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Keystone or Winter Park - family ski trip [non-skiing spouse]

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I saw discussions about this topic from several years ago, but I wanted to see if anything changed in the last few years, as well as get fresh perspectives.  I'm planning a 5-6 day family ski trip in early January.  Last few years we skied at the Canyons and PCMR, but I am blown away by the price of nice accomodations, lift tickets and ski school and everything else in Park City.  Hence, I'm looking at more budget - friendly resorts in Colorado.  My priorities are as follows:

 

1. Nice ski village and nicer / newer 1 br condo lodging within walking distance to lifts (at reasonable cost of about $200 or less / day). 

2. Wife does not ski and wants a premium ski town vacation feel (she likes the concentration of shops / galleries / restaurants in Park City).  For reference, she is bored with the layout and choices of restaurants and stores in So Lake Tahoe.  Easy transportation to any nearby towns with good dining / shopping choices would be great.

3. Proximity to Denver Airport - I'd like the shuttle ride to be as short as possible.

4. Nice blue groomed runs (looks like both Keystone and WP have those).  I skied at Keysone about 10 years ago and it provided more than enough challenge for me.

5. Fun ski / board school (9 y.o. son wants to try snow boarding, 5 y.o. son - skiing).  I hope Kestone season pass provides a ski school discounts.  Looks like WP's pass does.

6. Reliability of decent snow coverage (good snow making capacity if we have another dry / warm early winter).

7. Fun activities for kids (tubing, skating, etc)

 

I've also considered Breckenridge, but it seems significantly more costly for the same level of accomodations, ski school cost, etc.

 

Please comment on the above and list pros and cons for Keystone and WP.  I know I'll have fun skiing at either place, my main priority is that the kids and wife have a good time too.

 

Thanks for the feedback.

post #2 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by alera View Post

 

2. Wife does not ski and wants a premium ski town vacation feel (she likes the concentration of shops / galleries / restaurants in Park City).  For reference, she is bored with the layout and choices of restaurants and stores in So Lake Tahoe.  Easy transportation to any nearby towns with good dining / shopping choices would be great.

 

 

She will not be happy with Winter Park IMHO.
post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by bumpfreaq View Post

 

Or Keystone, really. There is a "village" there, but it's more like a day's worth than 5 or 6. But if she doesn't mind the bus, Frisco and Breck should be fine. I'm not sure how many buses she would have to take to get from Keystone to Breck, though.

post #4 of 21
Quote:

1. Nice ski village and nicer / newer 1 br condo lodging within walking distance to lifts (at reasonable cost of about $200 or less / day). 

2. Wife does not ski and wants a premium ski town vacation feel

plus

Quote:
budget - friendly resorts in Colorado.

is pretty much an oxymoron.  Most full service Colorado resorts are at least as expensive as Park City. The only saving grace of this request is that it's for early January, presumably after the Christmas crunch, so maybe a bit of a break on lodging prices.

 

You might want to check out Big White or Sun Peaks in Canada: very family friendly resorts where most of the lodging is walk-to-the-lifts.   I can't say whether there's enough there for the non-skiing wife, more than Winter Park though.

 

One of my ski friends over the past 30 years has a non-skiing wife.  The places she went and liked best were Aspen, Sun Valley and St. Moritz.   Thus my oxymoron comment above.   If  you can get a low season package deal for Aspen/Snowmass or Sun Valley in January at a reasonable price your wife will be happiest.  Also in those places you don't need the ski-in ski-out since the local public transport is excellent.

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the responses.  I'm sure that Aspen / Vail / Whistler or European resorts would have a much nicer ski village experience, but I'm trying to stay within the budget and avoid long flights from Los Angeles.  Both Keystone and WP seem to provide decent value and reasonable commute from the airport.  I'm just trying to compare these 2 or any other within similar price range given the priorities I listed above.

post #6 of 21

The problem is that neither WP or Keystone provide enough to keep your wife happy. The village at the bottom of Keystone is more along the lines of the little village area at the bottom of the Canyons. Which is not in the same league as the Main Street area in PC. I'm surprised that lodging or anything would be much cheaper at Keystone than PC. I know there is the cheap season pass deal, but presume that is not what you're getting. Vail might satisfy your wife's needs, but I'm certain that is not cheaper than PC. So, bottom line, not much help, but i'm not sure there is a place that meets your criteria and meets your budget. What about doing a condo away from the slopes, and have your wife drop you guys off at the ski area. Non ski in/out is much cheaper. 

post #7 of 21

Keystone and rent a car?  That would give her Brek, Dillon, Silverthorn, Frisco, Copper within an easy drive.  They are all on the bus routes too, but how does she feel about riding the bus for an hour?

 

Let's get this straight.  You are looking at Keystone or WP to save money and your wife is going shopping in a ski resort for a week?  Are you sure you can afford to go skiing?  Hmmm, very curious.

post #8 of 21

http://www.vrbo.com/484968

 

Not easy to find, but you can get 1 bdrm condos in Snowmass for that price range (see above example).

 

There's a free shuttle to Aspen where the wife can spend you broke six times over.

 

It's not close to DIA but you won't need a car and the money you save on a rental can buy the shuttle bus tickets. Snowmass and Buttermilk Mountains ought to be perfect for beginner/intermediate and great for family.

 

Also, they are having a deal for bookings before the end of October for January 5th on...

"Buy a minimum of 3 days, get one day free on lift tickets, equipment rentals and lodging. Book with this early deal and you will not only enjoy a free day, but also 10% off on any Ski & Snowboard School product as well as a resort card with deep discounts on everything from dining to shopping."

post #9 of 21

Breckenridge might be better for your situation than WP or Keystone because it has the bigger ski town directly at the base of the slopes for your wife to explore and may be competitive on price. Otherwise, I would suggest Keystone over WP because it's base village is bigger than the one immediately at the base of WP, plus there is the aforementioned Frisco/Dillon area only a few miles away from Keystone with surburban-like stores, restaurants, and strip malls.confused.gif

 

Extra thought, I like the Aspen/Snowmass idea that others have mentioned.  If you are planning to fly into Denver, rent a car, and make it a full 6 or 7 day trip I would say keep on driving to Aspen and look for that one bedroom condo Mom is talking about at Snowmass.  Snowmass has a nice little base village sort of like Keystone, but is near Aspen which IMHO is a more fascinating town for non skiers than even PC.

post #10 of 21

Aspen/Snowmass really is the best fit for your situation, so don't dismiss it until you're absolutely sure you can't get some package deal like Mom and Jamesj suggest.

post #11 of 21

Same situation here.  Breckenridge and Snowmass both worked for my family.  The wife liked the town of Aspen better but Breck was cheaper. And in Breck you can ski-in/ski-out from a condo walking distance to town.  Don't even consider WP or Keystone if she needs a real town.

post #12 of 21
Check the air fare LAX-ASE. Last year AA added directs to compete with United and the flights were reasonably cheap at times.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post

plus

is pretty much an oxymoron.  Most full service Colorado resorts are at least as expensive as Park City. The only saving grace of this request is that it's for early January, presumably after the Christmas crunch, so maybe a bit of a break on lodging prices.

 

You might want to check out Big White or Sun Peaks in Canada: very family friendly resorts where most of the lodging is walk-to-the-lifts.   I can't say whether there's enough there for the non-skiing wife, more than Winter Park though.

 

One of my ski friends over the past 30 years has a non-skiing wife.  The places she went and liked best were Aspen, Sun Valley and St. Moritz.   Thus my oxymoron comment above.   If  you can get a low season package deal for Aspen/Snowmass or Sun Valley in January at a reasonable price your wife will be happiest.  Also in those places you don't need the ski-in ski-out since the local public transport is excellent.

 

Flying into Canada from the US can be pricey, but starting this December there will be direct flights from Lax to Kelowna B.C. I don't remember which airline but it might be worth checking out. However Big White, while 3/4 hour from Kelowna is nicknamed Big Whiteout due to all the fog that they get. Sun Peaks is about a 2.5-3 hour shuttle bus ride from the Kelowna airport, or connector flight Kelowna to Kamloops and then a 3/4 hour shuttle to Sun Peaks. The OP can read my review or check the Sun Peaks website for more SP info.

 

Having stated what I have above, I would still vote for Aspen as having the best shopping and non skiing activities but I'm not sure how convenient it will be going from Denver to Aspen.

post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by hirustler View Post

Same situation here.  Breckenridge and Snowmass both worked for my family.  The wife liked the town of Aspen better but Breck was cheaper. And in Breck you can ski-in/ski-out from a condo walking distance to town.  Don't even consider WP or Keystone if she needs a real town.

 

Yep... that's the correct answer.   Add Vail to that list too.  

 

In terms of the quality of towns:  Aspen > Vail > Breck >>>>>>>>>>>> Keystone/Copper (tie) > Winter Park.

 

Your wife should like the first three.  She probably won't like the last three.  

 

Breck is probably the way to go if you want to stay cheap.  From Breck you can hop on the bus to go ski at Keystone, Copper or A-basin.  Better than putting her on the bus to go shopping!

post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the feedback.  I'll start looking for a deal at Aspen.

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

Or Keystone, really. There is a "village" there, but it's more like a day's worth than 5 or 6. But if she doesn't mind the bus, Frisco and Breck should be fine. I'm not sure how many buses she would have to take to get from Keystone to Breck, though.

That's my take. I've never been to WP so can't comment. I've skied at Keystone and I don't think I'd be very happy staying there for any period of time if I was a non-skier. Breckenridge just down the road I'd say would work well. And Frisco is smaller but Main St. is very attractive. All would be available by bus from Keystone. But Keystone itself, not so much for a non-skier. Park City has much to offer, IMO.

post #17 of 21
What?? Park City is suddenly so expensive people are looking into Aspen. Whoa! Where have I been. Am I the only one seeing this ?
In the spirit of your question and based on my past research WP is budget friendly, I think I stayed there for like $100 night withing walking distance to the lifts, the town blows for the non skier staying there for that long IMO at least Keystone has/had night skiing ice skating etc... And some shopping.
I think I like the idea of staying in Breck and commuting to the lifts somewhere and the wife can explore from their as well.
post #18 of 21

For the 5 year old, keep an eye on free lift passes at some places. Also keep an eye out for kids skiing free if they're in a certain year at school like Year 5. You might be lucky and have 2 kids skiing free.

 

I'm probably way off but you're in LA so what about $125 for a poolside suite: Peppermill Casino in Reno has Tuscany suites - with the pool at your patio door -  at $125 a night. She can read a book, swim, go shopping, drive to Virginia City etc for some different shopping. Mt Rose is 30 minutes away and it's cheap too. Or there's the $55 day www.skilaketahoe.com booklets for you and the 9 year old. (The 5 year old might be free at most resorts) . If you don't want to drive, you can fly Sthwest where bags fly free (limits apply) from maybe $70/80 pp one way. Or Drive up Hwy 395 via Mammoth just for an overnight at the Holiday inn ($150?) with a day trip to Mammoth and press on to Reno. Or take her to Vegas, and you go ski at the local hill. But if she wants Aspen, report her credit card as lost.

post #19 of 21

"Nice ski village and nicer / newer 1 br condo lodging within walking distance to lifts (at reasonable cost of about $200 or less / day)" 

 

You're kidding right?  Even a studio within walking distance of any "nice" resort in the middle of prime ski season will "start" at $200/day.

I have never ever heard anybody say "Aspen", and "budget" in the same sentence.

 

I took my family to Keystone about seven years ago and a studio condo ran $1000 for 6 nights (not walking distance though).  In hindsight, we should have stayed in Eagle or even Avon for better lodging value (since we visited Vail, Beaver Creek, and Keystone - yay Epic pass).

 

You don't mention what kind of "shopping" the wife likes.  For designer type shopping, then Aspen/Vail/PCMR type area is your only choice.  

For a more rustic, artsy town, then Breckenridge and Copper are better.  Also don't overlook some other smaller "ski" town options such as Taos NM - drawback, the town is a couple miles from the ski area, ditto for Jackson Hole.  Steamboat Springs is a great "little", self contained ski town, but a bit further from Denver.

 

I'd agree with veteran's recommendations (for value and variety in Reno, Mt Rose is a very underrated ski area), but from you description, you're looking for the "ski town" vacation experience, which Reno is anything but.

post #20 of 21

Stayed for 3 months in Dillon last year and skied Breck and Keystone. Mainly K because of their season lesson pass. 

 

If you stay in Breck (which I would recommend if your wife wants to walk around) you can get the free shuttle bus to K . Runs hourly , takes about half an hour. Or rent a car in Denver for the week , which will work out cheaper than shuttle for 4 return from DEN.

 

The bus from Breck to Frisco runs every half hour and takes about 20 plus minutes. Frisco is a nice town to wander around. AND then there are the outlets at Silverthorne which should keep her busy for a couple of days. Again, free shuttle from Breck via Frisco Transfer centre.

 

 

Goggle Summit County bus service for times etc.  Like the others, I wouldn't recommend Keystone  for your wife . However I really enjoyed the ambience of the place and the skiing much more than Breck . The ski school also provides a lot of support and some very experienced L3 instructors.

post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 

Well, the wife's wishes prevailed again.  I ended up booking a slope-side condo at the Canyons.  More expensive than Keystone or WP, but this is offset by slightly cheaper airfare and transportation.  I like Canyons and PCMR well enough, but wanted to try to explore a new resort (hopefully will happen next year).

 

Thanks to everyone who chimed in.

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