Location: Georgetown, CO
Ski Resorts: 24 out of 50
Two big announcements in today’s report. We’re in Colorado and we’re halfway through the trip. The crew had planned on spending more time in Washington before heading up to British Columbia, but have you ever tried renting an RV in Canada? It’s expensive, like really expensive, so we packed up our gear and shot down to Colorado. Our plan (which is never set in stone) is to ride Summit for a week, then head to southwestern Colorado and Arizona, two regions which have been getting pounded all winter.
It looks like the change in plans was for the better. It started snowing the day we arrived. We loaded up the RV with fresh supplies and climbed Interstate 70 to the Eisenhower Tunnel. Watch yourself on this freeway. Front range drivers are maniacs as we learned first hand — picture spinning pick up trucks and cars with summer tires. We made it up safely, and more important, didn’t have to put on the chains.
We checked out Loveland earlier in the season on a December day that was -35 degrees and just a fraction of open terrain. What a difference two months and six inches of fresh powder can make.
Loveland is a huge bowl that sits right over the Eisenhower tunnel. There’s nothing at Exit 216 except for the ski area. The main lodge sits on the south side, a stone’s throw from the freeway, while the rest of Loveland hugs the Eisenhower Tunnel. About a mile east is Loveland Valley, which hosts mostly beginners, and Snow Junkies looking for a place to crash until snowplows woke us up at six-thirty in the morning.
The abrupt awakening turned out to be a boon as we arrived first in the main lot and received rockstar front row parking. A full day ticket at Loveland is only $59, which we cut in half with our Colorado Gem Cards.
We started over at Chair 8 on the far north side of the mountain. Crowds were scarce and the powder was plentiful. There’s not much pitch over here, but we weren’t looking for that this early in the morning — we just wanted to stretch our legs after a busy travel day. It takes time to get over to Chair 8, but when you want to leave, there’s a creepy foot tunnel which leads under I-70 and back to the base lodge.
We spent most of the day riding Chair 9. It’s the highest lift at Loveland and deposits you on a long ridge with dizzying views of the Rockies. Your choice of terrain at the top: Hike right or left pretty much as far as you want. Or for the lazy, drop straight down into the bowl underneath you.
Avalanche patrol was taking their time today, and I’m not complaining. There were a few small inbound slides. We took a few laps in the Super Bowl. It’s a really easy hike for snowboarders and even easier for two plankers. Bowls like this are why people move to the Rockies. There’s nothing like uninterrupted powder turns.
Just past the Powder Bowl, there’s a steeper ten minute hike which leads to even more untracked snow. The Saddle is a super chill bowl, while the Wild Child chutes had some fun cornice drops. Yeah, and the sun came out too, so mark down our first day in Colorado as excellent.
After all the years spent living in Colorado and Montana, I fell victim to altitude sickness. Probably not the wisest choice to go hiking at 13,000 feet after coming straight from Seattle — although with the day we had at Loveland, there wasn’t really a choice at all. Coco managed to drag me to Ollie’s for a burger and a margarita. And wonders never cease, we actually found legal overnight parking in Summit County right in downtown Frisco.
The Cheat Sheet:
Loveland Ski Area
Exit 216 Interstate 70
Georgetown, CO 80444
Loveland Mountain Stats
|Snowfall||400 in (1,016 cm)|
|Top Elevation||13,010 ft (3,965 m)|
|Bottom Elevation||10,600 ft (3,231 m)|
|Vertical Drop||2,410 ft (735 m)|
|Area Size||10 lifts | 70 trails | 1,365 acres (553 ha) acres|