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Is the Altitude really a big issue for eastern skiiers?

Boston...
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Is the Altitude really a big issue for eastern skiiers?

I am being scared off by many people I have been talking to about my plans to go to Breckenridge this winter because it is at a higher altitude than other mountains in Colorado. Is it really much worse than Vail?

It seems like a perfect place to go with a family with two teenagers and an 11 year old who are all really good skiers. The ski in/out options seem great. It seems less expensive than Vail with great terrain. Am I right about all of this or should we just spend the extra money and go to Vail?

Thanks for the help!

bq
Albany, Georgia
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1. Re: Is the Altitude really a big issue for eastern skiiers?

I was sick the first year we went to Breck and had to go to the clinic. I was better prepared the second year. I got a prescription from my Dr. for Diamox and began taking it two days before we left and I took it for the 4 days we were there and drank plenty of water. I was never sick. You may want to ask your Dr. about this medication. I will take it again when we go in Feb.

I have not skiied Vail, but DH has and likes Breck better..

Minneapolis...
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2. Re: Is the Altitude really a big issue for eastern skiiers?

If you are sensitive to the altitude the difference in elevation is worse at Breckenridge. I ski at both and Vail is more comfortable for me. Several posts on this forum have argued with my statements regarding this fact, but the truth is each 1000ft change in elevation does physiological changes to your body that can make the altitude sickness worse. I am married to a physician who says it absolutely makes a difference and he would be an expert in this so I trust his words. Also researched it myself and if you are worried go to Vail. Nothing kills a trip faster then feeling lousy. Do some online research on altitude sickness then make up your own mind.

Minneapolis...
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3. Re: Is the Altitude really a big issue for eastern skiiers?

P.S. Vail is the ultimate ski area, so you are not sacrificing anything but a few extra dollars to ski there. It is awesome.

Colorado
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4. Re: Is the Altitude really a big issue for eastern skiiers?

I am with Planet R on both counts. Not sure of the science but anecdotally people seem to do better at Vail. Also you might look at Steamboat if you want to try something different. Besides being lower the airport is very close. Sure beats that 1-70 drive. If you settle on Vail I'd see about flying into Eagle.

Colorado
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5. Re: Is the Altitude really a big issue for eastern skiiers?

I will add that most people have no troubles. If they did I'd have the slopes to myself. But those that do are miserable.....

Boulder, Colorado
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6. Re: Is the Altitude really a big issue for eastern skiiers?

This subject has bounced around here forever. Do a search and you'll spend lots of time reading conflicting opinions.

Be sensible and don't drink booze, coffee, tea the first couple days and to play it really safe spend a night in Denver before driving up. Flying directly to the resort, either Eagle (Vail) or Hayden (Steamboat) is a recipie for cardiac arrest if you arrive from flatlands, drink a pint on the plane, disembark to the lift and head up to 12/13K. About the only thing you'll enjoy will be the view . . . and that might not last long. Some swear by the pills so may be worth looking in to.

Boston...
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7. Re: Is the Altitude really a big issue for eastern skiiers?

We were in Colorado a few summers ago and spent one night in Denver. The next morning we went right for the higher elevation and if I recall we were at the Continental divide before 2PM. I don't think we suffered anything beyond a little shortness of breath. So I think that we are pretty safe in assuming we will be ok as long as we aren't stupid.

Is Vail just a little more expensive or for a family of five will it actually be a lot more? From what I've seen it looks like a substantial jump in price. Also it looks like the convenience in terms of being close to the lifts is much greater at Breckenridge. Am I right?

Colorado
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8. Re: Is the Altitude really a big issue for eastern skiiers?

"Flying directly to the resort, either Eagle (Vail) or Hayden (Steamboat) is a recipie for cardiac arrest if you arrive from flatlands"

That is just silly. Flying directly into an area will have little effect on altitude sickness. Planes are pressurized, the "altitude" in a plane is the same as about 5000 feet. There is no difference between flying into Vail or Steamboat than driving up the highway other than the traffic frustration

Minneapolis...
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9. Re: Is the Altitude really a big issue for eastern skiiers?

mono6 Vail is more expensive especially if you have your heart set on being on or near the slopes. If you are willing to take a 10 minute shuttle ride there are areas near town ie: Sandstone across the freeway from the slopes that are much more reasonably priced. Try vrbo.com to look at units to rent directly from the owner. We did that for several years and it works out great. One other thought if skiing is your main purpose and you want to stay slopeside perhaps you would enjoy Winter Park. Again, vrbo.com has units in the Iron Horse Resort direclty on the slopes, or the Zephyer Mountain Lodge also ski in/out. Great skiing tons of variey, much cheaper then Vail or Breckenridge. The main difference is the town is not as much fun.

Alli is right flying directly to Eagle (which we are doing this year) is a great thing! Where ever you go you'll have a great trip.

Rocky Mountain...
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10. Re: Is the Altitude really a big issue for eastern skiiers?

Get Diamox prescribed by your health care provider before you come to Breckenridge and you will be absolutely fine. You would most likely be fine anyway but as others have said if you don't feel well then it makes things terrible. Diamox will prevent this from happening. The people that typically run into problems with the altitude are those that have an underlying condition such as heart or lung disease.

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