Flying from New York area around March 15 through 22. Using miles to fly, so most, but not all, US airports are an option. Traveling with wife and 12-year-old daughter. Some priorities/thoughts:
- Wife is non-enthusiastic, take-it-or-leave-it skier, but a good sport. She can manage to stand on skis and rigidly pizza down a green trail. She is more inclined to try skiing on western snow than on eastern ice, but views it more as "taking one for the team" than something she really wants to do on her own.
- Daughter is a cautious intermediate, not quite parallel skier. She skied most blue runs at Winter Park last year, as well as most blue runs in the Catskills, but prefers mellow slopes. She is not one of the kids begging to try a black diamond. She will not use poles at the moment.
- Short of jumping cliffs and tight, high consequence chutes, I will ski almost anywhere on the mountain, though generally at moderate speeds, and not always gracefully.
- None of us like large crowds; I hate waiting on lift lines.
- Need an excellent ski school. My daughter needs encouragement and good instruction. I've often seen kids ski groups where they just tool around in a line without much improvement. She's kind of on the cusp of the "green" groups and the "blue" groups, but is the slowest in the blue groups. My wife also needs a good instructor for somewhat fearful adults.
- If my wife is not skiing all the time, I don't want her to be bored, but she is good at entertaining herself by running, relaxing in a beautiful area, etc. While a town to walk around in and shop is nice, she is not a professional shopper by any stretch. She does enjoy a good massage, though.
- We like the option of cooking some of our own meals, but also like a good meal out.
- While the convenience of ski-in/out would be great, not 100% a priority, as long as resort is close, no traffic to and from resort, and parking is not chaotic.
- Good snow to make the journey away from the east coast (more) worthwhile.
- Everyone must have fun so that wife is inclined to indulge me on a big ski trip every year.
Through input from others here, I have come up with the following places I've been giving serious thought to. Please give me your opinions or other suggestions:
- Steamboat. I have found somewhat reasonable walk to lift lodging there. Should I be concerned about spring break crowds there? Is there a chance of ski school slots being filled up?
- Snowmass. More expensive lodging, but could be the care-free spot that will make everyone happy, with access to Aspen for walking around. Again, will crowds/ski school slots be an issue?
- Snowbasin. While no on-mountain lodging, the area looks tremendously beautiful and peaceful, with great terrain for all levels, no crowds, and much cheaper lodging. Option to make a day trip to Park City, Alta, or Powder. I've been looking at the weather forecasts, though, and see temps above freezing. I know there's no guarantee, but should Snowbasin still be skiing well (and hopefully with fresh snow) in a couple of weeks?
- Park City. Convenience, things to do, etc., but crowds? Also, if I'm there, I'd really prefer to ski in LCC/BCC, but that adds a schlepp factor for the rest of the family.
- Jackson. Was my first choice for various skiing and non-skiing reasons, and have a skiing friend there to boot, but lack of green terrain probably makes it not the best choice for the rest of the family. Please convince me otherwise!
Telluride and Whitefish were also on the list, but the flights weren't available. Thanks so much in advance for all the thoughtful advice!