Section 11: Summit County
The following information on Summit County (Colorado) is provided
courtesy of Carlson Peters (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Summit County, Colorado
A very complicated mountain. Most people don't like it because they
don't get a chance to know it. You will spend a couple of days trying
to figure out where you are. They also have a terrain gap between
intermediate and expert, the so called advanced terrain. This is
another reason most netters pann it. It is the windiest of the four.
The front and back bowls (Peak 8) often get twice the snowfall
reported on the cable but dress very warm and be a strong skiier to
enjoy them. Peak 9 has good lower intermediate terrain. Avoid the
Quicksilver Quad on 9 - it serves the flatest terrain in the world.
Breck has a zillion shops and resturants and bars and has lots of
beautiful wooden victorian architecture(walk around the side of town
opposite the ski area) and western flavor. This is the town to stay
in if you're looking for ambiance and nightlife.
Strong on long, advanced bump runs, the kind that probably would be
upper intermediate if they were groomed. Some steeps and above
treeline skiing too. The mountain is neatly divided into beginner,
intermediate and advanced terrain. Park at B lift and avoid the
crowds. The east side is the place to ski if the snow is coming down
hard but be a strong skier. Lots of narrow, protected trails shield
you from the wind and flat light. Head to Union bowl on a sunny
powder morning for the deepest snow on the mountain. The absolute
best NOVICE and low intermediate terrain in the county is on the west
end of the mountain. The long, uncrowded, gently rolling slopes are
perfect for confidence building. The village is small and quiet most
any time of the year.
Keystone proper is derisevly referred to as a golf course. The runs
get unbearably crowded mid-season with an obnoxious variety of Texans
and the natural snowfall is significantly less than that of the other
Summit County resorts. Otherwise, the front side is completely
groomed on a daily basis and offers long beginner/intermediate
cruising. Ski down the backside to NorthPeak and the Outback early on
a powder morning for some great skiing. Most advanced skiers simply
skip it due to Keystone's pablum reputation. NorthPeak/Outback gets
alot more snow than what gets reported on the cable for Keystone.
Keystone usually opens the first week of October with one boring run
open and lift tickets are still full priced. They have the most
extensive snowmaking west of the Mississippi so they are a safe bet in
a real lousy winter. Keystone village is very lame and expensive.
The Ranch has a wonderfully romantic/expensive fixed price dinner
This place has the most expert terrain and bumps under one lift in all
of Colorado. Endless varitations are possible if you are in terrific
shape. The base is just below timberline and there is big, beautiful,
mostly intermediate bowl skiing above. This is THE place to be on a
warm, sunny spring day. Midway gets transformed into a beach,
complete with lounge chairs and log cabin barbecue. The parking lots
is full of partying tail-gaters. The Basin stays open long after all
the other CO resorts have closed, usually Memorial Day. Just 4 lifts
but an awful lot of terrain. It's a nasty place to be in a storm
though, no cover and complete whiteouts are the norm then. The Basin
always get more snow than anywhere else in Summit Co but also needs
the most due to the rocky, rugged terrain. This is just a ski area
near the summit of Loveland Pass - absolutely no nightlife.
Summit County can be enjoyed without a car, shuttle busses run between
the first three resorts from early in the morning to late at nite,
budget about an hour of travel time to get from one resort to another
although they are all within 15 miles of each other. To get to
Arapahoe, you must take the county shuttle to Keystone then transfer
to a shuttle to the Basin - add another half hour. Cut the time in
half for an auto and multiply by 1.5 if it is snowing.
There are three other towns in Summit County. They are located within
a few miles of each other in the heart of the County and offer cheaper
lodging and dining as well as quick shuttle access to the ski areas.
The most lively of the three. Many dining options from fast food to
gourmet. A few funky Motels, some condos, a nice main street and some
Condos, Condos, and more Condos - most of them ugly. Lousy food and
high prices. Dead after 7 PM. Lodging cheap by Summit County standards
Pretty much locals only. Try the Mint for western style grill your own
steak and salad bar. Antonia's for some good Italian food and Pizza.
Tip for future ski bums
A ski-the-summit season pass includes all of the above areas. This
gives you access to about 60 lifts and 9 separate peaks with the
longest season in the west starting in early October at Keystone and
continuing into June at A-Basin. Buy early and save.