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First time skier family looking for ideas in Colorado

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Chicago, IL
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First time skier family looking for ideas in Colorado

We're a family of 4 (kids are 11 and 13) looking for a quick trip of 2 or 3 nights to Denver. We'd love to find a place reasonably close to Denver where we could sign up for ski lessons (never tried before) renting equipment and possibly see amazing scenery. I was looking at Steamboat and Winter Park, but not sure if there is a better fit for what we're trying to?

Edited: 10 November 2012, 23:26
Aspen, Colorado
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1. Re: First time skier family looking for ideas in Colorado

Steamboat is about a 4 hr drive from Denver in good driving conditions. However, a great place to take up skiing. Closer to Denver by car would be the Summit County area and the resorts of Copper, Keystone, or Breckenridge. These places would also get you what you want. Here's are links to get you started:

www.coppercolorado.com/winter/index.html

http://www.steamboat.com/

http://www.snow.com/

Chicago, IL
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2. Re: First time skier family looking for ideas in Colorado

Which one is suitable for beginners? I am totally clueless about pros and cons of these places and they all seem to be pretty expensive with all the rental and lift fees.

Nederland, Colorado
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3. Re: First time skier family looking for ideas in Colorado

Skiing is not an inexpensive sport. Pretty much any of the ski areas/resorts are good for beginners. They all offer lessons and have beginner terrain. Winter Park is the closest resort to Denver. If you want less expensive, check out Loveland ski area or Arapahoe Basin (not resorts):

http://skiloveland.com/

http://www.arapahoebasin.com/

Wheat Ridge...
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4. Re: First time skier family looking for ideas in Colorado

I'd recommend staying somewhere on the west side of Denver (or Golden) and driving up to Loveland. If you do this during the week, traffic won't be bad. On weekends it can be brutal.

You can rent gear at Loveland and they have lessons. They have a very nice bunny (beginner) area at Loveland Valley. If you're never skiied before, you might think you want to get out on the big slopes. You don't. The learning curve is steep and it will take you a while to managed even that bunny slope. The nice thing about Loveland is the bunny slope is totally isolated and quite large. If you do feel like you have the hang of it, you can move up to some bigger slopes. Lift tickets are only $61 a day during regular season. Full day kid lessons with rentals are $104 and adults are $110 the first day and $97 after that, including rentals.

Winter Park is a great area, too. Full day kid lessons are $169 with rentals and adults are $159 with rentals. That includes the pass.

When are you thinking of coming? February and March would be most reliable for good snow. Should be OK after mid December.

Chicago, IL
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5. Re: First time skier family looking for ideas in Colorado

Wheatie, thanks so much for your suggestions they helped me a lot. We definitely don't want to get in the way of the "pro skiers" so having a nice beginner area with an instructor is definitely a plus.

Since we are first time skiers from the flat lands (Illinois), we thought we would try the whole thing for a day and if we like it, we would definitely come back for at least a week, but I would hate to commit to multiple days.

We're thinking about making the trip to Denver for a long weekend, possibly getting there on Thursday night and leaving either Sunday or Monday.

We love to hike and also looking for other things to do like:

- Hot Springs with great view (Steamboat has a great one but it's far away is there anything closer to Denver?)

- Snowmobiling

- Dog sledding

- Scenic drives

So from that perspective would you go with Winter Park, Loveland or something else?

WestSlope,CO
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6. Re: First time skier family looking for ideas in Colorado

There is a hot springs closer to Denver but it gets very mixed reviews, many of them poor. I haven't been there so cannot give a personal account. The hot springs fairly close to Denver that are recommended are Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, Glenwood Springs (but it is a huge swimming pool...fun, but not really what many envision as their hot springs experience) and Avalanche Ranch, which I'd say was the most scenic of those I've mentioned.

One option would be Mt. Princeton hot springs and driving to Monarch ski area. http://www.mtprinceton.com/play

skimonarch.com/index.php/…learn-to-ski

I'd also consider going to Glenwood Springs, about three hours from Denver. (Stay in west Denver/Golden your first night) You can ski at Sunlight, which is more of a family-type/locals ski area, very uncrowded, and there's usually a good ski/swim family package at Glenwood Springs. You might also spend a couple of nights at Avalanche Ranch, take a sleigh ride at Redstone, and explore the area.

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

http://www.avalancheranch.com/

If you happened to run across a good deal on a flight to Durango, Montrose, Gunnison, or Grand Junction, you'd have several other options for skiing and hot springs, along with the other activities you want to do, with no crowds & traffic and reasonable rates on lodging.

Wheat Ridge...
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7. Re: First time skier family looking for ideas in Colorado

When are you coming?

With all that, I suggest glenwood spings. Huge, spring-fed hot pool. Numerous hotels. A small ski area nearby. Sunlight. Been some years since I've been there, but it's a decent ski area. Not sure about their lessons, though.

That area is scenic as is the drive out there from Denver. About three hours in good traffic. Be aware that Sunday afternoon traffic out of the mountains is absolutely brutal. Loveland is maybe 75 minutes from the center of Denver in clear traffic. Leave there at 4:00 pm on sunday (ski areas close at 4:00) and it can take three hours. From frisco, perhaps 10 miles west on the other end of the Eisenhower tunnel, add an hour or more. Leave this area at 2:00 or 6:00 and it will be better.

I've only snow mobiled once and that was up by Granby on the west side of rocky mountain national park. Thats in the same area as winter park. But no springs around there. If theres enough snow, I'd think you could find that around glenwood.

I believe there are hot springs in Idaho Springs just west of Denver. But never been to them. Steamboats springs are nice, but that's a long drive. Very nice place and my favorite ski area. But as beginners, you won't really be able to take advantage. It's probably comparable cost-wise to winter park, maybe a little higher.

Vail, Colorado
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8. Re: First time skier family looking for ideas in Colorado

You might look into flights to the Eagle/Vail airport (EGE). Rent a car from there and drive the 30 minutes to Glenwood Springs. You could ski at Sunlight, visit Aspen, go to the Glenwood Caverns and the Hot Springs, take a ride to Redstone and stop at Avalanche Ranch for the hot springs there.

Colorado
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9. Re: First time skier family looking for ideas in Colorado

You will need more than a day to decide whether you really like skiing. The first day is really not much fun...just learning the basics. It takes 2 or 3 days to really start skiing and having fun. Also, weekends are much more crowded than weekdays, so you do less skiing and more standing in lift lines. You can get bigger discounts for doing multiple days, too. Just some things to keep in mind.

Chicago, IL
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10. Re: First time skier family looking for ideas in Colorado

Thanks so much for everything. I have to do some more research in the next few weeks. I think my only option to fly into is Denver since that's the only place with sub$200 ticket prices thanks to Frontier.

I am planning to come on the second week of February, but it really depends on the overall availability of flights rooms and deals if there is any.