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Resort recommendations for my wife and I, who are very different skier types?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hi there.  I would love it if some of you would be willing to read a bit about my wife and I, and suggest which resort(s) you think we might enjoy visiting next.  Thanks!



* Mid-thirties

* Live in the Midwest US

* Have been to Telluride, Winter Park, Snowshoe, Tremblant, and several Midwestern hills.

* Not really into the whole apres thing.

* Time+money+grad school = usually only one trip per year outside the Midwest, usually the first week of January.

* We tend to alternate between ski and scuba trips, so the next ski trip will probably be in the winter of 2012-13, but 2011-12 is a possibility.



* I finished this season by fracturing my leg.  Off crutches now, but still limping a bit.  So, I may be kind of timid my next few days on skis.  Aside from that:

* I prefer blue and black groomers.  (I realize that the blue/green/black classifications in the Midwest are very different versus out West.  I am referring to what would be considered blue and black groomers out West.)

* I like long runs / lots of vertical.

* I love NASTAR.  Outside of NASTAR, if I can find a trail without anybody else on it, I love going fast there, too.

* A scenic view is a very big part of the overall skiing experience for me.  Someday I'd love to go somewhere that has a great view of Lake Tahoe, for instance.

* I like to ski from open until close.  Lunch is powerbars on the lift.

* If I'm not too psyched out from my leg injury, it would be nice to take my first bump lesson.  Not a "must have", though.

* In addition to the places my wife and I have been together, listed above, I have been to Wolf Creek, Monarch, Breckenridge, and Crested Butte by myself.  I prefer to always go somewhere new, but I'd be willing to go somewhere I've been before, as long as it's at least new to my wife.


My wife:

* Green-level skier.  She's ventured onto easier blues in Michigan a couple times.

* Skied probably 20 days in her life.  First time was in 2005, and probably 5 days/year the past two winters.

* I won't name her specific medical condition(s) but let's just say that she doesn't have much endurance, and falling is harder on her than on most people.  The result of this is that she is afraid of falling, therefore not confident in her ability to stop herself, so she spends most of her time snowplowing.  This is of course taxing on her leg muscles, which only makes the endurance thing worse.  For example, skiing Village Bypass from the top of lift 4 to the bottom of the bunny area at Telluride took about 30 minutes, including stopping for a break 4 times.  That was January 2010.  She's improved some since then - this winter I started to see her parallel skiing for a few seconds here and there.

* Due to the endurance thing, she prefers to go out for a few runs, go inside for a few hours, come back out for a few more runs, and call it a day.  For this reason, she has a very strong preference for ski-in/ski-out accommodations (accessible via greens, of course).

* Some of you are probably thinking "put her in a lesson!"  She has done this before, enjoyed some, found one to be worthless.  She is certainly willing to take more lessons in the future, but doesn't want to spend *all* her time in a lesson.  I tend to ski with her while she's outside, and go ski harder runs while she's inside.  She enjoys skiing, and wants to continue doing it, but I think for her it's mostly about doing an activity together as a couple.  In her view, lessons take precious time away from that (in the short run, at least).

* It's not as fun to do the same trail over and over again, so she prefers a place that has a good variety of short green runs.

* Nobody is a fan of crowded runs and long lift lines, but this is especially the case for her.


I know that's a long laundry list, and since we're talking about 8 or 20 months from now, not exactly urgent.  But if anyone made it all the way through this and thought "oh, I bet they'd like ___ resort" I would love to hear it.  Thank you again!

post #2 of 21

PCMR comes to mind immediately. Because it is so family oriented, you have a variety of greens for her to enjoy, and there are a number ski-in ski-out options. Park City will also have plenty of terrain for what you like to ski. Really, The Canyons, Deer Valley, or Park City would work for both of you.

post #3 of 21

Based on everything you described, I think South Lake Tahoe and Heavenly might be a good fit for you two.  Or possibly Northstar if you intend to mostly stay around the ski village.  Both have a lot of easy terrain for her along with lengthy blue and black groomers for you, and lodging options where it's pretty easy to hit the slopes, go in for a bit, head back out again, etc.  Both have great views, although Heavenly's is pretty tough to beat.


Breckenridge would also be a good fit if you're thinking Colorado... although it definitely skews more towards the apres scene than Tahoe.  Aspen is another good option to consider, but the high altitude may not be great for your wife.

post #4 of 21

Previous suggestions all good and I'll reiterate some of them.


How was wife's endurance the higher elevations at Telluride and Winter Park? If she did well, you might consider Snowmass.  Great skiing.  Has everything you're looking for, if somewhat pricey. 


Since you mentioned Tahoe views, how about Heavenly?  Lots of green runs along with advanced stuff.  It can be busy, but post NY's weekend ought to be a pretty good time for lowest crowds.  You could stay near the gondola base in Stateline near the lake or believe there are slopeside accommodations on Nevada-side.  Even though you don't need après-ski, your wife might find Stateline and South Lake Tahoe to be of interest if you go out for a few hours/days of solo advanced skiing without her. 


I wonder if your wife would benefit from an adaptive ski lesson aimed at folks with mild to severe disabilities?  Believe Heavenly and Snowmass both offer them.


Maybe best suggestion for last:  Solitude, Utah - check it out for smaller, intimate slopeside experience with good mix of easy and advanced terrain and likelihood of good snow conditions even in early January:  http://www.dcski.com/ubbthreads33/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=61449&page=4

post #5 of 21

You are talking about very early season, so who can tell where the snow will be.  Since you are talking after the Christmas - New Years zoo, would recommend waiting till early December to book and go with the weather maps. 


Here is an idea that is kind of a mini-Tahoe North.  Schweitzer Idaho, would probably cost less, smaller but fits about everything you have mentioned.  The place has a small village, the run configuration you ask for, lower elevations, and smaller crowds.  The view gives you 3 States, 2 Countries, and a lake so big the US Navy has submarines in it.  The mountain is about 2 hours from the Spokane airport.  It is a really good under rated resort.

post #6 of 21

Big Sky Montana.

post #7 of 21

Maybe not as much vertical as you're looking for, but it's nice and has some good runs and lots of snow. 


I think it would be a good place for your wife to progress from greens to blues.  http://www.mountwashington.ca/en/things-to-do/skiing.html 

Here's the view from the top (sorry about picture quality -scan of snapshot).


post #8 of 21

I think to address the endurance issue you need to pick resorts with base areas under 8,000 feet. (Telluride 8,750 - Winter Park 9,000) The Tahoe area, Big Sky and Steamboat fit that bill. The Steamboat base area is more spread out with more activity but also more walking. Big Sky is compact with a number of ski in ski out properties and you can get some resaonable rates in early January. All of these major resorts have a significant amount of green and easy blue runs from multiple chairs facing different directions.

post #9 of 21

Lake Louise has reasonably easy runs, enough challenge and a very nice lodge for your wife to recover in (I would expect that as she spends a fair amount of time there, that would also be important). The women's world cup runs fit the kind of trail you were looking for exactly. It also may be the number one spot for scenic skiing, which was one of your criteria. The ambiance of the whole ski area is very pleasant. The area is light on apres activities which also fits your requirements. It is also close to Sunshine and Banff/Norquay (an underrated locals mountain) to provide some diversity. There are 2 great hotels: the Fairmont Lake Louise (with some of the world's best views across the lake to the glaciers) and the Post Hotel (views still very good). Both are excellent in every regard.  The scenery and views in the whole area are just remarkable - one of the prettiest places we've ever been to.  Now some down sides: in January it can be very cold, The Fairmont LL is expensive, the Post is super expensive.You could stay at a range of hotels in Banff and shuttle bus up to Lake Louise which can control costs. If you stay at one of the Lake Louise hotels, it might become a bit dull after a few days - we did not get bored but we were happy looking out the window (full moon during our visit) or walking by the lake after excellent dinners .

post #10 of 21

Schweitzer, ID


(edit: second the recommendation above)


Hidden gem that seems to meet all of your criteria. Only 2400' vertical, but they have a few very long cruiser groomers. Usually have 3 or 4 steep blacks winch-groomed. NASTAR course on Saturdays (and Sundays?) Low crowds except during Holidays.


Lots of terrain options for both you and the wife's skill level. Ski-in/ski-out lodging is in the center of the village for easy breaks and access for the wife. About 50 steps from the lifts?


Fly into Spokane, WA (GEG), rent a car (no 4x4 needed) or book a shuttle for the 1:45 drive to Sandpoint, ID.

Edited by spknmike - 5/18/11 at 3:45pm
post #11 of 21

Sun Peaks, B.C. is an intermediate, family paradise but also has some high speed blue and black groomed cruisers for you. Just look down a run, find no one on it (slow speed areas are clearly marked) and go as fast as you want. Its low elevation, as are all ski resorts in Canada, so no alititude acclimatization needed, very reliable conditions, very, very dry snow (think Utah quality but less volume) and no crowds.


Sun Peaks has a compact ski thru village with a ton of ski-in ski-out accommodation. There are lots of non-sking activities such as dog sledding, snowmobiling, snow shoe and cross country rentals and even a lift accessed cross country trail. SP also offers snowcat rides with the grooming machines after the lifts close. Speaking of lifts, there is an easy way down from every lift and some are perfectly set up for your wife to take a green or easy blue to the bottom and you a fast cruiser.


As far as a view, it is not as spectacular as Lake Louise but because Sun Peaks is not in a mountain range there are no other mountains to impede your view. At 2900 vertical feet it dominates the surrounding terrain, so as a result you can see great distances. Probably more of British Columbia is visible from the top of SP than at any other resort. If you know where to look you can see Big White, Silver Star, Revelstoke, and several Cat Skiing areas.


Ski Canada Magazine once called Sun Peaks the most like skiing Colorado of any ski resort in Canada, mostly due to its long, wide, near perfectly groomed runs, modern ski village and lots of sunshine.


If you do make it to SP, look me up and I will show you the goods, including the Gill's Hill side country (easy hike and no skins or avy gear needed). I work part-time at Elevation ski shop in the lower level of the Delta hotel.

post #12 of 21

Smugglers Notch.

post #13 of 21

I'm with JamesJ on Snowmass.   I think you would both love it.  90% of the lodging is ski in/out.  If you fly right into Aspen, most of the lodges will pick you up for free and you won't need a car.

If you can delay your trip a couple of weeks you could both attend the Epic Academy and get some really good instruction, which is a dam good deal!

post #14 of 21

No, really, if you seek an optimum ski resort for varied skier abilities, Big Sky is the answer. I've done a boringly huge amount of time researching every aspect of the place, as well as having skied there, and it is the bomb. Mid-week is close to vacant, their groomers are impeccable, their steeps are crazy, their acreage is ridiculous, and if you take advantage of my research in the resort section, the ski and stay packages (check Buck's T-4 Lodge) make it affordable for the one week a year vacationeer.


All other suggestions are sheer idiocy! (Oops, perhaps I've been watching too many re-runs of House recently).


post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for your suggestions!  All sound great, and will give me lots to research.  A couple of the places I had never heard of, and these are just the kind of gems I was looking for in this thread.  I've kind of had my eye on LL, so I was glad to see that DanoT recommends it.  As far as Big Sky, we have friends in Great Falls, MT - not exactly close, but closer than here, so that's another plus.


To answer the questions asked:


* How was wife's endurance the higher elevations at Telluride and Winter Park?

Kind of difficult to answer.  While skiing it was low, but that's the case without altitude as a factor.  Just walking around, etc. she didn't have any noticeable altitude issues - in these situations I got out of breath more easily than her.


* I wonder if your wife would benefit from an adaptive ski lesson aimed at folks with mild to severe disabilities?

We hadn't thought of this, but yeah, that's a great idea.  Thanks!  We'll definitely look into it.


Thanks again, everyone, for your responses!

post #16 of 21

Second the adaptive program idea. Have worked for ten plus years with adaptive program and can tell you it will be a treat for her to be with someone who understands and is willing to accomdate her needs. adaptive doesn't just mean sit-skiing; it can be all kids of issues from very mild to severe.

post #17 of 21
Originally Posted by volantaddict View Post

Big Sky Montana.


post #18 of 21

I'd vote for South Lake Tahoe - Heavenly. the views over looking the lake are world class romantic. There are plenty of green runs and various little lodges all over the mountain to stop at and take breaks. There are some great hotels just 2 blocks from the base of the gondola.


Your wife would probably love using shorty skiboards. They have a very short radius and are extreamly easy to turn. You don't have to fight them or horse the tails around in a tight turn. Which ever way you lean that's the way you go. She's not going to be doing NASTAR or off-piste. So she doesn't need to be fighting long ski's. Plus they are easier to manage in lift lines and easier to carry to/from the base lift. If you would like, I can pm you a link to a resource where she can go online and talk to several females that use skiboards.


Also, I would suggest looking for a local ski club. If you're within 200 miles of Chicago, checkout all the clubs that belong to the Chicago Metropolitan Ski Council CMSC. the CMSC ski clubs have so much buying power that they get really good package deals for transportation, lodging and lifts. Plus you can find some great new friends.


Edited by shortydude - 8/3/11 at 8:06am
post #19 of 21

Well, that sounded kind of creepy about pm-ing for a link. I wasn't trying to be secretive, just respectful of this forum. If posting a link to another forum is bad the mods can delete this seperate post.


She can check out the forums at http://www.skiboardsonline.com/ there are several females and people of all kinds of ability there that may be able to help her have a lot more fun on the slopes.

post #20 of 21

What about Beaver Creek?  The World Cup downhill course is usually impeccably groomed and steep. They also have some long hard bump runs.  


As for your wife, they have different pockets of greens as well as lots of slope side accommodations.

post #21 of 21

Just saw this when it got bumped back up.  My first thought was also Heavenly, which several other people mentioned.  Unbelievable views off easy groomers down the front, such as:



Not such a bad view


Aspen/Snowmass has a ridiculous variety of terrain as well, and the views there aren't bad either...



Snowmass -- big burn trail top


D's suggestion of Park City also sounds pretty good.  There's a huge variety of terrain between PCMR, Canyons, and Deer Valley.  (Sorry, no DV photo.  Only got a few runs in there after the airline lost my gf's luggage...)


I would very strongly recommend some kind of private lesson for your wife.  The idea above about looking into an adaptive program is also something to consider.  They might be better at tailoring a lesson to someone with specific medical issues.  If you look into lessons anywhere, be sure to ask about this.  It may help to try to speak with a supervisor, or even the ski school director (or the head of the adaptive program, if they have one).

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