Daniel Petty / The Denver Post
AAron Ontiveroz / The Denver Post
CU Ski Bus
The ski bus is an awesome way to hit the Summit County slopes with a few dozen of your best pals. It’s cheap, and you can either nap or be that guy that does funny/mean things to people while they’re napping. (Be nice.) Go to colorado.edu/ecenter/ski-bus or the Ski Bus Facebook page, facebook.com/cuskibus, for details. Plan ahead — it fills up quick. The schedule goes up about a month before the bus starts bussing.
Shredding season is still months off, which is plenty of time to get your season passes in order and fantasize during class (feel free to start now) about the perfect powder day.
There are a lot of choices when it comes to where you snowboard and ski, and how much you’ll pay. Before you buy, you might want to consider a few questions: How often will you go? Do you have a car? Where do your friends plan to buy their passes? And, obviously, what can you afford?
On that note, since you’ll surely be wondering: Yes, there are student prices available, but all of these mountains would just like us and you to be patient — they’ll have prices out very soon. Meanwhile, here’s what we knew at the end of July. Check the mountain’s sites for updates.
For those who love to ride, Epic Passes run the show out there. Let’s skip the introductions and move straight to the breakdown.
Epic Pass: For $729 you get unlimited access to Colorado resorts Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin, plus beyond Colorado destinations Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood, Afton Alps and Mt. Brighton. It also includes five days at Niseko United, Japan, and up to five days at Verbier, Switzerland, and Les 3 Vallees, France.
Epic Local: For a $549 adult pass or a $429 teen pass (if you’re still 18), you’ll get unlimited access to Breckenridge, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin, Afton Alps and Mt. Brighton. Then there are 10 restricted days at Vail and Beaver Creek, plus limited restrictions at Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar and Kirkwood.
Local passes: If you’re looking to keep things cheaper and more simple, consider a Keystone/A-Basin Pass, which gets you access to the neighboring mountains for $289. Similarly, the Summit Value Pass will get you Keystone, A-Basin and limited access to Breckenridge for $469.
Epic 7-Day: If you don’t plan to ski more than seven days this season, the Epic 7-Day is the way to go. You get a total of seven unrestricted tickets you can use at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone, Canyons, Heavenly, Northstar, Kirkwood and A-Basin.
As always, most Epic passes include six discounted days for friends and family. Check out snow.com/epic-pass/passes.aspx for full details on all of their pass options.
Eldora may be relatively small, but it has its benefits. For one, it’s the closest to Boulder and not on I-70. For another, you can get there by bus for $10 round-trip from Boulder. Whether you’re car-less, trying to save money on gas or just not in any shape (too much riding!) to drive, that’s pretty convenient. The other attractive quality is that it’s far less crowded than the mountains on the I-70 corridor.
The light crowds are also the reason Eldora was only part of the Epic Pass for one season, last year. When snow storms missed the big mountains and dumped on Eldora, the influx of skiers and snowboarders looking for fresh powder was too much.
Rocky Mountain Super Pass, plus Eldora
This year, Eldora will be on the Rocky Mountain Super Pass Plus. For a $399 college student pass or a $529 adult pass, that also includes Copper Mountain and Winter Park, with restricted access to Steamboat, Crested Butte and New Zealand’s Mt. Ruapehu. (You might go. You never know.) That means six days for Steamboat, three for Crested Butte and seven at Mt. Ruapehu.
A full pass just for Eldora is $399, with an off-peak option for $339 and a super value option for $269.
The regular version of this pass does not include Eldora, but it gives you unlimited access to Winter Park and Copper, and seven days at Mt. Ruapehu.
Arapahoe Basin pass
A-Basin’s pass costs $279 and includes automatic enrollment in the A-Basin Club, which pays off with special discounts and offers. You also get three days at Taos Ski Valley in New Mexico, one unguided ski day at Silverton and discounted single-day lift tickets for friends and family.
Maybe you’re not that into skiing or snowboarding. Maybe you’re just learning or trying to save money. Four Packs of lift tickets usually run between $100 and $200 and will sometimes offer your choice of two mountains for one price. Much like student pricing info, you’ll have to watch the websites to learn more.
Follow Ashley Dean on Twitter: twitter.com/AshaleyJill. Or try to chase her down a mountain.