Loveland Ski Area

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Loveland Ski Area

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Loveland

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Aspen Ski Tours
Loveland Ski Area sits above the I-70, the major highway that travels from Denver to many of the high profile glitzy Colorado ski resorts. If you’ve been to any of the latter, chances are you’ve seen Loveland Ski Area above the Eisenhower Tunnel, and just dismissed it as a little locals’ ski area. Sure, Loveland doesn’t have all the distinct advantages of destination resorts such as Vail or Breckenridge, yet it has some good offerings for those who don’t need all the fancy trimmings.

Pros and Cons of Loveland Ski Area

Pros 
  • Loveland Ski Area is usually one of the first US ski resorts to open and it enjoys a long season from mid October to early May.
  • Loveland Ski Resort scores a lot of snow, with 422 inches (10.7m) of snow per season. It’s just pipped at the post by Wolf Creek for receiving the most snow of the Colorado ski resorts.
  • Loveland has very good expert terrain, particularly if you’re willing to hike for the goods.
  • Free snowcat shuttles are offered (when conditions permit Wednesday to Sunday) for experts to access terrain in the northern bowls.
  • Lessons, gear rentals, food and lift tickets are really affordable compared to the high profile CO ski resorts.
  • Loveland is possibly a little less crowded than the nearby swanky ski resorts on the Ikon Pass and Epic Pass.
  • Parking is free, which is not something you can take for granted anymore.
Cons
  • Most of the lifts are of the slow variety and don’t expect safety bars. Considering the frequent cold and windy conditions, chair lift rides can be brutal.
  • There is no lodging at the base area and no other activities beyond the skiing and snowboarding.
Pro or Con Depending On Your Perspective
  • Loveland has a dedicated beginner area so it’s a really good place to learn, but it’s not interconnected with the main part of the ski resort, so it’s logistically inconvenient for families and groups with differing abilities.
  • It is the closest major ski area to Denver and you can avoid the beastly I70 traffic on the west side of the tunnel. Subsequently Loveland can be very busy with locals from Denver and the Front Range corridor.
  • The ski area has plenty of above treeline terrain and bowl skiing, although it’s very exposed and often windy, which can blow away the snow.

Loveland Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Loveland Ski Area is one of the highest U.S. ski areas, with a summit of 13,010ft (3,965m) whilst the highest lift is 12,697ft (3,870m). It has 1,800 acres of terrain, 94 marked trails, and 10 lifts, of which only one is a detachable quad chair.

Loveland is made up of two distinctly different zones. They are no longer connected by a chair lift, but there are very regular free shuttles between them. Loveland Valley has only 2 lifts and is predominantly for beginners and ski racers. Loveland Basin is the main part of the ski area and has most of the lifts and a broad spread of terrain including cruisers, some trees, a small terrain park, lots of open bowls, and steeps.

For experienced riders, named trails are sub-divided into single black diamond, double black diamond and extreme lines, which are particularly extreme when all the fresh snow has blown away. Wild Child is particularly steep at the top, and the cornice provides additional challenge if you like to huck your meat.

Loveland Snow

Loveland Ski Area typically gets a lot of snow by Colorado ski resort standards, and thanks to high elevation it’s often amazing powder. Snow retention isn’t its strong suit because the mountain is so exposed. Due to high winds, some of the upper slopes fail to hold accumulation and there is often wind crust.

Some of the lower trails have snow making guns, which helps the ski area win the coveted prize of the first US ski resort to open during October.

Where is Loveland Ski Resort Colorado?

The Loveland Ski Area sits on the Continental Divide adjacent to Loveland Pass in Colorado. The ski area is located right on the eastern side of the Eisenhower Tunnel of the I-70. It’s only 12 miles east of Summit County and 53 miles west of Denver, a drive that can take from 1-2 hours depending on the traffic.

Loveland could be sampled as part of a multi-resort extravaganza considering the multitude of ski resorts in the area. Arapahoe Basin is 7.6 miles to the south whilst Keystone Resort is 13 miles away. During snowstorms, keep an eye on road conditions as some roads such as the Loveland Pass Rd may close.

Loveland Ski Area is not to be confused with the City of Loveland Colorado which is 50 miles north of Denver.

Loveland Ski Area Lodging

There is no on-mountain lodging at Loveland, but there are various towns and resorts nearby. The historic Georgetown is 13 miles east of Loveland and has lodging options including the good value Chateau Chamonix.

Georgetown Accommodations

Other options:

Facilities

Loveland Ski Area has quite respectable amenities for a day trippers ski area. Loveland Valley (the beginners’ side) has a day lodge with a cafeteria, bar, ski school, equipment rentals and a small retail shop. Loveland Basin has a child care facility, retail shop, cafeteria, deli, and two bars. There are also various warming huts around the mountain and some provide food services whilst others have grills and propane gas cookers where you can self-BBQ your lunch. Just remember to pack your hamburgers carefully because squished meat in your pants pocket can be a bit ugly!
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