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Almost FREE!

Info, conditions and gear related to skiing or riding Colorado Peaks, including the 14ers! Ski/Ride Trip Reports
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Almost FREE!

Postby YooperJonKornely » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:47 pm

So I'm getting excited to go and ride at Breck tomorrow... I have my pass to get on the lift at 7:30 tomorrow morning to get 1 hour of "untracked" runs with 249 of my other friends. I moved out to Colorado about 6 years ago now, and I have had the "Epic Pass" every year since I arrived.

But... I finally have hit the point where I know I am not getting a pass next year. In a way, I almost feel like it's a chore to hit up the resorts the next few weeks and get my money's worth. I've started getting into the backcountry a lot more, and this is what I think about all the time now... instead of paying for parking, waiting in lines, etc.

Just a Friday "I'm bored" topic... but are there other people who have gone through this same transformation? If you moved to CO, how long did it take you to "burn out" of the resorts, if so. And if you are a Native, has this happened to you as well?
Last edited by YooperJonKornely on Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Almost FREE!

Postby Jon Frohlich » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:57 pm

I learned to snowboard in 2006 and every year I get less and less into dealing with the crowds. I shared a ski condo for a few years to avoid traffic and finally gave that up due to the expense. We've gone up more during the week this year which helps a little. I still can't get excited to go more than about 10 days now total if even that. I doubt next year will be much more than 5 days. We'd rather take our dog out hiking and do other things instead. I'd say I'm pretty well burned out. I'd rather have a few good quality powder days than a lot of days that aren't that great.

As for paying to park, I never understand that complaint. There is free parking at every resort (yes, even Vail) or you can carpool and share the cost if you really feel like paying.

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Re: Almost FREE!

Postby Voodoo302 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:09 pm

Took me about 1 1/2 seasons. I had the Copper/Winter Park pass last year and it was great buuuut not that great. Not that I've actually saved any money this year! My girlfriend has the epic pass so I've still managed to pay for a few days at Breck and Keystone. However having spent most of my days in the backcountry I have gotten super spoiled on good snow. We skied at Breck after a 10" storm and the whole day I was just thinking, "yeah, this is about what Berthoud is like a week after a storm. Meh."

I do think I'm getting worse at skiing though because at the resort you get a million laps in whereas BC you get like 5.

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Re: Almost FREE!

Postby ElFuegoDelaMuerte » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:14 pm

I'm from Boulder originally and I've been hiking and climbing since I don't know when. I've snowboarded since I was in middle school, but only started taking it seriously for the last four years. I bought the epic local and Eldora pass in the past. I'd say it took about three years to get sick of the epic. Every year it seems the traffic is worse and worse. But that could also be a subjective feeling since I'm less and less interested in standing in lift lines.

I'm amazed it took me as long as it did to transition to back country and combine two of my winter passions. But I guess we all have to put in our time in bounds building the skills to go out of bounds. I didn't buy a pass at all this year and while I do appreciate the freedom, those powder days in the back bowls at Vail... Man do I miss those days! Sometimes I wake up still smiling from a dream that I was back in the 2010-2011 winter in those bowls.

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Re: Almost FREE!

Postby BillMiddlebrook » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:17 pm

If you get away from the roads, it's 1 run!

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Re: Almost FREE!

Postby rijaca » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:26 pm

Being a lazy old fart, I prefer to have my butt hauled up the mountain if I'm going to ski. Plus I can get more turns that way.

And I can get the backcountry experience without the uphill effort by skiing Loveland.
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Re: Almost FREE!

Postby EatinHardtack » Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:55 pm

In my opinion, I feel that you are going about skiing the wrong way. I’m at 50/50 Resort to Backcountry this season (20 days total) and at the resorts I have not waited in a line for more than 5 minutes all season, and I have the local epic pass. Don’t go on heavy weekends, hit powder days during the week, go to other areas of the mountain that you may not go to, etc etc. Plenty of ways to get around lift lines but I understand that sometimes you just can’t.

If you are burnt out on the Epic pass then get the Rocky Mountain SuperPass (Copper,WP,Steamboat) and change things up. I did this a few years ago as I had the RMSP and just wanted to see different mountains, so I went with the Local Epic. Since you live in COS you could also get the Monarch pass and drive around the state seeing other areas that you benefit from on that pass. There are plenty of options out there to mix it up and you live in the cheapest state for season passes, it could be worse in that regard.

Like someone above has stated, if you strictly hit the BC you’re not getting nearly as much vertical if you have a pass throughout a season. I think 5k vert for a backcountry day is pretty darn good and well you can do that in 30 mins at a resort without lift lines. I think it is foolish to completely substitute the backcountry for resort, but there are plenty of people who do it and that is fine (they probably own sleds btw). And yet another reason that I ask is what do you do when you get those red flag days from the CAIC? Yes you can have very safe backcountry days when the warnings are through the roof, I’ve done it, but I’d rather be at a resort getting as many laps in as possible on deep days. And if you can’t find stashes at your home mountain at the end of a powder day then you are also doing something wrong. I have two go to’s for end of the day runs that always produce at Breck, I still don’t understand why people do not ski them but again they always produce for me.

Not trying to be rude but I just don’t understand the whole ‘only backcountry skiing’ for me mentality. Again plenty of people only do backcountry, there is nothing wrong with that at all if that's what you want to do, just not for me personally.
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Re: Almost FREE!

Postby nkan02 » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:04 pm

YooperJonKornely wrote:So I'm getting excited to go and ride at Breck tomorrow... I have my pass to get on the lift at 7:30 tomorrow morning to get 1 hour of "untracked" runs with 249 of my other friends.

Good for you, actually! I sent my request within 10 minutes of getting the Vail resorts email, but later got a response that "Unfortunately the event is full and all participants have accepted their invitation. We apologize for not being able to invite everyone." Heck, I just don't seem to be able to get on anybody's list these days ](*,)
Still, a prospect of "skiing fresh tracks with 249 other people" gave me pause.

I am definitely getting burned out on Vail resorts after 3 seasons on Epic pass. I had a chance to ski Copper, Loveland, Monarch, Wolf Creek and Silverton this year and I definitely preferred the experience at the last 4 resorts vs. Epic resorts. I did a fair number of backcountry days this season too, but I still like a good day on the chair lift if I am feeling lazy. If my records are correct, I am about 40/60 BC/resort days this season (22 days total).
Last edited by nkan02 on Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:02 pm, edited 5 times in total.

Re: Almost FREE!

Postby lordhelmut » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:07 pm

You just gotta look at inbounds skiing in Colorado in a glass half full way.

Despite a lot of valid points being brought up, I still think a ski pass in Colorado is worth it, specially when comparing its price point to other states. With backcountry getting more and more popular, some people who don't even know how to ski head out there first, without honing skills over numerous, rapid laps inbounds. I guess I've just lowered my expectations of inbounds skiing, at a relative low cost risk. A topic like this is also natural, given the recent low snow years.

For what its worth, I experienced the same frustrations you seem to be having, I transitioned to the Copper/WP/Boat pass and have been pretty happy with it. There is free parking 10 yards from lifts, ways to avoid crowds and mountains more conducive to Front Ranger daytrips, as well as buddy passes with actual discounts.

Edit : Like Eatinhardtrack and Nkan said, check out other, less popular resorts and find those areas at any resort, where people tend to not venture to. There is atleast 1 at every place, no matter how bad the crowds get.
Last edited by lordhelmut on Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Re: Almost FREE!

Postby Easy Rider » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:56 pm

I have thought about this one a lot, because my situation is maybe different at the moment, both privileged and desperate. Having an unguided pass to Silverton, while dwelling here for the past three years, only gives me about two months' lift access out of the season, and a black-out from mid-January to April, the backcountry becomes my only option. When the big storms hit, the avy danger is too high and the trail breaking is too much. As the danger grows, my options become very limited here. That was a tough realization at first, but by April I almost can't be bothered to ride the lift, and I'm in better shape for it, racking up over 100,000 vert on the skins last spring. I don't think it is a linear inevitability that people turn exclusively to the backcountry. It's good to strike a balance. It just depends on the experience you are after, your options, and the time of year. Laps, safety, comfort, and the socials are what make the resorts attractive, but the crowds and desperate morning hustle for first tracks are not. Especially when it's tracked after the first lap. In that case you could have just enjoyed your morning coffee at home and got that same experience without somehow feeling like you're racing for it. I've only dealt with the weekend I-70 cluster a couple times, during last year's 'pacing', and somehow felt like everyone was missing the point.
Last edited by Easy Rider on Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Almost FREE!

Postby Jim Davies » Fri Mar 08, 2013 2:57 pm

Funny, but I don't remember any "burnout" comments in 2011. :-k
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Re: Almost FREE!

Postby epacalicious » Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:02 pm

I've had the Epic pass the past 5 years, getting anywhere from 30-50 days in every season. Once I got tired of the same old groomers, I started to explore the mountains more and get into the trees/chutes/glades. There are less people around on these runs, and there's a lift to take you back up so you get more laps in...

Parking isn't bad at any of the mountains on the Epic pass, once you get the routine down of knowing where the free lots are (or the "secret" lots).

The worst part is the traffic and the day trips. The best way to avoid those is by getting a condo, but the cost & hassle can get annoying. There's actually less traffic on I-70 in the winter than the summer; it just is more concentrated in the winter since everyone is headed to one of a handful of resorts.
Mountains are the means, the man is the end. The goal is not to reach the tops of mountains, but to improve the man ~ Walter Bonatti

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