Which pass to get and why

Oct 112004
Authors: Sarah Rawley

Many people consider Colorado the Mecca of all ski country.

With the notorious Champagne powder of Steamboat, the reputable

nightlife at Breckenridge and Vail as the number one ski resort in

the United States, local ski and snowboard enthusiasts alike have

much to look forward to in the upcoming season.

Early snow reported mid-September in Vail and Steamboat is

promising an early season.

“It was unusual because snow fell around 7,000 feet, covering

the village of Vail,” said Kelly Ladyga, spokesperson for Vail


With Vail’s opening date scheduled for Nov. 19, Steamboat for

Nov. 24 and Keystone for Nov. 12, students are gearing up. Ski

passes and deals are widely available for college students for

almost all of Colorado’s mountains.

“Most people from Fort Collins choose between the five-mountain

pass, and the Copper-Winter Park pass,” said Elizabeth Boese, an

officer for CSU’s Outing Club.

The five-mountain Colorado Pass is about $340 for the season,

including unlimited skiing at Keystone, A-Basin, Breckenridge and

10 days at either Vail or Beaver Creek.

The Copper-Winter Park pass is about $330, but Wells Fargo is

offering a two-for-one deal on the pass when people open an

account. Copper also sells four-day passes for about $80, available

at King Soopers.

Vail may be well worth its reputable title, but students will

have to make the three-hour drive to find out for themselves. It

offers more than 5,290 acres of skiing.

“You can ski an entire week and not ski the same run twice,”

Ladyga said.

For some of the best backcountry skiing, a visit to Copper

offers free access to the backcountry via Snowcat, a tractor used

to groom mountains.

Loveland Ski Area offers a season pass for $289 or a no

restriction four-day pass for $89.

“(Loveland) is the closest decent mountain, and a lot less

crowds,” Boese said.

Dylan Westfall, a freshman mechanical engineering student, said

powder-hounds should look no further than Steamboat “for some of

the best powder in all of the Front Range.”

Sarah Chiarello, treasurer and records director of the CSU

Snowriders, agreed.

“Steamboat is going to get pounded this year,” Chiarello said.

“There’s always amazing early skiing.”

Hosting the continent’s longest superpipe – a terrain park

featuring an outdoor sound system, glade areas and natural hot

springs – Steamboat offers something for all tastes with a six-time

pass for $99.

For those seeking bumps and trees, a trip to Mary Jane, a ski

resort attached to Winter Park, may be the way to go.

“The entire mountain is covered in goosebumps, and most of it is

black diamond or experts,” Boese said.

Mary Jane, as well as Copper and the back bowls of Vail, is

known for providing terrain where experts can be separated from


Beaver Creek contains some of the most difficult and

well-groomed, terrain in Colorado.

With so many opportunities available, it’s just a matter of

finding a ride up to wherever the ski pass goes. The Snowriders

offer buses for day trips starting at around $30, as well as a few

planned trips to Steamboat in February to Jackson Hole, Wyo., in

early January, and to Utah over Spring Break.

“Advice to people for which pass to get – get the one your

friends are getting. It’s much more fun to ski with friends than

ski alone, and makes commuting much easier,” Boese said. “But

always remember, there’s no friends on powder days!”

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