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Old 10-12-2009, 10:33 PM
 
Location: Houston TX
5 posts, read 11,311 times
Reputation: 12

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Hi Everyone...longtime lurker, new poster

Myself and 2 female friends are interested in going somewhere "real fkn cold" (lol) this winter to go snowboarding and skiing (for them mostly, I am a n00b) and snowmobiling (for all of us). We can go anywhere in the country - literally - and even outside of America...we will be flying out of Texas. Some places we have considered are Canada, The Poconos (PA), Oregon, Michigan and then Aspen CO. We are looking to do this early January 2010 for anywhere between 3-7 days Cost/Budget is a concern but not the heaviest concern.


Canada would be cool but we dont know anywhere spectacular to goto.
The Poconos PA is a bit old fashioned imo.
Oregon is cool but not enough to do outside of nature/outdoors.
Michigan (the northern section) is cool but may not be the best choice.

I have been to Denver a few times but have never had an oppurtunity to travel outside of Denver. From my research, with the snow, I am guessing staying in Denver and driving into Aspen is a bad idea? Is Aspen still a cool place to go or is it a tourist trap? Any other suggestions, even outside of Colorado? Suggestions on places to stay, things to do, places to eat, etc.?

Any input would be greatly appreciated - thanks!
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Old 10-12-2009, 10:59 PM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
300 posts, read 1,110,181 times
Reputation: 194
Last time I was in Aspen (this summer), I popped back into Snowmass...that mtn. looked amazing to ski! Looked like nice wide and long runs. Didn't look like a ton to do there, but Aspen is very close (in fact, they have a shuttle to and from) so you can get your shopping and foodie fix in Aspen quite easily. I would not recommend driving from Denver to Aspen- many of the roads may be closed due to weather. Research it. What about Vail, CO? HUGE mountain to ski there! Great village (shopping/spas/eating)- we go to Vail every year. (FYI- Vail and Aspen have a slight rivalry going on! haha!). Breckenridge could be great, but never been there. Beaver Creek is also a nice little resort area (although I would choose Vail or Aspen over the Beav).

Also, Park City, Utah has some good snow. Check out Deer Valley in Park City.

If you are young, Mammoth CA is a very popular snow spot for crowds of all ages- but younger people do the condo rental with friends, etc. Would be a good trip. Big mountain.

Skip anything east of the rockies for good snow and good skiing! We have all the snow! I know east coast people think they have skiing....but come on!

Also, check out Whistler in Canada. =)
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Old 10-13-2009, 12:22 AM
 
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,344 posts, read 3,217,138 times
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Staying in Denver and commuting to Aspen could be a real headache. I would advise against it. In perfect summer weather, it's a long drive. It's nothing I'd want to contend with during the winter, especially with a poor forecast. Aspen is definitely a tourist trap and VERY expensive during peak season. The skiing is great, but it's also crowded. There are many lovely ski areas in Colorado, some of which are just as good (or better) and not as expensive. I personally like Copper Mountain. It's a large ski area with many condos available for rent and it's close to Silverthorne/Dillon, Leadville and Vail for shopping and site seeing. Keep your options open - there are many of them here!
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:02 AM
 
1,742 posts, read 2,686,077 times
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Try Banff Alberta (my old stomping ground). Lake Louise is one of the most photographed places in Canada. Skiing Banff | Banff Ski Packages | Banff Ski Vacation | Skiing Banff for Lake Louise, Sunshine Village and Mount Norquay RP

When I worked for the CPR (Canadian Pacific Railroad) we got comps to stay here. Very, very nice place. Banff Springs Hotels: Luxury at The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and Resort
RP
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:15 AM
 
629 posts, read 887,450 times
Reputation: 1610
Quote:
Originally Posted by ormand View Post
Hi Everyone...longtime lurker, new poster
I am guessing staying in Denver and driving into Aspen is a bad idea? Is Aspen still a cool place to go or is it a tourist trap?
Very bad idea. The drive from Denver to Aspen is 3.5 hours on a good day (i.e. no bad weather).
Yes, Aspen is a "cool place". No, it is not a "tourist trap".
Beg to differ, but the slopes in Aspen and Snowmass are never as crowded as the Summit County resorts or Vail/Beaver Creek.
It's more a destination resort as opposed to Summit County which attracts front range day trippers.
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:00 PM
 
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
5,656 posts, read 9,389,023 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ormand View Post
Canada would be cool but we dont know anywhere spectacular to goto.
Banff or Jasper.

Quote:
Oregon is cool but not enough to do outside of nature/outdoors.
Plenty to do in Portland.

Quote:
I have been to Denver a few times but have never had an oppurtunity to travel outside of Denver. From my research, with the snow, I am guessing staying in Denver and driving into Aspen is a bad idea?
Aspen is far from Denver, especially driving in the winter.

Quote:
Is Aspen still a cool place to go or is it a tourist trap?
I personally think it's really cool. It's definitely a popular spot, but that's some of what makes it neat.

Quote:
Any other suggestions, even outside of Colorado? Suggestions on places to stay, things to do, places to eat, etc.?
Sun Valley Idaho. It's basically the "Aspen" of Idaho.
Lake Tahoe. One of the most beautiful places I've ever seen.
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Old 10-13-2009, 04:55 PM
 
Location: Bend Or.
1,126 posts, read 2,442,395 times
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AS someone that was raised in Aspen, I honestly would not recommend it. You mentioned budget is a concern slightly. Summit county, Breckenridge,Copper Mountain, A Basin, will have everything you need at a far less price. Aspen has been taken over by the Mega rich...
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
2,251 posts, read 4,495,369 times
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If you can afford it, go for Aspen! It's got great skiing and it's incredibly FUN. If you reserve early, you can probably get a decent deal. I just read that the Hotel Jerome, the best one in town, has declared bankruptcy. Usually their rooms are around $600/day but you might even get a deal there. The drive can be tricky in the winter. Just be sure you rent a 4WD...or fly in to Aspen. Although I love Snowmass for skiing, I wouldn't stay there. It's just too far from the action.
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
300 posts, read 1,110,181 times
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I second Lake Tahoe (80 skeys- good call!). Been there many times, gorgeous place- crowded both summers and winters since its amazing year-round.
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Old 10-14-2009, 03:36 AM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,067,654 times
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Any of the major Colorado destination ski resort areas will meet your requirements: Aspen, Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Steamboat Springs. Even Loveland will do if you'll get lodging in Idaho Springs for the very short commute to the ski area (and Loveland can have some of the "best" skiing in Colorado at times, depending upon snowfall on their very good terrain). As will the Park City UT ski areas. Or Jackson, WY, or Sun Valley ID or Taos NM. All of these Rocky Mountain region ski areas can have excellent conditions and "good" ski vacation package deals for you. And don't forget the California/Nevada ski areas, too ... with some great towns to vacation and great skiing, too.

They all offer slopes, housing/motel/hotel/condo's, night life, shopping ....

So the choice comes down to how much do you consider an affordable cost for your trip?

As you are a NOOB skier, the discussion about who has the "best skiing" is not a big issue ... you won't be on the steepest, deepest, most challenging, longest ... whatever the parameters are by which skiing experts argue who has "the best" slopes. You'll be on beginner slopes, for the most part, and slope maintenance and grooming are pretty good at all the major ski resorts for that segment of the ski crowd; some folks will never want to progress past the "greens", some will be challenged by improving skills and more demanding slopes. The key is to go out there and have fun, you don't have to prove that you're an olympic skier in the making to do that. Your bigger concerns will be the overall vacation experience ... the dining, shopping, "night life", convenience for your activities, and the cost.

From that perspective, my preference is Vail, and it's the choice of many other folks, too, when you read the skier's surveys in the ski industry magazines. Yes, I know ... there are folks on this forum who will poo-poo those reader surveys, but there's a lot to be said for Vail coming in as the skiers/ski industry top choice year-in year-out for a ski vacation experience. Aspen's certainly a top ski destination resort for many, but take a look at how it rates by so many people who ski and rate a lot of other resorts as a better place to go on many of the categories of the survey. It's got a lot of competition for what it offers when it comes to an overall vacation experience ....

As one who's been going to Aspen since 1964, and have the luxury of staying with friends in the area so my lodging cost is zip ... I still find that Aspen is a lot more expensive than most other ski resorts when it comes to the rest of the expenses for my skiing. However, there's a lot to be said for paying the price and saying you've been there and had a great time .... and I've been there on a fair number of days when there were lift lines with the same wait as many other ski resorts. Are Snowmass or Ajax great places to ski? of course, with gorgeous vistas and wonderful slopes ... as are so many other ski resorts, too. It's what the industry is all about ....

It's true that the closer to Denver/Front Range ski resorts can have an influx of day (or weekend only) skiers on the weekends compared to the mid-week skiers compared to the more remote destination resorts, but places like Vail have such a huge hourly uphill capacity (and so much terrain) that it's not going to spoil your skiing experience. The places on the mountain where there may be significant lift lines are the more difficult/remote/expert terrain ... back bowls, for example, at Vail, can be a busy area, but not a likely area for your skiing at this point.

Another concern you may have will be your friend's skiing ... if they are advanced skiers. You may want to hold off making a decision for awhile until you can see which ski area has better snow, as in some ski seasons certain areas may have "great snow" while others are just having a ho-hum ski condition year. Snow trumps all other factors if the resort you've chosen doesn't have good skiing that season and another area does have good snow .... We've seen this type of weather/snow pattern in some recent years where regions of the USA don't have snow on the slopes and others do, or where some Colorado ski areas were at minimal snowfall while others had the benefit of some great dumps of snow which covered the slopes really well.

Another factor that may help your decision: a total "ski package" vacation deal. Inclusive of lodging, ski equipment rental, lessons, and lift tickets. These can be one heck of a deal as the competition in the ski tourism industry heats up this year and if you don't have your own gear or don't want to lug it along for your travels. Keep watching on-line for these packages. My bet is that the ski tourism industry is still in a recession and will be pulling out all the stops this year to attract clients with some really good discount deals/packages. As we get closer to the ski season, which is just around the corner right now, the various ski areas/lodges will be watching their advance reservations bookings and be aggressively lowering prices to keep occupancy rates and skier days up. They've got a very perishable commodity to sell and unsold room nights are a big loss to them .... If the entire USA ski industry areas have a great winter, with good snowfall coverage, you're going to see a lot of competition between the NewEngland, Pacific Northwest, and Rocky Mountain area ski resorts for the skier dollar. IMO, the temps and moisture patterns this year are setting up for a lot of snow across the country ....

Whichever area you choose ... have fun, ski safe, and enjoy!

Last edited by sunsprit; 10-14-2009 at 04:19 AM..
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