Ski + Snowboard

Budget Ski Trips 2009

by Kimberly Thompson

LOVELAND, COLORADO
Annual snowfall: 400 inches
Vertical drop: 2,410 feet
Skiable acres: 1,365
One-day lift ticket: $56

Perfect for: Hard-charging powder-hounds who think "luxury" means free parking

Why here: Perched at the top of the Continental Divide, Loveland's 92 trails and high-alpine bowls are usually deserted, save for a devoted Denver fan base. It's also just an hour's drive from the airport, which—given I-70's weekend gridlock—could mean packing an extra day or two of skiing into your trip. So what's the catch? For starters, Loveland has no base village, no slopeside hotels, no ski valets, and no heated sidewalks—or sidewalks, period, for that matter. And its terrain is some of Colorado's most exposed (head-to-toe Gore-Tex is a good idea). But if you're looking for an affordable Colorado fix or you're on the springtime hunt for good corn (Loveland stays open until early May), you'll fall for this locals' favorite.

The highlight: Views of the Rockies from the 12,700-foot summit of Chair 9—they're worth the risk of frostbite.

Sleep for cheap: There's no lodging at Loveland, but the quaintness of Victorian-styled Georgetown (pictured)—founded as a mining camp in 1859—makes up for the ten-minute drive to the slopes. Rooms at the Georgetown Mountain Inn are done up in rather dated mountain style, but there's an indoor pool for the kids, and the views can't be beat. (Watch for bighorn sheep outside your window.)

Ski-and-stay packages for the Georgetown Mountain Inn start at $156 per day for the room and two adult lift tickets (a child's lift ticket is an additional $20); 303-569-3201; www.lovelandreservations.com/skiandstay.html

Next: A ski vacation even nonskiers will love >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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