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Old 12-15-2011, 05:36 PM
 
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I do day trips almost every weekend and during the weekdays when my class/work schedule allow it (I am a junior at Colorado State University). Hotel rooms start at about $99/night and that is considered cheap. You many get lucky if its not a holiday weekend and find a $75-$85 room but that is rare. However spending $8000 a year prevents me from having this luxury. My current tally is 15 days up in the mountains. This season has been somewhat disappointing in the fact that all of the winter storms keep "splitting" around Colorado and either going to the north or south.

Don't only consider Vail, Vail is more or less just a brand name. Also consider Winter Park, Loveland Ski Area, Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain, all of which you will pass on your way to Vail. They are just as good as Vail at about half the price tag. Vail is charging $116 for a single day walk up lift ticket this year.
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Old 12-15-2011, 05:48 PM
 
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Wink Skiing, pleasure & then something else

I have no idea how many people from Colorado Springs head into the mountains skiing, but unless half the town does then it is bound to be better than I-70 out of Denver at times.

Check Google and you'll see that it is a little less than three hours into Summit County from Colorado Springs, if using US 24, and from Fairplay CO 9 over Hoosier Pass (elevation 11,542 feet). Theoretically a little faster if north on I-25 to intersect with I-70, but as one would likely discover, a good reason to avoid such a route at times. Since I-70 at times anything but a picnic, I'll hazard the guess that staying on secondary highways through South Park will prove a lot more pleasant, and timely.

Another option, which in duration is about the same, but in traffic surely even better, would be to veer southwest towards Cañon City, thence US 50 to Monarch Mountain ski area. Less known and visited than the major resorts at Vail and Summit County, but still some great skiing.

Add all this up, including the time to walk through parking lots to the slopes, putting boots on, etc., and making a day trip from such a distance, while possible, begins to verge on masochism. I say that as someone who lived in Summit County and watched most everybody leave together Sunday afternoon, and together as well on I-70, while myself, if on the slopes at all on a weekend, then took a few more relaxing, and wide open, runs before the short and easy drive home. In other words, there is a lot to be said for spending the extra money and finding the right place to stay near the slopes. It will immeasurably add to your enjoyment if able to access the slopes easily, and moreover never on the road when everybody else is. Skiing unfortunately is not all that inexpensive. So who wants to add to that by including pricy lodging as well?

You do, that's who.

Unless up there so often that you can afford nothing but day trips, but might otherwise consider re-locating your home, then a good move is to insure the experience not a few crowded hours in lift lines and actually skiing, wrapped on either end by a whole lot of pain. No wonder so many have bigger dreams than aspirations when the weekend rolls around.

Something to consider, when not perhaps stuck in traffic on I-70.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:09 PM
 
9,816 posts, read 19,023,867 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgrrsh26 View Post
Back on topic how long of a drive can you expect from co springs to vail on a Friday night after work. How about a Saturday morning?

I get that it's arid and dry but it is still pretty beautiful. Does anyone have any shots of some parks near Colorado springs?
Instead of trying to downplay the place why dont you guys show me some personal shots of why it's beautiful? =)
I used to call the traffic on Friday night, the "Friday Night Maniacs", it can get wild and crazy as people try to beat one another up to the resorts.

Saturday morning can have a lot of traffic as well.

You are probably looking at 3.5 to 4 hours, maybe more if weather is bad.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:11 PM
 
50 posts, read 90,434 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post
I have no idea how many people from Colorado Springs head into the mountains skiing, but unless half the town does then it is bound to be better than I-70 out of Denver at times.

Check Google and you'll see that it is a little less than three hours into Summit County from Colorado Springs, if using US 24, and from Fairplay CO 9 over Hoosier Pass (elevation 11,542 feet). Theoretically a little faster if north on I-25 to intersect with I-70, but as one would likely discover, a good reason to avoid such a route at times. Since I-70 at times anything but a picnic, I'll hazard the guess that staying on secondary highways through South Park will prove a lot more pleasant, and timely.

Another option, which in duration is about the same, but in traffic surely even better, would be to veer southwest towards Cañon City, thence US 50 to Monarch Mountain ski area. Less known and visited than the major resorts at Vail and Summit County, but still some great skiing.

Add all this up, including the time to walk through parking lots to the slopes, putting boots on, etc., and making a day trip from such a distance, while possible, begins to verge on masochism. I say that as someone who lived in Summit County and watched most everybody leave together Sunday afternoon, and together as well on I-70, while myself, if on the slopes at all on a weekend, then took a few more relaxing, and wide open, runs before the short and easy drive home. In other words, there is a lot to be said for spending the extra money and finding the right place to stay near the slopes. It will immeasurably add to your enjoyment if able to access the slopes easily, and moreover never on the road when everybody else is. Skiing unfortunately is not all that inexpensive. So who wants to add to that by including pricy lodging as well?

You do, that's who.

Unless up there so often that you can afford nothing but day trips, but might otherwise consider re-locating your home, then a good move is to insure the experience not a few crowded hours in lift lines and actually skiing, wrapped on either end by a whole lot of pain. No wonder so many have bigger dreams than aspirations when the weekend rolls around.

Something to consider, when not perhaps stuck in traffic on I-70.
What do you do for work there?
Id imagine Vail would be some form of a treat, and a season pass would be necessary at a closer location of my choosing

Are there any areas along the front range with 4 distinct seasons? That is are there any areas that the snow sticks around in the winter?
I want to travel to CO so bad just by talking about it with all of you. But after discussing our "dream" location with my wife she wants to be able to look out the window in the winter and see snow =X.

Colorado springs sounds like heaven. How far is it from COS to the nearest "snow playground"?

also I assume snowmen are out of the question

Last edited by Sgrrsh26; 12-15-2011 at 06:31 PM..
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:36 PM
 
20,308 posts, read 37,804,669 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgrrsh26 View Post
.... Are there any areas along the front range with 4 distinct seasons? That is are there any areas that the snow sticks around in the winter?

... after discussing our "dream" location with my wife she wants to be able to look out the window in the winter and see snow =X.

Colorado springs sounds like heaven. How far is it from COS to the nearest "snow playground"?

also I assume snowmen are out of the question
The low moisture powder snow we get here is no good for making snowmen or snowballs. We will get a wet snow, but very rarely.

Two hours from COLO SPGS to Monarch Ski area.

You can see snow on Pikes Peak for about 8 months of the year, same for the mountain tops seen from the Denver area.

Most of the Front Range has what passes for four seasons in COLO, e.g., lawn mowing here at 7000 feet is a mid-april to mid-oct season. Spring and Fall are fairly short, summer is at most about 90 days.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
84,980 posts, read 98,832,039 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
I find few people on the Front Range get up to the mountains as much as they expect. It's kind of like skiing, getting up to go skiing from Denver makes for a long day or a whole weekend with lodging. It's a lot of driving and sitting in traffic to make it happen and most people can't commit that much time and money to do it all the time.
This is so true! Life has a way of interfering with such activities. If you're single, think once a month. Married with kids-once or twice a season.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
The low moisture powder snow we get here is no good for making snowmen or snowballs. We will get a wet snow, but very rarely.

Two hours from COLO SPGS to Monarch Ski area.

You can see snow on Pikes Peak for about 8 months of the year, same for the mountain tops seen from the Denver area.

Most of the Front Range has what passes for four seasons in COLO, e.g., lawn mowing here at 7000 feet is a mid-april to mid-oct season. Spring and Fall are fairly short, summer is at most about 90 days.
But it gets hot! Denver has an average of 33 days of 90+ degree days. The average high in July is 89 degrees.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:49 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
4,888 posts, read 8,905,194 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgrrsh26 View Post
Back on topic how long of a drive can you expect from co springs to vail on a Friday night after work. How about a Saturday morning?
With light traffic it would take about 3.5 hours. If there's an accident or heavy traffic add another 1.5.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:03 PM
 
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Wink 4-season Colorado winter

I worked for A-Basin, and a free season ski pass was part of that usual bargain.

The front range might come closest to what others elsewhere would consider true '4-seasons.' I've always considered the weather and seasons to be as much, but in a Colorado type of way, and obviously spring will take on a different aspect near sea level where trees are in bloom, versus 9,000 feet where it means it has warmed up enough to melt the snow off the evergreens. Although, technically, the sun can and does as well in the dead of winter.

However, lovers of snow will be hard pressed to enjoy themselves much along the front range. It certainly snows, and can linger to an extent, but not nearly to the same extent as in the mountains. If preferring your snow come and about as quickly gone, save in many of the shadier aspects, then stay down low (meaning mile high). Otherwise head to the mountains where snowfall amounts can vary significantly from one area to the next, but certainly in a good many places a permanent and somewhat deep feature throughout winter.

In Colorado Springs, wait for the next storm, or head west, and in quick ascent in elevation snow bound to be found.
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Old 12-15-2011, 07:56 PM
 
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What about Summit county :X

Seems somewhat modern with a target and walmart
Denver is 1.5 hours for the possible commute and entertainment
closer to vail
and is 285 usually open in the winter? acces to crested butte, gunnison and some other nice parks?
more snow!?
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Old 12-15-2011, 08:41 PM
 
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One main point I agree with and would add to is the accessibility of the beautiful places shown here and linked to the professional gallery and other "Colorado hype" photos. Those places, (old snow covered mine huts, lakes reflecting aspens leaves, scenic vistas,) require some heavy logistics to get to. You need to get up early, drive to a trailhead, find parking, get water/food, gas up for a 70-100 round trip (for trails near Denver,) or pay for ski parking, ride a shuttle, schlep your gear. It can be downright maddening on the weekend with traffic and even hiking/skiing isn't always cheap when you factor gas and a big meal at a Brewpub at day's end. (You always want that.) If you're just doing a day hike on the front trails of RMNP be ready to share it with lots of your Colorado neighbors. Really getting away (like not seeing anybody on a long hike) takes some time and work.

I live downtown Denver and I go to the mountains a lot BUT - I rarely do day trips unless it's a hike near Boulder or a WEEKday ski run in Summit County. Instead, I'll go to the mountains less frequently but when I do it's 2-4 day trips either camping, motel, or renting condo when skiing. Two days based in Alamosa, three nights in Glenwood Springs, camping near Laramie etc. I'd rather go slow and enjoy my time than cram it into a day trip. And there are many small Mom and Pop motels that are affordable outside the big resort towns. (And some even in them.)

I equate it to the saying "Anchorage is only an hour from Alaska."

Back to the deception of photos: I took this photo of the Collegiate Peaks descending into Buena Vista on 285 en route to Crested Butte. It looks like a calm happy mountain road, but this is a state highway usually teeming with trucks, motorcycles and motorhomes. And I didn't just turn around and snap this. I rose at 4:30am (had to be in CB at 11) and 20 minutes before taking this endured a fog layer and windstorm just north of Fairplay so thick I had to pull into what I hoped was a driveway while trucks sped past me as they could see above the low layer. And I had a sleet storm ascending the hill towards Bailey. Yes that complete whiteout happened just 20 miles east of this amazing view.



This was taken on a camping trip, three mile hike from our campsite, which was a half mile walk from the road-a bumpy washboard spur off Guanella Pass. It was a weekend trip Friday-Sunday. If this was on or adjacent a heavily traversed trail it would have been picked or stepped on by the time I got there. I definitely couldn't have found this on a day trip.


Last edited by jamesdenver; 12-15-2011 at 09:07 PM..
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