I've been out with the kids several times this year but for our first official family ski outing of the season, with the core four, we headed up to Loveland. Its one of the areas we frequent for a few reasons: location, terrain and atmosphere.
Perched on the Continental Divide, Loveland is a straight shot up I-70 West from Denver. It takes about an hour or less for us to get there and we schedule our departure to avoid traffic.
People flock to Loveland in the beginning of the season and the end of the season because it is one of the first resorts to open and close, but its a little known secret that in the middle of winter this place rocks. People tend to blow right by it on their way to other resorts, nary giving it a look from their car window before zooming into the tunnel that takes them to the other side of the Divide. Loveland is much bigger than people think.
The peak is at 13,010 ft and the base is at 10,800 ft giving a vertical rise of 2,210 ft. Lovelands base is higher than, or at the same elevation as, the peaks of Buttermilk, Eldora, Howelsen Hill, Ski Granby Ranch, Steamboat, and Sunlight. Their ten-year average annual snowfall is 400. Thats 400 covering 93 trails and 1,670 skiable acres, which is split into 41 percent intermediate and 46 percent expert - right up our alley. It has trees, bumps, steeps and plenty of groomers.
Also new this year is the remodeled Ptarmigan Cabin. A comfortable warming hut with a new beautiful deck looking east over the mountains. There are picnic tables inside and outside and a grill available for folks to use.
Easy is the best way to describe the vibe at Loveland. Parking is easy (and free), lift lines are easy (if they exist), food service is easy (loads of options and loads of seating) and the people couldnt be nicer.
On this visit I was looking for a salad for lunch. I saw an employee holding the exact salad I wanted and asked her where she got it. She pointed to the case and said Theyre in there - but they were gone, and it dawned on her that she got the last one. She insisted that I take her salad and tried to give it to me. Being theMidwesternerthat I am, Icouldn'ttake the womans lunch right out of her hands, so we went back and forth a few times pushing the salad into each others hands. I ended up getting something else, but her kind gesture was reflective of the entire staff at Loveland.
What you may not know about Loveland
:: Opened in 1937 and is celebrating their 75th anniversary with 75 days of giveaways. Throughout the season, Loveland is surprising guests with random prizes such as lift tickets, gear, lunch, lessons and season passes. Giveaways are themed with the 75th in mind, for example, something might be awarded to the 75th car to enter the parking lot, or the 75th person to rent equipment, or the person that loads the number 75 chair. One lucky winner will get the custom designed Icelantic skis, but everyone can enjoy the custom brewed Tommyknocker Pine Bough Pale Ale.
:: When it first opened, Loveland Ski Area opened under the name Loveland Ski Tow Company with a single rope tow powered by a Model T engine.
:: Loveland is the second oldest resort in Colorado after Howelsen Hill
:: In 1967 Loveland began using diesel compressors from the construction of the Eisenhower Tunnel and became the first major ski area in Colorado to possess snowmaking capabilities.
Here's a fun video of the 75th Anniversary that Loveland made and has on their site.
:: Loveland has an adaptive ski program
:: Kids 5 and under ski free
:: Ski school age starts at 4 years
:: Daycare age starts at 12 months
:: Senior discounts start at 60 years
:: Super senior discounts start at age 70 ($89 for a season pass)
:: They have bowl skiing.
:: The longest lift is 12 minutes
:: The shortest lift is 3.2 minutes
:: The longest run is 2 miles: Fire Bowl/Turtle Creek/Tango Road
:: The shortest run is 200 yards: Take Off/All Smiles