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Skiing over Christmas - are we crazy?

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Dallas, Texas
posts: 3
reviews: 37
Skiing over Christmas - are we crazy?

We are considering a ski trip over Christmas this year. We've been skiing many times but never during this time period. Is it awful? Are the lift lines horrible? We are thinking Breckenridge but would consider other places if one was better/less crowded than another. Or are they all packed?

Nederland, Colorado
posts: 6,537
reviews: 11
1. Re: Skiing over Christmas - are we crazy?

It's not crazy, lots of people go skiing over Christmas every year. Breckenridge, however, is probably the most crowded of all the ski areas in CO. Aside from the busiest time, it is also the most expensive time to ski. Lodging is at a premium then.

Resorts that may be less "crowded" are Crested Butte and Telluride.

Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Crested Butte, Gunnison
posts: 3,651
reviews: 97
2. Re: Skiing over Christmas - are we crazy?

Agreed. Breckenridge is about the most crowded resort during the xmas holiday. Even Copper would be a huge improvement. Crested Butte and Telluride will have a fraction of the crowds of the Summit County resorts. However, if you're used to skiing Breckenridge, either resort will seem empty by comparison.

Destination Expert
for Breckenridge
posts: 2,721
reviews: 23
3. Re: Skiing over Christmas - are we crazy?

X-mas time is a fun time in Breck. Lot going on, lots of people, festive...great energy in the air.

Lift lines: yes, they are crowded. The time between X-mas & New Year's as well as typically the 2nd & 3rd week of March (spring break) is the busiest of time of the year. You can have long lift lines especially on the weekend.

So, if you are wanting a lesser wait, you will have to go to the ski areas that are harder/longer to get to ala Crested Butte, Telluride...maybe Winter Park as well as some ones in Utah.


Moorestown, New...
posts: 1
reviews: 1
4. Re: Skiing over Christmas - are we crazy?

We have skied Snowmass, Vail, and Steamboat over Christmas. All are far enough away from Denver that you are not getting the day trippers, so it cuts down on some of the crowds. Somebody said Utah. However, in our area Utah flights that are normally low $300s go to well over $1,000 over Christmas. If you still go, Solitude earns it's name. They don't know what a crowd is.

Snowmass is Huge, so once you get past the bottom lifts it is okay.

Vail is bad at the bottoms also. However, if you can ski the bowls and Blue sky you won't be crowed at all when you get there. The crowds tend to stay on just 3 lift areas on the front side. Staying in Lions Head is a secret I almost shouldn't share.

Steamboat is good as long as you stay at one of the places that allows you to avoid the Gondola. That gets packed over X-mass while the other lifts up are just not that bad.

Your family will enjoy it.

Good Luck.

Houston, Texas
posts: 43
reviews: 4
5. Re: Skiing over Christmas - are we crazy?

The lift lines in Breck are terrible in that time frame. And it is that way all over the mountain. Many people are fine with it because they are new to the sport, or because the pros of the town of Breck are worth it. The town of Breck is amazing. But, since you are already expressing concern over lines, you should look elsewhere. The lines in Breck around xmas and Presidents Day/spring break could not be any worse. Seriously, probably the worst in Colorado. Check Steamboat. Sorry!

Park City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Utah, Winter Sports
posts: 12,254
reviews: 241
6. Re: Skiing over Christmas - are we crazy?

As noted, one strategy to beat the crowds is to look at the resorts further from Denver. Breck or any of the other nearby Vail Resorts properties (Vail, Keystone, Beaver Creek) covered under the Epic Pass are going to be super busy. Steamboat, Aspen, etc. less so. Utah is definitely a consideration with less crowds and a number of resorts (Deer Valley, Alta) that actually limit lift ticket sales. DV is actually a very nice experience over the holidays. Added bonus on Utah is you will be only 40 minutes from the airport.

Have fun.

posts: 10
reviews: 55
7. Re: Skiing over Christmas - are we crazy?

It's not that bad. Just get there early (8:30 - 9) and then avoid the lifts at the bottom of the mountains after your first lift line. The lifts on the top half are much more manageable. We've gone the last several years over the holidays (husband is a teacher, kids are in school, not much choice) and it is a blast. People are in a festive mood, the town is all decked out, and there is a great energy in the air. The days leading up to Christmas and Christmas day itself tend to be less busy than Dec 26 - Jan 1. So if you can swing it, do most of your skiing on and before Christmas.

Have a great trip!

Destination Expert
for Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman, Crested Butte, Gunnison
posts: 3,651
reviews: 97
8. Re: Skiing over Christmas - are we crazy?

"It's not that bad."

Ltyka, every ski town is all decked out for the holidays and has a festive mood in the air. That much is a given. The fact that you have a strategy to make things manageable is a perfect example of how crowded some resorts like Breckenridge and Vail can get (no day trippers at Vail RK? That is one of their main business models!). Further, beyond just the lift lines, you'll be waiting in line everywhere you go. The on-mountain cafeteria lines can stretch up close to the hour mark. Then there's the "waiting for an open table with a tray full of food" game. Packed restaurants in town and the need to strategize how you're going to make your trip enjoyable in spite of the crowds is not my idea of a fun vacation. From the sounds of it, this is what the OP is concerned about.

The point others are making is that you don't have to settle for "manageable." There are whole areas at Crested Butte and Telluride serviced by multiple lifts where you won't see a single lift line, not even on xmas. Sunlight is another example where, while people are trying to "manage" the crowds" at Summit County resorts during the holidays, the lifts at Sunlight are running mostly empty chairs. You can literally ski right onto the lift, ride up and come back down again. If you actually want to spend your ski vacation skiing, these are much better options. Regardless, the OP asked two questions:

1) Are the lift lines at Breck horrible? Yes. Yes they are.

2) Other suggestions? There are many.

Destination Expert
for Colorado
posts: 8,250
reviews: 120
9. Re: Skiing over Christmas - are we crazy?

You can get some direct flights to Montrose (Telluride and Crested Butte), Gunnison (Crested Butte, Monarch) Durango, (Durango Mountain, Wolf Creek, possible drive to Telluride) Hayden (Steamboat), and Aspen or Eagle (Aspen/Snowmass/Buttermilk/Aspen Highlands and Sunlight) and direct flights available to some of the other ski resorts that are further from Denver, so you might check out those options. You can get connections through Denver, but I like the direct flights when possible because you can skip Denver & not have to worry about making connecting flights. Most of the resorts will have a "Getting Here" or "Transportation" page so you can see which resorts have direct flights from an airport near you. Be sure you find the winter schedule, because direct, nonstop flights are added for ski season, whereas in the summer most flights connect in Denver.

i.e. …steamboat.com/PDFS/winter_flight_13-14.pdf




Charleston, South...
Destination Expert
for Charleston, South Carolina, Telluride
posts: 8,153
reviews: 31
10. Re: Skiing over Christmas - are we crazy?

I have often gotten direct flights from Dallas to Montrose. (Altho, I fly Charleston to Dallas and Dallas to Montrose) Montrose is 1.5 hr from Telluride ~ either rent a car or take a shuttle. If you rent a car you can grocery shop, etc in Montrose (if you are renting a condo) which will be less expensive than the stores up in Telluride. Telluride is never as crowded as the bigger resorts nearer to Denver. There is the town of Telluride, quaint mining town that has been there well over 100 years and the newer "planned ski resort" of Mountain Village. They are connected by a free gondola, so easy to go between the two. Between both of them there are gobs of condos and hotels.