Locals and not-so-local race teams head to Loveland for the long runs and wide open trails. Deceptively small when viewed from the road, Loveland has over 1800 skiable acres and 94 trails. I think it's a relatively undiscovered gem that needs to be on your radar.
Though not a resort destination per se, it is a SKI destination ideal for racers, ski families, and families that THINK they may want to become a ski family. Many of the skiers at Loveland are locals because it's so darn convenient. Denver residents are only 53 miles away from Loveland's slopes--it's one of the first ski hills along I-70. Loveland is too cool to be kept a secret and saved just for locals. Time to spread the word.
Loveland has a clever layout. Thanks to a bit of planning the area is split in two--Loveland and Loveland Valley. Beginners head to Loveland Valley where they get a break from being mowed down by rippers over at the base area. Most beginners really appreciate having their own lifts and base area so they don’t have to co-mingle with intermediates and experts which can be intimidating. Click here for a full trail map.
More out-of-towners should add a day or two at Loveland to their ski itinerary while in Colorado. Just a 20 minute drive from Copper, it's a great way to add some variety to your ski holiday. We were staying in Vail, and it was about 45 minutes from our condo to Loveland. Since we were out West for a full week, it was a delight to break up the trip and ski some new terrain rather than put in seven days at Vail and it's a GREAT place to get lessons.
BONUS: At Loveland lesson packages are about half the cost, of the price at Vail or Copper. If you're investing in a week of skiing and lessons you can SAVE big by heading to Loveland.
The 3-Class Pass is a very popular program for children and adults. Here's something cool--any kid (ages 6-14) that completes the three lesson package gets a free season pass. We are thrilled that Loveland is pricing lessons to make them family-friendly. One of the big gripes we hear about skiing from readers is the expense of lessons. Well, Loveland is listening. These folks want to convert the newbies into die-hard skiers. For more information on the CHILD 3-CLASS PASS click here. There are equally generous and compelling packages for adult beginners and intermediate skiers. Really, it pays to keep learning at Loveland.
Loveland just makes it easy on families. Parking is FREE and close to the lifts. There's a cozy spot by the main clocktower Loveland entrance to change out of your street shoes and into ski boots, and we were fine leaving by our gear under a bench though you can rent a day locker.
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There are a few amenities--a small shop and ski restaurant in base area by the clock tower. It's really about getting onto the snow though--not shopping and lounging. If you're kids are too young to ski or simply want to chill. Loveland has a deal--for $56/ per child parents can take advantage of the mid-week Flex Deal--use the Child Care Center any four consecutive hours at the half-day rate. This offer also includes lunch! There's also full-day care and hourly rates ($16/hour). You're kind of running out of excuses NOT to ski after all these deals.
The food at the base isn't fancy. I suggest you grab some green chili for lunch at Ptarmigan Roost. A big thumbs up for this spicy, veggie-heavy, pork chili (served with a smile).
We loved seeing locals take advantage of the grill situation. It's BYOB--bring your own brats to the mid-mountain area called Ptarmigan's Roost (FYI Ptarmigan are birds). Loveland provides grills and picnic tables for skiers to enjoy the views and save a buck or two. You bring the protein or veggie burgers--they provide the setting. Some locals showed off their picnic skills to us.
Speaking of savings, you can't beat the lift pass prices--Early Season day passes are $53 for adults, $25 for kids and FREE for kids 5 and under (Prices go up 12/12 but not by much).
One of the only things that threw me off? Beware, if you have a fear of heights. None of the 5 lifts we rode had restraining bars. This could be a bit nerve-wracking for parents. Though we know of a 5-year-old who slipped off a lift WITH a restraining bar in place, I do think they are a valuable safety precaution. Yes, I know, nothing is foolproof (and yes, our friend who fell was fine) but I did find it disconcerting. Here's the thing: It's up to ski parents to instill the skiers safety code but mountains can help too.
Overall this is a skier's heaven. The skiing is grand--take your pick--bowls, trees or groomers. Though we didn't avail of it, in season there's also FREE snowcat skiing. Catch the Cat (it will seat18 skiers at a time) to the north side of The Ridge. You'll head along the Continental Divide and get access to the harder terrain for experienced skiers: Field of Dreams, Velvet Hammer, Tickler, 13,010 and Marmot. Get more information on you Loveland Ski trip http://skiloveland.com/
This is not a sponsored post, we did get free lift tickets to cover the resort.