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Early season family ski vacations.

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Looking for advice regarding where to go go for the coming Xmas ski trip. Usually for Xmas we go to Smuggs where we have time share, and take two or three trips west later in the season. This year though  our week fell on Dec 30-jan 6th and that would involve too many days out of school for kids. So we decided to bite the bullet and go West dec 23-28th. I wonder whether  some of you guys may have suggestions to help me decide where to go. Me and my wife are strong upper intermediate skiers who enjoy the most terrain like Robin's run at Smuggs, the West Basin and the ridge at Taos, or Pali/East Wall at A-basin. While skiing we always leave our kids (14 and 11) at ski school, which they enjoy more than skiing with us, and vice versa. I am really intrigued about about Bridger Bowl. It seems like a great mountain with a lot of great terrain (especially for those with transceiver). My apprehension regarding this place is two fold though. What is the likelihood that they will have a decent snow base to open Schlasman's chairlift at the end of December. Second problem is that they seemingly don't have ski school for kids 14 yo and older (although they let 13 and older ski with adult groups). I am not sure how this will work out for my older girl, who can ski most in bound double blacks with ease. But she likes to be with a group of other kids or young people and not ancient folks like us.Any advice is appreciated.

 

 

post #2 of 16

Bridger Bowl might be great, off-the-beaten-path choice for the Holidays.  Sorry don't know anything about it.

 

FWIW, last January I visited a few places in UT.  Solitude struck me as a really fine place for your type of trip idea:  good lower mtn terrain for ski-schoolers and fun "side country" terrain for advanced skiers, with extreme off-piste nearby for those with skillz and fitness, allegedly never too crowded and your dates would be a real test of that theory, close to major airport, good snow record for early season conditions, cute little base village for ski-in/out accommodations, Brighton next door for more terrain variety and youthful clientele, other great UT resorts within an hour.

post #3 of 16

STAY AWAY FROM MONTANA. Go to Cali, or Colorado maybe even Utah. i recomend Jackson Hole. lol

post #4 of 16

LOL!  I'm sure that pontoonmcc said that to keep our crowds down, but seriously December is still sort of early season, even in Montana...of course with the long winter we had last year and the cold summer we've had this year, you never know.  I think you might be safe waiting a bit to see what happens.  Those weeks before Christmas are usually "shopping for Christmas" weeks rather than ski weeks.  There was supposed to be snow in Glacier last night and I had the windows closed last night for the first time in a while because the room was FREEZING COLD, so maybe Bridger (which is the other side of the Divide from us) will be ready, but NOT as ready as it will be later in the season.  However, it doesn't sound like you'll be particularly interested in "off piste", so maybe.

post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

LOL!  I'm sure that pontoonmcc said that to keep our crowds down, but seriously December is still sort of early season, even in Montana...of course with the long winter we had last year and the cold summer we've had this year, you never know.  I think you might be safe waiting a bit to see what happens.  Those weeks before Christmas are usually "shopping for Christmas" weeks rather than ski weeks.  There was supposed to be snow in Glacier last night and I had the windows closed last night for the first time in a while because the room was FREEZING COLD, so maybe Bridger (which is the other side of the Divide from us) will be ready, but NOT as ready as it will be later in the season.  However, it doesn't sound like you'll be particularly interested in "off piste", so maybe.



haha of course i did. just trying to keep hidden the unknown gem that is montanas ski areas.

 

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by poNTOonMcConks View Post

STAY AWAY FROM MONTANA. Go to Cali, or Colorado maybe even Utah. i recomend Jackson Hole. lol


Thanx for the invitation. I am coming and bringing my friends from NY and NJ. May be a dozen or two of my kids' classmates ( all good whiny brats from Main Line). All in all no more than 40-50 people. they were shocked when they learned that the lift tickets are only 45 bucks a head. It will be a riot.

 

post #7 of 16

LOL!!

 

Actually, NY and NJ isn't as bad as Texas, IMO. 

 

Were you bringing this crowd to Bridger or elsewhere?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tallklutz View Post




Thanx for the invitation. I am coming and bringing my friends from NY and NJ. May be a dozen or two of my kids' classmates ( all good whiny brats from Main Line). All in all no more than 40-50 people. they were shocked when they learned that the lift tickets are only 45 bucks a head. It will be a riot.

 



 

post #8 of 16

hahahaha! have fun.

 

beware of the tree wells. they're gnarly as hell

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

LOL!  I'm sure that pontoonmcc said that to keep our crowds down, but seriously December is still sort of early season, even in Montana...of course with the long winter we had last year and the cold summer we've had this year, you never know.  I think you might be safe waiting a bit to see what happens.  Those weeks before Christmas are usually "shopping for Christmas" weeks rather than ski weeks.  There was supposed to be snow in Glacier last night and I had the windows closed last night for the first time in a while because the room was FREEZING COLD, so maybe Bridger (which is the other side of the Divide from us) will be ready, but NOT as ready as it will be later in the season.  However, it doesn't sound like you'll be particularly interested in "off piste", so maybe.



I am not sure what do you mean by off piste. Looking at the map, Schlasman seems to be off piste, and that is exactly the part of BB I am interested in (I was under the impression that is what my OP said). I am not inclined to go out of bounds without a guide (2 kids in college, two to go), but we never ski the groomers when given a choice. The question is, how often the ridge is open at BB during the   last week of December?

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by tallklutz View Post





I am not sure what do you mean by off piste. Looking at the map, Schlasman seems to be off piste, and that is exactly the part of BB I am interested in (I was under the impression that is what my OP said). I am not inclined to go out of bounds without a guide (2 kids in college, two to go), but we never ski the groomers when given a choice. The question is, how often the ridge is open at BB during the   last week of December?



depends on the year. last year it was open quite often due to good early season snow and stable conditions. i went 2 years ago at christmas time and it didnt open once. check the snow report once the snow starts falling. usually you can sort of predict about 2 weeks in advance.

 

post #11 of 16

I guess I have a disconnect between Schlaschman's and "Strong upper intermediate".   But then, the last time I was down to Bridger, that area wasn't open.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tallklutz View Post





I am not sure what do you mean by off piste. Looking at the map, Schlasman seems to be off piste, and that is exactly the part of BB I am interested in (I was under the impression that is what my OP said). I am not inclined to go out of bounds without a guide (2 kids in college, two to go), but we never ski the groomers when given a choice. The question is, how often the ridge is open at BB during the   last week of December?



 

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I guess I have a disconnect between Schlaschman's and "Strong upper intermediate".   But then, the last time I was down to Bridger, that area wasn't open.
 



 


Thank you for the valuable information.  We ski "experts only" terrain most of the time and enjoy it the most. The problem is that we don't ski it like experts, which is probably true about most people I see skiing there. However, that is what we are looking for in skiing and trails like Brain Damage at BB look very appealing. Unfortunately it is trails like these which are rarely open in early season. Probably should start planning for Solitude.

 

post #13 of 16

I don't know if I've given you any info, I've never been on that trail.  Found some video of it, tho.  I've always thought video "flattened" things.  Doesn't look that flat.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tallklutz View Post




Thank you for the valuable information.  We ski "experts only" terrain most of the time and enjoy it the most. The problem is that we don't ski it like experts, which is probably true about most people I see skiing there. However, that is what we are looking for in skiing and trails like Brain Damage at BB look very appealing. Unfortunately it is trails like these which are rarely open in early season. Probably should start planning for Solitude.

 



 

post #14 of 16

I think you should go to Utah or Whistler.  Whistler will be much more expensive, but if being walking distance to the hill is important it's probably the best choice for that early with a good probability of steep terrain actually being open.

 

If it were my $ I'd stay in Salt Lake City to avoid holiday price gouging on lodging.  Alta/Snowbird are also favorites to have some steeps covered by mid-December, and I can personally vouch for the quality of their instruction for expert kids based upon my son Adam's experience when he was ages 11-15.  If crowds are an issue you have Solitude, Snowbasin and Powder Mt. available in average or better years to escape them.

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

I think you should go to Utah or Whistler.  Whistler will be much more expensive, but if being walking distance to the hill is important it's probably the best choice for that early with a good probability of steep terrain actually being open.

 

If it were my $ I'd stay in Salt Lake City to avoid holiday price gouging on lodging.  Alta/Snowbird are also favorites to have some steeps covered by mid-December, and I can personally vouch for the quality of their instruction for expert kids based upon my son Adam's experience when he was ages 11-15.  If crowds are an issue you have Solitude, Snowbasin and Powder Mt. available in average or better years to escape them.

I am pretty much already there, looking for reasonable deals at solitude. Thank you for confirming this decision . My only reservation is that I am already going to stay outside of PC (time share place) for a week of skiing around the  MLK weekend. I am also probably going to be there in the last week of March if the conditions are not good in JH. Wanted to try something else. We planned to go to Costa Rica but it fell through, and I got only 4 days off. I never skied Solitude and friends from SLC tell me that this is a great place to go for four days of skiing.
 

 

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post

Bridger Bowl might be great, off-the-beaten-path choice for the Holidays.  Sorry don't know anything about it.

 

FWIW, last January I visited a few places in UT.  Solitude struck me as a really fine place for your type of trip idea:  good lower mtn terrain for ski-schoolers and fun "side country" terrain for advanced skiers, with extreme off-piste nearby for those with skillz and fitness, allegedly never too crowded and your dates would be a real test of that theory, close to major airport, good snow record for early season conditions, cute little base village for ski-in/out accommodations, Brighton next door for more terrain variety and youthful clientele, other great UT resorts within an hour.



I loved Solitude and Brighton

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