There’s no bigger dilemma for the Suburban skier, especially if you don’t have a history at a specific resort, than knowing where to go to get in the best skiing possible. And while some skiers and families have a clear favorite, I tend to be a variety is the spice of life kind of girl. Here’s some things to consider as you begin to explore and get to know Colorado ski country . . .
Get Away for the Day – If your family is as fanatical about skiing as we are, you’ll find yourself sneaking in a half day when the kids have early soccer games just as often as you schedule a weeklong family ski vacation. And while we all wish we could jump in a front range wormhole that takes us instantly to the deep powder of Steamboat every weekend, or wouldn’t mind hopping on a private jet for an afternoon in Aspen, the reality of busy lives and Front Range travel can make some of the closer resorts at great option for a quick trip to the slopes. Think Eldora and Loveland if you’re in the metro area, and Monarch if you’re down south in the Springs. All are within an hour or two’s drive (at most) from most front range cities.
Bigger isn’t Necessarily Better (and definitely isn’t any cheaper) – Sure, resorts like Vail, Breckenridge, and Copper get all the press, but they’re not the only game in town. Don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten path and explore resorts like Cooper, Sunlight Mountain, Wolf Creek, Purgatory, and Echo Mountain. The skiing is just as good, lift tickets and season passes at these smaller operations are a great value compared to the larger resorts, and because they’re off a lot of people’s radar you won’t be waiting in lines at the lift or skiing through crowds on the slopes.
Go Epic or Go Home! – If variety is the spice of life, then the Epic Pass is the skiing equivalent of a bacon wrapped habanero pepper! For just under $1000 you can ski at 14 different Colorado resorts, as well as ski areas in Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland. For a little less you can purchase an Epic Local pass for season long access to the main Summit County hubs, or a Summit Value Pass for access to Keystone, A-Basin, and Breckenridge. In short, why settle for skiing the same old runs all winter long when you can spend a little more on your season passes and have it all!
Avoiding the I-70 Parking Lot – Whoever said the journey is more important than the destination never spent time on I-70 getting to and from Summit County. The worst part of Suburban Skiing, by far, is the to and from. You don’t have to feel buckled in to bumper-to-bumper traffic and stop-and-go commutes up to the mountains, however. The Front Range Ski Bus, Bustang, Snow Stang, Greyhound Bus Line, SkiCarPool.com, and a host of private Ski Shuttle services are just a few of the many options available to front range families who would rather kick back and relax on the to and fro than deal with the white knuckle traffic that goes hand in hand with ski season. Instead of pulling the “Oh Shit Handle” through the roof of your automotive upholstery, read a good book, check your e-mail, get some work done, or just enjoy the mountain views instead! And it’s better for the environment, too!