by G. Kunkel
(This article was originally published on Helium.com on June 26, 2008)
Loveland Ski Area is one of Colorado’s best-kept secrets. Many locals would like to keep it that way. Known as a no-frills ski area, Loveland is located 75 miles west of Denver on I-70. It sits at 11,000 ft. at the east entrance of the Eisenhower Tunnel. Lift lines are rare and it’s full of friendly people.
The terrain available at Loveland is diverse enough to meet any needs. Loveland is divided into two base areas: Loveland Basin and Loveland Valley. There is a free shuttle that runs between the two areas. There is a total of 1,365 skiable acres and the slopes are 13% Beginner, 41% Intermediate, and 46% Advanced. With an average snowfall of 400″, it’s all good. Most of the expert terrain can be found by going up the Chair 9 lift. Unlike your typical ski resort, 70% of Loveland’s terrain is above treeline. The season is one of the longest in Colorado. It runs from October to May. Very rarely are there crowds or lift lines. If you do manage to find a lift line, go over to the Chair 8 terrain.
If you can only buy one season pass, buy the Loveland season pass. Unlike many ski resorts, theirs is on sale at a lower rate till the beginning of December. You can buy four-packs of tickets online too. If you are in the active Military you can purchase a season pass for a significant discount. If the season has started and you forgot to buy your pass, there is a fantastic deal that Loveland Ski School offers. This is the 3 Class Pass. If you buy three lessons you can either get a free season pass or the option of purchasing one at a discount. Check their website for the details. It is available for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, adults and children.
Loveland is a day ski only area. There is no slope-side lodging. Numerous lodging options can be found in nearby Georgetown, Idaho Springs, or on the other side of the Divide in Summit County. There are many dining options in both areas with microbreweries located in Idaho Springs and Dillon.
Dining at Loveland is not a budget buster. Food is very reasonably priced for a ski area. You do have the option of bringing your own food in coolers and storing your cooler in the day lodge. Brown bagging is not frowned upon at Loveland. You are welcome to heat up your food in the microwave provided in the dining area.
Loveland is a high alpine environment. With a few precautions you can minimize altitude sickness. Staying well hydrated is the main prevention. If coming from sea level, take it easy your first day. Sunscreen and eye protection are highly recommended pieces of equipment.
Loveland is a laid-back relaxed ski area. It is definitely not a ski resort. No detachable high-speed quads or six-packs here. Front Rangers love it and many patrollers and instructors from other resorts often spend their off days there. Come discover one of Colorado’s hidden gems today.
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