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  1. #1
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    New question here. Vail vs. Breckenridge

    Need some advice, My wife and I are planning a late summer trip (septemberish). We plan to go to Vail or Breckenridge. I will be the only one of us riding and am looking for both downhill/freeride stuff along with some All Mountain type trails.

    I have ridden alot in NorCal and just got into downhill/freeride this year. After riding Brail in Santa Cruz I can't wait to get on some more groomed trails with features.

    We also will need non-biking things to do, so if vail or bridge has more things non-biking related to do that will play in well with her.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
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    You could ride all mountain stuff in Breck and then do the 20min or so drive to Keystone for some serious downhilling. Breck is a fun town to visit...there's a really neat downtown area with a bunch of good eats.I haven't spent much time in Vail primarily because it's so expensive. A friend's family from Wisconsin rents a house in Breckenridge for a week every summer because they love the town so much.

  3. #3
    zrm
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    Not much in the way of lift served or shuttle stuff in Breck. The ski area has never put much into its summer lift program. There is a great trail system in Summit County, world class really, but it's mostly what seems to be categorized as "XC" these days. Loops with plenty of climbing.Hundreds of miles of singletrack and jeep roads to explore.

    The town has set up a couple little FR parks with some wood features but it's pretty small time by big drop, rad FR standards. I don't know a lot about Vail's lift served terrain but I'm under the impression that it is better than Breckenridge's lift stuff. Vail also has a lot of great "XC" trails in the surrounding area.

    Keystone is the place to go if you want lift served DH type stuff.

    Breckenridge has lots of "family fun" type activities like an alpine slide and a roller coaster type at the ski area.There's usually a lot to do in town and plenty of bars restaurants and shops. Vail probably has plenty of similar stuff, just a bit pricier. Breckenridge is fairly blue collar as far as mountain resorts go.

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    Personally I vote Breck. Your Wife will have plenty to do. You can ride the Colorado trail if you want an XC day. Or a short drive to Keystone for lift assisted DH.

    The only reason to go to Vail IMO is to do Commando run-two elk shuttle. It's awesome but you can do it based from Breck. Breck is simply more fun to hang out in when you aren't riding and Keystone is closer.

    If you can muster it and get someone to drive you around to Kenosha Pass, the ride from there to Breck is awesome. It's got a lot of climbing but the DH from Georgia pass to Breck is awesome.

  6. #6
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    Vail has lift access downhill. Its great fun. Two elk trail is great as well. Breck does not have lift access DH trails, but Keystone sure does. Tons of trails in both areas. Can't go wrong.

  7. #7
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    For Downhill Winter Park is the place and it is a very short drive to Sol Vista too. What does your wife like to do? That will be your determining factor.

  8. #8
    Chillaxin 'n Chilcotin!
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    Quote Originally Posted by lidarman View Post
    If you can muster it and get someone to drive you around to Kenosha Pass, the ride from there to Breck is awesome. It's got a lot of climbing but the DH from Georgia pass to Breck is awesome.
    Or you could get your wife to shuttle you up Tiger Rd to nearly the top of Georgia Pass and enjoy the downhill with less climbing and hassle than the whole KP -> Breck route. My wife shuttled me up there a few years ago in September after the resorts were closed and it's a pretty easy drive. This trail is a must ride if you're in Colorado--super flowy singletrack! Edit: you will find directions online or at local shops--look for the Tiger Run section of the Colorado Trail from Georgia Pass to Tiger Run. You can ride up the road too if you don't need/want your wife to shuttle you--it's a pretty nice and gradual climb although it adds 10ish miles to the route.

    If you want freeride, Keystone is 10 miles away and has the best freeride style DH (big rocks, lots of wood, steep lines). They don't have a ton of beginner to intermediate trails though. Winter Park is about a 1 hour drive and they have the best machine built flow trails and beginner lift serviced terrain. Sol Vista is also about an hour and they have both old and new school DH trails.

    BTW, to answer your original question, Vail would be a fun day trip for your wife while you are riding (high end shops and good people watching), but Breck is a more fun town (unless you're $$$). The riding at Vail (on the mountain) is fun, but it's a distant 4th to KS, SV and WP.
    Last edited by kristian; 06-21-2011 at 08:21 AM.

  9. #9
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    Go to Breck. Ride the Stone, and your wife can walk up and down main street spending all your cash. TONS of XC trails as already mentioned. Summer in Breck is much more happening than Vail and WP.

    Search for events, every weekend has something going on. September is kinda getting into slow season though which will mean less crowds and cheaper hotels/restaurants. Maybe the aspens will be changing too. End of August is when the USA Pro Cycling Tour will be coming through too. Should be a pretty big roadie event but cool to watch if you are into that kinda thing.

    Here is a list of a few things going on:
    http://m.breckenridge.com/ev/1.html

  10. #10
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    Thanks so much guys! It sounds like we will stay in Breck, I will do a XC day there, then rest and do a downhill day at Keystone.

    it sounds like we need to have her practice driving my truck so she can shuttle me up some cool stuff. we are thinking about driving from Cali out there for the trip so I have 2 bikes and a truck to move them with.

    I need to come up with some fun stuff for her to do, we might have to do a few couples hikes etc.

    Are the Trails in Keystone too badass for me? I ride a Jamis Bam2, and am comfortable on drops up too 4-5 ft, mid size jumps and wall rides.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kristian View Post
    You can ride up the road too if you don't need/want your wife to shuttle you--it's a pretty nice and gradual climb although it adds 10ish miles to the route.
    You're a STRONG climber if you consider the climb to GA Pass a "nice gradual climb"... for most mortals it's a b1tch of a climb.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThaDacta View Post
    Are the Trails in Keystone too badass for me? I ride a Jamis Bam2, and am comfortable on drops up too 4-5 ft, mid size jumps and wall rides.
    No, you'll be fine--just start out on the green or the blues and work your way up. All of the stunts have ride arounds if you're not comfortable. Anything on the trail that you're not comfortable on (rocks and steeps) can be walked--just keep an eye behind you so you're not blocking faster traffic.

    The green (Let it Ride) is basically an epic XC singletrack with great turns, but it's kinda pedally. There are two blues (Mosquito Coast and Eye of the Tiger) that are steeper and have some jumps. The blacks start with TNT which is more rocky than the blues with a few optional wooden drops and a wall ride. Money is a jump trail with 20-some table tops. From there, if you're comfortable, hit Motorhead and if you're really feeling good, hit Jam Rock/High Speed Dirt.

    At the bottom of the mountain, there are several blacks to choose from that will give you a variety of stunts and steeps to play on. The harderst there is Helter/Skelter so avoid that one until you're ready.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    You're a STRONG climber if you consider the climb to GA Pass a "nice gradual climb"... for most mortals it's a b1tch of a climb.
    It's been years since I've done it, but what I was suggesting was to ride up Tiger Rd and then grab the Colorado Trail just southeast of Keystone on the road to Georgia Pass. Since it's mostly road grade it isn't a killer climb (unless you aren't used to altitude). If his wife will shuttle, that's the best idea though.

    I haven't been higher than that, but I can imagine that Georgia Pass is a lung buster.

  14. #14
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    I never liked the way the Town of Vail is set up. That big parking garage and no real downtown to drive through. Vail is a Swiss style fabrication of the 60's, and Breckenridge has mining town history going back to the 1800's. No comparison really.
    The problem with Breck is that it is close enough to Denver that the crowds can get bad on weekends. But its cooler than Vail for sure.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkaredShtles View Post
    You're a STRONG climber if you consider the climb to GA Pass a "nice gradual climb"... for most mortals it's a b1tch of a climb.
    Yeah, that last mile is a b1tch of a hike/push. The rest is pretty easy.
    the drugs made me realize it's not about the drugs

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilinsteve View Post
    I never liked the way the Town of Vail is set up.
    I'd agree. I feel a bit closterphobic in that valley.

    You cant go wrong with the riding at either place, especially if you've never been.
    Breck is a fun place to hang, for sure.
    the drugs made me realize it's not about the drugs

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by kristian View Post
    It's been years since I've done it, but what I was suggesting was to ride up Tiger Rd and then grab the Colorado Trail just southeast of Keystone on the road to Georgia Pass. Since it's mostly road grade it isn't a killer climb (unless you aren't used to altitude).
    Aw geez - then you miss the best part of the CT from GA Pass -> Tiger Run...

  18. #18
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    Sounds like I must ride the xc/all mountain bike on the Tiger run part of the colorado trail. Then I should hit up Keystone for a day or two of downhill/freeride stuff. Any other don't miss stuff up there I should hit? even if its just a 1-3 hour morning ride I am up for it.

    How long is the Tiger run ride, if she shuttles me up?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThaDacta View Post
    Sounds like I must ride the xc/all mountain bike on the Tiger run part of the colorado trail. Then I should hit up Keystone for a day or two of downhill/freeride stuff. Any other don't miss stuff up there I should hit? even if its just a 1-3 hour morning ride I am up for it.

    How long is the Tiger run ride, if she shuttles me up?
    If you have a 4x4 have her shuttle you all the way to the top of GA Pass. The $$$ section is the first section down from the pass. The climb to West Ridge is BIG. Don't underestimate it. I don't know how long it will take you - probably 2-6 hours, depending how fast you ride.

  20. #20
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    Sadly my truck is a lifted 2x4 How far up can we get on the roads?

    I am a good steady rider, but the altitude could really slow me down. I have done some racing and feel like I am in good shape, but who knows.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThaDacta View Post
    Sadly my truck is a lifted 2x4 How far up can we get on the roads?

    I am a good steady rider, but the altitude could really slow me down. I have done some racing and feel like I am in good shape, but who knows.
    I'd expect a high-clearance 2x4 would get you up to GA Pass. If not, have here drive you to the top from the other side. Longer approach, but do-able in a passenger car.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThaDacta View Post
    Sadly my truck is a lifted 2x4 How far up can we get on the roads?
    My wife has an AWD Mariner and it easily got most of the way to the Colorado Trail the way I described it (not all the way up Georgia Pass). I rode up the last section of road before the trail since I didn't want her to go outside her comfort zone (she was on crutches at the time). Apparently the way I'm suggesting it leaves a lot on the table in terms of fun, but it's still a great route with a few decent climbs and lots of descending. I think it took me a little over 3 hours but I was riding my freeride tank so the climbs were slow.

    Ask around up there at the shops and figure out the road conditions when you're there (it's Colorado--road conditions vary throughout the year depending on the rain or lack of rain), and determine your wife's comfort level driving them. She should be able to easily do what I'm suggesting.

    Edit: Here is a link to a map. We took the left off of Tiger Rd after the sandy looking area and I rode up to where the trail crosses that road. You can see on the map how much cool trail you are missing (more than I realized), but it's still a great trail the way I'm describing it--and exceptionally good if you go all the way up to GA Pass.
    http://www.trimbleoutdoors.com/ViewTrip/250115
    Last edited by kristian; 06-21-2011 at 11:49 AM.

  23. #23
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    Wow, that is a long ride! I am not sure I can handle that much climbing at that altiltude. Did you start at the shuttled drop off point? I've never ridden that far alone before, do you usually ride with a group?

    It looks amazing though, I am strongly considering it.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThaDacta View Post
    Wow, that is a long ride! I am not sure I can handle that much climbing at that altiltude. Did you start at the shuttled drop off point? I've never ridden that far alone before, do you usually ride with a group?

    It looks amazing though, I am strongly considering it.
    No, zoom in a little on that map and then start on the left side where the blue line hits Hwy 9 (before heading south to Breck). Now follow the blue line until an obvious road crossing about a 1/4 of the way as the trail heads south where I put an arrow on the pic below. That's where I started I think. From there, it's a climb up to the ridge and then it's mostly downhill back to Hwy 9.

    If I were doing the whole ride from Kenosha Pass, I would definitely ride with a group, but I did the route below solo. Once you get down to Hwy 9, you can either ride back to Breck, take the free bus, or have your wife pick you up.



  25. #25
    zrm
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    If you want to do the CT just park at the Dredge and do the 17 mile loop. One big climb and a couple smaller ones. Driving to the top of Georgia pass is a big investment in time and trouble to avoid some climbing. The road from Breckenridge is a full on steep nasty jeep road. From the opposite side is doable in a lesser vehicle but is a solid hour drive one way.

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