one day in Denver
11 posts
8 users
2k+ views
wojo
February 8, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
312 posts
I am fortunate enough to tack one day on the end of a business trip to Colorado Springs (extra day is 17 Feb). I want to maximize my one day opportunity for skiing time and fun. Looking at the following: Eldora, Loveland, Keystone, A-Basin based strictly on closeness to Denver airport.

My flight leaves at 1840L Denver time. Please help me guess how long it takes to get to the airport.

Please offer suggestions that trade cost/time to Denver International at end of day, vert. diversity of runs, night skiing if I can make it there on 16 Feb in the evening, current conditions . . . . anything else you want.

As a new user I have found the group very easy to ask questions and get solid answers. Thanks everyone!
KevR
February 8, 2005
Member since 01/27/2004 🔗
786 posts
Isn't A-basin about 1 hr out of Denver air? If you have your own car, I'd say you're cookin' with gas.
SCWVA
February 8, 2005
Member since 07/13/2004 🔗
1,051 posts
I've skied all the areas you listed with the exception of Eldora. I've heard Eldora can be quite nice. Loveland is the local's Ski Liberty. (Man, I wish I had Loveland with 1 1/4 hours from my house).

I would ski Mary Jane at Winter Park. It is the same distance from the airport as A-basis & Keystone is. Winter Park has big fat bumps, lots of places to stay, great terrain,.....did I mention big fat juicy bumps?

They are all less than 2 hours from the airport.

If you have a rentacar, give yourself some extra time as the rentacar agencies are located on the airport property, but a good (driving) distance from the terminal. They have shuttle buses that take you from the rentacar agencies to the terminal.

Have Fun!
powderpig
February 8, 2005
Member since 12/5/2003 🔗
63 posts
Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time for security in Denver. Its either real slow or walk right through, plan for the worst unless you like to gamble. My friends who live in Vail and use the airport frequently have told me they cannot find any rhyme or reason to the crowds or lack there of. According to them its a crap shoot.

As for the skiing, I love A-basin. Its one of those places that really gives you the feel of the high alpine. When you get off the lift at around 13K you really feel like youre at the top of the world. Go prepared for the weather, it gets damn cold up there. While its not real big theres plenty of steeps and some nice terrain, especially in the Pali area. Web site says its 96 miles to the airport. Cant go wrong with any of the mentioned areas. Gotta love decisions like these!

-Pig
ICEHOCEY77
February 8, 2005
Member since 12/11/2003 🔗
17 posts
I did the Keystone night skiing thing over Xmas break, at the time it was icy and crowded, I don't know how it would be at this time of year. Another thing is that they don't have alot of terrain open. I'll second Winter Park/Mary Jane. Just stay on the Mary Jane side and head up to the timberline lift to get in some above treeline skiing.
twin58
February 8, 2005
Member since 04/1/2000 🔗
198 posts
Will you have a car available? Though I haven't checked, I believe vans provide transportation between various CO ski areas and Denver. Winter Park can be reached via the Ski Train, if there are tickets available. I've only been to one area in CO, and that was Eldora. The show stopper for me was that Eldora is, uniquely, on a Denver city bus route. Yes. The RTD bus leaves from the Boulder transit center. I was able to go boarding at Eldora without having to rent a car. The one way fare these days is $3.75. Such a deal.

RTD ski-n-Ride
http://www.rtd-denver.com/SpecialRides/Ski_n_Ride/

All Aboard the Ski Train!
http://www.skitrain.com/
Roy
February 9, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
The Eldora part is interesting. I didn't realize it was that close.

Take it from an old Road Warrior who has done the Denver thing plenty of times.

Night Ski-Keystone. Last time I was there, they mainly had one run open (Schoolmarm). But it's long and a great cruiser. The time I did it, they were making snow so beware.

Lodging - Stay in Frisco or Silverton. You can find a cheap hotel (Holiday Inn, Days Inn, etc.) for cheap during the week.

Day Ski - Considering time, I would do Loveland. It's right on the interstate so it makes easy access. Plus, it has all the runs that the big boys have (just not the quantity). Bowls, chutes, cruisers, bumps, and a bunny hill.

Travel Time to airport - Good weather, no traffic, 1 hour 15. Bad Weather, rush hour could be up to 2 hours.

Airport - Rental Car will take about 30 minutes from drop off to airport. (20 if you're flying United).

Check Baggage - If you're checking baggage, you must check it 1 HOUR before your flight. This really screwed me the first time I flew with this policy in place. It has also been 2 years since I've flown so this may have changed but don't count on it. You can call your airline to verify.

Price - You didn't mention price but Loveland is one of the cheaper (and then A-Basin I think). I love Winter Park but the switchbacks are a pain to drive especially if your pushing time. The Ski Train to Winter Park runs on a one-way schedule (Once in the morning and once in the evening).

Getting a ski day out of business trip - PRICELESS!
JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 9, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts
wojo, you didn't tell us what your skiing skills and preferences are, which could be a clue to what feedback we'd give. FYI last ski season I had fun at Eldora, Loveland and Winter Park and wrote about it for DCSki: http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_article.php?article_id=281&mode=headlines

Suggestions from others are good and all of the following may be doable:

Loveland ski area to Den airport: ~70 miles/1:30hrs
Eldora ~60/1:25
Keystone ~95/2:10
A-basin ~100/2:25
Winter Park ~90/2:05

If you just want one day of skiing I'd suggest driving up to one of the little towns along I-70 like Idaho Springs or Georgetown and spending the night there on the 16th in a mom and pop motel. Try a buffalo burger at http://www.buffalorestaurant.com/ . Then hit Loveland on the 17th. If you left Loveland at 3:15pm after skiing, in good weather, you should make it to airport by 4:45pm, plenty of time for 6:40pm flight (adjust accordingly for you own time management preferences). Loveland will give you a nice taste of high alpine Colorado skiing with small crowds and easy access to interstate hwy type roads all the way to airport. The only knock on Loveland is the sometimes high winds along the continental divide (wasn't windy for my visit though). BTW, Love's remarkable chairlift # 9 is currently open, here's the view from the top: http://bdagger.colorado.edu/~wachter/2002/04/Loveland/105-0587-98_PAN.jpg

If you really want to maximize skiing and do the night ski thing on the 16th then follow Roy's suggestion to visit Keystone. I think it's the only night skiing near Denver. Overnighting in Frisco/Dillon or anywhere back along I-70 towards Loveland should work to get to Loveland next day (or you could ski Keystone again the next day and head back to airport around 2:30pm.

Eldora is in a totally different direction west of Boulder in real pretty country. It's a fun ski area, but Eldora is below treeline and feels more like a gorgeous version of Snowshoe, than Colorado.

The Mary Jane/Winter Park suggestion is best for experts who want to ski big time bump runs. The drive back from WP to Denver goes over a major pass (Berthoud) that could be dicey if there are snow squalls.

Arapaho Basin is also best for advanced to extreme skiers, but is close to Keystone if you wanted that combo. I like Powderpigs line of thought about visiting a smaller (the term is relative) area if you've just got one day for an experience that is not so overwhelming or confusing.
wojo
February 18, 2005
Member since 01/17/2005 🔗
312 posts
Someone said you didn't tell us your level . . . well I thought I was advanced intermediate

I skied loveland with about 15 inches of fresh powder. Went with a friend who has instructed at Keystone. We stuck with Loveland cuz of the powder and proximity to the freeway and the airport. Blue skis, 0-10 wind. What a great decision. We were finding fresh powder when my legs gave out at 2:15pm and we shifted to a view "intermediates" to cool down. Even bought me a turtleneck. What a fantastic local

Now I know why people smile in Colorado.

Best Shirts:
Neon Shirt, big letters "Got Oxygen;" little letters Loveland

Longsleve shirt with Skier in the air above a mountain peak. Slogan: Loveland 13, 010 + 15
Roy
February 19, 2005
Member since 01/11/2000 🔗
609 posts
Glad you got some powder on the trip. Just enough to make us all jealous!
JimK - DCSki Columnist
February 22, 2005
Member since 01/14/2004 🔗
2,723 posts
Glad to here your day worked out. I skied there last year for two days and as I said at the time, "I fell in lust with Loveland."
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