Winter Skiing Adventures

Since there is little I love more than spending time in the mountains, I decided to continue my peak enjoyment during the next few winter months. The result was the purchase of a lift pass for unlimited winter skiing (and possibly ventures into snowboarding). My skiing history is brief, I went maybe a couple times a year at spring break while growing up. I haven’t been in over seven years. Yet now I have gone twice and am picking things up fast (or at least feel that I am). The goal is to go as often as possible, with fun and safety being my top priorities. I am also interested in dabbling into the realm of snowboarding. I have only tried once and spent the majority of my time on my butt. However, that was only messing around on the hill behind dorms at my college. If I make a go at it now, I will get a lesson the first time or two.

Anyways, I am not sure how much updating of skiing adventures I will post, but thought I would at least put word out that life hasn’t stopped so neither has my keenness for motion. Below is some information on the pass I bought and the mountains I will be conquering this winter.

My Pass:  Epic Pass

Perks: Unlimited access to the resorts listed below (Colorado only. There are other resorts all over the world, but Colorado is my primary focus for the obvious reason that I live there.). I also have six SWAF (Ski With A Friend) discounted lift tickets for any resort of my choosing and EpicMix. Beyond the unlimited access to the resorts, EpicMix is my favorite feature. Through your pass it tracks where you skied, the days you skied, your vertical feet, and there are people running around with cameras to take photos of you that are automatically linked to your profile. The photo part is the primary reason I like it. Anyone can have their picture taken, in whatever creative pose you want, and they are usually posted at the top of the mountain for great views. No more finding a stranger to remove gloves and snap a blurry cell phone image. The tracking is not entirely accurate of course. Short cutting midway down back up to the top to skip lines at the bottom of a run do not quite register. But overall it is cool to have a record to look back on.

“Vail Ski Resort is the largest single resort in the United States with 5,289 acres of the most diverse and expansive skiing in the world, blessed with over 300 days of sunshine a year.

Vail Mountain is accessed by three base areas: Lionshead, Vail Village, and Golden Peak. Lionshead is home to the Eagle Bahn Gondola and Born Free Express (Chair 8). Mountain access out of Vail Village is via Vail’s new state of the art gondola, “One”. Golden Peak is home to the Riva Bahn Express (Chair 6), accessing the terrain park and Northwoods Chair 11, and the race course. Also at Golden Peak is Chair 12, the Gopher Hill Ski School beginner lift.

The Front Side of Vail is home to the most groomed terrain on the planet. Wide, long runs such as Riva Ridge, Born Free, and Simba, Lodgepole, and Bear Tree are popular. Check the daily grooming report for up to date info on where the best places are to ski groomed terrain. The Front Side is also home to Kid’s Adventure Zones, three Terrain Parks including Golden Peak Terrain Park, home of a 22 foot half pipe and site of theBurton US Open Snowboarding Championships, Game Creek Bowl, The EpicMix race course, and mountain dining restaurants at Eagles Nest (including Bistro Fourteen), Mid-Vail, the 10th, and Larkspur at the base of Golden Peak.

The World Famous Back Bowls offer wide open skiing and amazing views. Start by exploring Sun Up and Sun Down Bowls, and work your way back to China and Teacup Bowls. China Bowl offers the only groomed blue run runs in the Back Bowls (access from Front Side via Sourdough Express #14). If you are feeling adventurous, make your way all the way out to Siberia Bowl and the surface T-Bar style lift #22 and Inner and Outer Mongolia Bowls!

Not enough terrain for you yet? Follow signage from Patrol Headquarters back to the three high speed quad lifts and Blue Sky Basin. Ski the steep and snow filled sections under Skyline Express #36, or explore the runs on Pete’s and Earl’s Express lifts (#38 and #39), named after Vail’s founders Pete Seibert and Earl Eaton. With so many options, it’s no wonder that so many people choose a Vail season pass. All this mountain simply can’t be conquered in one visit!” (citation)
trail maps

“If World Cup racers refer to Beaver Creek as their favorite place to compete, maybe there is something you should know when you plan a ski trip to Beaver Creek.

Every year, athletes and spectators alike migrate to our mountain top resort for the Birds of Prey Men’s World Cup. But that is only a slice of what Beaver Creek Resort has to offer. From the gentle, manicured slopes of Bachelor Gulch, to the open intermediate trails of Larkspur and Rose Bowl, to the steep bumps of Grouse Mountain, skiers and riders of all abilities will feel at home on our mountain.” (citation)
trail maps

“With five huge peaks spanning 2,908 acres, Breckenridge skiing has something for all abilities and interests. Every beginner and intermediate trail is groomed nightly so you can enjoy endless turns throughout your day. Or, ride North America’s highest chairlift, the Imperial Express, up to the high alpine bowls for unforgettable views and steeps. If you’re looking for terrain parks, Breckenridge has four—one for every skill level.” (citation)
trail maps

“At 11,640 feet, Dercum Mountain is home to long green and blue runs and perfect groomers to keep you cruising all day. This is a great place to start for beginners and intermediate skiers and snowboarders. For the daring, A51 Terrain Park invites you to show off your skills. Named top-ranked parks by Freeskier and Transworld Magazines, this is the place to be for shredders and jibbers. If tree skiing is what you’re after, you can access The Windows – truly legendary tree skiing. High above the green and blue runs, you’ll find Bergman, Erikson and Independence Bowls – the perfect opportunity for guided CAT skiing tours. And, you can take a Mountain-Top Snowcat Tour from the top of Dercum to Independence Bowl for a breathtaking scenic journey.

Rising to 11,660 feet, this is the place for skiers and riders that love long trails full of bumps. Flex your skills on a variety of blue intermediate and black expert runs. At the top of North Peak is The Outpost, home to every dining experience you could want. Experience award-winning cuisine at Alpenglow Stube. Family fun at Der Fondue Chessel. And, a variety of delicious options at the Timber Ridge Food Court.
Our tallest mountain, The Outback peaks at 11,980 feet. Blue intermediate and black expert skiers and riders will find plenty of long, well-groomed runs here, powder and bumps. As a bonus, there is some of Colorado’s best tree skiing in the North and South Bowls. You can hike or take The Outback shuttle to access these epic bowls.

Flex your skills at Keystone’s A51 Terrain Park – named one of the best in North America. Take a dedicated chair lift to the park and spend the day on rails, jumps, jibs, in the pipe and more. There are features for every level, so it’s an awesome place to hang with your friends. The park is well groomed and always changing. And, it’s Colorado’s only night park. Come try out one of North America’s best parks.
The most epic way to see Keystone is with Keystone Adventure Tours. In the comfort of a heated snow cat, you’ll travel above the tree line to 12,000 feet for a view of Keystone like you’ve never seen. A full-day CAT skiing tour into Independence Bowl is complete with guides to show you the best runs and catered lunch in our warming hut. Spend the day riding or skiing through untracked terrain. This will be journey you won’t soon forget.” (citation)
trail maps

“The Legend isn’t any ordinary ski mountain; we earned our reputation from decades of pioneering and experience. With a summit elevation of 13,050 feet, visit the Swiss Alps right here in the Colorado Rockies. Set at the base of the Continental Divide on Loveland Pass, A-Basin offers over 100 expertly carved trails, boasting above-timberline bowls and deep powder stashes. Whether you’re interested in groomed cruiser runs or if chutes and glades are more your style, the Basin has it! Elevate your experience this winter and see why Arapahoe Basin is called the Legend.

Since 1946, Arapahoe Basin has been serving up a fantastic ride for skiers and riders from Colorado and all over the world. We’re often the first in Colorado to open – if not the nation – and the last in Colorado to close. Arapahoe Basin receives over 350 inches of snowfall annually.

Our amazing mountain has been rocking wintertime adventurers for 67 years now. We work hard to preserve the mountain’s natural beauty and take steps to see that our patrons do so as well.

From a total of 1200 skiers during its first season aided by nothing but a tow-rope and a military transport truck to haul them to the base, Arapahoe Basin now sports 109 trails and multiple chairlifts, stunning over 400,000 skiers per season!” (citation)

trail maps

“Eldora is your backyard Ski Area. Located just 21 miles from Boulder and 45 miles from Denver – Eldora is close enough to make getting here easy. Relaxed. Unpretentious. Real. With something for everyone – steeps, bumps, glades, a terrain park, a world-class Nordic Center and groomed corduroy for cruising. And don’t forget our acclaimed Children’s Center where we make learning to ski or snowboard fun! Eldora also features free close-in parking and RTD bus service that drops you off only 50 feet from the lift.

Eldora is best known for its diverse terrain, cross-country center and outstanding children’s SnowSports school.” (citation)trail maps

With the ski season barely opened, I am already excited to get out on these mountains!


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