Adventures in Colorado’s snow country

It’s easy to get lost in Vail. It’s just as easy to find yourself in Keystone.

Here’s how to get turned upside-down at Colorado’s largest mountain resort: Take your whole family skiing, and just try to stay together.

My four-year-old daughter, for example, is a timid skier compared with her brother, a kindergartner. He left her in a billow of powdered snow.

Next, ensure you have the worst wireless connection on the mountain. That would be AT&T’s, which jumps from four bars to “No Signal” (and back) every other turn. So all of those text messages that ask, “Who’s with you?” may, or may not, be delivered until you’re back in your hotel room.

Then add a sprawling mountain to the mix. Vail Ski Resort is seven-miles wide with more than 5,000 acres of terrain, not unlike some European ski areas that are so massive, you can ski all day and not hit the same run twice.

For us, it all resulted in several entertaining hours of family time.
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The Travel Troubleshooter: No refund for my Colorado condo?

Question: I need your help getting a refund for the advance resort rental paid to Winter Park Lodging Company in Winter Park, Colo. I made a reservation to stay in a two-bedroom condo during the New Year’s holiday.

I had to cancel my reservation almost a month before I was supposed to arrive. The company refunded the sales taxes and linen charges of $69 out of the prepaid $965. But it kept $896 for the rental.

Winter Park Lodging’s cancellation policy says, “If you must cancel, let us know as soon as possible and we will try to rebook your property for you reservation dates and will reimburse you for any nights we are able to rebook for you.” I asked the company if it rented my unit. It says no, but I question its honesty. If you look at the property availability on its site, you’ll see that all off the weekends from January to April were fully booked. What can be done? — May Tong, Houston

Answer: You have to take Winter Park Lodging Company — which describes itself as “the best place to find vacation rentals in Winter Park” — at its word. Which is something you’re unwilling to do, and for good reason. Its site appears to contradict what it’s telling you.
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There’s still lots of snow in Durango!


It’s not your typical winter that you see this kind of snow in Durango, Colo. Then again, this isn’t your typical winter. They have an abundance of the white stuff here in town. Not bad if you’re a skier — or if you’re in the snow removal business.


We stayed at the historic Strater Hotel, where Louis L’Amour wrote many of his novels. We highly recommend the Mahogany Grill for dinner.


So you don’t like the updated chapter on Durango for our ski guide book? We invite you to take it up with our customer service department. Kari, will you do the honors?

(Thanks, Thru the Lens!)

What’s not to like about being in Purgatory?


Blue skies. Fresh snow. No crowds. It was the kind of day that locals take for granted but visitors dream of.

It doesn’t get any better than this at Purgatory, where we’re on assignment for this weekend. Not if you consider this is the start of spring break — one of the busiest times of the year.


No one believes Kari can ski, but a picture doesn’t lie. She’s spent the last two days checking out the intermediate slopes, with a few black diamond runs thrown in for good luck.

And you know what they say? Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.


Me? I learned a new trick. I can ski and take pictures. At the same time.


We couldn’t decide which one of these slopes to ski. So we took them both. We’re hedging our bets.

We’re hopping on the train to Silverton tomorrow and then swinging back down through Albuquerque on our way to Orlando.