 AM
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You are getting a lot of eclectic advice that may or may not be appropriate. First, exactly what is your goal for this trip?

The advice for the off-the-beaten path ski areas -- Eldora, Silvercreek, Loveland, etc., is fine if your primary purpose is to learn how to ski. These areas will not have the same amount of pressure because they are basically drive-in ski areas. No lodging or resort associated with those areas. I learned to ski at Loveland in '63 when there was a skier dorm and bar at The Highlands but that all burned down decades ago. (To show my age -- lift pass at Loveland was $4, lessons $5, and ski rentals - $1/day). If your really want to learn how to ski or board that should be your primary purpose and you should devote at least four or five days as min. A week is perfect. One or two days just doesn't cut it and is a waste of time and money especially at Christmas/New Years period.

If on the other hand you want a Christmas card Christmas winter experience, then Breckenridge is perfect. - even Vail You can enjoy the ambiance, the food, etc. You can take a sleigh ride or perhaps a dog sled or chuck wagon event. Or just hang out in the ski areas and save the ski experience for another time. With a car Frisco could serve as a base. There is an excellent public bus system tying Copper, Keystone, and Breckenridge together with less frequent service to Vail. Breckenridge has a good, free internal bus for getting around Breck without driving.

As far as the chain law -- If chains are required -- park it. You have no business driving in those conditions nor the experience. And the same for four wheel drive. If you have no experience driving four wheel drive vehicle in adverse conditions, Colorado mountains is not the place to learn. The highest percentage of vehicles off the road and involved in accidents are tourists driving four wheels drive vehicles. Four wheel drive is of no value when trying to stop and four wheels on slippy/snowy roads give a false sense of security if you are in-experienced driver. Again, if the weather is that bad, park it !!! You don't have to ski to enjoy the mountains. So, exactly what are your plans?

Last edited by fmpden; Jul 15th, 2019 at 09:06 AM.
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Old Jul 15th, 2019, 09:36 AM
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"we are in the stages of planning a trip to Colorado starting in December 23-Jan 3. we will be traveling with two teens and a dog. I'm looking for advice on great areas to stay - we will be renting a pet-friendly house/cabin, that has activities for families. We have never been skiing before and I know at least my youngest (13) and I would like to go preferably somewhere not super crowded."

Yes, ldenne, what exactly do you want to see and do in Colorado?

A great area to stay is dependent on your vision-- skiing, snow-covered mountains, or what?
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Old Jul 15th, 2019, 01:16 PM
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Thank you. We want to get away and have family time. My youngest 12 is the main one wanting to ski - I donít need the whole Christmas experience of a resort. We just want to get away from home and business and enjoy the time together. We plan on packing some games and buying groceries when we arrive for the rental.
No chains experience for me my husband has had some - mostly form when he was a truck driver. I donít even think they allow chains here unless up in northern Ohio.
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