Skiing honeymoon in the Rockies?
December 5, 2007 2:04 PM   Subscribe

Great week honeymooning in the Rockies? Where would you tell a skiing/riding couple to go?

We're getting hitched next fall (yay!) but work and school committments will be pushing back the honeymoon until the second week of January, 2009. We're not particular keen on the "lie baking on a beach" concept, and are outdoorsy, active people, so we thought we'd put the timing to good use and have a Ski Holiday. As New England skiiers this fresh powder we keep hearing about seems like something we ought to experience ;-)

We're looking most closely at Aspen, CO right now, because it's the classic choice although of course very touristy. Point in its favor are that it's easy to get to and around in, the mountains look really great, and do very well on this eco friendliness ranking. At first glance it looks like we could really put together a fantastic week of skiing and boarding, with some fun dining, hiking and snowshoing options to boot. (Shopping doesn't thrill either of us, but might while away an hour or two window shopping)

So we're looking for comments on Aspen accomodations and activities, but we'd be open to any recommendations in the U.S. or Canada.

A few other things we're looking for:

- No more than one layover from Manchester, NH - preferably with little (<1 hour) to no driving to our final destination
- Plenty of vegetarian dining options
- Generally we'd be looking for a place to hole up in the evenings with the hot tub, but the opportunity for night or two out for dinner and a show would be super
- Eco-travel and resort options are a huge plus, but not strictly required

Thanks everyone! You can also email me direct, it's in the profile.
posted by nelleish to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Congrats on getting married! If you want to go to Colorado, I'd go to Winter Park over Aspen, Vail or any other big Colorado resorts. I'm quite bias, as my dad taught/coached skiing at Winter Park for about 8 years before going back to Jackson, Wyoming. That being said, Winter Park is my favourite of all the Colorado resorts I've been to.

It's a pretty huge mountain (technically, four different ones), so you won't run out of places to explore. This can also help alleviate seasonal crowding once you get away from the base. Winter Park as a city doesn't have the shopping thing that Aspen does, but since that's not your thing, you probably won't miss it. It doesn't have the restaurants that Aspen does, but there are still several good ones, especially at the resort itself. Certainly enough if you're only planning on a few "fancy" dinners during your week. I can really speak to the veg-friendly nature, but I can't imagine it would be noticeably different from Aspen. Winter Park also doesn't have the snobby vibe I get from Aspen either, which might be a perk.

One downside is that Berthoud Pass can be horrifying in the winter if conditions are bad (and you pretty much have to go over Berthoud to get to Winter Park). If you're not used to scary-ass winter mountain driving, it can be quite harrowing. Otherwise, I don't think it's any more of a drive than Aspen is. Additionally, DIA is very susceptible to winter weather. If you're really opposed to massive delays due to weather, DIA should be avoided.

I'd highly, highly recommend coming up here to BC and going to Whistler instead if you can afford it. Whistler is very similar to Aspen, but Vancouver is much closer to Whistler than Denver is to Aspen. It's entirely feasible to head down to Vancouver for a day, or spend the first/last day of the trip in Vancouver instead. The air fare is probably more expensive and I don't know how easy it would be to get a one layover flight from NH. There are rarely weather-related delays at YVR and nothing compared to what DIA regularly sees. You might be able to save some money if you flew into Seattle and took the train up (it's maybe $75/person and can be quite romantic) instead. Whistler is between 90-120 minutes from Vancouver, but there are shuttles, buses and trains that go up there too.

Also, there are three mountains even closer to Vancouver for skiing: Seymour, Cypress and Grouse. You could hypothetically just stay in Vancouver and spend a day or two at each mountain, and enjoy the host of restaurants and other things to do in Vancouver. If you can, hit the mountain on weekdays and enjoy the city on the weekend to avoid crowds.

If you can afford to come to Vancouver, head up here! If not, I'd suggest Winter Park above any other mountain (that I've been to) in Colorado. Either way, enjoy the honeymoon!
posted by Nelsormensch at 2:46 PM on December 5, 2007

Aspen's great for the "culture" but to be honest you can really do much better mountain wise. If your looking for real great snow and unreal skiing Jackson Hole is fantastic if your both adventurous. If your looking for great skiing and good night life Park City is maybe your best bet. There are also 5 other great mountains within 45 minutes (Alta being one) and the whole mess of them are only half an hour or so from Salt Lake City.

I find it hard to say sometimes, esp. given bad eco ratings and the sort of high tag the place has, but the bowls at Vail are unbelievable.
posted by jeffe at 3:29 PM on December 5, 2007

Like Nelsormensch, I am biased, but not to Winter Park. I have been going to Aspen every year for "oh-so-long." I have family who live there.

Some thoughts:
The second week of January is not as packed as the previous few holiday weeks.

The second week Wintersk├Âl is celebrated in town -- and is a fun time. The third week is Gay Ski Week and fun for all -- with locals coming out for the annual Downhill Costume Parade.

You have the choice of a number of mountains/slopes to ski and snowboard -- Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk.

There are many options for lodging -- from the boutique Sky Hotel (with its EarthCare Commitment ; adjacent to the base of Aspen Mountain with spectacular hot tub and outdoor pool) to the old, classic Hotel Jerome.

There are dining options galore! For vegetarian there's the very informal cafe at Explore Bistro (a book shop and cafe). As well, many eateries have vegetarian options on their menus (e.g. Cache-Cache -- vegetarian review).

Regarding evening entertainment, I'd suggest the Belly-Up and the Wheeler Opera House for live entertainment.

Be sure to check out the two free daily rags -- Aspen Daily News and Aspen Times for local info.
posted by ericb at 3:48 PM on December 5, 2007

BTW -- you don't need to rent a car to get around -- from the airport to town; from ski area to ski area.

Just use the low-cost RFTA which is "eco-friendly" ("RFTA uses Biodiesel fuel in all of its fleet of diesel power vehicles including our hybrid buses, and ethanol in our gasoline vehicles."). All are equipped with ski and snowboard racks and the buses run frequently between points.
posted by ericb at 4:03 PM on December 5, 2007

You should consider Telluride.
posted by spilon at 4:07 PM on December 5, 2007

You should consider Telluride.

Yep...Telluride is another great option.
posted by ericb at 4:13 PM on December 5, 2007

I love Snowbird, and pretty much everywhere I have been in Utah, its mostly closer to Salt Lake City then Aspen is to Denver, and its cheaper, and the Red Iguana in SLC is the best Mexican food my uneducated mid Atlantic taste buds have ever tasted. Also it is a bit easier as far as altitude adjustment goes.
posted by BobbyDigital at 5:38 PM on December 5, 2007

Seconding Whistler. Snow came early this season, looks to be a good 'un.

Congrats on getting married.
posted by arcticseal at 7:57 AM on December 6, 2007

We spent our September honeymoon in Jasper (Alberta) -- close to Banff, but without so many tourists. Stayed in some nice cabins in Alpine Village.

We spent a week in Vancouver and took the train east to Jasper (fun, but be sure to get a compartment). Spent a week in Jasper and the surrounding area, and then drove down the Glacier parkway to Calgary and flew home (to Atlanta) from there.

Best honeymoon ever!
posted by mdiskin at 10:51 AM on December 6, 2007

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