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Old 10-29-2007, 10:16 PM
1 posts, read 10,144 times
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I am in the fortunate position of looking for a mountain getaway/ski house. I am struggling with the decision between Vail and Winter Park. You get more for your money in WP but I like the skiing better in Vail... But there are crowds in Vail... Any input appreciated!
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Old 10-29-2007, 11:43 PM
Location: Castle Rock, CO
260 posts, read 1,331,782 times
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It depends if you want to wine and cheese crowd (VAIL) or if you prefer the laid back, pizza and beer crowd in WP. WP/MJ is nearly as good, in terms of skiing and better if your advanced. WP/MJ is closer and avoids some of the I-70 nightmare traffic. There is less to do, but its not an overpriced Aspen-like place, like VAIL is. If your truly high-society, you might find Vail more to your liking. If your more laid back, go for WP. Wp is more "true" colorado, where Vail has become similar to Aspen.
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Old 10-30-2007, 03:17 AM
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If you like skiing at either one, then it's all going to come down to the "deal" you can make on a place that you'd like to call your 2nd home for the long term.

IMO, Vail still represents the better long term value between your two choices, because there's so much more to what you can do year-round. There's a lot more in the way of amenities, restaurants, other things to do ....

Contrary to the poster above, not all of Vail is the "high dollar" set. Consider, too, that Vail is consistently rated at the top of destination ski resorts of North America.

I don't find the haul up I-70 to Vail that much more difficult than the drive up to WP; but I do the trip uphill on Friday late afternoon/early evening and return early Monday AM if I'm staying for a weekend. That avoids the Saturday AM and Sunday PM crunch times on I-70. Of course, if I can go up during the week ... I avoid the traffic and the uphill ski capacity of Vail is almost never heavily used, with midweek liftlines almost non-existent except for holiday prime time weeks.

It all will come down to your justification of the higher price of ownership in Vail .... if you perceive value in that, then go for it. If you don't, then stay with WP.
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:33 AM
Location: New Zealand
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WP is more laid-back and has a more "local" feel than Vail.
The traffic to Vail on weekends is worse than to WP (you get off 70 much earlier to get to WP).
The drive over Berthoud Pass can be quite hairy in bad weather.
The MJ side has the best bump skiing in CO.
IMHO WP/MJ has some of the best tree-skiing in the state as well (mostly unmarked).

Vail has more skiing (acreage).
There are more skiing areas near Vail (e.g. BC, Summit County) when you get bored.
Vail has more amenities (restaurants, nightlife).

From a pure skiing perspective, just looking at each area on its own, I'd pick WP/MJ (since it has more advanced/expert terrain -- if that's your thing). BUT, the question is, would you get bored skiing the same place year after year? From a variety perspective, I'd choose Vail, because there's the Beav and the Summit County areas nearby (and Aspen isn't too far off either).

From a purely financial investment perspective, Vail may be the better option. VR is always upgrading this or that amenity every year at Vail. Intrawest cannot do the same at WP/MJ since the area is owned by the city of Denver and IW just operates it for them. So WP/MJ does not seem to be rushing to upgrade amenities and adding 5-star hotels and condos like the other resorts (thankfully!).
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Old 10-30-2007, 10:57 AM
Location: South of Denver
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As a long-time owner in both towns, I give the nod to Vail. While our Winter Park property is much nicer, we find ourselves in Vail far more often. Not only is there a lot more to do in Vail, it is a much more beautiful area.

Yes, I enjoy skiing Mary Jane more than Vail, and it's more affordable, but for everything else, Vail wins. There are still affordable properties in the "Vail valley", but that could be quite relative. After skiing Vail/Beaver/Arrowhead many times, you'll want to try other places, and Vail is closer to the center of all the ski action. Aspen, Copper, Snowmass, Breckenridge, Cooper, Sunlight, and even Steamboat are all a short drive away without any serious traffic issues.

Forget the "brie vs. Velveeta" comparison, Vail has a whole variety of things to do, and some of the best things in Vail are free: the 4th of July parade, concert and fireworks are 2nd to none.

I could go on...
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Old 10-30-2007, 08:12 PM
Location: Castle Rock, CO
260 posts, read 1,331,782 times
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I'm probably wrong as people have alluded to. But when I've been in VAIL, I just encountered a lot of "better than thou" attitudes and found it rather repulsive.

To add to this, Vail and Aspen keep raising ticket prices to try assume the "my expensive ticket is better than yours" crown.

THe pass to WP is overrated. They plow that better than they plow the streets of Denver, because they do it all winter long. It can be hairy if you decide to drive it in a blizzard -- but you wouldn't need to, you use the pass as "an excuse" to stay an extra night and enjoy the powder the next morning instead of work. Plus if you ever really get dumped on, you take a snow day and enjoy the power crowd free, as nobody can get to WP except the locals. I like that personally. If your looking for shopping, etc -- I guess Vail would be it. I figure that since I like WP, its also partly why I don't much care for Vail.
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Old 10-30-2007, 09:23 PM
Location: New Zealand
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I agree somewhat with b.adams that there's a lot more glitz and attitude at Vail than at WP (I've seen some of the most, er..."interesting" Bogners at Vail). However, I rarely spend time at the village(s) at Vail, and where I ski at Vail, the glitz/attitude crowd is usually not there either. So depending on how much time you spend in the village/restaurants/shops and where you ski, your experience might be different.

The biggest plus for Vail is the variety offered by nearby ski areas. That would be the biggest reason to go with a place in Vail rather than WP. For the laid-back local vibe you can always hit A-Basin or Loveland.

Since we get dirt cheap passes up here (through work) I guess I haven't paid attention to the ticket/pass prices. But that can definitely be a concern, especially if you are buying passes for a family. The full Vail season pass (unlimited skiing at Vail) is over $1,000 I believe?
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Old 10-31-2007, 06:08 AM
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I'm always taken aback when I read complaints about how this ski area or that ski area has an "attitude" that comes off as snooty or snobby or whatever ....

In view of the fact that 99%+ of most folks' weekend ski contact with the "locals" is going to be the service workers ... ski lift operators, ticket operators, hospitality workers ... and so forth .....

All of those folks are up there to help you have a good time and make a living so that they, too, can enjoy the ski season. I doubt you'll find any super-rich or wealthy with an attitude amongst those service people ... if they were that affluent, they'd be on the hill skiing, not putting in all those long hours as service workers.

These folks know full well where their jobs come from, and in the case of folks working for tips ... know very well their living comes from happy customers enjoying spending their discretionary dollars. At the worst, in any of the ski areas I've been to (which is almost all the ski areas in the Rocky Mountains since the late '60's), the service might have been a little slower than I'd like to have received ... but never, ever, have I received "bad", "surly", "snooty", or a "better than thou" attitude from someone seeking a tip from me. For the most part, I've received excellent, competent, and friendly service everywhere I've been ... from slopeside quick bites to sit-down formal places.

One of the key reasons for this, I believe, is that hospitality workers simply can't tell at a glance who is the high roller with the big tip apart from the riff-raff ... which is a myth, anyway. My wife and I are not rich, but we both worked as waitstaff through college ... and know what the business entails; so we both tend to tip well for good service. And many very wealthy people are not necessarily big tippers, either. Just from a practical point of view, the waitstaff has to look upon every service as an opportunity to get a decent tip ... so there's little room for "attitude" in the hospitality business (unless it's part of the "shtick" in an otherwise famous restaurant, like in NYC).

So, the balance of one's contact with fellow skiiers on a day is courtesy in the lift lines, on the lifts, and on the hill. In my experience, you can find out-of-control skiiers on any mountain, on any slope ... some inept, some over their head but trying, some simply wild with a 'tude. And you can find people who crash lift lines anywhere, or are rather expensively overdressed for the event, so what? You'll find the mix at every ski area from beginner to expert to double diamonds.

But on the chairlift, we're all kind of equal ... I've met a lot of nice people everywhere I've skiied who had no "better than thou" attitude toward others. We were all up there to have a good time enjoying the slopes ... and the lady in the long mink coat from Switzerland who I met on a chairlift and became good friends with, shared a nice lunch at the Cook Shack ... had no idea whether or not I was as wealthy as her family or not, and she didnt' care. She was happy to accept my hospitality at our humble house for years afterward ... and I didn't give a damn that she owned a 4 bedroom unit at The Lodge furnished with high dollar antiques, which I didn't know until years later .... If she, or many other nice folks I've met in lift lines or on a chairlift "sized up" my wealth by my ski outfit ... old woolen ski pants, a hand-me-down whitestag parka, 15+++ yr old K2's (712's, you know they're old ....) ... they'd have wondered how I was going to make the payments on the day's lift ticket ... but it just never has been an issue at any ski area, including some very high dollar places.

Interesting, too ... when I go to Vail on a busy ski day, and the cars are parked all along the highway because the lots are full ... most of the cars are Colorado plated. I doubt that the folks are going to all that hassle because they want to be abused or insulted or put down by "better than thou" attitudes on the hill or in town. Rather, I believe ... they came up to ski and have a good time, maybe catch some nice food and fun, too.

Nor do they come up there to brag about how much they spent on a lift ticket ... there's no "my ski day was better than yours because I spent more on the lift ticket" afterwards. If you think Vail's front range ticket promotions are expensive and you're a good skier ... consider this: with the high speed chairlifts and lots of skiable terrain, even I can ski a lot more vertical in a day there than I can at a lot of other places. As it is, Vail sells a lot of highly discounted packages marketed to the front range skier every year ... so it's obvious that a lot of folks see value in the dollars they're spending, and it's not to go up the hill to be abused or put down or encounter insulting "better than thou" attitudes which spoil their whole day.

For someone to buy an unrestricted full season pass at Vail ... they're most likely a local, who can ski better than 50 days per season. That's a pretty good deal, IMO. Many folks can't ski that many days per season, or want to ski several areas ... so the discount packages are designed to accomodate their needs at a reasonable cost per day of skiing.

IMO, someone posting an overall bad experience impression of any ski resort area ... absent a specific bad experience ... is more likely reflecting their own 'tude about an area and people.

Last edited by sunsprit; 10-31-2007 at 06:22 AM..
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Old 10-31-2007, 07:02 AM
Location: New Zealand
1,872 posts, read 5,786,830 times
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Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
I'm always taken aback when I read complaints about how this ski area or that ski area has an "attitude" that comes off as snooty or snobby or whatever ....
I'm totally speechless... if you cannot tell the difference in attitude and vibe between a place like WP/MJ and Vail, well then... never mind.

sunsprit, you seem to have a complete inability to accept the fact that different people may have had different experiences. And if someone doesn't like Vail, then it must be that person's fault.

From your posts, it's very clear that you and Vail are a perfect match for each other. Stay there, and spare us your sanctimony.

This truly, will be my last word on this with you. I mean, the fact that you always mention that Vail is the top-rated destination ski resort in North America by ski magazines tells me more about you than your posts ever could.
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Old 10-31-2007, 10:00 AM
11,256 posts, read 43,368,175 times
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Thank you, Fuzz for completely ignoring that I was being complimentary to the ski industry overall, the ski resorts that you favor, and the overall concept that most folks are up the hill to have a good time.

The wealthy folks I know in Vail and Aspen and Dillon don't go about putting airs on about their wealth. For most of them, the key to enjoying their wealth is to do nothing that calls attention to themselves and their money.

The only people I've seen that go about their business of making a show of themselves are either public personalities or wanna be's ... and they're easy to ignore wherever you find them (even on the slopes of Breck or Keystone or WP/MJ). They're a parody of real life who think that the TV image of glamour and importance has real meaning ....

You simply don't walk down the street in Breckenridge or Frisco or Aspen or Vail or Winter Park or Copper Mountain or Keystone or Dillon or the lifts area at Loveland, or any other ski town area and have active encounters with people out to "put you down".

How you keep up your pretext that Vail is so bad compared to Breckenridge because you're made to feel inferior in Vail ... or that all of the people up there actively try to make you feel so is simply pure BS. In fact, your attitude is insulting to all of the people who go up to the other places to do the same thing that you do at Breckenridge ... to have a good time skiing, enjoy the outdoors, etc. Fact is, even Breckenridge ownership puts you in a position of quite a bit of affluence compared to the average skier, too.

Yes, I can well tell the difference of the make up of the local communities we've been discussing here. But the fact that some are more affluent than others doesn't cause me to feel that I'm being harrassed or made to feel inferior or that the wealthier folks are there to be "better than thou" just isn't happening. No more than I'd get airs about being superior because I have been lucky enough to buy into one of the resort communities.

Also, I know a lot of extremely affluent people who own places in Copper Mountain, Frisco, Dillon, Silverthorne, and Breckenridge. They didn't buy up there to go slumming ... they bought up there because it was convenient for them to pursue leisure time up in the area.

Fuzz, you've been real consistent to spout your venom about a place you admitted you don't go to because you "know" it's too much of a put down to your ego and would highly offend you because ... according to you ... it's got "too much" affluence.

PS ... this is the second time you've declared in this forum that you weren't going to have anything to do with my posts. Why don't you do that? Thank you very much.
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