Armed with a free 5th Grade Passport, Lori Mayfield and her son Ames set off to enjoy a local favorite, Loveland Ski Area.
Beloved by locals and international travelers who know how to stretch their Euro (and other forms of foreign currency) further, Loveland is accessible in every sense of the word. Both in value and in proximity to the Front Range. Loveland is the easiest Summit County ski area to access off of I-70, visible from the highway, just before the Eisenhower tunnel, making it a do-able day drive. That said, we like to make a long weekend of it when we can and find hotels in neighboring towns like Silverthorne. This trip, we lucked out with a room on a busy spring weekend at the newly remodeled Hampton Inn & Suites just 15 minutes away from Loveland.
Mother Nature had a genius way of designing the perfect layout for Loveland Ski Area’s 1800 acres of terrain to allow bunny hills and easier trails tucked to one side (with its very own parking) and more intermediate and advanced terrain on the other (a chairlift links the two for easy access). What’s ideal about this, is it serves both ends of the ability spectrum. Timid newbie skiers and boarders don’t have to worry about getting mowed over by a speed demon from atop the hill. Conversely, more advanced skiers can navigate a trail without having to dodge the wildly unpredictable beginning snowplowers or endlessly traversing boarders.
Once off the base of the mountain, you’re unlikely to find lift lines elsewhere on the mountain. I’ve even visited on New Year’s Day on a previous visit and was delighted to find at the bottom of the lifts, by the time I got my ski poles off my wrists, we were ready to board the chair. Instead you’ll discover varied terrain to delight tree enthusiasts, groomers, bumps and the bowls…If you’re a seasoned powder hound, don’t miss the free Ridge Cat ride to ski the bowl. You’ll climb along the ridge just above 13,000 feet and take in stunning 360-degree views before you drop down one to zig and zag your own path. True confessions: we took the ride, but my 11-year-old was too chicken (okay, and I was a little relieved to be off the hook myself) to brave the bowl but we watched others in awe.
Lunch is something else you’ll find well within reach at Loveland and a few favorites of ours at the Wedge Bar were the Club Sandwich and the fish tacos. Portions are more than generous, in fact, we could easily have split the club sandwich. Don’t be shy about asking to join a table half full. That’s half the fun to strike up conversation with skiers from near and far. We met folks from Germany, Australia, and of course lots of locals. The international travelers said they found the prices, the terrain and the down-to-earth vibe well worth hopping an international flight to Loveland.
We’re determined to visit on Valentine’s Day sometime when Loveland hosts its annual Valentine’s Day Mountaintop Matrimony ceremony and Reception where new couples tie the knot and those already married renew their vows. I guess I’ll just need to find a husband-to-be between now and my next visit to Loveland.