SKIING THE CONTINENTAL DIVIDE AT LOVELAND
by Paul Maraschiello

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The Loveland Ski Area is located on the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains. It is only 53 miles west of Denver, just before the Eisenhower tunnel. This challenging ski area has 1,800 acres of remarkable terrain. I was impressed by all the steep black diamond slopes and bowels that are visible from the base lodge. This ski area not only has plenty of trails to challenge the most advanced skiers but they also have a separate ski area for beginner skiers and snowboarders called the Loveland Valley. This area is the perfect place for novice skiers and riders to work on their technique away from intermediates and experts. This area has its own lifts and gentle terrain where a visitor can learn the basics.

As this was my first day on the snow for the season, I decided to take it easy and ski some of the easier trails at Loveland. I began by riding Lift #2 and skiing Home Run. Although this was a week-end, the lack of crowded lift lines was a definite plus. I only had enough time to catch my breath before I was back on the chair lift headed up the mountain for another run. After skiing Home Run again, I proceeded up the mountain and rode Lift #6 to the top. I skied Roulette, a long intermediate run back to Lift #6 and rode up again and skied Straight Flush.

By that time, I had worked up an apatite, so I headed into the Lodge for a little lunch. I decided on the pulled pork sandwich which was generous, filling and delicious. After finishing my lunch and chatting with fellow skiers, I headed back to the slopes for a few more runs. I skied North Black Jack and South Black Jack and then skied Home Run back to the main lodge. The wind had started to blow and the temperature dropped, so I decided to call it a day. As this was my first day back on skis this season, I had decided to take it easy. I knew that if I over did it on the first day, I would pay for it with sore muscles the next day.

ACCOMMODATIONS
I was staying at the Baymont Inn in Frisco, Colorado. Sometimes, I've had to hunt for the lodge where I was staying but this was not the case for the Baymont. It is conveniently located right off Rt. 70, on your right as you start toward Frisco. This is an older hotel with all the amenities that one would expect including: an indoor pool, spa tub, 24-hour business center, bar,/lounge, billiards or pool table, concierge services, elevator, fitness facilities, free WIFI and a free continental breakfast bar that also included eggs, sausage, bacon, waffles, and other delights. This restaurant also boasts an authentic Vietnamese restaurant.

After a day of skiing, I decided to have dinner at the hotel. I was really happy with this choice. I found the staff to be friendly and the size of all the servings to be huge. I opted for the Pho (Vietnamese soup) and ordered a medium bowl which was more that I could finish. I was sitting at the bar between two construction workers, nether of who could finish their dinners. We all agreed the dinners were delicious and the portions were HUGE. I topped off my dinner with a cup of Vietnamese coffee which is made in a French press and served over condensed milk. If you like your coffee sweet, this is a real treat.

I have stayed at many hotels and eaten at numerous restaurants in ski country. I can recommend the Baymont as one of the best reasonably priced hotels that I have stayed at during my travels. To make a reservation, call (844) 431-6747 and tell them that you read about them in the Ski Bum News. Even if you are not staying there, drop in for dinner, you will not be disappointed.

MORE SKIING
I returned to Loveland on a Tuesday and it even less crowded than on the weekend. In fact, sometimes there was no one in the lift line in front of me, so it became a day of up and down as fast as I could go. I warmed up on Home Run and then rode up Lift #6 and skied Keno to Black Jack. Then I headed over to the Ptarmigan chair. I took a run down Bennet's Bowl to Firecut and then back to the chair for a bump run before heading in for lunch. This time I ate a chili dog in the bar and then headed back to the slopes, skiing the other trails off the Ptarmigan chair. I made it over to Chair #4 and skied Telstar and Perfect bowel before heading in for the day.

STATS
Loveland has two separate ski areas, Loveland Valley for beginners and Loveland Basin for more advances skiers and snowboarders. There are 1,800 skiable acres with an additional 100 hikeable acres. There are 94 trails at this ski area. The base elevation is 10,800 feet with the elevation is 13,010 feet with a vertical drop of 2,210 feet. The ski area boasts 3 quad, 4 triple, 2 double lifts, 2 magic carpet surface lifts (1 magic carpet is for Ski & Ride School only) . The longest run is 2 miles long. The slopes are 13% Beginner 41% Intermediate and 46% Advanced, so there is something to delight skiers and riders of all levels. The average snowfall is 422 inches and the snowmaking capability covers 240 acres.

Loveland offers snowcat skiing where you can ride up to the Continental Divide and ski the fresh powder and explore some of Loveland's most exhilarating terrain with a free ride on the Ridge Cat. Take in the amazing 360 degree views as you are whisked along the North side of The Ridge in the comfort of our 18 passenger snowcat. The Ridge Cat provides access to Field of Dreams, Velvet Hammer, Tickler, 13,010 and Marmot.

Because of its location, Loveland was a perfect place to visit on my last day of skiing in Summit County, as it was on my way back to the Denver airport. By arranging my schedule this way, I was able to maximize my time on the slopes and still arrive at the airport in plenty of time to catch my flight. If you were not planning to ski Loveland, you might want to include it in your itinerary. It worked out really great for me.

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