Author Topic: I want to go snowboarding in CO  (Read 1892 times)

35andFI

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I want to go snowboarding in CO
« on: September 13, 2019, 03:21:51 PM »
I have always felt some pull to Colorado and am considering (not yet seriously) moving out there.

I am also an avid snowboarder. Soooo Iíve always wanted to travel there and see what itís all about.
Iím 28, from central NJ, and have only done local mountains (as far as Maine).

I feel like Iím pretty frugal (even by MMM terms) spending ~$1000/mo with a current NW of ~$140k.

I got a recommendation from a (spendypants) coworker who goes to CO a lot to go to Aspen so I started checking that out. Looks absolutely BEAUTIFUL, but the price for travel, 6 nights local lodging, and a 3 day lift ticket is over $1,800 a person! After asking around a bit, people say that Aspen is known for being super expensive.

I think the most expensive vacation that Iíve ever gone on was something like $150 so this feels so hard to justify.

What do you guys think? Do you recommend any where else in Colorado or think I should just bite the bullet and do it?

It would be about 0.4 months worth of savings.

NorCal

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2019, 03:31:34 PM »
I'm not a snowboarder, but I do live in CO.

There are TONS of resorts throughout CO.  Aspen and Vail are known as the most expensive.  Not being a skiier/snowboarder, I don't know prices specifically.  But I can think of at least 2-3 really nice spots within a few hours of Vail. 

Look at some of the other options, and I'll bet you'll find some better value.  Particularly when it comes to lodging.

I personally love the San Juan mountains (from a nature/visitor standpoint).  Take a look at Telluride and the surrounding area as well.

Dr Kidstache

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2019, 04:13:46 PM »
Oh no, don't spend all your money on Aspen! It's great but it's super spendy and the town is not so much fun if you're more of a dirtbag boarder. You can have so much fun more cheaply in Colorado (and in other western states).

Question 1 - do you have a pass? If you have an Epic/Ikon/Mountain Collective pass then that may determine where you want to head. I'm guessing from your post that you don't. Take a look at those and see if they will equal cheaper skiing for you depending on where you go.

Question 2 - Are you dead set on Colorado? Totally cool if you are but some alternatives that are big mountain western snowboarding might be cheaper. As an example, if you have one of the passes, staying in SLC and going to some of the half-dozen resorts within an hour. But sounds like you're pretty set on Colorado.

Here's my (based on experience) suggestion for boarding on the cheap-ish without a pass if you want to hit up Colorado to get a taste of western conditions. Fly into Albuquerque. Drive 3.5-4 hours north to Wolf Creek. It's a fabulous local's pro secret ski area. Not a resort. Window tix are usually around $50-60 and half-days even cheaper. You can stay in nearby Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  Wolf Creek gets the earliest and most snow of any resort in Colorado. It's one of my all-time favorites, won't break the bank, and will get you in the powder. If you want some variety, there's Purgatory, Telluride, Taos, Monarch, Crested Butte all within striking distance.

Avoid flying into Denver, avoid sitting in traffic on I-70, avoid the Vail resorts.

35andFI

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2019, 06:45:00 PM »
I'm not a snowboarder, but I do live in CO.

There are TONS of resorts throughout CO.  Aspen and Vail are known as the most expensive.  Not being a skiier/snowboarder, I don't know prices specifically.  But I can think of at least 2-3 really nice spots within a few hours of Vail. 

Look at some of the other options, and I'll bet you'll find some better value.  Particularly when it comes to lodging.

I personally love the San Juan mountains (from a nature/visitor standpoint).  Take a look at Telluride and the surrounding area as well.

Yea who knew! I just went with the first recommendation that was given to me. No way am I going to Aspen knowing what I know now.

I hear good things about Telluride. I think it was listed as #1 on some top 10 post online. Thanks!

Oh no, don't spend all your money on Aspen! It's great but it's super spendy and the town is not so much fun if you're more of a dirtbag boarder. You can have so much fun more cheaply in Colorado (and in other western states).
I had no idea just how spendy it was! I'm not sure if I would be considered a dirtbag boarder but I'm definitely not spendy lol.

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Question 1 - do you have a pass? If you have an Epic/Ikon/Mountain Collective pass then that may determine where you want to head. I'm guessing from your post that you don't. Take a look at those and see if they will equal cheaper skiing for you depending on where you go.
I do not have a pass. We're going for a week but will probably only be boarding for 3 days. I don't think my body could take more than that.

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Question 2 - Are you dead set on Colorado? Totally cool if you are but some alternatives that are big mountain western snowboarding might be cheaper. As an example, if you have one of the passes, staying in SLC and going to some of the half-dozen resorts within an hour. But sounds like you're pretty set on Colorado.
For this trip, I am dead set on Colorado. I've wanted to go for as long as I could remember and am okay paying more to make it happen.

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Here's my (based on experience) suggestion for boarding on the cheap-ish without a pass if you want to hit up Colorado to get a taste of western conditions. Fly into Albuquerque. Drive 3.5-4 hours north to Wolf Creek. It's a fabulous local's pro secret ski area. Not a resort. Window tix are usually around $50-60 and half-days even cheaper. You can stay in nearby Pagosa Springs, Colorado.  Wolf Creek gets the earliest and most snow of any resort in Colorado. It's one of my all-time favorites, won't break the bank, and will get you in the powder. If you want some variety, there's Purgatory, Telluride, Taos, Monarch, Crested Butte all within striking distance.
Very cool. Thanks for the recommendations!

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Avoid flying into Denver, avoid sitting in traffic on I-70, avoid the Vail resorts.
I'm actually highly considering Breckenridge now after a recommendation from my father and a little bit of quick research. We're looking for a ski town to hang out in too. I think that would require flying into Denver. Why do you recommend against it? Too busy?

Thanks for all the help!

the_fixer

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2019, 09:40:20 AM »
Check out steamboat I would take that over Vail or Aspen anyday. Breckenridge would be number two on my list of ski town's followed by Copper mountain and Winterpark.

If you want a more local experience you could always drive to Abasin or Loveland ski resorts they are pretty much stand alone ski areas without the big fancy town's around them.

Another thing to think about is less and less local people from the front range make the trek to the ski areas due to traffic. I always laughed at the people that said Colorado was full but traffic is so bad going to the mountains now days I gave up.

My recommendation would be to consider that if you want to move to Colorado and Skiing is important to you consider living near the ski areas.

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Dicey

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2019, 09:56:36 AM »
Another resounding "NO!" to Aspen. Total non-mustachian place to visit. (Our kids live there.)

kenner

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2019, 10:39:25 AM »
Another person from Colorado here--a three-day pass to a single resort is probably your best bet if you're only coming out for a short trip, lift tickets for ski-3-out-of-5 are pretty common at the different resorts and the mountains are generally big enough that you won't get bored.  If you're out for longer (5+ days of skiing) you might try one of the passes mentioned previously since I think at that point the pass is cheaper and you can try different resorts if you want.  If you stay somewhere like Silverthorne or Dillon you're right next to Keystone and Breck (Epic) or Copper and A-Basin (Ikon) all of which I believe have busses available although I'm usually up with friends and one of us has a car so I can't swear to it.  It's also a pretty easy drive from there over the pass to Vail (Epic) or back to Winter Park (Ikon) with the other pass destinations in Colorado (Steamboat for Ikon and Beaver Creek for Epic) being a little further.  Loveland is close too, although that's not on a pass. 

35andFI

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2019, 10:43:13 AM »
Check out steamboat I would take that over Vail or Aspen anyday. Breckenridge would be number two on my list of ski town's followed by Copper mountain and Winterpark.
Steamboat was another one that was recommended to me by someone a little more sensible with spending. Iíd like to check that one out too.

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If you want a more local experience you could always drive to Abasin or Loveland ski resorts they are pretty much stand alone ski areas without the big fancy town's around them.
I think we are looking for the cool ski town vibe for this trip but Iíll definitely check those out.

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Another thing to think about is less and less local people from the front range make the trek to the ski areas due to traffic. I always laughed at the people that said Colorado was full but traffic is so bad going to the mountains now days I gave up.

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My recommendation would be to consider that if you want to move to Colorado and Skiing is important to you consider living near the ski areas.
Itís a hobby that I enjoy doing a few times a year. This trip will in part act as a feeler for what itís like in a ski area.
Iím also likely going back in 2021 (not sure where yet) to see what itís like in warmer weather too.

Thanks for the info!

35andFI

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2019, 10:44:30 AM »
Another resounding "NO!" to Aspen. Total non-mustachian place to visit. (Our kids live there.)

Thanks! Yea I had no idea.

35andFI

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2019, 10:49:11 AM »
Another person from Colorado here--a three-day pass to a single resort is probably your best bet if you're only coming out for a short trip, lift tickets for ski-3-out-of-5 are pretty common at the different resorts and the mountains are generally big enough that you won't get bored.

Hey thanks for reaching out. Weíre planning on snowboarding for 3 days since I donít think my body can handle more than that.

I saw 3 out of 10. What does that mean? You have a 10 day window from the first day that you go skiing to use all 3?

peppermint

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2019, 01:22:19 PM »
Hey, I live in Colorado and ski. A lot of points have been already covered, but a couple more things.

If you're an REI member, you can get a four-pack to Copper for less than $200. https://www.rei.com/blog/snowsports/copper-mountain-x-rei-four-pack That's the most economical way I know to hit one of the big resorts for a few days. Shoot, looks like the REI special isn't happening this year, but the Copper 4pack is still under $300.

Loveland also has a 4pack and the nice thing about that is you can split them with friends (so buy the 4pack and 4 friends can ski on it for the day, or 2 people can split it over 2 days of skiing)

There's also a hostel in Breckenridge (the Bivvi) that I love. It's not the cheapest accommodation possible (depending how many people you're staying with, that would probably be sharing a motel room 45 minutes away in a non-ski town) but I love the vibe and the people are usually cool, and it's cheaper than the fancy hotels. If I was coming in for a few days for a ski trip I'd probably get the Copper passes and stay in Breckenridge.

I really like Keystone and so does my partner, so we bought the Epic Keystone for the season and plan to mostly go for the day. It also includes some days at Crested Butte and for that we'll need to overnight.

Oh, one more. Check when Texas spring break is, and don't come then. It will be packed. :)
« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 01:30:48 PM by peppermint »

ysette9

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2019, 03:04:05 PM »
I lived in CO for seven months (pretty much all seven of them being winter) and did a bit of skiing while I was there. Granted it was a while ago, but Loveland was a good deal.
Traffic going up was okay on a week day but hell on earth on the weekend. The thing that made me stop though was the cold. I mean COLD.

Maybe it will be okay for you but Iím from CA and used to skiing in the Sierras. Loveland was a whole other level of cold that was behind my comprehension. I wore two sets of long Johns, two pairs of socks, two gloves, a bank robber face mask, helmet, etc. and still had to leave half-way through the day because I was so damn cold. Be sure you are prepare gear-wise so you can actually enjoy the experience. I decided it wasnít worth the $ to buy the right clothes to make it fun so I just stopped skiing that season.

35andFI

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2019, 03:15:25 PM »
There's also a hostel in Breckenridge (the Bivvi) that I love. It's not the cheapest accommodation possible (depending how many people you're staying with, that would probably be sharing a motel room 45 minutes away in a non-ski town) but I love the vibe and the people are usually cool, and it's cheaper than the fancy hotels. If I was coming in for a few days for a ski trip I'd probably get the Copper passes and stay in Breckenridge.
Oooh I didnít even think about a hostel!! Thatís a great idea.
Seems like a good way to get to know some new people too.

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Oh, one more. Check when Texas spring break is, and don't come then. It will be packed. :)
I just looked that up. Weíre going 2/23-2/29 so I think weíll miss that thankfully.

Good to know that there are multi-day deals too.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: September 14, 2019, 08:46:55 PM by 35andFI »

kenner

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2019, 07:23:47 PM »
Another person from Colorado here--a three-day pass to a single resort is probably your best bet if you're only coming out for a short trip, lift tickets for ski-3-out-of-5 are pretty common at the different resorts and the mountains are generally big enough that you won't get bored.

Hey thanks for reaching out. Weíre planning on snowboarding for 3 days since I donít think my body can handle more than that.

I saw 3 out of 10. What does that mean? You have a 10 day window from the first day that you go skiing to use all 3?

Hey--no problem :).  I don't think I've seen three out of ten before so it'd be worth checking with the mountain, but at least for the three out of fives it's three days of skiing out of five consecutive days where the timer starts on the first time you get on the lift to go up the mountain.  How you want to break them up is up to you. 

35andFI

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2019, 08:45:19 PM »
Makes sense. That wouldnít be a problem since weíll only be there for 5 days.

mountain mustache

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #15 on: September 14, 2019, 09:50:55 PM »
I live in CO, and actually live in a town with a smaller more local ski resort. I would stay away from the big summit county resorts personally because they are SO crowded and expensive. Yeah, Breckenridge is cheaper than Aspen...but not by that much. And I would venture to say likely more crowded because it is far more accessible in the winter than Aspen which is quite a drive from pretty much anywhere. I would personally recommend Crested Butte. It is smaller, but still a ski town at Mt. Crested Butte. The downtown is super cute, small but cool restaurants and very laid back atmosphere. It will be cheaper than Breckenridge, but still not super dirt-bag type experience as there are nice hotels, etc at the base of the mountain. Aside from the town I live in, Crested Butte is my second favorite place to be in CO.

35andFI

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #16 on: September 14, 2019, 09:57:51 PM »
Thanks for the recommendation mountain.

What town do you live in (if you donít mind sharing of course).

Iíve never really loved where Iíve lived. Looking to change that :)

jeninco

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2019, 02:08:36 PM »
Unless you're in seriously awesome boarding shape, you don't need to slide at (or pay for) one of the big resorts. Look at places like Loveland, Monarch, and (depending on snow) Wolf Creek. (Note: if you consider Wolf Creek, South Fork is much less fancy-pants and expensive then Pagosa Springs. Depends on what you want to do!)

You also might be able to find discounted lift tickets to Copper Mountain at places like Costco.
We also really like Crested Butte (the town and the mountain, and there's fun other stuff to do in the area like cross-country skiing/snowshoing) but the ski area just got bought by Vail Resorts, so look at see what lift tickets are going to be this year!

spartana

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2019, 02:56:33 PM »
You might check out hostels in some ski towns. I'm not sure if they still exist or how much they cost now, but Breck had 2 hostels and Aspen one and I think Vail had one too. They cost under $50/night. Also Copper Mountain use to have free skiing and discount lodging before the holidays in late fall. Steamboat Springs is good but its harder to get to. If I were flying into Denver I'd probably go to Breck. Well I'd probably go to Utah instead ;-).

honeybbq

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #19 on: September 17, 2019, 10:40:06 AM »
Check out A-basin. It's one of the cheaper resorts.
Breck and Aspen are fabulous but really crowded and $$$.


https://bearfoottheory.com/colorado-gems-8-affordable-ski-resorts-without-the-crowds/

Alternatepriorities

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2019, 11:17:43 AM »
Wolf Creek CO is my favorite resort and if you're not there the week of Xmas to New Years it's usually not that busy. I lived in Albuquerque for 8 years and used to drive up there when I wanted my dose of winter. Even living in AK I still miss going there and take my board with me when I travel to Abq for something in the winter. It's a beautiful drive and about the same distance as coming from Denver if you can get a cheaper ticket to Abq (try SW).

I rarely paid for a room (I usually slept in snow caves or my car when I spent the night) but it is possible to find reasonable hotels in Pagosa Springs and the hot springs is a nice treat after a day of boarding... Jeninco is probably right about south fork being cheaper if you land in Denver and your goal is just to ride the mountain.

Why I love WC:
Low prices $225 for a 3 day pass
Wide range of trails, forest and steep terrain
Rarely wait for more than a couple of chairs to board the lift and they (as of a year ago) allow boarders to clip the back foot in on the lift. Both of which means more runs per day. Last time I was there I made 50 runs and almost 40k vertical feet in a single day.

skiersailor

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #21 on: September 17, 2019, 03:55:33 PM »
I ski a lot at the I-70 Colorado resorts.  There is some really great skiing there, but the single most important rule for this area is to avoid weekend traffic and avoid weekend skiing if at all possible.  Seriously - if you're going to any I-70 resorts, DO NOT try to drive there or ski there when every skier from Denver is competing with you for space on the road or space on the mountain.  If you absolutely must ski on the weekend, consider driving to Beaver Creek which is more expensive and farther from Denver than most of the other big resorts.  Beaver Creek is the only I-70 resort I would ski on a holiday weekend.

Since you are planning a trip from Sun 2/23 - Sat 2/29, you're already starting off on the right foot with weekday skiing and conditions should be great at that time of year.  Here is what I would do if I were you:

-Fly into Denver and rent a 4WD vehicle.  Reserve the car now, because 4WD cars get expensive if you wait until the ski season starts.
-Rent a condo in Frisco within a couple of blocks of Main St.  There are a lot of modern condos on VRBO/HomeAway that are cheaper than staying in Breckenridge or another resort town.  Frisco also has some good restaurants and bars.
-Take the free bus one day into Breckenridge to ski that mountain (or drive and pay for parking or park at the free outlying lot and bus in).
-Drive to Vail another day and ski that mountain (it's awesome, but you have to ski the back bowls or Blue Sky Basin or you're missing the best part of Vail).  Stay for dinner (get a day pass for the Vail Athletic Club to shower and change if you need to).
-On your third day, pick whichever mountain you liked better and ski there again.

Consider skiing the fourth and fifth days as well.  Copper Mountain is just down the road from Frisco, so you can easily drive there.  Arapahoe Basin is a little further, but get there early because parking can be difficult.  I wouldn't bother with Keystone unless you're skiing with kids, but that's a personal preference. Keystone does have night skiing some days of the week, which can be fun.  If I were you, I would save money on lodging and eating out rather than buying multi-day discounted lift tickets to only one resort.  It's worth it to pay higher prices for single lift tickets so you can ski multiple resorts since it's your first time there.  Staying flexible also means that you can follow the good snow - monitor opensnow.com every morning before you commit to a resort if you want to chase powder.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2019, 04:04:56 PM by skiersailor »

gatortator

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2019, 02:18:01 PM »

Why I love WC:
Low prices $225 for a 3 day pass
Wide range of trails, forest and steep terrain
Rarely wait for more than a couple of chairs to board the lift and they (as of a year ago) allow boarders to clip the back foot in on the lift. Both of which means more runs per day. Last time I was there I made 50 runs and almost 40k vertical feet in a single day.

Wolf Creek is the choice that popped into my head as well.  Well, that and A-basin.  They aren't near each other though,  so I would pick Wolf Creek as a first choice.

main downside: Wolf Creek has a base elevation is 10,300 ft and A-basin is 10,700.  Depending on the elevation where you live,  you will need to plan ahead to acclimate yourself to avoid issues. 

edit: just re-read OP and saw that you are from central NJ.  yeah,  you will need to plan ahead, just in case.
« Last Edit: September 18, 2019, 02:30:14 PM by gatortator »

35andFI

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Re: I want to go snowboarding in CO
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2019, 04:26:49 PM »
Just wanted to let you guys know that Iím reading all of these and really appreciate the time that youíre taking to respond with all of the suggestions.

We decided on Breckenridge and booked a beautiful condo(?) on Vrbo right in downtown that ended up being cheaper than hostels and has a full kitchen. Yea I might have to be the big spoon as they only have 2 beds and there are 3 of us but hey... gotta do whatcha gotta do lol

Once we get there we wonít have to drive at all so I was thinking about a shuttle service to get us from DEN to Breck (catching on with the CO slang) then another to get back to DEN at the end of the week. Any recommendations here? After a brief search, I think I saw a shuttle for $45 each for 3 of us to get to Breck.

Depending on the elevation where you live,  you will need to plan ahead to acclimate yourself to avoid issues. 

edit: just re-read OP and saw that you are from central NJ.  yeah,  you will need to plan ahead, just in case.

Oh yea a quick google search says I live at 62í.
Thatís close enough, right?

I have no experience with elevation.
Iíll have to look up what I can do to prepare.