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Relocating to the US, need some advice on planning first ski trip

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 

Be gentle - this is my first post ...

 

We are relocating to DC and the end of the summer.  Since we've been living in Switzerland for the past 12 years, my first concern about the move is where on earth will we ski.  I've already scoped out what is going to have to pass as our "local" in Libery and Whitetail (although happy to learn about others I may have missed). 

But here's where I need some great Epic Ski advice:  first chance I get - probably mid-January, I will be able to take a week to ski elsewhere.  I can, of course, flee back east and ski what I know in the Alps or I can take a smarter, cheaper, closer option, and ski out west.  Will be leaving the rest of the family behind for this first foray, so I will surely come back for more advice on family ski another time.  This one is all about me! 

For background:  I'm a strong intermediate skier, comfortable on "easy" blacks, but very happy on reds, on piste, middle-aged-could-be-in-better-shape mom, who likes great scenery, a reasonable variety of choices (but novelty is not my watchword - happy to repeat the same slopes) and a decent resort (but don't need a lot in the way of nightlife or chi-chi atmosphere).   A good spa would be nice.  Cost is not a major driving factor (remember, I've been living in the land of the $40 pizza). 

I'd also like to ski with an instructor on my eternal quest for continuous improvement.

 

So, where to go?

post #2 of 45
Warning, this will go on for pages and pages, and will get steadily more confusing. I think you need to prioritize your desires. If instruction is the big thing, then put that at the top, same for scenery. Pretty much anything in the Rockies will probably keep you happy, and in fact the magazine lists pretty much apply to you. I'd send you to Big Sky and contact Ursula, aka Little Bear on the forum.
post #3 of 45
Thread Starter 

Thanks, Sibhusky, for the good advice.   OK, in descending order of importance:

 

1.  easy to get to from DC (don't mind a longish flight, but prefer no transfers and an easy rental car ride or bus transfer from airport)

2.  great instructors

3.  nice views

4.  low key

5.  not too crowded

6.  nice play to stay (perfer ski in/out and spa ...)

 

Good snow, I hope, goes without saying ...

post #4 of 45
So much for Big Sky, it's probably a change in flight on the way, then an hour to the slopes. Coming here, you'd eliminate the hour drive, but pick up fog, not great for most skiers. Going to Salt Lake still has the transfer from the airport, but there are options to get to the ski areas, especially Park City, that reduce that hassle. You can take buses to the various areas once there. Not as great scenery in my opinion.

The problem is, you want easy to get to, but no crowds. Sort of mutually exclusive. Maybe Whistler? Not sure on the transport at the end, still quite a bus ride.
post #5 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tartegnin View Post

Be gentle - this is my first post ...

 

We are relocating to DC and the end of the summer.  Since we've been living in Switzerland for the past 12 years, my first concern about the move is where on earth will we ski.  I've already scoped out what is going to have to pass as our "local" in Libery and Whitetail (although happy to learn about others I may have missed). 

But here's where I need some great Epic Ski advice:  first chance I get - probably mid-January, I will be able to take a week to ski elsewhere.  I can, of course, flee back east and ski what I know in the Alps or I can take a smarter, cheaper, closer option, and ski out west.  Will be leaving the rest of the family behind for this first foray, so I will surely come back for more advice on family ski another time.  This one is all about me! 

For background:  I'm a strong intermediate skier, comfortable on "easy" blacks, but very happy on reds, on piste, middle-aged-could-be-in-better-shape mom, who likes great scenery, a reasonable variety of choices (but novelty is not my watchword - happy to repeat the same slopes) and a decent resort (but don't need a lot in the way of nightlife or chi-chi atmosphere).   A good spa would be nice.  Cost is not a major driving factor (remember, I've been living in the land of the $40 pizza). 

I'd also like to ski with an instructor on my eternal quest for continuous improvement.

 

So, where to go?

Welcome to EpicSki!  Certainly lots of options in the Rockies.  I'm in NC and ski locally in northern VA more than anywhere else in the southeast/mid-Atlantic.  Can offer plenty of advice and reasons to check out Massanutten but suggest you start by looking at these threads:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/115408/semi-official-southern-midatlantic-nc-tn-va-meet-em-and-ski-em-informal-gatherings-and-conditions-thread

 

http://www.theskidiva.com/forums/index.php?threads/mid-atlantic-va-wv-md-pa-for-2012-13.15524/

 

I fly out to SLC to ski Alta and other places within an hour's drive of the SLC airport every year.  Spending a long weekend at Alta Lodge would be an ideal ski solo trip trip for me.  If you can make the last week of Jan your ski week, I'll be meeting up with friends at Snowbasin.  That's a great place for an intermediate because the blue groomers go on forever . . . and the ride up is in a gondola (4-6 person).  Send me a PM if you'd like to know more.

 

Have been to Big Sky and Bridger the last couple years.  Bridger is a great place for an intermediate to take private lessons as a warm up to skiing at Big Sky or Moonlight Basin.  It's a non-profit so relatively inexpensive but the instructors are top notch because having a strong ski school for the locals is very important to the locals who run Bridger.

post #6 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tartegnin View Post

Thanks, Sibhusky, for the good advice.   OK, in descending order of importance:

 

1.  easy to get to from DC (don't mind a longish flight, but prefer no transfers and an easy rental car ride or bus transfer from airport)

2.  great instructors

3.  nice views

4.  low key

5.  not too crowded

6.  nice play to stay (perfer ski in/out and spa ...)

 

Good snow, I hope, goes without saying ...

Alta Lodge would cover everything on your list.  I loved it as an intermediate long ago.  The view from the indoor hot pool great.  Love skiing at Alta even more as an older advanced skier and mom of a tween daughter.  I started taking her during spring break several years ago when she was just ready for harder blues out west.  She loves the ski school instructors.  No snowboarders is a plus.  Midweek Alta is not crowded.  Even on powder days, the groomers aren't bad because the powder hounds are up high off-piste.  The Supreme lift has great short blacks for adventurous intermediates ready to up their game.  The bonus is that the wind is less of an issue off Supreme on blustery days.

 

The other lodges in Alta are fine too.  Note that for mid-season they fill up.  Although getting a dorm room can be possible on shorter notice depending on snow conditions.

 

Except for not having a direct flight, Bridger would be okay but there isn't any lodging closer than 20 in from the base since it's not a destination resort.

 

Grand Targhee would be great once you got there.  Obviously, any place that is relatively more difficult or expensive to get to is also less crowded.

post #7 of 45
Thread Starter 

Thanks, marznc - am interested to learn about a VA ski place - will research accordingly.  We've been so spoiled hopping in the car for an hours drive to our local here, and I'm determined not to lose that feeling of a casual Sunday ski - even if the drive is further.

 

This one week-er is a present to myself, and Alta sounds just the ticket.  Will research on these boards and elsewhere.  I don't know the dates I will go yet - need to concentrate on the move on both ends and getting the "little one" settled in school. 

 

I may take you up on your offer for end January and will PM you if that looks right, although your "I loved it as an intermediate long ago" makes me think you're out of my league!

 

Thanks again for the links and recommendations.

post #8 of 45

Welcome!  I'm fully supportive of the Jan trip to Utah (even as a Colorado local), but I'm afraid the Alta Lodge is just slightly off the mark for your requirements.  You need to be next door at the Cliff Lodge at Snowbird for the luxury and spa.  Spoil yourself:

http://www.snowbird.com/lodging/theclifflodge/

 

Then bring the family to Colorado for spring break, or even a late season trip in April.  When the cherry blossoms are blooming in DC, the skiing is amazing in Colorado.  Just ask one of your new neighbors:

http://www.epicski.com/a/colorado-spring-skiing-dont-fear-the-april

post #9 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

Welcome!  I'm fully supportive of the Jan trip to Utah (even as a Colorado local), but I'm afraid the Alta Lodge is just slightly off the mark for your requirements.  You need to be next door at the Cliff Lodge at Snowbird for the luxury and spa.  Spoil yourself:

http://www.snowbird.com/lodging/theclifflodge/

 

Then bring the family to Colorado for spring break, or even a late season trip in April.  When the cherry blossoms are blooming in DC, the skiing is amazing in Colorado.  Just ask one of your new neighbors:

http://www.epicski.com/a/colorado-spring-skiing-dont-fear-the-april

Having stayed at Alta Lodge for a number of years, I beg to differ.  Staying there is to be totally spoiled.  No contest on the food (includes breakfast and 4-course 5-star dinner) and atmosphere, especially for a solo skier.  It's very easy to make friends who are clearly ski nuts at every ability level.  I gather it's more like a European chalet.  Also, for an intermediate being ski in/out at Snowbird would be worth very little compared to ski in/out at Alta.  I skied Snowbird as an intermediate and essentially got bored because there was relatively little to choose from.

post #10 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tartegnin View Post

Thanks, marznc - am interested to learn about a VA ski place - will research accordingly.  We've been so spoiled hopping in the car for an hours drive to our local here, and I'm determined not to lose that feeling of a casual Sunday ski - even if the drive is further.

 

This one week-er is a present to myself, and Alta sounds just the ticket.  Will research on these boards and elsewhere.  I don't know the dates I will go yet - need to concentrate on the move on both ends and getting the "little one" settled in school. 

 

I may take you up on your offer for end January and will PM you if that looks right, although your "I loved it as an intermediate long ago" makes me think you're out of my league!

 

Thanks again for the links and recommendations.

While I've become an advanced skier in the last 8 years after retiring early to be a relaxed older parent, I didn't ski much at all while I was working.  When I'm out west, by the afternoons I'm ready to spend some time cruising on groomers after going on adventures with ski buddies who are better than I am in the mornings.  In any case, the group I'm meeting up with at Snowbasin includes intermediate women who you would have fun skiing with.

post #11 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tartegnin View Post

Thanks, Sibhusky, for the good advice.   OK, in descending order of importance:

 

1.  easy to get to from DC (don't mind a longish flight, but prefer no transfers and an easy rental car ride or bus transfer from airport)

2.  great instructors

3.  nice views

4.  low key

5.  not too crowded

6.  nice play to stay (perfer ski in/out and spa ...)

 

Good snow, I hope, goes without saying ...

 

Think about coming to Taos Ski Valley.  It was founded by a Swiss skier named Ernie Blake and has a bit of an international crowd.

 

The only drawback it may have for you is that it is not as easy to get to as some others.  It is a 2 1/2 hour drive from Albuquerque.  But if you're not familiar with the American southwest, the drive will be a bonus for you.

 

However, when looking at your list it should be close to the top on everything else.

 

It has the best ski school around, nice views of course, and it is a super laid back, low key area.  It is only crowded at Christmas and spring break, and it has many nice places to stay.

 

Take a look at the Hotel St. Bernard.  It was opened in 1960 by the original TSV ski school director, Frenchman Jean Mayer.  He is still one of the best skiers on the mountains and is the primary host at meal time.  The price at the St. Bernard includes room and board with 3 wonderful meals a day, lift tickets, and ski week instruction.  In a ski week, you will have the same instructor for 2 hours every morning for 6 days.  A ski week will, in addition to providing excellent instruction, give you an opportunity to learn the mountain and meet other people to ski with.

 

Based on your skiing ability, everything you want to ski should be open with good snow.  In some years the steeps open later than mid-January but the steeps at Taos sound like they're out of range at the moment.  However, after a ski week, you may be ready for some of the easier double black diamonds.

 

The website is www.skitaos.org.

 

post #12 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tartegnin View Post

Thanks, marznc - am interested to learn about a VA ski place - will research accordingly.  We've been so spoiled hopping in the car for an hours drive to our local here, and I'm determined not to lose that feeling of a casual Sunday ski - even if the drive is further.

 

West Virginia is your ticket for that -  Timberline, Canaan Valley and Whitegrass all in one valley  - very laid back - and the snow is more plentiful than elsewhere within driving range.

post #13 of 45
Thread Starter 

MJB - this looks beautiful and right up my alley!  I guess I could rent a comfy car, grab some great music and enjoy the drive.  Maybe I can even get my ski lessons in French to really feel at home :)

 

thank you

post #14 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tball View Post

Welcome!  I'm fully supportive of the Jan trip to Utah (even as a Colorado local), but I'm afraid the Alta Lodge is just slightly off the mark for your requirements.  You need to be next door at the Cliff Lodge at Snowbird for the luxury and spa.  Spoil yourself:

http://www.snowbird.com/lodging/theclifflodge/

 oooh - like this!  Don't know how you could get bored - looks like plenty of opportunities to start slow on the blues (blue=red in Switzerland?) and then enjoy the blacks on the back bowl at the end of the week ...  I also like the all-women ski clinics on offer ...

 

OK, thanks, guys - now I have at least three weeks of options to choose from ... hmmm - maybe I can finagle more than one trip ...

post #15 of 45

From DC it is hard to beat the good skiing and direct flight connections to the Utah ski areas.  The opportunity to ski with Marznc at beautiful Snowbasin might be hard to pass up.  She is a strong, gracious skier and very knowledgeable about ski travel.  But for another suggestion you could also check out Solitude Ski resort near Salt Lake City.  Believe it offers everything on your list and has a very fitting name when it comes to crowds or lack thereof.  Also, though you appear to desire western US for the proposed trip, there is some great skiing in New England that can be reached in a day of driving from DC.

 

Lots of good info on the dozen or more ski areas within three hours of Washington, DC at www.DCSki.com

post #16 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tartegnin View Post
 

 oooh - like this!  Don't know how you could get bored - looks like plenty of opportunities to start slow on the blues (blue=red in Switzerland?) and then enjoy the blacks on the back bowl at the end of the week ...  I also like the all-women ski clinics on offer ...

 

OK, thanks, guys - now I have at least three weeks of options to choose from ... hmmm - maybe I can finagle more than one trip ...

Really depends on what type of "intermediate".  When I was at Snowbird a couple decades ago, I really wasn't good enough to enjoy black runs out west, especially during the snowstorm that happened during the second day at Snowbird.  Take a look at the EpicSki reviews of Snowbird.  Pretty sure one details the blue runs.  Having skied Alta and Snowbird in recent years, I still prefer Alta.  Although Mineral Basin is fun in good visibility and fun snow conditions.

 

The Taos ski week is on my bucket list.  Especially because Southwest flies to Albuquerque.  One big advantage to SW is that you get 2 free pieces of checked luggage, so can take a suitcase and a ski bag.

 

I don't mind driving after flying.  Last winter I met up with friends in SLC and we drove up to Big Sky, with a stop to check out Targhee.  But then, I drive 4-hours one way to ski "locally."

 

Where in Switzerland?  I have a very good friend who is in Basel.  She is an American but hates to drive so enjoys living where a car is not needed.

post #17 of 45

Park City. Easy access, lots of intermediate runs, and enough blacks to keep you interested, and although I've never done it, I'm sure there is spa action. If action is the right word for a spa.

post #18 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Really depends on what type of "intermediate".  When I was at Snowbird a couple decades ago, I really wasn't good enough to enjoy black runs out west, especially during the snowstorm that happened during the second day at Snowbird.  Take a look at the EpicSki reviews of Snowbird.  Pretty sure one details the blue runs.  Having skied Alta and Snowbird in recent years, I still prefer Alta.  Although Mineral Basin is fun in good visibility and fun snow conditions.

 

It might not be obvious to the OP that Snowbird and Alta are right next to each other.  You can buy a ticket that is good for both and ski or take a quick shuttle from one to the other.   

post #19 of 45
Well you have been warned about this thread.

We are in a slow period right now Can't wait for someone to bring up Summit County in Colorado...
Having said that, if you can get a deal flying into Aspen I'd highly recommend Aspen/Snowmass/Aspen Highlands/Buttermilk. All on one ticket with free bus before 5pm. Would meet all your requirements. Stay in Aspen or Snowmass. Top of Aspen prob has the best view of any ski area in US ( while not being frozen to death or blown off due to wind plus you can get good food that's not outrageous $) However, you have been truly spoiled in Switzerland with views, let's face it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post

Think about coming to Taos Ski Valley.  It was founded by a Swiss skier named Ernie Blake and has a bit of an international crowd.

The only drawback it may have for you is that it is not as easy to get to as some others.  It is a 2 1/2 hour drive from Albuquerque.  But if you're not familiar with the American southwest, the drive will be a bonus for you.

However, when looking at your list it should be close to the top on everything else.

It has the best ski school around, nice views of course, and it is a super laid back, low key area.  It is only crowded at Christmas and spring break, and it has many nice places to stay.

Take a look at the Hotel St. Bernard.  It was opened in 1960 by the original TSV ski school director, Frenchman Jean Mayer.  He is still one of the best skiers on the mountains and is the primary host at meal time.  The price at the St. Bernard includes room and board with 3 wonderful meals a day, lift tickets, and ski week instruction.  In a ski week, you will have the same instructor for 2 hours every morning for 6 days.  A ski week will, in addition to providing excellent instruction, give you an opportunity to learn the mountain and meet other people to ski with.

Based on your skiing ability, everything you want to ski should be open with good snow.  In some years the steeps open later than mid-January but the steeps at Taos sound like they're out of range at the moment.  However, after a ski week, you may be ready for some of the easier double black diamonds.

The website is www.skitaos.org.
I second this especially if you want French. If you go you really must take a ski week. That's lessons everyday in the morning with the same group and instructor Everyone does it

At Taos they make you feel like the whole ski area/ ski school is for you. If you stay at the St. Bernard you will feel like Taos is your own mountain.
Coming from Switzerland, make this number 1 actually. Seriously All those founders of Taos are getting old and it's a treasure that really should be experienced. All the others can wait another year.
There are people who go back to Taos year after year doing ski weeks. Then their kids go. You should start. :-). One will not regret Taos, even if people give you a million reasons against. That area of NM is amongst the most beautiful in the country.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tartegnin View Post

MJB - this looks beautiful and right up my alley!  I guess I could rent a comfy car, grab some great music and enjoy the drive.  Maybe I can even get my ski lessons in French to really feel at home smile.gif

thank you
Yep!
post #20 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tartegnin View Post

Thanks, Sibhusky, for the good advice.   OK, in descending order of importance:

 

1.  easy to get to from DC Colorado - Denver has nonstop flights. Easy transfer to Van Service. Rental vehicles available but not really needed.

2.  great instructors Copper - Winter Park - 'Vail' resorts

3.  nice views' Anywhere in Colorado

4.  low key Copper - Natural terrain separation for ability levels.

5.  not too crowded Copper anytime - Winter Park (weekdays) - 'Vail' Resorts are almost always crowded - ALL are crowded on holiday weekends.

6.  nice play to stay (perfer ski in/out and spa ...)  Most resorts in Colorado offer this.

 

Good snow, I hope, goes without saying ...Even in a bad year - Colorado has good snow somewhere.

I've spent time at a number of Mid-Atlantic ski areas.  Liberty (on site hotel), Whitetail (Condos) and Roundtop are within 'Day trip' distance.  Same owner so they have a shared season pass.  Snowmaking systems are used almost every night.  Weather dependent, it does rain in the winter here.

 

Maryland has 'Wisp'.  Skied there years ago. 

 

West Va,  Snowshoe is biggest and has a long - cold winter.  Large resort with condo and hotel accommodations.

 

Partial to Colorado - Been skiing there since the 70's.

post #21 of 45

Wintergreen VA has some nice terrain in the Highlands section.  The rest of it can be a real crazy, crowded zoo on weekends though. Massanutten is really nice, marznc will take good care of you there anytime ;-)   Follow JamesJ on DC ski.  He's da man when it comes to MidAtlantic subject matter expertise.  Telerod15 and JohnL here are also residing in the DC area. 

 

If you ever get further south, there are a couple of nice spots down this way, Beech is highest elevation, Sugar has the steepest terrain, Appalachian is best for a little learner area or local family spot.  Cataloochee and Saphire are more beginner, Georgia and SC tourist oriented, but Cat does have one really nice black trail.

post #22 of 45
Quote:

Originally Posted by ali pine View Post

. . .

West Va,  Snowshoe is biggest and has a long - cold winter.  Large resort with condo and hotel accommodations.

Remember that the description of Snowshoe is in the context of southeast ski areas.  No comparison to any place in the Rockies.  For instance, 244 acres compared to about 2000 at Taos or Alta, and over 3000 acres at Snowbasin.  For me, Snowshoe is a 6-7 hour drive with almost 2 hours of mountain driving on 2-lane road.  Much rather take a plane to SLC even if only going to stay in a motel in the city.

 

Ski season is the southeast and PA is usually mid-Dec to mid-March, assuming it's cold enough for 24-hour snowmaking starting in early Dec and there isn't a major heat wave in late Feb.  Massanutten and Wintergreen only exist because they have 100% snowmaking.  Although Massanutten somehow had a ski season starting 40 years ago without well before intense snowmaking was possible.

 

I prefer SLC over Denver in terms of travel time overall, meaning from house to ski resort.  Snow delays at the SLC airport are much less common than for Denver, assuming of course that my connecting flight is not via Denver.  Altitude is also a consideration for relatively short ski trips.  Most Colorado skiing closer to Denver is higher than around SLC.  Takes me a couple days to adjust completely to sleeping at 8000 ft at Alta Lodge.  Having the option to sleep in SLC at 4500 feet while 20 min from several great ski resorts is a plus.

post #23 of 45
The altitude issue is definitely one to factor in for either Colorado or Utah, especially after living in DC for awhile. Highly recommend spending a night in Denver before heading up to those Colorado mountains... I didn't find Utah to be quite as bad as Colorado. I don't think you'd find that to be an issue at all in Montana.
post #24 of 45

Don't rule out the Alps.  From DC the difference in time isn't much, there are direct flights to places like Geneva (an hour shuttle from Chamonix), in my very limited experience lodging, food, and lifts are cheaper in Europe. In the US the areas out of Salt Lake City will certainly be the easiest to get to --Park City, Deer Valley, Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, and Solitude.

post #25 of 45
Yes altitude is generally much higher than Europe bases. You will also not get the outrageous vertical drop unless you go to Jackson Hole.
Taos Ski Valley is about 10k at the base. (3,040 meters) You could always spend a night in Santa Fe which would be fun.( there's even a small ski area there). That's about 7k feet. (2,128 m)
post #26 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by tartegnin View Post

 

But here's where I need some great Epic Ski advice:  first chance I get - probably mid-January, I will be able to take a week to ski elsewhere.  I can, of course, flee back east and ski what I know in the Alps or I can take a smarter, cheaper, closer option, and ski out west.  

Be really careful. Your expectation may not match reality!

 

Cheaper? Well, you might want to comparitive shop. I've in the past been able to ski the Alps for less than skiing out west. I'm also base on the east coast. 

 

Closer? In terms of distance, it maybe. But in terms of getting from door of your house to the door of your lodging, again, the difference is insignificant. Example: direct flight to Zurich, 6+hr. Directly flight to Denver, 4+ hrs Salt Lake City, 5+ hr. 

 

Smarter? Absolutely! This is your chance to ski an entirely different environment that in the past was too far away to sample.

 

So, definitely look into skiing out west. Just don't expect it to be any sort of bargain because you now live on the same continent!

 

As for the specific resorts, others had already started the roster with some good suggestions. And as usual, the first reply almost always hits the target right on bulls eye: Park City! 

post #27 of 45
Hehe, true!
There is the time difference factor though. West US is 2 hours back unless Cali is 3.
Alps is what 6 or 7 ahead ofEast coast?
post #28 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tog View Post

Yes altitude is generally much higher than Europe bases. You will also not get the outrageous vertical drop unless you go to Jackson Hole.
Taos Ski Valley is about 10k at the base. (3,040 meters) You could always spend a night in Santa Fe which would be fun.( there's even a small ski area there). That's about 7k feet. (2,128 m)

At 9200 feet, the base of TSV is a little less than 10k.  The towns of Taos and Santa Fe are both 7K above sea level.  My home in Upper Colonias, which is 14 miles from the Ski Valley, is 7200 feet above sea level.

 

In my book, spending a night at the Taos Inn beats staying in Santa Fe, but I'm biased. 

post #29 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by at_nyc View Post

Be really careful. Your expectation may not match reality!

 

Cheaper? Well, you might want to comparitive shop. I've in the past been able to ski the Alps for less than skiing out west. I'm also base on the east coast. 

 

Closer? In terms of distance, it maybe. But in terms of getting from door of your house to the door of your lodging, again, the difference is insignificant. Example: direct flight to Zurich, 6+hr. Directly flight to Denver, 4+ hrs Salt Lake City, 5+ hr. 

 

Smarter? Absolutely! This is your chance to ski an entirely different environment that in the past was too far away to sample.

 

So, definitely look into skiing out west. Just don't expect it to be any sort of bargain because you now live on the same continent!

 

+1  After living in Switzerland, the drive-up skiing from DC is not going to make the cut for you.   Since you can afford it, have the mindset that your short trips will be to Denver or Salt Lake.

 

Whistler is the closest we have to European scale of skiing.   When you have visibility the scenery is very good too.  IMHO scenery in the Alps is more dramatic than in most of our ski areas.  In Utah and Colorado Telluride is probably the only one that will impress you that much. Other top ski areas in North America for scenery are Lake Louise and Lake Tahoe.

 

No surprise I'll second the motion for Alta and/or Snowbird.   It is true that Snowbird will quickly exhaust intermediates on the lower end of the scale but I'm reading the OP is more upper intermediate.

 

Taos ticks the boxes for the instruction and the St. Bernard, but January is usually too early.  Save that for when you can go in February or March.

 

The Cliff at Snowbird is a big high-rise luxury hotel with spa.  The Alta Lodge and the St. Bernard in Taos are similar to the small family hotels in Austria, like the Sandhof in Lech where I stayed last January.

Quote:
Good snow, I hope, goes without saying ...Even in a bad year - Colorado has good snow somewhere.

People have short memories.  How would that have worked out in January the past 2 seasons?   Steamboat and Vail are often at their best in January. Most other places in Colorado are better February and later.

 

Quote:

Then bring the family to Colorado for spring break, or even a late season trip in April.  When the cherry blossoms are blooming in DC, the skiing is amazing in Colorado.  Just ask one of your new neighbors:

http://www.epicski.com/a/colorado-spring-skiing-dont-fear-the-april

This, on the other hand, is excellent advice.  Yes there was a spring meltdown 2 years ago but that's an anomaly in Colorado. 


Edited by Tony Crocker - 6/4/13 at 12:31pm
post #30 of 45

Utah, pick one or more; all of these are within about an hour of the SLC  airport.  Definitely one of North America's finest skiing regions.

 

The Park City areas have near limitless intermediate terrain, and very impressive snow making if nature is late in appearing (the only real ski town there).  Alta is one of the spiritual homes of American skiing with a lot of blues to play on (and some of the worlds best snow). Snowbird; their mountain and their spa are ranked way up in every body's book, the terrain will challenge you though.  Snowbasin, might be my fav but no lodging. Brighton/Solitude, smaller but great. There are more but I doubt they are what you are looking for like Sundance, small and more isolated with a lot of personality.

 

For a first time out West would go with Park City.  You would not need a car, great transit system there.  The town is large enough to let you wonder a bit, and pretty good choices of everything you are asking for. It is an old mining town so there is some soul too.

 

It will be interesting to hear about your choice and your trip.  Enjoy.

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