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In Praise of Loveland Valley

My younger brother tried snowboarding for the first time yesterday, and I took him up to Loveland.

Photo: Loveland lessons with children

The mountain is incredibly friendly for beginners who are just starting, and I highly recommend it for the following reasons:

  • The area for beginners (Loveland Valley) is distinctive from the other areas of the mountain (Loveland Basin). The bunny hill has a dedicated lift leading to two short, easy green runs. Because just about everyone using this lift is new to the sport, the intimidation factor is low. Newcomers need not be embarassed as they work their way up the learning curve because everyone around them is in the same boat.
  • Cost-wise, this is a no-brainer. Loveland offers tickets for Lift 7 at steeply discounted prices ($25 for adults, $18 for kids). This lift services only the bunny hill, so this is a great choice for beginners looking to get their feet wet. Time-wise, this is one of the easiest resorts to access from Denver. It’s on the Denver side of the Eisenhower Tunnel right off I-70.
  • If you need some instruction to get started, ski school and private lesson prices are extremely reasonable. Kids in ski school can get a full day lesson, an all mountain lift ticket, lunch, and equipment rental for $90. <a href="Adult lessons are typically only for a half-day and are priced based on ability and needs, in the $70-$90 range with equipment. You can also book a private instructor for an hour and a half for $95. If you compare these rates to other family-friendly mountains like Keystone (where you’ll pay about $150 for kids ski school/lift ticket without equipment, $100+ for an adult lesson/lift ticket, and $435 for a three hour private lesson), you’ll see that these really are bargain prices. (All prices as of 4/1/09)
  • For anyone accompanying a beginner, you can try the racing hill in Loveland Valley; it has about three blue runs with a couple green offshoots, and it’s easy to meet up with your group at the base of the hill. There’s also a shuttle over to the Basin if you’re looking for something more challenging.

We went in the middle of the week during spring break, had great snow, no lines, and class sizes of about 3-4 kids. Clearly, this will vary based on the time of year and day of the week, but we couldn’t have been more pleased with our experience.

Starting a new sport can be intimidating, but I think Loveland does a great job making it easy to be a beginner. Consider giving it a shot if you or a friend are hoping to try skiing or snowboarding out. And as always, let us know your thoughts and experiences here at CoSnow.