Best place for beginners in CO?
March 2, 2007
I am interested in booking a trip in early April to a Colorado resort that would be good for beginning skiiers. I've never skiied in Colorado (or out West, for that matter) and was wondering if anyone has had a particularly good experience either as a beginner or skiing with a beginner out in CO. By beginner I mean someone who has skiied less then 5 times in their life and prefers to stick to the gentlest of bunny slopes. Thanks for any advice!
You might want to tell us more about what you are looking for in addition to just skiing because many of the large resorts will have fine beginner areas and extensive slopes for beginner-to-intermediates. A few that come to mind are Snowmass, Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper. The list could go on and on. Do you have a tight or open budget? Do you want to stay closer to Denver or would a flight into Steamboat or Aspen work for you? Are you going for just 4 days or will you want to be entertained on and off the slopes for a full week? Will the kinds of extensive non-ski diversions shopping, dining, bar hopping offered by expensive Vail and Aspen be of interest? Etc, etc. Almost all Colorado ski areas will be great for a beginner, except maybe Ajax (one of the 4 ski mountains near Aspen) and Arapahoe Basin in Summit county because these two offer predominately advanced terrain.
I might add that April is late season, so places known for good late snow retention on their beginner slopes, like Copper Mtn, Telluride, probably Snowmass & Winter Park, might belong on your list.
JimK, posted some excellent advice. To amplify one point, there are four mountains at "Aspen" (Ajax, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass, Buttermilk), all joined by a shuttle bus route. Snowmass and Buttermilk have excellent beginner terrain. Beginners should avoid Ajax at all costs (mountain at the town of Aspen) and also avoid Aspen Highlands.
As a beginner, I'd choose on cost and convenience; it will all be good (provided you avoid Ajax, Aspen Highlands, Arapahoe Basin and Silverton.)
I'd recommend Steamboat, IF you take the learn-to-ski package. Their program is fantastic. You'll be up to a low intermediate ski level in three or four days there, which opens up Wally World (the Sunshine lift) to you.
My recommendation would be Winter Park. It's fairly close to Denver, but gets and holds a lot of snow. It has great beginner terrain and lessons.
Nothing wrong with the suggest offered before mine.
I would first recommend that you go as early in April as you can. Even with a great base conditions can get slushy in the spring making it harder for a beginner. That said I would recommend Copper. No other resort I have skied better segregates the various levels of skier ability better than the trails at Copper. One thing to remember when skiing with a beginner, or being a beginner yourself, the great common denominator about skiing is that we have a commonality of emotions when skiing and discussing skiing. Where a steeper slope might look like a cliff to a beginner, a better skier has the same feeling when facing a chute or super advanced expert slope. It is all relative.
One thing I would like to get advice from my fellow DCSkiers on is snow level in early April at Copper. For example, I have skied at Vail in early April and found the lower slopes nearly void of snow. Sort of unnerving when you arrive and first look up the mountain. If I remember correctly, Copper's base area is higher than Vail's.
Scott, when are you going to get spell checker capability on this thing?!!