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February Family Trip (Alta, Winter Park, Jackson, Squaw, etc)??

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

We are planning a family ski trip for February.  It will be the wife (Lower Intermediate) and I (Expert) with our two sons, aged 5 and 14 (both quickly advancing intermediates).  Last year we did Alta and stayed at the Alta Lodge.  Besides finding the lodge itself a bit stuffy and boring (for the kids), we really enjoyed the experience, especially the ease of it all due to the ski-in/ski-out nature of AL and the lack of needing to plan for meals.  However, we are looking to possibly expand the invite this year to some extended family and feel the cost of the Alta Lodges may be prohibitive.

 

What we really enjoyed about Alta, besides the obvious and what I already mentioned, is the lack of snow boarders, excellent ski school, and the ability to find terrain that satisfied everyone off the same lifts.  Typically, we put the kids in ski school (and the wife on occasion) and I ski my heart out before lunch.  Then after lunch, we ski together and I really enjoy having the ability to shoot off the groomers and find some fun stashes here and there, which Alta provides.

 

I'm wondering if we can find something similar elsewhere with easy airport access (American Airlines or SWA) or if we should just stick with Alta.  

 

Any input is greatly appreciated!

post #2 of 26

If you want to stick with Alta/Snowbird, check out Hellgate condominiums -- more affordable than the lodges and can accommodate larger groups.  They will make a point of telling you that you will be subject to Interlodge, but they really end up working around Interlodge pretty well.  Park City, while not as good for snow, is a great town with a lot to do and a lot of options for apres ski activities.  If you can flights to Bozeman, then Big Sky/Moonlight Basin is a great spot for families and groups.

post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbinder View Post

If you want to stick with Alta/Snowbird, check out Hellgate condominiums -- more affordable than the lodges and can accommodate larger groups.  They will make a point of telling you that you will be subject to Interlodge, but they really end up working around Interlodge pretty well.  Park City, while not as good for snow, is a great town with a lot to do and a lot of options for apres ski activities.  If you can flights to Bozeman, then Big Sky/Moonlight Basin is a great spot for families and groups.


Thanks.  Sounds like Hellgate is not true ski-in/ski-out, but definitely something to consider.  I am interested in hearing about some of the other UT resorts (solitude, PC, etc), as the reviews seem to be very hit or miss.

 

Bozeman is an option for sure, as American flies there (trying to use miles) but the flights are a nightmare (AUS/LAX/SEA/BZN).

 

Other options I'm currently considering (besides SLC) in the order of their flight flexibility are:  Jackson Hole, Denver areas (Winter Park?), Steamboat, Tahoe.

 

Keep the opinions coming...thanks!

 

post #4 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by elduderino View Post


Thanks.  Sounds like Hellgate is not true ski-in/ski-out, but definitely something to consider.  I am interested in hearing about some of the other UT resorts (solitude, PC, etc), as the reviews seem to be very hit or miss.

 

Bozeman is an option for sure, as American flies there (trying to use miles) but the flights are a nightmare (AUS/LAX/SEA/BZN).

 

Other options I'm currently considering (besides SLC) in the order of their flight flexibility are:  Jackson Hole, Denver areas (Winter Park?), Steamboat, Tahoe.

 

Keep the opinions coming...thanks!

 

If you like Alta, Targhee is another place that you should not miss. I think it probabbly has more to offer your group than Jackson.

 

In UT, Park City, Deer Valley, or the Canyons sounds like what you are asking for.  The reviews are hit and miss because the typical epic skier demands the best snow, the best terrain, and cheap lodging. They don't care about "amenities", or accommodating a diverse group of less skilled / less aggressive skiers. 

 

I would also recomend  Big Sky as well.

post #5 of 26

If you hate snowboarders, go to Deer Valley. Won't be cheaper than Alta though. If you want ski-in ski-out, you're going to pay for it anywhere you go that's a decent ski area. Especially since it sounds like you're going during kids vacation week. Squaw has condos you can rent that you can ski-in/out of. Not much cheaper than a lodge at Alta, but you can cook some meals yourself and save some money. Northstar also has a bunch of housing that's not ski-in/out, but does have a free shuttle that runs around (plus there are some ski-in/out condos too there). Lots of snowboarders at Northstar.

 

 


Edited by Sinecure - 11/13/11 at 11:41pm
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinecure View Post

If you hate snowboarders, go to Deer Valley.

 

 



Definitely don't hate snowboarders.  However, growing up skiing Taos, I have been spoiled by skier only mountain for most of my life :-)

 

Good information, much appreciated.

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post

 

If you like Alta, Targhee is another place that you should not miss. I think it probabbly has more to offer your group than Jackson.

 

 

I've been to both JHMR and Targhee, but it's been several decades.  Could you elaborate on this a bit?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post
 
In UT, Park City, Deer Valley, or the Canyons sounds like what you are asking for.  The reviews are hit and miss because the typical epic skier demands the best snow, the best terrain, and cheap lodging. They don't care about "amenities", or accommodating a diverse group of less skilled / less aggressive skiers. 

 

This makes sense.  I'm not interested in amenities, but I must admit the ease of not having to load everyone into a car/shuttle is a HUGE bonus and helps add to the enjoyment of the trip.  Accommodating various levels of skiers is the real challenge here (somewhere that Alta surprisingly delivered on).

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tromano View Post
 
I would also recomend  Big Sky as well.

 

BS is quickly working it's way up the short list!

 

 

Thanks guys.  Appreciate the time to reply to this.

 

I should add that we are indeed planning this during a school holiday, but I believe it's Austin specific, so nothing that is going to cause any type of overcrowding (i.e. Christmas/President's week). Very off-peak time from past experience.

post #8 of 26

You have a ton of options, but do have to prioritize.  There are not a lot of skier only mountains, so that narrows the choices a lot if that is the top priority.  

 

If your wife was a tad stronger skier, I'd say Beaver Creek would be a good option if having runs of different difficulty filter to the same lift/lodge area is important.  Keystone has this in a few spots that might be more to her level, but nothing extreme.  Breckenridge has lots of ski-in ski out options that could accommodate a large group.  

 

I'd pimp my own place in Frisco if affordable luxury with lots of space for everyone is important and want to stay in a place with easy airport and multi-resort access (as well as nearby shopping and restaurant choices). 

post #9 of 26

You would probably like Snowmass.  Huge amount of ski in/out lodging and a very good kids program.  AA just started direct flights from DFW this year so you might be able to snag a few FF seats.

post #10 of 26

I'd second Snowmass and Big Sky.  Something for everyone.  Copper would work as well, but won't have some of the intense terrain of Snowbird, Aspen Highlands/Snowmass/Aspen, Big Sky, or Jackson.  

 

Mike

post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 

I hadn't considered Snowmass, but from what I see at first glance, seems to be worth a look.

post #12 of 26

third vote for snowmass.  going myself this season.  check www.tripadvisor.com 

I stay at Snowmass mountain chalet which is ski in / ski out.  Right next door is Poklodi lodge which is a little cheaper (I have not stayed there yet but it gets high marks on tripadvisor)

 

good luck

 

post #13 of 26

Snowmass fits the bill, although airport access can be a PITA if there's weather. If not, and you fly into Aspen airport, it's pretty sweet. Plus there are fee shuttles to get you over to any of the other Aspen resorts for a change of scenery. They also have an amazing ski check service where you can check your skis at one resort at the end of the day, and pick them up an another the next morning.

post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinecure View Post

 Plus there are fee shuttles to get you over to any of the other Aspen resorts for a change of scenery. .



I think you meant free shuttle

post #15 of 26

/\/\ Oops. Yep.

post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 

Snowmass is looking good.  Talk about close airport access!

 

What about Jackson?  Does it not fit my requirements?  Tromano mentioned Targhee would be a better move.  Would like to hear more on that.

 

Thanks!

post #17 of 26

I've only skied Jackson, not Targhee, but have heard it has light crowds, gets very reliable snow and might be better for your wife and kids than JH (although I skied JH as a newbie kid and had a good time, so there is something for everyone, not just experts)

post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 

Is the consensus that JHMR is too "difficult" for the wife/kids?  I've been there as a kid, but was too young to be aware of such things.

 

I'm thinking Jackson (and/or Targhee) might be a better bet for another year when the kids have a little more time under their belts.

 

And another question, of all the Aspen resorts, why the strong bias towards Snowmass?

 

Thanks!

post #19 of 26

I think you'd be fine at Jackson.  It's a great resort and there's a lot of stuff to do.

 

 

I recommend Snowmass because it has a lot of ski in/out lodging, good kids programs and it's intermediate cruiser heaven. Plus it still has some decent expert terrain.  Aspen Mountain and Highlands are better for advanced skiers, but they don't have a bunch of ski in/out lodging.   Intermediates can have fun at both, but it's better to have someone that knows the mountains show you around first.

post #20 of 26
Thread Starter 

Thanks.  The more I think about it and the more I'm honest with the rest of the families' wants, I think Snowmass might be the best bet.  I want to go to JH so badly, but it might be best to wait until it's a guys trip or the kids are older/better equipped for the tougher terrain.

post #21 of 26

When you get readying go to Jacksom, make sure to tack a couple of days on to go to Yellowstone.  It is an experience of a lifetime.  Very few people get to see this amazing national park in winter, and your family should join their ranks.  Stay at the Snow Lofge at Old Faithful.  Take a snowmobile tour to Canyon.  Do some cross country skiing or snowshoeing.  Walk around the thermal ponds at Biscuit Basin and at WestThumb.  You won't regret it!

 

mike

post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post

When you get readying go to Jacksom, make sure to tack a couple of days on to go to Yellowstone.  It is an experience of a lifetime.  Very few people get to see this amazing national park in winter, and your family should join their ranks.  Stay at the Snow Lofge at Old Faithful.  Take a snowmobile tour to Canyon.  Do some cross country skiing or snowshoeing.  Walk around the thermal ponds at Biscuit Basin and at WestThumb.  You won't regret it!

 

mike


Sounds great.  When I was a kid, we snowmobiled into Yellowstone during the winter.  It was indeed a great experience that I would love to pass on to my kids!

 

post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 

Locked and loaded for Snowmass, staying at the Chalet.  Thanks everyone for taking the time to respond.  I appreciate all the input.

 

This is a great community!

 

I'll be sure and post a review after we return.

post #24 of 26
Thread Starter 

American Express Travel....jeez.  I booked in November for the SM Mountain Chalet.  Everything seemed fine...until last week when I decided to call and make sure everything was okay.  I called the Mountain Chalet directly and found out I was actually booked for the Snowmass Inn, sister property, but seems like a much lessor property for sure.

 

Seems a bit like a bait and switch, as the Mountain Chalet is quite a bit more per night.  However, AMEX doesn't seem willing to do much about it.  I can move to the Stonebridge Inn for not much more.  Does anyone have any experience with the various lodging and possibly provide some comparison?

 

Thanks!

post #25 of 26

Nothing on paper showing where the original reservation was for?

post #26 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by aschick View Post

Nothing on paper showing where the original reservation was for?



The itinerary shows SM Inn.  However, when I called AMEX back, I walked through the system with the CS rep and did the same thing:  chose Mountain Chalet, got a confirmation screen, and was then sent an itinerary showing Snowmass Inn.  Bug in the system, that I should have caught earlier.  Either way, it's pretty bad.  I would have been REALLY pissed if I didn't catch it and showed up expecting to stay at the Mt. Chalet only to find out I was in a much lessor hotel.

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