Colorado I70 Summit & Eagle Counties 1/7/18 to 1/12/18 updated for 4/1 to 4/3/18

yardsaleyardsale intermediate
edited April 7 in Trip Reports Posts: 46

Colorado
I70 Trip reports – Summit & Eagle Counties Jan 7-11

I make 1
or 2 trips a year to the I70 corridor.
 My son lives and works out of Denver.  He has a sales job which gives him plenty of
flexibility to ski mid-week. On this trip my wife and daughter accompanied me.

The lack
of snow in Summit and Eagle counties sticks out like a sore thumb.  Not only that, the snow drought pretty much
leads off every TV weather forecast. It was the topic dujour every day we were
there. A local told me they were down 30-50” in base compared to a year
ago.  Someone else claimed that Vail
Resorts 1st eastern resort had more natural snow to-date than the
I70 areas.  One area that the lack of
snow helped with was the price of lodging. We most always stay in Frisco due to
proximity to the Epic pass areas – Abasin, Keystone, Breck, Vail, Beaver Creek
and we found the most reasonable lodging ever for a 3 bedroom condo.  They even offered us a second week for $300
if we wanted to stay.

 

Keystone Sunday
1/7/18 – this is the 1st time I’ve ever skied a weekend day at a
Vail resort. We decided on Keystone. 
There was 4” of new snow overnight. The traffic up US-6 to Keystone from
I70 was unbelievable.  5 miles and about
35 minutes later we arrived. We did luck out and got into a satellite lot that
had just opened with an empty shuttle bus waiting which got us right to the
river run gondi. It is fairly amazing that these lift systems can spread out a
crowd this size.  We barely waited in a
line – probably 10 minutes at most one time at the Outback Express Quad.  But the snow surface took beating with the
crowds. The snow held up the longest in the Outback area. We made it til 2pm
then stopped.

image

2 pics from the top of the Outback Express.  Breck in the background.

image

Breckenridge
Tuesday 1/9/18 – It was a nice sunny day at Breck. Just a dusting of new
snow.  The natural and ungroomed runs
were still in tough condition. We did find some nice snow on the Peerless trail
on Peak 9 – With Peak 9 being one of the tamer areas at Breck, the skiers there
probably stay off the natural runs which gave us a pleasant surprise in
discovering this mini stash.  All of the bowl
terrain, 6-Chair terrain, E-Chair terrain was really thin. Imperial Bowl and
chair were closed.

 image

Top of CO SuperChair.

image

Peak 9

Vail
Wednesday 1/10/18 – the lack of snow really showed at Vail.  Plenty of dirt coming up thru the snow on the
catwalks leading to the back bowls which were most all closed anyway. Terrain
we had skied during past Thanksgiving periods were not open. No Blue Sky
Basin.  Game Creek bowl was a thin and
knarly mess.  We were reduced to skiing
groomers… at Vail.  Around 2pm a front
came thru with snow but reduced visibility up top to pretty much 0.  We quit and drove back to Frisco before I70
got too slick.

 image

Top of Wild Wood Express looking back at the bowls

image

Top of Mountain Top Express

Breckenridge
Thurs 1/11/18 – I skied solo from 8:30 to 12:30 with 5” of new overnight. It
was cold and bright.  Was able to get
onto some of the funner terrain off 6 Chair. 
Rode the gondola back to town at 12:30 and watched the Ullr Fest parade
down Main St which was a fun event.

 image

Peak 9

We go to
CO to visit with my son.  The skiing for
us is secondary.  If it was purely a ski
trip, I would have probably rescheduled to somewhere else or some other
time.  It is still great to soak in the
beauty of the Rockies.  The forecast was improving as we left Frisco for home with 9" of snow at some areas overnight Thurs into Friday 1/12.

Comments

  • Posts: 2,349
    Great pictures, it'd too bad that they're in a tough snow position.
    You're a year behind, by the way
    - Sam
  • 4aprice4aprice advanced
    edited January 15 Posts: 192
    Thanks for the report.  Our son also lives in Denver so we are still planning a trip and will go in March.  

    We learned a lesson a couple of years ago.  It was another year where the west was shorter on snow (14-15 IIRC).  We were on the verge of cancelling because the east was appearing to have a better season.  Anyway we bit the bullet and went anyways.  Despite the low snow the skiing was still better out there and we even got a couple days of fresh.  

    Still a way's to go out there and it can turn on a dime so no concerns yet.

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ
  • JimKJimK advanced
    Posts: 261
    Thanks for sharing.  I'm going to see my son in UT in two weeks.  Going no matter what the snow conditions are, so fingers crossed.  Hoping to ski a lot, but also help with fixer-upper house he bought.
  • shprideshpride intermediate
    Posts: 77
    Thank you for the report.  I am heading out to the Summit next week.  If I end up skiing groomers most of the time no big deal.  At least I'll be skiing.  I was planning on staying at Breck the whole time but it terrain is limited I'll probably adventure around like you did.  May even day trip it up to Steamboat which is a place I have always wanted to visit.
  • yardsaleyardsale intermediate
    Posts: 46
    The groomers were very good while I was there - very little hardpack except for Keystone on Sunday... Their hardpack is better than our eastern hardpack :) .  They picked up 4" on Sunday, a couple on Monday, and 5" or so on Wednesday - then up to 9" in some places on Friday when I left.  It was warm at the bases but at elevation the snow stayed dry. Based on the weather forecasts, I brought my eastern all mountain skis which ended up being a good ski choice.
  • yardsaleyardsale intermediate
    Posts: 46


    You're a year behind, by the way

    Thanks - I fixed.  At least I was consistent throughout the whole trip report.
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,322
    thanks for the report!

  • JMaulJMaul advanced
    edited January 17 Posts: 315
    yardsale said:

    Colorado Traffic Jam


    image


    You ski because even if you don't do it well, it's still a blast....
  • rickbolgerrickbolger expert
    Posts: 1,322
    If you gave whistles to the ski patrol and moved Mountain Creek to Colorado, you'd have instant Keystone

  • Bill29Bill29 advanced
    Posts: 316
    Boarders sitting in the middle of a trail. Has anyone ever seen that before?
  • mtsnow123mtsnow123 advanced
    Posts: 420
    Bill29 said:

    Boarders sitting in the middle of a trail. Has anyone ever seen that before?

    Looks like a very wide trail, not to say it's acceptable in the first. Has anyone else been noticing that etiquette is out the door these days? The number of people I see parked in the middle of the trail, around deep turns, or even not yielding to people down the hill. Call me crazy, but I would love to put some knowledge into people's skiing routines.
  • yardsaleyardsale intermediate
    Posts: 46
    To be fair - it was at the top of the Outback Express - after they get off the lift they need to clamp that foot back in.  They weren't really in the way of anyone.
  • 4aprice4aprice advanced
    Posts: 192
    Looks like things are going to be looking up out there very soon.  Big storm coming in this weekend.  Bad timing for you Yardsale however, like us your son lives out there so I'm sure it was not your last trip.

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ
  • yardsaleyardsale intermediate
    Posts: 46
    I returned to summit county for an Easter Visit with my son and skiing at Brecknridge on Easter Sunday thru Tuesday 4/3.  It was 3 days of bluebird skiing. 

    Easter Sunday 4/1 saw an inch or 2 overnight with clear skies in the morning but with gusty winds.  The temps climbed rapidly.. up to 50(f) in town and 40's at the base and mid 30's at center mountain lifts. At higher elevations, the snow stayed cold and finally the winds let up enough to open Imperial xpress (highest lift service in North America)and thus Imperial Bowl which was very skiable tracked up powder. I note that due to wind, we took 3 trips up the T-bar on Easter Sunday and were lucky to notice that Imperial xpress was running after our 3rd t-bar ride so we lapped that for 3 runs.

    Mon 4/2 - we started out later in the morning thinking that the thaw freeze cycle would be in play.  We started out on Peak 8 around 9:15.  We should have waited longer - there was no soft snow down low and no upper lift access due to wind again.  The temp did not rise quickly this morning.  Mid mountain runs off the T-bar were in order until the lower areas softened.  By 11am we could ski from mid mountain into soft spring snow and some limited corn snow.  Later in the afternoon, even the t-bar shut down due to wind.  The lower chairs still operated but I don't think I have ever been on moving chairs with these types of winds.  We quit at 2:15.

    Tues 4/3 - reported 4 inches over night.  In some places it seemd like much more due to wind loading. Wind was still in play in the morning but forecast to dissipate as the morning progressed.  The T-bar once again was a savior - especially first thing to start the day with access to horseshoe bowl with the fresh snow in play. We took an early break at Peak 8 base and when we got back out the wind had died down. We immediately headed towards Peak 6 and the Kensho Super Chair (HS6).  I skied my first runs ever at Peak 6 and despite rubber legs, it was my favorite area of Breck.  We lapped it 4 times choosing different lines down the bowls with quite a bit of untracked snow. 

    We skied Breck exclusively on this trip becuase we had a great location in town - within 5 minutes of the Breck gondola and just a minute or 2 from Main St.  


    a look at Breckenridge from our in town location at around 5pm
    image

    looking back at Peak 8's Imperial Bowl and lift from Peak 9
    image

    Debbies Alley on Peak 8 off the T-bar
    image


    queuing up for Bliss on Peak 6 - Peak 7 in the background. 
    image

    trek out to Breathless on Peak 6
    image

    Breathless on Peak 6
    image

    Where we had the most fun (black arrows)
    image
  • JimKJimK advanced
    edited April 7 Posts: 261
    The back bowls of Vail get all the press, but those high, north facing bowls at Breck are very fun and have good snow preservation.
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 2,245
    Beautifull pics yard sale!
    Been 20 years now since I last skied Breck. My first time there 3/'94

    Summit chair want there then, hike up. Loved that tbar with the turn left. Any pics of T?
    Forget me not was my fav trail that I remember
  • 4aprice4aprice advanced
    Posts: 192
    JimK said:

    The back bowls of Vail get all the press, but those high, north facing bowls at Breck are very fun and have good snow preservation.

    Copper's are pretty good too.

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ
  • Posts: 1,105
    ciscokid said:

    Beautifull pics yard sale!
    Been 20 years now since I last skied Breck. My first time there 3/'94

    Summit chair want there then, hike up. Loved that tbar with the turn left. Any pics of T?
    Forget me not was my fav trail that I remember

    Was that Keystone you see across from the summit of the Breckenridge t-bar? Love the views of Breckenridge from Keystone itself!
  • yardsaleyardsale intermediate
    edited April 8 Posts: 46
    That is a hard T-bar to juggle a camera.  There are a lot of falls and bail-outs so you have to be looking up hill at all times to avoid potential incoming bodies... plus it was really windy over the 3 days.  Here is pic from a prior trip after unloading.  Notice the T returns on a separate route down hill for a spell.

    image


    And yes, that is Keystone you can see in the background in some of the other pictures.

    I really like Breckenridge.  The inter-connects between the peaks are well marked as is the whole area.  If you want to ski groomers all day you can without skiing the same trail.  You can lap Imperial Express with multiple lines to choose from.  And now, with Peak 6 and Kensho Xpress, you get even more bowl terrain to lap.  It's rap is that it is super crowded on the weekends - I have mostly always skied it mid week or off peak.

  • yardsaleyardsale intermediate
    Posts: 46
    Wow - anyone headed to CO high country in the next few days will do well.  25" since I left on Wed.  I've had better luck in the east this season.  Overall, a great season for me, but I missed out west on 2 separate trips by a day or 2.  Oh well.  I go west to see my son and that is the main reason for my travel there. 
  • ciscokidciscokid expert
    Posts: 2,245
    Blood is thicker than snow

    Great stuff
  • 4aprice4aprice advanced
    Posts: 192
    yardsale said:

    Wow - anyone headed to CO high country in the next few days will do well.  25" since I left on Wed.  I've had better luck in the east this season.  Overall, a great season for me, but I missed out west on 2 separate trips by a day or 2.  Oh well.  I go west to see my son and that is the main reason for my travel there. 

    In the same boat here with son living in Denver.  Old timer told us back in March when we were out there that April would be active in the mountains.  Looks like he is right.  Some how I think I could just hang out in the Loveland Pass area right now and just love life.

    Alex

    Lake Hopatcong, NJ
  • LiftGuyLiftGuy advanced
    Posts: 165
    March and April are historically the snowiest months in Colorado.
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