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Loveland, Colorado Ski Area Guide -- Very Complete

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Please note that this website is not affiliated with Loveland Ski Resort...we just happen to be among its biggest fans. If you are looking for the official Loveland Ski Resort website, please click here.

But first, check out the following first-timers tips on working Loveland Basin...

lift 1 - Mostly steep bump runs...not a lot for average skiers. This lift is best known for long bump runs with a sustained steep pitch; these bump runs are purely for experts. Intermediates and advanced skiers will need to unload right and move skier's left where there are a couple of trails and one winding turnpike. It's nice and all, but really I generally only use this lift as a starting point to avoid using...

lift 2 - a long, long ride out of the base area. trails on the top are terrific, and terrain can be worked if they allow re-loading at mid station. re-loading depends on conditions I think. I've seen it both ways. If you want to use lift #2 to reach lift #9, you need to go to South Chutes.

lift 9 - services the open terrain on the Continental Divide. A must do. From the top you can look west and see Keystone, parts of Breck too. I usually go left off this chair and take the least bumped up route down. I've also taken the cat track (hang a right off the chair) called "Rookie Road" when coverage is thin. No shame in that. Anyway, scout it out as you ride up, and you can generally find something that even a solid intermediate can handle. And almost any skier with experience can handle the cat track.

lift 4 - some of the terrain off the summit of this lift is pretty cool. I don't care much for the big bowl under the lower liftline, I'm usually exhausted and it's usually all bumps. Here I use the Zip trail to get to...

lift 8 -- this is the really cool stuff, point your skis any downhill direction and go. The run right under the chair is great, Awesome is also great, just make sure you get speed for the long run out. this terrain feels like you're in the middle of nowhere, but fact is you're right above the base lodge. only problem is there's a highway and a very steep ravine between lift 8 and the lodge. A skier's tunnel solves the highway issue, but the trail down the ravine is usually nasty, bumps, ice, trees. So I suggest riding back up to work your way back.

lift 6 -- I've saved the best for last, so should you. This is the shortest lift at Loveland, generally easy terrain and virtually empty most of the time. They once put a terrain park here to draw more people to this section, but it didn't work out. As of 2008-2009 the terrain park has been moved to lift 1, with some additional opportunities up high on lift 2. At lift 6, Runs through the woods like Blackjack are simply a cruising pleasure. So I save this lift for the last hour or so, then just yo-yo the lift, getting in some nice easy runs before the cruise back to the lodge.

Trail Map: An absolute must at Loveland. I don't even use the map at Vail as much as I do here at Loveland.

Loveland Valley - connector lift from the Basin no longer running, no point in taking the shuttle unless you plan to stay at Valley. The Valley terrain is very nice, worth a couple hrs if skiing with a group and you don't want to become separated. The Valley side also has a decent beginners chair with a cheap lift ticket, as well as a beginner terrain park.

Our Big Gripe with Loveland: As of 2009 there is no place to leave your boot bag, unless you want to rent a ridiculously-priced $6 locker. It's gotten to the point where they sweep the lodge and pick up unattended bags. They even have angled pegboard on top of the lockers to prevent us old-school skiers from tossing our bags up on top. We hate that stuff. Even Copper lets you toss your bags around for free storage. This is a policy Loveland needs to change; they have enough negatives to overcome in terms of wind and hardpack that they shouldn't be turning people off with an absurd no-bag policy. So be prepared, chain your bootbag to the racks outside. What are you supposed to do, walk from the car in ski boots? Walk your bag back to your car in ski boots to leave your bag? Please. Somebody is asleep at the switch here. Be sure to step in to the office on the ground floor, and tell 'em what you think of their unfriendly, idiotic bag policy.

Remember...tickets are reasonable, parking is free, condos are nonexistent. Loveland is probably the most underrated, under-appreciated ski area in the USA.

Some more Colorado ski links...

  • Back to main Colorado ski guide.
  • Colorado Ski History
    General website with lost ski areas, lift history, trivia, news, you name it. A must-click.


  • Colorado Skier Safety Statute
    Transcript of the law enacted in 1979. This isn't required reading, but it is interesting to know what ski area operators are required to do, and what skiers are not permitted to do.



  • Best all-around Skiing Guide for Women...

    Mom has a pretty raw deal on the average ski trip. They're expected to make sure every child is geared up and ready to go...settle the arguments, feed the family, prepare the snacks, pack the chapstick, and so on...and then ski the black diamonds with dad after the second lesson.

    Sound familiar?

    The book, Skiing: A Woman's Guide by Maggie Loring and Molly Mulhern Gross ought to be mandatory reading for every ski mom. It not only provides the basics for managing the gang, it also gives a step-by-step instructional guide from a woman's point-of-view. This link is to amazon.com, where you can usually pick up a used copy for about two bucks. Mom, it's the best two bucks you'll spend all winter.

    Trail to Improvement

    Probably the most helpful book I've seen to help you make the jump from strong blue to expert or hotshot level, is All-Mountain Skier: The Way to Expert Skiing, by R. Mark Elling. If you've tried to follow the recommendations in magazines and books, and had trouble mimicking the photos, this book somehow makes it all work, makes it understandable and easier to apply on the slopes. This link goes to amazon.com, where you can generally snag a used copy for about six bucks, or buy a nice squeaky clean one for about 20% less than retail.

    Header photo by permission Creative Commons.

    Use this to get Lift Tickets at Discount: There is a "clearinghouse" of sorts that many ski areas use to raise cash by selling discount tickets in advance, called Liftopia . If you haven't used this service, it is usually best to know for certain that you are going on a specific date. The deeply discounted tickets must be purchased in advance; generally up to two days out. The sticking point is that some ski resorts only make a limited number of tickets available to Liftopia for any given day, so they might be sold out if you wait too long...so, as soon as you are absolutely, positively sure that you will be skiing on a certain day, click this link to get deeply discounted tickets . I've used this service many times, usually when I am absolutely certain I will be skiing on a specific date. Some resorts offer "flex" tickets with which you can specify the date, and some have a few different tiers of pricing. In other words, you might be able to get a lift ticket that can be used on different days, but you'll pay a little more for that privilege. You need to have access to a printer to print out your receipt, and you have to take identification with you to the mountain. I've knocked a third off -- even half off -- the price of some tickets. Not every area participates, but it's well worth checking before you head to the slopes.

    A tiny portion of your Liftopia purchase helps fund this website, at no added cost.

    Free Ski & Snowboard Stickers!

    Show your passion for doing it up and keeping it real with a free "Old School" sticker for your helmet, or your board, or whatever. Just e-mail your mailing address to sticker -at- gondyline -dot- com and say "send me a snowboard sticker" or "send me a ski sticker" or "send me a ski sticker and a board sticker for my sister" or whatever. If you say "please" we'll send two. They look like this:

    -- Rick Bolger