cheap airfare to Vail/ Eagle airport
Just wanted to let everyone know that airfares from DCA/IAD are really low to Vail/Eagle airport right now. I just booked for $237. You can get into Denver for around $200 but the CME (shuttle) costs $60/ person each way to Vail/Beaver Creek.
That's some great price but it comes at the cost that getting to Eagle/Vail is a coin toss. The airport is one of the most unreliable in the country due to winter weather and the necessity for pilots to fly an instrument approach with weather minimums so high that might as well be VFR.
I was in Aspen a couple of years ago and several in our party had to hoof it from Grand Junction instead of landing at Aspen and miss a day and a half of skiing...
My recommendation: Especially on low, quick travel fares, check the weather forecast closely...
So you're going to Wolf Creek? Have you been there before? If so, how did you like the terrain?
From what I've heard, Wolf Creek has the potential to be a great hard-core ski bum trip. Lot's of snow, little crowds, no development but tough to get to. (Kinda like earning your turns by having to do some hiking.) Haven't they recently expanded terrain with either a new lift or with a snowcat operation?
lbotta/Lou, did you go to Europe already or are you going soon?
In addition to being a challenging airport to fly into, along with the chance of the airport being shut down by weather, Eagle airport isn't all that close to Vail. It's a good 30-45 minute drive away. That is less time than it takes to drive into Denver. However, I think the drive from Denver is scenic, and by flying into Denver you have more of a chance to adapt to the altitude instead of flying directly into a high altitude. So there's pros and cons. (I've flown into both airports, but one time on the way to Eagle, we got redirected to Denver due to snow, and sat on the runway in Denver for a couple hours before flying back into Eagle. On the plus side, an avalanche had shut down I-70, so we wouldn't have made it from Denver that day anyway.)
Ive heard about the approach to Vail, how its radar blind and steep as can be. Saves me alot of time though as we are driving from Vail to Wolf Creek the next day. Ill be watching the weather very closely.
John L- This will be my first time at Wolf Creek. From what I hear its a bear bones mountain with incredible terrian and nice dry, fluffy powder. Its never crowded because its in the middle of nowhere. One might compare it to A-Basin in altitude and terrain.
There is definitely alot of hiking involved but I'll always hike for fresh pow and wide open terrain. This is the place all my friends from Vail go to get away from the Vail weirdness (crowds, $$, etc.). I plan to take some pictures and if anyone is interested Ill try and write a brief review.
Agree about the possible weather-related issues with Vail/Eagle County Airport. Definitely don't recommend it if you're going to Summit County, but it is a good option for Vail/Beaver Creek and Aspen. (Aspen's airport is more $$ and has even more weather-related issues than Vail/Eagle.)
One thing to consider about the 30-45 minute driving time to Vail. (From memory, I'd say more like 30 minutes with clear roads, with Beaver Creek being even closer.) Vail/Eagle is a very small airport, almost something you'd expect to see on the old TV show Northern Exposure. You can get your bags and rental car in a matter of minutes. I've done it as fast as 15 minutes. I've been delayed in DIA for hours getting my bags and rental car. As a result, you can get some skiing in on your travel days. If you're only taking a four day trip (lot's of us are vacation-time limited), not wasting 1 or 2 days travelling can make a big difference. On one trip, I left BWI on an early flight and was on the slopes of Beaver Creek a little after 11.
jiboo - Let us know about Wolf Creek. From what I've heard about it, the A-Basin comparison is appropriate for the spartan/remote nature of the place, but I'm not so certain about the terrain. A-Basin has some stuff which is truly hair-ball; not sure if Wolf Creek can match that. You'll definitely not be competing with a lot of people on a powder day. Enjoy!