5 Ways to Have a Great Ski Weekend in Colorado
Colorado’s reputation as home to the best skiing in the country is well-deserved. Higher altitudes mean epic vertical drops and longer trails which, along with famously fluffy snow, jaw-meet-mountain views, and an overall longer season, are the perfect recipe for a great weekend that will stay with you long after winter has gone.
We’ve got some ideas on how to make the most of your days on the trail.
1.Find Your Adrenaline Fix
Whether you’re a beginner or experienced skier, Colorado has a slope for that. Despite Breckinridge’s reputation for double-black diamond trails, it’s also one of the most beginner-friendly ski resorts in the country. Peaks 8 and 9 feature long vertical green runs that will help you get your ski-legs going for a good amount of time before having to head to the lift for another go.
But don’t worry weekend warriors because it’s not all about the green. 58 percent of Breckinridge’s terrain consists of black and double black trails that are meant for expert skiers. With names like Unbound, Breathless, Devil’s Crotch, Shock and Inferno, you’ll have no shortage of terrifying – we mean exhilarating – slopes to smash.
Intermediates, we haven’t forgotten you either. As the third largest ski resort in the United States, the sheer number of blue runs on Vail’s 5,289 skiable acres offer hundreds of possible routes. But if you’re trying to find just one great run in particular – one that will add a little challenge to your day – head to Avanti; the favorite intermediate trail of the locals. This mostly mellow slope features an exciting steep pitch that shows up right in the middle, just before the trail turns easy again near the end (phew!).
2. First for Fresh Powder
It’s hard to go wrong with the right ski conditions, and that’s something that Colorado is known for. With its altitude-forming dry snow, abundance of sunny winter days, and extra-long ski season (thanks again, altitude), you almost have to go out of your way to end up with a bad ski day.
But there is still one condition that everyone hopes for, and that’s fresh powder. It’s soft and fluffy layer will have you thinking you’re flying high above the trail; not to mention that it’s forgiving pillow-soft surface makes the occasional crash that much easier to walk away from.
So if you wake in the morning to find powder coating the slopes, make it a point to be one of the first people on the lift. Between the day’s changing temperatures and the resort’s crowded trails, that dreamy blanket of white can be all skied out before 10am. And once you’ve experienced a euphoric ride through fresh powder, you’ll never think twice again about an early-morning wake-up call.
3. Chill Out Like a Pro
Whether in the middle or end of your snow-filled day, you’re going to want some time to catch your breath and kick back with your ski buddies for a while. Our friends over at Gravity House offer beautiful Snow Cabanas at the base of Breckenridge and Vail ski resorts. These personal heated igloos are the perfect spaces for warming up and refueling. You book the time and have the key to come and go as you please. Breckenridge offers three bookings per day: Lunch (11 am – 2 pm), Après (2:30 pm – 5 pm) and Dinner (6 – 9 pm). Vail features full-day bookings a stone’s throw from legendary skiing, restaurants, and shopping.
4. Plan B for The Win
It never hurts to have a backup plan during a ski trip in case the weather takes a bad turn, or you just need a break from the snow. Research different options near your destination before you head out so you’ll have a list of alternatives that will keep the fun going all weekend, no matter what the circumstances.
A picture-perfect town like Telluride, known as one of the most beautiful ski towns in America, makes it easy to step away from the slopes for a while. Along with its prime mountain terrain, Telluride is filled with stylish boutiques, modern art galleries, independent restaurants, and historic bars that will make your Plan B list a no-brainer.
5. Be Altitude Savvy
What could be worse than planning an adventure-filled ski weekend, only to be taken down in your first couple of hours by altitude sickness? All that planning, money and time being overtaken by exhaustion, nausea, and pounding headaches that have you holed up inside for the remainder of your trip. According to Dr. Ben Honigman, professor of emergency medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, 25 to 30 percent of visitors to the mountains come down with acute mountain sickness.
Fortunately, there are ways to get acclimated before you tackle the slopes. The Altitude Research Center suggests that spending a day at a lower altitude (typically between 5,000 and 6,000 feet), is the key. The Center found that people who stay a night in Denver reduce their chances of getting altitude sickness by anywhere from 25 to 50 percent.
And a Friday spent in Denver is not only a safeguard from mountain sickness, but a great way to add a whole other layer of fun (and beer) to your trip before you head to the hills. There’s no end of things to do in this urban playground, and you’ll be right in the center of it all when you book a room at the fabulous Union Denver, our amenity-rich building in the heart of downtown.
No matter how you plan your ski trip, Colorado is the perfect destination for an unforgettable weekend adventure.
Writer, nature-lover, traveler, would-be artist and ex-adventurer, Susan McDowell creates content for Daydream’s social media and marketing communications.