Things to do in Denver
November 18, 2008 4:19 PM   Subscribe

Should I go to Denver for a month if I want to ski a lot?

My job moves me around several times a year for short-term projects, my next one will be in for the month of January. I get some input into where I go, and Denver might be once of my choices. I'm wondering if it would be a fun place for me.

I generally don't like cold weather, but I love snowboarding/skiing. I'd be living in the Cherry Creek neighborhood, or somewhere very close to that. I'll be working 5 days a week, but only during the evenings and will have my days free 6 days a week. I've read that the nearest ski resorts are about an hour away. Are those close by resorts any good? Keep in mind my previous skiing experience has been limited to Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, so I'm okay with non-world-class skiing, but I don't want to move to Denver if I'm only gonna be able to get to mediocre resorts.

Also, how is Denver for non-skiing outdoor activities? It looks like temps are gonna range generally between 20-50 degrees. I've never lived in a winter climate like that, so I'm not really sure what to expect. Do people mostly just stay inside except to go to work and go home?
posted by bluejayk to Travel & Transportation around Denver, CO (8 answers total)
My first experience with snowboarding outside the Northeast (land of ice and sleet) was at Loveland, a small ski area about an hour outside Denver, mostly used by locals. When we were purchasing our lift tickets, the guy at the window told us that we may want to take a run and get our money back, the snow wasn't that good that day (refunds were available if you turned in your ticket before a certain time). I was thinking I just came 2000 miles - there's no way in hell I'm not getting some time in. After getting off the lift, I was expecting the worst as I started my run. Turns out, it was the best snow I had ever ridden on - a shitty day out west, was better than pretty much any conditions near home, save for after a storm. I did not ask for a refund. I'd say take the month in Denver.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 4:57 PM on November 18, 2008

I grew up in the region. Winters in Denver tend not to be unrelentingly kill-yourself bone-chilling the way they are in, say, Chicago (where I've also lived). There can be a surprising amount of sun, and snow can even melt off (a little or a lot), depending on the fluctuations in temperature. So it's definitely not like everyone's stuck inside huddling next to the heater for the entire season when they're not at work.

And yes, you don't have to go to Aspen or Vail for world-class skiing or snowboarding; Arapahoe Basin and Copper Mountain were both particularly popular among my local crowd when I was growing up. Besides downhill skiing, there's skating, cross-country, sledding, etc. in and around the city. You're also an hour or so away from Boulder, where there's plenty of climbing.

Besides that, Denver has some good museums, outdoor shopping, a world-class bookstore (Tattered Cover) and record store (Wax Trax), and a nice zoo.
posted by scody at 5:02 PM on November 18, 2008

I would go to Park City Utah. The snow - I'm having trouble controlling my emotions just thinking about it. If you can live with 2% beer for a month you will never forget the snow.
posted by spicynuts at 6:01 PM on November 18, 2008

Denver is good for non-skiing, the sunshine is really nice.

Bring sunscreen and plenty of water and enjoy!
posted by sondrialiac at 6:14 PM on November 18, 2008

Denver gets something like 300 sunny days a year. It also does not stay cold for weeks on end; the temperature will dip but then rises again usually fairly quickly.

I'd recommend Winter Park as a nearby resort; Eldora is popular among the Boulder folk, and Loveland's another one... except Loveland can be horridly windy. A-Basin is my favorite but it isn't super close.

Also if you're there in late December you can check out the zoo lights- they always have a big display around Christmastime. I'm not sure how long it stays up.
posted by nat at 6:44 PM on November 18, 2008

I miss Denver for this very reason.

The nearest resorts are *at least* an hour from Denver, more if the weather in the mountains is bad. But, if you're like me, that doesn't matter. You'll just get up earlier, and have your choice of at least three great hills -- probably more, but I typically went to either Loveland, Winter Park or Copper Mountain. They all have their perks, but I especially remember Loveland's bowls and trees fondly. Great snowboarding.
posted by crickets at 8:54 PM on November 18, 2008

As some one who has skied in West Virginia and in the resorts west of Denver I can say wholeheartedly that you are going to enjoy skiing in Colorado. The only downside is travel time but really that's true of living in any big city and commuting for skiing save for Salt Lake City. Big Cities don't usually exist up in the mountains where skiing is great. Also if you've skied in West Virginia chances are you dealt with some travel time there so you know what it is like.

As to where you ski you might want to consider a season's pass. The Rocky Mountain Super Pass will give you access to Winter Park and Copper Mountain. The Epic Pass will give you access to Beaver Creek, Vail, Breckenridge, Keystone and A-Basin. I'm not aware of Loveland being part of any group pass either on a multi-day ticket scheme or a season pass basis but I'd like to be proved wrong.
posted by mmascolino at 9:11 PM on November 18, 2008

Thanks for the advice folks, I'm gonna go ahead and request Denver, I'm sold.
posted by bluejayk at 9:50 PM on November 18, 2008

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