The nice part about riding in -35 degree weather is that there are no crowds. Last week, the TSJ team loaded up the car for an early season roadtrip to Colorado. We stopped by A-Basin, Loveland, Copper, and Winter Park. Would have taken more photos except the extreme cold weather kept freezing up our trusty camera.

We based ourselves out of centrally located Frisco on I-70. Not much of a night life there, but it’s centrally located — less than a 30 minute drive to six different ski areas. And if you need a party, Breckenridge is just a few miles away. Hop onto the free Summit Stage and avoid the heavily patrolled road.

The first two stops, A-Basin and Loveland, tested our cold weather hardiness with those cold Summit County winds keeping temps well below -20.  They both had limited terrain open, mostly blue groomers with a lovely three inches of powder covering them.

Winter Park had the most terrain open this early in the season. More groomers although the trees were tempting. And finally at Copper, we were lucky enough to be first in line for a few rope drops leaving us hungry for more powder.

Winter 2010 029

Next Stop: New Mexico!

Here are a few tips from our Summit County sojurn:

Best Lift Ticket Deal: We picked up a couple on-sale Descente Jackets for the season which provide an insane amount of free tickets — three resorts which are less than an hour from Denver.

Best Runner Up Ticket Deal: The Colorado Gem Card. Our favorite $10 deal period. When we ran out of free tickets, this card got us 2 for 1 at Loveland Basin.

Best Lodging Deal: The cheapest one star motel in Summit County runs around $60. On a weekday. That’s why we swear by Priceline where we came across an astounding $35 Ramada Limited. The rooms, while tiny, come with free Internet and free breakfast.

Best Summit County Perk: The Summit Stage is free bus takes you just about anywhere you want to go. It runs to all the mountain and the bars and will get you home whenver you want.

Best Apres-Ski: The Dillon Dam Brewery. $2.50 pints of apps and huge 1/2 price appetizers (or what we call “splurging on a big dinner”)

Best $2 Dinner: That would be Ollie’s Pub & Grub in Frisco. Wednesday night is burger night. Buy a beer, get a $2.00 burger. Fixins are extra. I ended up spending up a whopping $4.00 on a huge burger.

For the Return Trip: Stock up on Vitamin Water. Why? Because 10 of these will get you a 10 midweek voucher to Winter Park or Copper.