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Best in the West for beginners?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I am looking for a good resort to bring my wife who, for lack of better term, is still a beginner. We skied in New England the past few Christmas breaks and she has some skill, but what has hindered her progress is her confidence and fear of ice and crowded runs. I figure if we go west in early February we can take care of the ice and crowds which will give her more confidence and a better experience therefore want to ski more (yes, there is a hidden agenda).  The question is- where is the best place to take her?

 

I am looking at Beaver Creek, Steamboat, and Deer Valley but open to any other suggestions. 

post #2 of 23

Buttermilk is the best beginner/family hill I've ever seen.  I never really appreciated it,  until I taught my kids.

 

 FYI for the family crowd.  If you drive up to West Buttermilk, you can literally backup the car to a ski in/out picnic tables.

post #3 of 23

It almost doesn't matter where you go--she doesn't need an easy slope, she needs instruction to build confidence and hone skills. Go someplace with a women's camp or women's group lessons (a lot of resorts have these, though you'll have to check dates for camps). She will progress MUCH faster if she gets into one of these, as opposed to trying to conquer her fears with her own limited skills and resources.  And the bonus is, while she's in camp you'll get to ski what you want to without worrying about sticking to the easy stuff with her. (Regular group lessons are good too, but I know a lot of less confident women who really thrive in women's only groups).

 

I've skied on ice in CO and UT so you are not guaranteeing anything by coming West (okay, maybe not the kind of ice you get in New England, but enough to scare an un-confident skier). I spent a week skiing mashed potatoes in Steamboat this January which is even worse IMO. Especially if conditions are poor, a camp or lesson program will be a godsend for her. There is a wide range of programs and prices. Whistler has an amazing weekend program called Roxy Camp that's only $219, but I know Whistler isn't on your list. I really like DV but I see their women's camps are $$$.

 

 

post #4 of 23

Canada:

 

Silver Star, Big White or Sun Peaks.  No question.  Miles and miles of big, wide, groomed, empty easy cruisers.  (btw if you know where to look there is plenty of steep stuff too).

post #5 of 23

I would say any place in the west that has a fair amount of green slopes. park City Mt. Resort is a good example.

post #6 of 23

If you live at sea level, beware of taking your ski vacation at very high altitude.  Parking at 10,000 feet and riding the chair up to 12,000 feet for your turns will be a shock to your system and it might limit your time on snow.    YMMV.

 

 

post #7 of 23

Most places, including the ones you mentioned, would be fine, but I tend to agree on Aspen/Buttermilk.

post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

Buttermilk is the best beginner/family hill I've ever seen.  I never really appreciated it,  until I taught my kids.

 

 FYI for the family crowd.  If you drive up to West Buttermilk, you can literally backup the car to a ski in/out picnic tables.



QFT. Plus you have the option of skiing Aspen, Highlands and Snowmass yourself when you get bored with Buttermilk. And Aspen is a cool ski town.

 

But really, most big resorts have a pretty good variety of terrain.

post #9 of 23

Sunshine Village is probably the best resort for beginner terrain that i have skied at.

post #10 of 23

In UT look to Deer valley, PCMR, heck even Alta is great for beginners if it isn't dumping powder.

post #11 of 23

One advantage of Alta and Deer Valley for beginners is that there are no snowboarders to keep an eye out for.  Even when it snows, the groomed runs at Alta are fine for beginners and intermediates.  However, it does help to stay in a lodge up the canyon.  Plus then really can focus on skiing.

 

Completely agree with what Christy said about lessons.  Perhaps a private to get started if no clinic available.

post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

Canada:

 

Silver Star, Big White or Sun Peaks.  No question.  Miles and miles of big, wide, groomed, empty easy cruisers.  (btw if you know where to look there is plenty of steep stuff too).


Agreed, except Big White gets too much fog. All resorts in Canada are low elevation so there is no need for altitude adjustment. Sun Peaks has very dry air so bring moisturizer cream. The snow pack is so dry and easy to carve that we call it ego snow. Ski Canada Magazine has rated Sun Peaks the best ski weather in Canada and called it the most like skiing Colorado of any place in Canada due to the long wide runs and sunshine. Sun Peaks is Canada's third largest ski resort and with no large city nearby it is never crowded and you will often find you are the only one on a run.

 

Have your wife take lessons and she will find herself enjoying the easier blue runs. If you can afford private lessons then ask for instructor Anne Terwiel.

 

To get to Sun Peaks: fly to Calgary and then Westjet to Kamloops. A 45 minute shuttle will take you from the airport to Sun Peaks where you won't need a car and there is tons of ski in/out accommodation, much of it accessible for beginners.

post #13 of 23

Of the places I've been I like Alta, Sierra @ Tahoe, and Mt. Rose.  I think my wife (after 10 years of skiing on and off she still skis green runsfrown.gif ) like Snowbasin a lot last year as well.

post #14 of 23

I could imagine a woman who needs more ski time to build confidence would like Northstar and Homewood in north Tahoe, in addition to Mt. Rose.  I liked them as an intermediate a few decades ago.  Enjoyed them a couple years ago as an advanced skier during a week where my ski buddy and I explored several places in north Tahoe.  Not quite as close to the airport as in Utah but the drive from Reno is really not bad.  Also depends if she has any interest in exploring more than ski area, or would be happier getting to know the runs on one mountain.

 

By the way, I'm a retired woman who skis mostly in the southeast.  Starting taking couple trips out west each season a few years ago, one to explore somewhere and a late season trip to Alta with my daughter.

post #15 of 23

My wife transitioned from an aspiring intermediate to a reasonably advanced skier at Squaw.  Early on, it was great that the true beginner terrain is not at the base but 2000 feet up, so she got the scenic beauty of the mountains to inspire and encourage her.  As she progressed to intermediate terrain, we loved the fact that many of the blue runs have highly accessible advanced and expert off-piste detours, so we could start our runs together and finish together, but I didn't get bored.

post #16 of 23

I've yet to identify "The Best" when looking back at the ski resorts/mountains we've been to.

 

My wife, like yours, is not a big fan of crowds, and likes wide open slopes. If asked today to pick a location that normally has good conditions, low crowds (or no crowds), and relaxing for someone who is just starting out, I'd go with Sollitude, or Powder Mountain.

 

If you pick up a Salt Lake City Super Pass ( not as good as it use to be, but still some savings) you can bounce around between 4 Utah mountains. As someone said, Alta is a really fine mountain, and only gets extra crowded during big dumps, in which case you can drive over to Sollitude.

 

Aspen/ Snowmass & Buttermilk as mentioned above are very good choices.

 

In any case, the best advice I can give is to avoid president's day week. Feb 20,

post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 

thanks for all the advice and feedback.  I am limiting my search to locations with direct flights from Atlanta (where we live).  I would love to go out to Tahoe, but for a long weekend its a long trip with transfers.

 

Christy made a great point which is why my wife always takes at least on lessons each year, but even after skiing more challenging terrain in the lesson she likes to stick to the flats for fear of crowds and lack of confidence on ice.  Maybe a "camp" is a better option so she gets more concentrated instruction.

 

This may all stem from first time skiing, long story short i put a Georgia peach on skis for the first time at Hunter Mtn with negative wind chill factor.  She got taken out by another skier (out of control) and was taken down on the flat board.  Needless to say, i am a lucky guy for her to even be back on skis.

post #18 of 23

I would go somewhere small and low key. Beginners are often intimidated by crowds, plus its just cheaper in general.

post #19 of 23

Just my 2 cents.  Go where the snow is consistantly below freezing, like places that usually get good powder.  Here in the Cascades in WA it is common to be below freezing at night and above freezing during the day.  This freezing/thawing cycle makes challenging snow conditions.  The only advantage to it is if you learn to ski the snow here, you can ski pretty much anywhere.

post #20 of 23

There are direct flights from Atlanta to Eagle/Vail. Then it's a 30 minute drive to Avon. I think the top of Beaver Creek (top of the Cinch chair) is an excellent beginner area. At the end of the day she can download the Centennial chair back to the village. Beaver Creek is known for being less crowded. However, as was posted somewhere above. the altitude could be an issue. The top of the Cinch chair is 11,440 ft. There is a nice lodge for lunch at the base of the Cinch chair. And if you want to head over to Vail, it's 10 minutes away. You can get lift tickets that work at Breckenridge too and Peak 7 has some mellow intermediate blue trials that could help her confidence. Don't go there on the weekend, though.

 

Deer Valley is a good choice, too, based on the experience my beginner parents had there. They loved it. But, they also like Beaver Creek just as much, it seems. But, the altitude is an issue for one of them.

 

I hope you can just pick a place and go have a great time!

post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by poNTOonMcConks View Post

Sunshine Village is probably the best resort for beginner terrain that i have skied at.



Sunshine is okay. Their "blue" runs are very approachable, but too many of their "green" runs have flat/unphill sections. The other issue is that so many lifts offer pretty short shots of vert. Nice snow and a lot of approachable terrain though.

post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

Canada:

 

Silver Star, Big White or Sun Peaks.  No question.  Miles and miles of big, wide, groomed, empty easy cruisers.  (btw if you know where to look there is plenty of steep stuff too).



These would be my picks as well.

post #23 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by manchester81 View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Skidude72 View Post

Canada:

 

Silver Star, Big White or Sun Peaks.  No question.  Miles and miles of big, wide, groomed, empty easy cruisers.  (btw if you know where to look there is plenty of steep stuff too).



These would be my picks as well.

Make it three of us.  Of those 3 I like Silver Star best for both beginners and experts.
 

 

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