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Colorado trip on Ikon

Powgirl

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#21
I've skied all three resorts a lot...if you are looking for hero snow (fluffy, champagne that forgives all errors) and a great town, then Steamboat is the ticket...I love the west side, Sunshine Peak...it's just fun and not as icy and crowded...Copper is my home mountain as we have a condo in Summit County...I love the long runs at Copper...out of the 3, I think it is a tad bit steeper at Copper...Winter Park is probably my least favorite, tho I love the backside of Mary Jane...it's also probably the closest to Denver.

If there is a storm, Copper is easiest to get to...Rabbit Ears and Berthoud Pass can be harrowing if it's snowing hard...
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#22
I will be the voice of dissent here. We went to CO last year in March. Copper snow was amazing but Steamboat was in full spring condition mode and most days the afternoon was sticky yucky snow. The lower altitude is not your friend in spring. It depends on your dates, but check the weather and make your choice at the last minute.
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#25
I’m doing March 12-15. So hopefully still wintery
That's when we went last year. Keep an eye on the weather unless you enjoy spring skiing.

if I have Friday to Monday, do you think it’s worth the travel and logistics to try to hit two resorts?
If you have a car, yes. If not, no stick with one resort and enjoy it. Both Copper and Steamboat are great mountains and have plenty to entertain you for 5 days. I have never skied WP so can't comment. I would let weather and conditions make your decision for you. Steamboat's base is 6900 and the summit is 9649. Copper's base is 9712 and the summit is 12313. I know you mentioned that you prefer lower altitude. How do you feel about skiing spring snow? If you enjoy it, then no worries. If you do go to Steamboat in spring conditions, work the mountain by starting at Rendezvous (skier's left) then ski the backside - Morningside. Stay away from the Pony Express altogether in spring. The melt freeze cycle turns that area into a sheet of ice until well after 2:00. Don't hope for any blower powder. It could happen but it's rare at Steamboat in March.
 

Peaheartsmama

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#26
Yes I prioritized steamboat due to the altitude. But one difference this year is I’ll do 2 nights in Denver before going skiing so maybe altitude won’t matter as much. I’ve already booked refundable nights at rabbit ear and I’ll probably do the same for copper and then decide when I have a better sense of the weather. I definitely prefer spring skiing over ice.
 
#27
if I have Friday to Monday, do you think it’s worth the travel and logistics to try to hit two resorts?
On the trip I just finished, we had a car. And the experienced driver that owns it, my ski buddy Bill from Albuquerque. We considered stopping at Winter Park on the way to Denver on Tuesday since my other ski buddy and I had flights east from Denver on Wednesday. But in the end we opted for a more relaxed travel day. Howelsen Hill is open Tue-Sun, starting at 11am Tue-Fri. On Tue morning we had a nice breakfast at Johnny B. Good's diner in town, then skied at Howelsen for a couple hours. $15 for a ticket for 11am-1pm. We got powder first tracks the entire time from the Sunday storm since HH was closed on Monday.

If you do go to Steamboat in spring conditions, work the mountain by starting at Rendezvous (skier's left) then ski the backside - Morningside.
Note that Morningside is mostly black terrain with glades and trees. There are a couple blues but they can get bumped up.
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#28
Note that Morningside is mostly black terrain with glades and trees. There are a couple blues but they can get bumped up.
I was able to ski it no problem and I am an intermediate skier. However, I was following folks who knew where they were going. When the snow is soft, everything is easier.
 

mustski

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#29
Yes I prioritized steamboat due to the altitude. But one difference this year is I’ll do 2 nights in Denver before going skiing so maybe altitude won’t matter as much. I’ve already booked refundable nights at rabbit ear and I’ll probably do the same for copper and then decide when I have a better sense of the weather. I definitely prefer spring skiing over ice.
Be aware that spring skiing often involves ice. The melt/freeze cycle means softening snow all day that freezes overnight so the mornings are icky. I ski it often in Southern California. If the weather gets too warm, you will have nice snow conditions at Copper but melt/freeze cycle at Steamboat. So long as you work the mountain correctly, you will be able to avoid ice.
 
#31
I was able to ski it no problem and I am an intermediate skier. However, I was following folks who knew where they were going. When the snow is soft, everything is easier.
Good point about snow conditions off Morningside.

Last weekend was Pres. Day weekend so we decided to book a semi-private lesson for the three of us on the Sunday, partially to avoid the morning lift lines. Was a lot easier to ski the Morningside trails during the Sun snowstorm (10 inches overnight, 18 inches total) than the day before. On Sat, Bill knew where he was going but the snow was much firmer. In general, we weren't staying in the trees much on Sat. After following the instructor on Sun, we knew better where to look for powder in the trees on Mon. We spent most of the time with the instructor in trees between groomers on Sunshine peak. With so much to choose from, on Mon we only skied one run on Morningside just before that lift closed at 3:00.
 

NewEnglandSkier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#33
The Morningside lift sometimes backs up as it's only a triple and Morningside is basically a "dead end"--once you ski down in there, it's the only lift out.
When I was there a couple weeks ago, one day I went in there after a storm (about 6 inches) and even the singles line was wrapped all along the perimeter.
The stuff in there can be fun to ski but you have to plan your time wisely.
Sometimes there's hardly any line at all, others it's a mess.
 

Little Lightning

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#34
I've skied all three resorts a lot...if you are looking for hero snow (fluffy, champagne that forgives all errors) and a great town, then Steamboat is the ticket...I love the west side, Sunshine Peak...it's just fun and not as icy and crowded...Copper is my home mountain as we have a condo in Summit County...I love the long runs at Copper...out of the 3, I think it is a tad bit steeper at Copper...Winter Park is probably my least favorite, tho I love the backside of Mary Jane...it's also probably the closest to Denver.

If there is a storm, Copper is easiest to get to...Rabbit Ears and Berthoud Pass can be harrowing if it's snowing hard...
If you choose Copper the only guarantee you'll get there is to stay there. If there is bad weather, even on the Summit Stage, the drive through Officer's Gulch can be pretty nasty. We didn't ski the day of the big storm this year because of mishaps in Officer's Gulch. Last year we missed a good ski day due to avalanches in Officers Gulch.

Even though you have to go over Berthoud Pass or Rabbit Ears Pass you're in the towns and will be able to get to the ski areas.
 

Peaheartsmama

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#35
If you choose Copper the only guarantee you'll get there is to stay there. If there is bad weather, even on the Summit Stage, the drive through Officer's Gulch can be pretty nasty. We didn't ski the day of the big storm this year because of mishaps in Officer's Gulch. Last year we missed a good ski day due to avalanches in Officers Gulch.

Even though you have to go over Berthoud Pass or Rabbit Ears Pass you're in the towns and will be able to get to the ski areas.
Yes I was in Dillon to ski at keystone last year - there was one day when all transportation options were not viable to get to the mountains...
 

Peaheartsmama

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#38
Ok looking into details more closely now. Trip is in 2 weeks. I can either do Copper which is: shorter 2hrs) and much cheaper ($30) commute on bus from Denver but higher cost for on mountain lodging and higher elevation. And steamboat which is a longer (4hr) and much more expensive ($220) commute, cheaper village lodging, and lower elevation. Overall steamboat is about $150-200 cheaper. Looking at Trail maps the steamboat one looks harder to navigate while the copper one seems straightforward. I will be in Denver 2 nights beforehand. Thoughts on the 2 options?
 
#39
Thoughts on the 2 options?
You're going to ski mostly on the weekend, correct? I'm guessing but would expect lift lines to be longer for green/blue terrain at Copper. I haven't skied at Copper or much in Colorado besides Aspen/Snowmass.

If it makes any difference, Steamboat Springs is a ski town while Copper is a ski resort village. I drove around the village road as part of a little car tour when I was in Denver with my husband a few years ago. He was attending a conference.

Since you have the time this trip, perhaps doing the longer commute makes sense. Save Copper for a trip where having a shorter shuttle ride is an advantage.

Looking at Trail maps the steamboat one looks harder to navigate while the copper one seems straightforward.
The signage at Steamboat is very good. For instance, every on-mountain trail map has a section that says "easiest way down." If you just rode up the gondola in the morning and spent the entire day over on Sunshine (4 lifts), you'd have a very good ski day. Nice to have the option of downloading on the gondola in the afternoon if on a tired side. I did that one day last weekend and enjoyed the view.
 

Peaheartsmama

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
#40
You're going to ski mostly on the weekend, correct? I'm guessing but would expect lift lines to be longer for green/blue terrain at Copper. I haven't skied at Copper or much in Colorado besides Aspen/Snowmass.

If it makes any difference, Steamboat Springs is a ski town while Copper is a ski resort village. I drove around the village road as part of a little car tour when I was in Denver with my husband a few years ago. He was attending a conference.

Since you have the time this trip, perhaps doing the longer commute makes sense. Save Copper for a trip where having a shorter shuttle ride is an advantage.


The signage at Steamboat is very good. For instance, every on-mountain trail map has a section that says "easiest way down." If you just rode up the gondola in the morning and spent the entire day over on Sunshine (4 lifts), you'd have a very good ski day. Nice to have the option of downloading on the gondola in the afternoon if on a tired side. I did that one day last weekend and enjoyed the view.
Yes im planning to head up on Friday night and coming back Monday to catch an evening flight. So I expect to ski Saturday, Sunday and maybe a little Monday. How exactly do you get from the main gondola into the sunshine area? Take spur run to the sundown express? And to come back... south peak lift, down broadway and up via elk head express, and then... does arc come down into the gondola?
 

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