Sometimes the best place to apres-ski is on a bus.
"I love the fact that the end of a ski day, I don't have to worry about trying to drive," said Vici Dehaan, Boulder organizer for the Eskimo Club's ski bus to Winter Park. "And we have food and wine that goes up and down the aisles of the bus" on the way back to the Front Range.
"If it's going to be a nasty day, we don't have to worry about the driving," she said. "We all just relax and know it's going to be a good trip."
Most of the riders on the Eskimo Club's bus are retirees and families, so it's not exactly a student scene -- but it's one of several alternatives to driving solo to the slopes.
Making an effort to go to a ski area en masse isn't just more relaxing, it's greener. If everyone did it, there would be less traffic, and it would be quicker, said Sue Prant, director of Boulder's Walk and Bike Month and a board member of ridesharing site SkiCarpool.org.
"Anything like the ski bus or SkiCarpool, any other way to get there other than people going in individual cars, you'll get there faster," Prant said.
And isn't speed what skiing's all about?
CU Ski Bus
The University of Colorado's ski bus picks up students, faculty and staff from three locations around campus nearly every weekend when school is in session. Destinations include Arapahoe Basin, Keystone, Breckenridge, Vail and Beaver Creek.
"It's pretty popular," said Peter Roper, program manager with CU's sustainable transportation program, adding that the bus often sells out. Book early in the week to secure a reservation.
Cost: $15 round-trip, $5 for CU Herd members.
Glenn Lieberman started SkiCarpool about eight years ago when he couldn't find fellow skiers and snowboarders to carpool with from Denver to the mountains. He was a Web programmer, so he made his own resource.
Now the Boulder-based nonprofit group connects skiers and snowboarders for carpools to any resort, and it's growing every year, Prant said.
RTD's route N buzzes between downtown Boulder's Walnut Street Station and Eldora Mountain Resort seven days a week during the ski season.
"The buses are packed on the weekends because of skiing," said Daria Serna, spokeswoman for RTD. "We always have an extra bus ready to go in the morning to pick up the extra people who wouldn't fit on the first bus."
On weekends, the bus goes every two hours, with bonus run hourly in the afternoons.
Cost: $4.50 one way from Boulder to Eldora
Brad Doran started this shuttle service from Boulder and Denver two years ago after a frustrating day in ski traffic. He carts skiers and snowboarders into the mountains in a 10-seater van.
Book a custom trip, or follow the current winter schedule: Wednesday to Winter Park; Thursday and Friday to Loveland, Arapahoe Basin, Keystone and Breckenridge; Saturday and Sunday to Copper, Vail and Beaver Creek.
Cost : $35 one-way, $50 round-trip
The Boulder Lift
Last winter, CU alum Walt Cummings started the Boulder Lift as another alternative to getting to the high country.
The Lift operates both days of every weekend and two or three days a week, and it services the five-mountain pass resorts -- A-Basin, Keystone, Breck, Vail and Beaver Creek. They'll also do a charter to anywhere in Summit or Eagle counties.
Cost: $25-30 for a shared ride