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Beginner skiers looking for cheap, quiet resort to learn at

Cordova, Tennessee...
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Beginner skiers looking for cheap, quiet resort to learn at

The gf and I are going to be staying with her family in Loveland CO, March 12-20th. I want to try snowboarding for the first time while we are there. Originally I only wanted to dedicate one day to it, but a friend says that I need to atleast take one day of lessons, preferably two full days of lessons before setting off on my own. Atmost I can ski for 3 days, but my worry is after day 1 I'll be too tired/sore or have altitude sickness and won't want to continue on.

So here's my questions:

Is it necessary to take lessons for a first time skier? Or will afew runs down a beginner hill be enough?

What's a good ski resort? Needs to be within 3hrs drive of Loveland Co, good for beginners, on the cheaper side, not as busy as the big ones like Vail get, and maybe some nice romantic dining/lodging options for couples would be a nice plus.

What weeks to CO Colleges let out for spring break? I'd like to avoid the spring break crowds.

Nederland, Colorado
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1. Re: Beginner skiers looking for cheap, quiet resort to learn at

It will be difficult to avoid spring break crowds in March. It's not just Colorado colleges, people come from all across the country to ski here in March.

You really should take lessons to learn to ski or snowboard.

On the "cheaper side" consider Eldora which is closest to Loveland. http://www.eldora.com/

Also Loveland ski area: http://skiloveland.com/

and Arapahoe Basin: http://www.arapahoebasin.com

None of those ski areas are "resorts" therefore lift tickets and lessons are less expensive.

Cordova, Tennessee...
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2. Re: Beginner skiers looking for cheap, quiet resort to learn at

Thanks for the reply.

Loveland has a lot of things going for it, and is one of the main ones I was thinking about, including Eldora. My only gripe would be that I want to be afew hours away from her father's house as to justify staying in a lodge/hotel. If we are going to be with a hour or two of Loveland we'd probably just drive back and stay with her parents (I'd like some vacation time away from future in-laws).

Also Loveland has a really nice 3 day package with classes and rentals all covered.

Keystone also looks like a attractive choice.

I just can't decide!

Edited: 20 February 2014, 20:08
Colorado
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3. Re: Beginner skiers looking for cheap, quiet resort to learn at

If you want to go further away check out Monarch. I skied there for the first time this winter and loved it!

http://www.skimonarch.com/

Stay in the nearby town of Salida, super cute with all sorts of drinking and dining options. I prefer to stay in the historic district. Check out the Woodland Motel and the Simple Lodge. There are also many options along the highway but it is not nearly as charming an area.

You can get 2-1 lifts by buying gas at shell stations.

http://www.skifreedeals.com/

edit:

Keystone over Loveland IMO

Edited: 20 February 2014, 20:20
Delavan, Illinois
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4. Re: Beginner skiers looking for cheap, quiet resort to learn at

Monarch is also a nicer place for beginners if you're insisting on teaching yourself. Now, I'm a ski instructor and I don't recommend it. Invest in at least an hour's lesson. What you learn from it will likely be the difference between fun and frustration.

Also, if you want to try snowboarding, your friend is right to tell you that it takes more than a day to get the hang of it. Skiers progress much more rapidly than to snowboarders the first day. A beginner skier can actually have fun and many advance to blue runs the first day. On the other hand, about the third day snowboarders begin to catch up with the beginner skiers and by day 5 look they they've been on a board for years. It's just the learning curve that most people experience -- of course, your results may vary.

If you want to be a bit more secure, before your trip to Colorado you might want to head up to St. Louis. There's a small ski hill in the western suburbs there that has a great ski school: http://www.hiddenvalleyski.com/ (And no I don't teach there, but I have skied there with them and know they will treat you right.) A day there and you just might be able to get away with your other idea of not needing to take a lesson in Colorado (though, of course, as an instructor I think you might find you actually enjoy the lessons).

Edited: 22 February 2014, 00:22
WestSlope,CO
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5. Re: Beginner skiers looking for cheap, quiet resort to learn at

Yes to lessons, at least one day, preferably two. As mentioned, it just takes a bit longer to get the hand of boarding, and you need to learn some safety stuff as well. The lessons will be fun.

If you stay a night or two in Loveland before you go skiing, you'll begin to acclimate to the altitude, so wouldn't worry a whole lot about that. Stay well hydrated, and avoid alcoholic beverages for the first couple of days. While in Loveland, do some walks/hikes or go snow shoeing.

+1 for Monarch (they've gotten some great snow) and Salida but I'd also check out Glenwood Springs and Sunlight. They've usually got ski/swim/stay packages with several lodging options. It's just over 3 hours, or could be more depending on weather and traffic. (about the same as Salida) But worth a look. It's a great town and also within an easy drive of Aspen if you want to splurge on a special dinner. But... The nice thing about Salida/ Monarch is you don't have to deal with the traffic on Interstate 70.

http://www.sunlightmtn.com/ski-swim-stay

Breckenridge...
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6. Re: Beginner skiers looking for cheap, quiet resort to learn at

Going the smaller ski areas, I would look into Monarch or Sunlight... Glenwood Springs has hot springs so nice to relax in those after.

Would be busy on the I-70 if you drove back on a sunday afternoon (try to avoid at all costs).

Otherwise, I would probably lean Monarch. Smaller resort, nice vibe. Salida is the closest town. Not a ski town by any stretch but a town I really like.

Agree on the 3 days for snowboarding. I telemark & do regular alpine ski but everyone seems to say, 1st 2 days on a snowboard is looooooottttttttttsssssss of falling/frustration....and then around late day 2/day 3, something clicks.

Enjoy.

Matt

Cordova, Tennessee...
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7. Re: Beginner skiers looking for cheap, quiet resort to learn at

I like the idea of spending acouple of days at Hidden Valley close to St Louis for practice.

This would cut down on the number of days I would actually have to take classes in Colorado.

I'm sure the quality won't be as good as a full mountain, but it would be a great place to practice.

As for the resort I am still reading up on all the places suggested.

Monarch, Keystone, Eldora, Loveland.... There's so many to choose from, and after that I still have 7 other days of Colorado vacation to plan!

Edited: 23 February 2014, 18:25
Delavan, Illinois
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8. Re: Beginner skiers looking for cheap, quiet resort to learn at

read reviews of ski resorts in Colorado (and around the world) here:

www.onthesnow.com/colorado/ski-resorts.html

www.skinet.com/ski/resorts/rockies/colorado

http://www.familyskitrips.com/skiing.htm

http://www.skiresortguide.com/statemap.cfm/co

worldskiawards.com/nominees/united-states

Breckenridge...
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9. Re: Beginner skiers looking for cheap, quiet resort to learn at

for your week (spring break week)....keystone is going to be busy. Not much of a Loveland fan.

Still would go Monarch or Sunlight.

Hidden Valley is an interesting ski hill. Did there midnight ski there one year for the heck of it.

Will give you some practice in terms of turns...but night and day to a Colorado resort.

Matt

Cordova, Tennessee...
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10. Re: Beginner skiers looking for cheap, quiet resort to learn at

We're leaving for Hidden Valley tomorrow, and it looks like it is going to be a COLD 3 days in St Louis. I'm guessing the mountain/hill will be even colder. :(

This may sound funny, but I'm someone who doesn't like heights. I can put up with them, but I prefer not to.

Does every ski resort require the riding of a gondola? I saw a picture of a gondola ride that was 200+ feet above ground and I had one of those hard swallow moments.