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Recommendations for family with some requirements--please help

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hi there,

 

This is my first post here so I hope I am in the right section and doing everything else right.  I am doing research for our family ski trip in spring 2012--yes, I like to plan early.  :-)

 

We have 4 children--by spring 2012 they will be 12, 11, 9 and 6.  We have only been to Ski Santa Fe once. 

 

Here are our requirements for a resort:

 

1)  needs to be snowboard friendly as my hubby only snowboards

2)  needs to have an (affordable) adaptive ski program for my 11 year old child with mild cerebral palsy (she did very well with them last time)--I am hoping to spend <$130/day for lessons, rentals and lifts

3)  needs to have affordable ski instruction for kids (less than $130/day for lessons, rentals and lifts) 

4)  needs to be friendly for beginners and intermediates (IOW no "expert only" type resorts)

5)  needs to be good for late March/early April skiing

6)  good ski in/ski out options or at least be a short drive from town

7)  prefer Rockies/Western US/Canada over East Coast US 

 

We liked Santa Fe, but their adaptive program only comes out there on Thursdays and Saturdays, plus I am not sure skiing will be good there in April.  We also considered the 45 min. drive to the resort and back a negative.  

 

These resorts have adaptive skiing but I don't know about our other requirements:

 

UT:  Park City, Beaver, Snowbird

 

Canada:  Whistler and Tremblant (don't know if Banff has adaptive)\

 

CO:  Aspen, Vail, Breckenridge, Winter Park, Crested Butte, Evergreen (?--the adaptive sports office is here, not sure which resort they serve--is there a resort near Evergreen, CO?)

 

CA:  Alpine Meadows, Northstar-at-Tahoe 

 

MT:  Whitefish, Bridger Bowl

 

I have eliminated NV resorts because the adaptive programs are really expensive and I've eliminated Big Sky because it too is a bit too much for us overall, even though the adaptive program is very affordable.  Sun Valley in ID is just overall too expensive too.  

 

Any opinions or advice would be highly appreciated.  I know we have a lot of needs--sorry....that is why I need some experienced folks to advise me.  

 

Thank you so much.

post #2 of 23

Also check out Steamboat, as far as CO.  I think they have a well regarded adaptive program.  Steamboat can be a little dodgy conditions wise later in the year due to lower elevation and other factors.  If you were going this year, you would probably be fine, snowise, but you never know.  Steamboat has plenty of lodging right at the base.   

 

WP probably has better snow conditions later than SB, is a little less expensive than SB. It has less lodging right at the base than SB, but plenty around the area which is fairly convenient.  I think there adaptive program was the pioneer in the field and is well regarded. 

 

 I would mark Snowbird off the list, not much for beginners, lower intermediates there.  I have been to Park City, and while I believe they have a good ski school, I am pretty sure they are a lot more expensive.  Don't know about PC's adaptive program, but it is generally more expensive for ski school, lessons, etc. and is often crowded. 

 

FYI--I am fairly certain there are no resorts in Evergreen.  Plenty near Evergreen, but none right there. 

post #3 of 23

Tough set of conditions for a good recommendation.

 

Tremblant: Due to price I'd knock it off the list.  I skied there over New years and the place is NOT cheap.  I'd also be concerned about the ski conditions in April, Its a mountain at very low altitude (a mountain in a valley).  On the plus side, the food was outstanding and the village has a sort of touristy/Disney/Swiss village charm.  Good night life and plenty of near lift lodging.  They even have a few kid friendly activities in the village.  If you dig long and hard you may be able to find reasonable lodging prices from those renting condos.  I have an advantage as my sister lives just a couple hours from there. I'll be taking my kids up there next year for a ski break... If you want to talk to a local, PM me and I'll ask my sister if she would mind talking to you about Tremblant and how to find the best deals. 

 

Santa Fe:  (My home mountain) the commute is a pain, but otherwise it is one of the few that meets all your criteria.  Have you asked the adaptive ski guys if they can set up a week long crew to assist you?  Its a volunteer run program as I recall, so maybe their charter would allow some of their guys/gals to assist on more than just the days listed.  I'd start working on that deal well in advance though.  The adaptive program runs Thurs/Sat/Sun at Santa Fe and Fri/Sat/Sun in Albuquerque (Sandia Peak small local area that may or may not be open... closes late Feb/early March I think).

 

I have skied a few of the other parks you mentioned, but not in years.  Sorry I couldn't offer more.  I think your best bet may be to start up email contact with the local adaptive ski organizations at the places you mentioned.  Send them the list of requirements and get their "locals" take on how best to make it happen on your budget in their area.

 

I'm really glad to see you have your 11 year old skiing! Best of luck!

 

/edited for minor fix

 

post #4 of 23

Can't speak to price, but I know Park City has a good adaptive program. Some friends enrolled their son (he's autistic) over Presidents week and were very happy.

 

Ton's of different lodging options and you should be able to get some good deals at that time of year.

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses so far.  

 

I know that late March/early April skiing is weather dependent, but are there other factors that would make one resort more likely to have good conditions?  I think I read somewhere that resorts with a higher altitude are more likely to have less mushy snow in April--if that is so, what numbers should I be looking at?  Over 11,000'?  

 

Is skiing in Santa Fe good in April?  My oldest loved Santa Fe and would be happy to go back.  I could definitely call the adaptive folks and see if I could work out an arrangement for their other days.  Also, there was a regular instructor there in the kids' center who worked with my daughter so I could possibly get pay for him to give her privates if that doesn't run me too much.  

 

Are resorts in general usually crowded in April?  

 

I am sorry for the questions we are really new to this skiing thing. 

 

I just realized that there is an adaptive snowsports forum here, I will go over there and see if I can ask them about kids' programs. 

post #6 of 23

No idea about any of those but if you're ever on the EC I've heard Holiday Valley's adaptive program is really really good.

post #7 of 23

I know that Whistler/Blackcomb has a great kids ski school and I'm pretty sure that the adaptive program is very good too.  I've skied there in April several times and it's always been good skiing, from 17" of powder to warm spring conditions.  Most years March is still winter weather, but less rain (go figure).  The crowds in the spring are low too.

 

There is generally no driving required, in fact driving at Whistler is not at all convenient but the free bus service is excellent.

post #8 of 23

Skiing in New Mexico typically closes the first week of April.  I think Santa Fe closes on April 3rd this year.

 

As of yesterday, they still have about 95% of the mountain open though.  I was up there a week ago and it was spring skiing conditions.

 

Hope that helps with the planning.

post #9 of 23

Here are our requirements for a resort:

 

1)  needs to be snowboard friendly as my hubby only snowboards

2)  needs to have an (affordable) adaptive ski program for my 11 year old child with mild cerebral palsy (she did very well with them last time)--I am hoping to spend <$130/day for lessons, rentals and lifts

3)  needs to have affordable ski instruction for kids (less than $130/day for lessons, rentals and lifts) 

4)  needs to be friendly for beginners and intermediates (IOW no "expert only" type resorts)

5)  needs to be good for late March/early April skiing

6)  good ski in/ski out options or at least be a short drive from town

7)  prefer Rockies/Western US/Canada over East Coast US

 

========================================================================

 

You've got a pretty good list of candidates already and maybe a return to Ski Santa Fe is appropriate.  Small to mid size ski areas are likely to offer best prices if you can find one to meet your criteria...Wolf Creek, Loveland, Sunlight, Beaver Mtn, Powder Mtn, etc??  Of the other larger resorts you mentioned you might take a closer look at Winter Park.  It meets criteria 1, has a world renowned adaptive ski program, could be quite affordable for lodging if you stayed a couple miles from slopes in town of Winter Park, may be able to find some lift ticket discounts at that time of year, has fine amount of easier terrain both high and low on the mountain (and some great expert/mogul terrain), good skiing usually until closing time in late Apr.

post #10 of 23

Check out the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center  http://www.boec.org/.  Their rates are a bit outside your indicated figure, but they include lift tickets and any equipment you might need.  There also is a financial aid opportunity.

 

BOEC operates at the base of some of the best beginner terrain available anywhere and Breck offers a full range of terrain options for everyone in the family.  There is lodging available near BOEC's starting point ranging from a few steps away to any length of walk you'd want to make and the town and county bus systems can get you to BOEC's base from anywhere within Summit County.

 

Breckenridge is more likely to have good snow in April than almost anywhere else in Colorado.

post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for the responses.  It is just as good to know which resorts to eliminate from my list.

 

I am looking into the CO resorts mentioned, especially WP.  Whistler is still in the running too. 

 

When doing my research, my top choice had been Bridger Bowl, MT.  It almost meets every one of my requirements--no slopeside lodging but apparently it is just a 20 min. drive from town so that is okay.  Does anyone know if skiing there is any good in April?  Does anyone have much info about it at all?  

 

Thanks again--this is such a helpful community.

post #12 of 23

Sun Peaks Resort meets all of your requirements but does close this year and possibly next on April 10 due to lack of customers not lack of snow and is less expensive than Whistler. As far as elevation goes keep two things in mind, high elevation requires a few days of putting up with headaches and/or getting out of breath very easily, all Canadian resorts are low elevation when compared with US resorts which is a good thing because they are so far north. If the elevations of resorts in Canada and US were reversed then Canada resorts would be too cold and US resorts would be too warm so both countries would then have crappy skiing. My conclusion: God is a skier. 

post #13 of 23
Thread Starter 

That's cute, DanoT.  smile.gif

 

I will look at Sun Peaks though it will be risky for us if it closes early April.  I had never even heard of it before, so I learned something new today.  Thanks.

post #14 of 23

Whitefish is usually (not this year) only open until about 4/5.  I guess this year they decided to add a week because it was a La Nina year, but I don't know about next year. 

 

I would say that overall, it's not that snowboarder friendly unless the boarder is good.  There are a number of flat cat tracks that cause boarders difficulty unless they know the flat area is coming and the snow is "right".  Given your late travel dates, I'd hate to guarantee that glide would be good in some places. 

 

Besides that, I think we meet all your criteria. 

post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thank you, Sibhusky.  There will be a year when we can go on our family ski trip during the "regular" season and I am sure we will visit Whitefish then.  Someone on the adaptive forum told me that Whitefish's adaptive program is free of charge.  That is really awesome, though we will probably donate some $ to them.

post #16 of 23

I have friends who are DREAM instructors, it's pretty big here. 

post #17 of 23

I just found out that the Adaptive Sports at Sun Peaks is free although that could change for next year. Their website is www.assp.ca

 

Another thing that may be of interest, since the OP has never heard of Sun Peaks: two seasons ago the readership of Conde Naste Traveller magazine voted Sun Peaks the #2 resort in Canada (behind Whistler/Blackcomb) and # 10 in North America.

 

Hope this helps.

post #18 of 23



 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaenhu View Post

 

When doing my research, my top choice had been Bridger Bowl, MT.  It almost meets every one of my requirements--no slopeside lodging but apparently it is just a 20 min. drive from town so that is okay.  Does anyone know if skiing there is any good in April?  Does anyone have much info about it at all?  

 

When I was there in April, the warmth made it pretty mucky on the flatter terrain by midmorning, no fun at all after noon.   I think their closing usually is very early in April.  The top elevation there is a thousand feet lower than the bottom of resorts in Summit County, Colorado.

post #19 of 23

Speaking of altitude, generally it's more important than latitude, especially for late season skiing.  That almost immediately means the Colorado resorts.  Don't look at the summit altitude so much as the base altitude.  Beyond that, El Nino/La Nina brewing in the Pacific should take you to Tony Crocker's site for where it's good under those conditions.  So far this year, it's been spot on for Whitefish.  We are having a longer season than last year, that's for dang sure. 

 

However, I've been even at Copper, with a base around 10k feet and had slop at that time of the year for much of the mountain.  I'd truly suggest not booking until at least November when you've found out about the El Nino/La Nina thing and seen how the seasons are starting everywhere.  In fact, I'm thinking Feb would be even better. 

post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 

Sibhusky--thanks for the info.  I definitely won't make any definite plans until probably January of 2012, so hopefully there will be more news about how the season is going.  I would love to go in February but my oldest daughter is a competitive gymnast and her season goes from Dec to late March/early April.  We went on vacation during spring break this past year and she had only 3 days to get ready for her State competition.  I don't want to mess her up next year.  

post #21 of 23

Been there with gymnastics.  Mine did both high school varsity and club gymnastics....and ski racing.  Talk about a juggling act.  Thank goodness we moved here where there was no gymnastics and instead race training was 5 days a week.  LOL.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaenhu View Post

Sibhusky--thanks for the info.  I definitely won't make any definite plans until probably January of 2012, so hopefully there will be more news about how the season is going.  I would love to go in February but my oldest daughter is a competitive gymnast and her season goes from Dec to late March/early April.  We went on vacation during spring break this past year and she had only 3 days to get ready for her State competition.  I don't want to mess her up next year.  



 

post #22 of 23

You had Aspen on the list, but I think Snowmass would be the one there that fits your criteria well. Lots of ski in/out lodging for a variety of budgets, an adaptive program, and great lessons. The lessons and tickets may be on the higher side of your price range, but it is a fantastic place for a family trip.

I also think you should think about Snowbasin, UT. I had a great time with the adaptive program there, the lessons are only $15/hour for lessons, ticket and rentals, and it was great that you could choose the schedule and number of hours for the adaptive lessons. My son had a great time in the regular kids lessons. They don't have ski in/out lodging, but we found that the Lakeside resort condos were very convenient with their ski shuttles, grocery and dinner delivery service. The lodge itself at Snowbasin is a very comfortable place for waiting for the rest of the group to finish if someone stops early.

 

Both of those resorts seem to close in mid April, and seem to have good conditions through the end of the season.

 

Mammoth Mountain in CA would fit the requirements as well, maybe a little on the higher side for cost of lessons and lift tickets. The all day adaptive lesson/equipment/rentals would be $140. But if you have to push the trip to later in April, or even May, this would be a good choice, although they do stop their regular kids group lessons in late April, but they have discounted private lessons after this time, so maybe the other kids could take one together?

 

post #23 of 23

I second the recommendation for Mammoth.  The adaptive program is excellent, the entire mountain should be open at that time, and the conditions are generally very good in late March to mid April. There is a large amount of groomed beginner/intermediate terrain.  Your best bet for lodging would be to stay near the Village and to take the Gondola up to Canyon Lodge.

 

Also,  I'm sure you can find someone to fix you up with "Bring a Friend" invitations which provide a substantial discount on lift tickets.

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