TR - Loveland, Mar. 2
March 10, 2008
After the family trip to Steamboat my son wanted just the two of us to ski another couple of days; twist my arm.
Neither of us had ever skied Loveland Basin ski area, although I skied the pass, hitching rides, last May. It was snowing hard when we awoke and Loveland was the only reasonable choice on this day. We had stayed in Georgetown, a 15 - 20 mile drive from the area on I-70, all uphill, so returning in the evening would be all downhill with minimal chance of having chain restrictions. We had only a 2WD rental car and as soon as we got on I-70 we saw signs that chain restrictions began at the Eisenhower tunnel, and Rt. 6 over Loveland Pass was closed. We scored a 3rd row parking space and walked to the lodge in heavy buffeting wind; this was going to be good.
Loveland is a very nice area. (A word of caution for those who care about such things; none of the lifts have safety bars.) The lifts begin below tree line but most rise above it to something in the 12,000 ft. + range. The wind, snow and visibility convinced us to stay primarily below the tree line. In a storm such as this the wind comes from the west and northwest and we quickly learned that the mountain skis right. That is, skier's right and looker's left. That is where the snow blows in the deepest. Loveland's mellow terrain is in the middle and the steeper stuff is on both left and right extremes. We particularly enjoyed the far skier's right where a steep, down the fall line, run required a bit of a hike back to the lift. As the day went on the powder really blew in there. There are also some very nice tree islands on the right side of the area. We occasionally went back to the high windswept area but could barely see and certainly couldn't tell the difference between wind blown ice and powder pockets. The temp. dropped to 5 deg. by 2 PM in wind over 40 mph. I headed for the bar and John skied til closing. He went to Lift 8, on a local's recommendation, and found deep low angle powder and shelter from the wind. We enjoyed Loveland a lot and will return. BTW it cost $92 for 2 lift tickets, one adult and one 'young' senior. The crowd was light, not surprising in a major storm, but I am told that it is rarely crowded. Both Denver locals and destination vacationers tend to go elsewhere. I think Loveland is a gem.