TR - Loveland, CO - 4-10-2009
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scootertig
April 12, 2009
Member since 02/19/2006 🔗
365 posts
I just got back from a trip to Colorado. It wasn't a "ski trip," per se, but rather a trip on which I spent one day skiing. The main focus of the trip was to celebrate Jana's birthday, and so among attending a hockey game (Avs are not good right now), eating at multiple Czech restaurants (Sobo 151 on South Broadway in Denver is still the best we've found), and other general touristy pursuits (definitely recommend checking out Great Divide Brewing Company), we spent a day at Loveland.



Even though the parking lot was about halfway full when we showed up, there didn't seem to be anyone on the hill (as evidenced by this photo taken from the lodge):



Speaking of the lodge, I really like theirs. The lockers are probably the best we've seen anywhere we've skied. They use these electronic lockers, where you set your own passcode, and you can get in/out as much as you want. The small lockers are $4/day, the larger are $6/day. Between the ease of use, and the lack of a key to carry around, I think they should be mandatory for ski areas. The lodge itself is nice. Simple, but big. And the food's good and cheap.



On the way up chair 2 for the first run of the day, it was hard to believe the parking lot had been as full as it was:



The scenery at Loveland is really striking. We found ourselves taking tons of pictures like these:







It was a return trip for us, after having been there last year. This year, we wanted to ski there again, now that we were kind of familiar with the mountain. I had no idea what to expect for conditions, as they've been getting snow semi-regularly over the past few weeks. We had about 2 inches overnight before we skied there, and conditions were variable. In some spots, it really felt like mid-winter packed powder, and in other places, it was spongy, sticky spring wet powder. Down low (ha! nothing at Loveland is really "low") at the base, there was a bit of that sherbet-like stuff, but it was really only in the liftlines...





Last time we went, it was after spending 5 days in Vail, and I think we were a little more prepared for the altitude. This time, after having spent less than 24 hours in Denver before heading up, it was a little rougher. Here's me, sucking wind:



I didn't get altitude sickness or anything (no headaches or nausea), but "simple" things (like carrying skis from the car to the lodge in the morning) took a lot more work than they should have. It wasn't that way last year, so I'm sure that with a few more days in Denver, I'd have been better off. I should point out (as I'm sure she would) that it didn't seem to bother Jana much, if at all.
scootertig
April 12, 2009
Member since 02/19/2006 🔗
365 posts
(continued, since I hit the picture limit)

Although its size isn't going to garner many superlatives, Loveland is really pretty big. It's hard to get a sense of it until you really work from one end of the place to the other. Since it's pretty wide open, it can feel smaller, until you see that the lift that you were just on is wayyyyy over there.





Sadly, we didn't get many action shots, but we did get a few (although I would have liked to join BWPA's spring skiing clinic, what I *really* need is a Trip Report clinic from him...):





Afterwards, we stopped for a beer at the Rathskeller, on the ground floor of the lodge. Dale's Pale Ale is available in cans, and they generally have a few Tommyknocker options on draft. I tried the Rye Porter, and wasn't impressed. I should've gone for Dale's. Oh, and if you like Coors products, of course, there are always a ton of those available.

All in all, I'd say Loveland is in my top 3 favorite places I've skied. The cheap lift ticket ($48 at King Soopers in town) meant that we got our cost per run into the neighborhood of $2/run on the day, something that was made much easier by the total lack of liftlines. Oddly, unlike a place like Alta (a somewhat similar "no frills" approach to skiing), where it's easy to sit in awe of the amazing skiing done by the locals/regulars, in two trips to Loveland, it seems that it's being used mainly as a feeder hill. For a place that claims 13% beginner terrain, there are a TON of beginners. On the other hand, the intermediate, advanced, and expert terrain was generally empty. Part of that may have been the late date, and definitely the fact that it was a weekday (Friday) was a factor, but it let us have a lot of room to ourselves. That was particularly helpful as we tried to work the bumps off of chair 1. There's some more difficult stuff there with long steep bump runs, but there are also some lower-risk opportunities for dabbling.

Obviously, for someone in Denver, where you can get to a number of world-class skiing options within several hours' drive, I can understand why Loveland doesn't get a lot of attention. On the other hand, it's too good to be overlooked, and has more than enough to keep skiers like Jana and I busy for a good long while. The long season is a huge plus, as well. I have a feeling I'll be back there again before too long. For one thing, I still need to try the BBQ joint at the base...
Vince
April 16, 2009
Member since 04/4/2009 🔗
42 posts
Great report. I was just there two days ago. You are very correct that the high elev is not so conducive to ripping things up on first day. My son and I tried to cover a lot of ground and rode every lift at least a few times each, but it wasn't until reflecting at dinner time did we chuckle realizing we had skied the two runs on the far boundaries of the resort = Over the Rainbow to lookers left of chair one and Awesome on far edge of zip basin. If you walked a contour line say at 12000 feet across the top of that huge 180 degree Loveland cirque from one edge of ski area to the other how far do you think it would be, 4-6 miles??
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