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Old 12-03-2014, 10:46 PM   #1
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Ski Overnight Parking in Summit County, CO

I did a bit of a search here on ski area overnight parking and came up with an OLD and outdated thread... so I am wondering if anyone in Colorado has any more timely experience and / or advice for finding a place to park during ski season in Summit County.

Most parking lots are listed online as either no overnight parking, or no "camping" (meaning: me). I've only tumbled onto one winter-open RV park that wants upwards of $100 / night and can appropriately kiss various nether regions of my anatomy. The resorts here do not (as far as I can tell) care to accommodate RVers.

The Wal Mart in Frisco got trashed by dirtbags every season so much they stopped allowing overnighters a few years ago (according to the manager today). The towns and resorts apparently jealously guard and police their available lots. I do not want to "stealth" camp, either.

Does anyone have any sure-bet NFS roads that are enough accessible to get a good parking spot so no king-shizzle enforcement officers bother me? I do not want to have to drive an hour out of Summit to find something - I may as well just drive up from home each morning if that's the case.

Kinda running out of ideas... but I have this $100K tent with a furnace and I'd like to use it as it is supposed to be used...

Any advice is appreciated (or pointer to a more recent thread that I somehow missed)!

Thanks, all!
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Old 12-04-2014, 12:34 AM   #2
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Ski Overnight Parking in Summit County, CO

Edited: We're in the same predicament. We got the Rocky Mountain super pass +, good at copper, winter park, eldora, 6 days at steamboat and 3 days at crested butte, we're able to head up early on Fridays, and wanting to van camp, we've called all the resorts and towns, not much. Breckinridge has an RV park (tiger run) and Steamboat has a year round campground, $20 at steamboat, $80 for tiger run in breck! under new ownership, lots of new restrictions catering to high end clientele with monster RV's, nothing under 20ft, no pop ups....crazy! Not sure what we'll end up doing. Some of the reasoning behind no lot parking is them being able to plow if it snows, winter park does allow overnighting in the lots as long as it doesn't snow, if it does, then what?
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Old 12-04-2014, 02:31 PM   #3
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Re: Ski Overnight Parking in Summit County, CO

I'm sure you'll be fine in just about any hotel/condo complex parking lot as long as you keep the top down. I do this here in Utah frequently.
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Old 12-04-2014, 05:26 PM   #4
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Re: Ski Overnight Parking in Summit County, CO

This is my specialty!!! My wife and I head up almost every Friday night and back to Denver Sunday night.

***Please note that anytime you camp in a ski area lot the plow guys are up early. So expect to get honked at around 5-6am and you just have to move to where they've already plowed.

Also, NFS roads are almost always closed in winter unless there are residences or major trailheads up the road. And in Summit County you're almost always near someone so if you're looking for true oasis roads in winter you'll have to hunt... then let me know where. :-)

We camp a lot in the back of the main Copper Alpine parking lot. The heated/running water bathroom is open 24hrs and we never see anyone let alone hooligans. Also, Tiger Rd in Breckenridge is plowed quite a ways up. There's a trail (Horseshoe Gulch) a couple miles up that connects up to the Colorado Trail that has a good parking area.

For Winter Park we always park in the Corona lot overnight and have had snow patrol stop and give the ususal Sportsmobile-wishicoulds and are totally fine with us staying there. No bathroom but it's really quiet and if you have a dog during the day the parking lot is basically a dog park. If you want to stay in town you can park behind the restaurant called The Ditch, the owner is more than fine with it and behind the restaurant down a small road is an old crosscountry ski track that is fun to let the dog loose on.

For Eldora I suggest trying to make your way up to the East Portal of the Moffat Tunnel. It isn't super close but is fun to watch the trains and is usually pretty quiet.

Steamboat is tough, the best I've found is basically behind the Hampton Inn which we usually then just take the free public bus (not the Hampton Inn shuttle) to/from the resort and downtown.

For Crested Butte, I'll also be on the hunt for good spots this winter.
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Old 12-04-2014, 11:16 PM   #5
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Re: Ski Overnight Parking in Summit County, CO

Thanks, all...

For an Epic Pass holder for Keystone and Breck, it sounds like they have Summit rather buttoned up as I feared. That sucks.

I'm one of those people that if there is one security or police person around that's the "oh, HIM... yeah, he's an ass and always harasses people", he will definitely be on shift the night(s) I choose to sneak in and spend somewhere (e.g. hotels).

Tiger Rd sounds promising. What about Swan Mtn Road? That's all NFS too, I believe (of course the entire county pretty much is NFS). Gets real slick, though (almost bit it a couple times on that road). I also thought there were a couple plowed pullouts on Hwy 6 going over Loveland Pass... would the polizei harass people in those if they are plowed (being careful to not park under an avalanche chute, of course)? The old thread also mentioned Montezuma Rd out of Keystone, but I'm guessing it is either home-ownered or not passable once the homes stop.

I don't mess with Copper Mtn anymore... I am not a superstitious person, but the two days of my life I chose to ski there I blew an ACL each day.

Crested Butte... I thought Kebler Pass was open through Winter, but apparently not. There are a number of homes up the Gothic Road toward Schofield Pass (closed in Winter), but there may be possibility before the closure point if any of the road is open at all. Worst case, someone on the old thread mentioned the Wally World in Gunnison if you really can't find anything else. Bit of a drive to CB and back, but cheaper than a condo (at least it is almost on the north edge of Gunnison).

I guess in all of this discussion I should also ask... is there anyone on the forum that has a property in the Summit area that would either graciously allow an occasional interloper parker, or accept a modest token of appreciation for said privilege? Friend of a friend? Enterprising local with an open lot? Anything up highway 9 north out of Dillon?

Funny how one always seems to see footage of ski bums living in vans at ski areas and having a rocking good time. Apparently they ruined it for the present (at least in CO, anyway). Or everyone just has gotten too friggin greedy.
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Old 12-05-2014, 08:57 AM   #6
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Re: Ski Overnight Parking in Summit County, CO

I've never checked Swan Mtn only because it seems like the whole thing is driveways. Another idea is Boreas Pass Rd which is close in winter but has a pretty good sized TH and is near Breck. I think Montezuma might be worth a try for Keystone.

Gothic was one of the spots I was going to check out in CB but I'm not thinking there will be anywhere to pull off even if the road is open a ways out of town.

I really would like to think if you leave no trace (ie. no beer cans, fire pits, etc) then most places won't care. But I'm probably wrong on that one. Winter is tough for sure but it's worth it to sleep in Sat morning, have a big breakfast, then still get first chair and chuckle when everyone complains about how bad Floyd hill was that morning.
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Old 12-06-2014, 10:18 PM   #7
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Re: Ski Overnight Parking in Summit County, CO

Dont know much about the front range but I lived in CB for a 2 winters and 3 summers. One summer I lived in the back of my tacoma. That was easy because I was a bartender/fly fishing guide. I stayed out late and got up early. Nobody even noticed I was there. I still visit for 2 or 3 weeks a year and sleep in the van. It is technically illegal to sleep in a vehicle or camper in CB proper, although I have never had a problem I know other people who have.
There are a few parking spots that back up to the skate park that are my go to. I have a voyager top but I wouldnt suggest popping a top. From there it is a relatively short walk to the bathrooms behind the fire department that are heated and open 24/7.
If you drive towards gothic there is a parking area where they stop plowing the road. Never camped there but I imagine you could get away with it. They have a yurt or cabin you can cross country ski into and rent for the night in gothic so cars definitely park there overnight.
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Old 12-06-2014, 10:23 PM   #8
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Re: Ski Overnight Parking in Summit County, CO

Quote:
Originally Posted by LFFE
If you drive towards gothic there is a parking area where they stop plowing the road. Never camped there but I imagine you could get away with it. They have a yurt or cabin you can cross country ski into and rent for the night in gothic so cars definitely park there overnight.
That's great to know... I might just have to check that out if I roll out that way. Haven't skied Crusty Butt since the '90's. Probably overdue.

Damn... reminds me... I used to ski with all my photo gear and tripod on my back, and take panos from the tops of the ski resorts... I wonder where all those pics got to!
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Old 12-08-2014, 01:11 PM   #9
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Re: Ski Overnight Parking in Summit County, CO

Thanks for the info LFFE! So I don't necessarily have to get my Montanya to go, lol.
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Old 02-01-2015, 10:28 AM   #10
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Re: Ski Overnight Parking in Summit County, CO

We just spent a few nights on the top level of the lionshead parking structure in Vail, Alex called the town of Vail and got through to Mike Rose, the director of transportation, he said it was no problem, you have to pay the max $25/day. Not sure of the details on when it snows and them clearing. They have a few designated RV spots too.
The day before the snow....
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