Colorado April is still winter in Colorado!

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by dbostedo, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020 Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2016
    Posts:
    3,431
    Location:
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Due to travel for work, I've been lucky the last couple of years to finish my ski season with a weekend of skiing in Colorado. This year was again the same, as I was able to ski in Colorado on April 12th and 13th.

    The debate each year is exactly which places to ski at. Two years ago, I skied Copper for 2 days. Last year, I picked a day each at Breckenridge and Loveland. This year, I thought about skiing A-Basin, as I've never been there. But some possible low vis conditions shied me away from there. So I diverted and wound up skiing Copper on Friday the 12th, and Loveland on Saturday the 13th... and had a ball at both places.

    Friday

    I was lucky that Wednesday night into Thursday a good storm came through and dumped 13" on Copper, and 11" on Loveland, making for nice conditions for the weekend. So I headed up to Copper early on Friday, to get my lift ticket and boot up. I like being early and making some groomer tracks with fresh groom and empty slopes, and Copper didn't disappoint.

    I paid for the good parking :)
    Colorado Skiing 041319 001 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    First lift up on American Flyer - the groomers were soft, smooth, and fast
    Colorado Skiing 041319 004 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    PugSki sticker shot on American Flyer
    Colorado Skiing 041319 010 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    Early I headed up to the top, to check out the conditions up high. I was the first person on the Rendezvous lift. It only served green terrain, since (unfortunately) Copper Bowl was already closed for the season. It was a good place to test out the off-piste though and see how it was.

    Riding solo on Rendezvous lift
    Colorado Skiing 041319 017 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    The whole area was mine :cool:
    Colorado Skiing 041319 020 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    After a run back to the bottom I took the new American Eagle Chondola ... kind of weird riding a chair behind a cabin. This is the second Chondola I've ridden, alongside Sunday River earlier this season. The groomers continued to be great, and crowds non-existent.

    The American Eagle Chondola
    Colorado Skiing 041319 024 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    View down to the village
    Colorado Skiing 041319 027 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    After a couple of laps there and off Timberline, I went back up high to Sierra and the runs underneath looked nice, so I skied Revenge. It's a tough run for me, but the snow was really nice. Some hidden bumps threw me a few times, and it veered from "good" into "good for me" by the time I got back to the lift.

    View from the top of Revenge
    Colorado Skiing 041319 030 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    Wide view from the top of Revenge
    Colorado Skiing 041319 038 DC ACR Conv Pano.jpg

    The snow was soft, and variable deepness depending on the surface underneath
    Colorado Skiing 041319 039 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    Later I met up with @tball and his nephew for a few runs off Timberline. A couple of usually groomed runs were left ungroomed and were in nice shape with some crud and soft bumps. And of course we skied the blue bump run Little Burn - I'd have been disappointed to meet up with tball and not ski some bumps!

    @tball and nephew
    Colorado Skiing 041319 045 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    @tball about to zipperline
    Colorado Skiing 041319 051 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    @tball mid-zipperline (nice form... and fast!)
    Colorado Skiing 041319 052 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    Later I went off to ski some of the runs over near American Eagle and Superbee, and ended my day with some nice views of the chutes across from Copper. They definitely looked wider than when I had been to Copper a couple of seasons ago.

    View down, I think, Andy's Encore
    Colorado Skiing 041319 065 DC ACR Conv Pano.jpg


    Saturday

    Last year, I had to park down the valley at Loveland, as I arrived a bit late. So on Saturday I headed over early to Loveland, getting there around 8:00, and got into the main lot when it was about half full. Loveland parking fullness is no indicator of how busy the mountain is, so it didn't worry me that it was filling up by the time I bought my lift ticket and got booted up.

    The storm earlier in the week had things looking good, and I was excited to check out some of the bowls and the south and north chutes that I enjoyed before. I thought about going up lift 9 to the top, but that would potentially be difficult terrain for me, the visibility was pretty variable, and I was skiing solo. So I opted to stay a bit lower.

    Lift 2 on to lift 6 for my first runs... and a sticker shot
    Colorado Skiing 041319 073 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    Looking over at Ptarmigan from Lift 6
    Colorado Skiing 041319 077 DC ACR Conv Pano.jpg

    The off-piste was mostly nice, though a little lumpy or crunchy in spots.... and it snowed some and there was some sun - sometimes both at once!

    Sun and snow off Ptarmigan
    Colorado Skiing 041319 084 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    I had to try to get a @nay shot... pretend these are Fatypus skis
    Colorado Skiing 041319 091 DC ACR Conv Pano.jpg

    The view of lift 9... this was a spot of good visibility and almost had me heading up
    Colorado Skiing 041319 093 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    After some fun runs off the bowls and the south chutes, I headed over to lift 4 for a few runs. I skied some trees and bumps and bowls... the bumps were actually pretty crappy and scraped off, but it was nice to work on for me, as I'm still learning bumps. Western bumps - and Loveland in particular it seems - are so widely spaced! Makes it a bit easier to practice.

    The view down Splashdown to the top of the I-70 tunnel
    Colorado Skiing 041319 098 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    Heading down North Chutes - the South Chutes are facing the camera, with lift 9 running through the valley
    Colorado Skiing 041319 104 DC ACR Conv Pano.jpg

    Looking up South Chutes (I think). These are blue, but pretty steep (they'd honestly be double black at my local hill) - just right for a bit of challenge for me.
    Colorado Skiing 041319 106 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    View from the top of Ptarmigan later in the day
    Colorado Skiing 041319 112 DC ACR Conv Pano.jpg

    Two of the lifts at Loveland cross... always looks strange to me
    Colorado Skiing 041319 114 DC ACR Conv.jpg


    After a lunch break, I headed over to the lift 1 side for a few runs. I ran into @jmeb in the Excelerator bumps - and it's always cool to put a real person with a handle on here. Maybe next time we can get a few turns in together.

    Lift 1 had some nice terrain, and steeper, and I hit some of the bumps. Nix Nox was really fun last year, but it wasn't nearly as soft this year, and the bumps were deeper (though the pic doesn't do it justice - they were pretty big).

    Nix Nox bumps
    Colorado Skiing 041319 115 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    Afternoon heavier snow
    Colorado Skiing 041319 118 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    I finished the day with a couple of runs through the Dealer's Choice trees. I've just started skiing trees this season, so this was a lot of fun as they were open and gentle enough glades.

    Dealer's Choice trees
    Colorado Skiing 041319 120 DC ACR Conv.jpg

    Dealer's Choice trees in a bit more sun after the snow stopped
    Colorado Skiing 041319 121 DC ACR Conv.jpg


    And that's (almost certainly) the end of my season... great place to end it on and I hope to get back next year! :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
    TexasStout, BC., skix and 10 others like this.
  2. Phelmut

    Phelmut German for Northeasterner Skier

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2016
    Posts:
    389
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Wow, looks like a great end of the season mini trip Dave. I'm hoping to get a weekend in May at Killington to finish my season.
     
    dbostedo likes this.
  3. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
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    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Great report and pics. Nice to meet you and glad we got to make some turns!
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019
    dbostedo likes this.
  4. Jim Kenney

    Jim Kenney Travel Correspondent Industry Insider Team Gathermeister

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2015
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    953
    Location:
    VA
    Your photos are unbelievably WHITE for late April, such as this
    [​IMG]
    and this!
    [​IMG]
     
  5. Thread Starter
    TS
    dbostedo

    dbostedo Asst. Gathermeister-- Jackson Hole 2020 Moderator

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Northern Virginia, USA
    Yep... like the title says, it was still winter!! :) I didn't see anything indicating things melting out or getting thin anywhere. Granted, the storm earlier in the week helped, but think it just softened things, not covered things up - the base was still really big everywhere.
     


  6. TexasStout

    TexasStout THE Texan is here! Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2015
    Posts:
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    Location:
    Texas
    April is typically a very good time to ski the alpine in CO along I-70, IMO. 1) Breck, A-Basin and Loveland are at such high altitude that they'll have good snow coverage still, on average, and likely be getting fresh snowfall until mid-late April. 2) no more destination skiers and their families and many Denverites have switched to Spring outdoor activities, leaving the ski runs fairly lightly used.
     
    dbostedo likes this.
  7. tball

    tball Zipped up Skier

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2015
    Posts:
    2,228
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    As long as I can remember I've tried to get a week of skiing locally in April before the big resorts close. It's rare the snow isn't good, and often it's outright fantastic like this year. It's really cool to have these huge resorts pretty much all to yourself.

    I've got a few more white pictures to add to the collection.

    Here's Spaulding Bowl at Copper Mountain the day I had the pleasure of skiing with @dbostedo:

    IMG_20190412_144135 (1).jpg

    And, a couple of days later (April 14th) it was still snowing. Here's my son in a snow globe on the Little Burn blue bump run at Copper:

    IMG_20190414_144503-ANIMATION (2).gif

    It's remarkable how it goes from high-season and crowded at the Colorado resorts the last week of March to low-season and deserted starting April 1st.
     
    Jim Kenney and dbostedo like this.

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