By S.E. Slack
Heading to the slopes for some fun this winter? If you can spare the change, hop on a flight to the Queen City of the West and grab a shuttle up I-70 to some of the best ski and snowboard resorts the world has to offer. But locals say that you shouldn’t go until you’re in the know.
Aiden MacKerracher lives within easy driving distance of multiple ski resorts outside Denver. He logged 57 days of skiing last year, choosing ski areas based on weather, snow base and sheer fun. Tourists, he said, often make the mistake of planning their ski vacations over long weekends.
“Go mid-week if you can,” he said. “You’ll miss all the traffic from Denver on Fridays and Sundays. And you’ll find yourself completely alone on some runs.”
He recommends beginners try out Loveland ski area and Breckenridge ski resort. Loveland is about 45 minutes from downtown Denver, which makes it easy to stay in the city at night and play in the snow by day.
“Loveland is never busy,” he said, “no matter how good the snow is. People bypass it for bigger name resorts and they’re missing out.”
Breckenridge, a resort located in a small, trendy Old West-style town, is good for novice skiers but has runs exciting enough for even the most practiced skier. Unlike Loveland, it has plenty of lodging and dining options.
“If you are experienced, go to Peak 10 and the top of Peak 8,” he advises.
Keystone Resort has great runs, he said, but go in early morning to avoid the crowds. Because Vail is such a popular destination for tourists and locals alike, it should only be visited Monday through Thursday. A better place to try, suggests MacKerracher, is nearby Beaver Creek.
“It’s lots of fun and when you get cold you can go and warm your feet by the fire at the Ritz Carlton,” he said.
There are more than two dozen ski resorts in Colorado, so there is never a shortage of places to ski once the snow starts to fall each year.