Much to my surprise and delight, I was able to book a non-stop flight to Bozeman with saver miles for me, my wife, and 12-year-old daughter. Arriving March 16, leaving March 23. Other than air, I have no firm plans for skiing or lodging.
Based on talking to some folks on Epic and reading old threads (including about last year's Gathering), I'd like to ski a day or two at Bridger and the rest at Big Sky, with perhaps a Yellowstone or similar tour for a rest day (if still open). Budget is a consideration.
Our skiing abilities/interests:
- I'm an advanced, non-expert skier and will ski anywhere with good snow that doesn't involve air (prob. level 7/8). Mostly east coast skiing, but have skied Jackson, Winter Park, Crystal, and Stevens Pass.
- Daughter: 12 years old, cautious and controlled. Trying to parallel, but reverts to snowplow on steeper terrain. Does not ski "offensively." Enjoyed Jackson last year and benefitted from their lessons, but stayed mainly to greens, some blues (Easy Does It off Casper). She loves snow and enjoys skiing, but is not hung ho, largely because she feels she isn't a great skier.
- Wife: Has never had any interest in skiing until last year, when she really enjoyed it for the first time, due largely to the Jackson ski school. Was able to progress to Jackson blues on Apres Vous, which surprised the heck out of me. Unfortunately will have foot surgery this fall, but is supposed to be fully recovered by March.
- Budget is a big consideration, but must be clean and comfortable (not necessarily luxurious). Probably stay first night or two in Bozeman for Bridger.
- Prefer something with at least a partial kitchen to save cost on breakfast, some lunches, and perhaps a few dinners would be great, but not a deal-breaker.
- Ski-in/out condo would be the holy grail, but a convenient (and frequent) shuttle to a condo or hotel would be fine if the price was significantly less.
- For instance, I've seen some people recommend Bucks, River Rock Lodge, Lodge at Big Sky. Prices at Bucks seem very reasonable now. Any recent thoughts on those or other hotels?
- Any advice on particular neighborhoods/condo complexes would be great. I don't know the lay of the land at all.
- Don't plan on spending a tremendous amount of time in the room, but amenity like a hot tub or pool would be really nice, especially for my daughter, or a nice place to sit and read for my wife, if she feels like taking a day off.
- Any insiders' tips on getting discounted tickets appreciated.
- For lessons (for all of us), I know a number of Epic members teach in the area. Any recommendations/hook-ups would be greatly appreciated. Group lessons more likely based on cost, but would consider privates. Feel free to PM me.
- Any worthwhile tours/guide programs at Big Sky to help getting around and discovering terrain?
- I will be skiing solo most of the time, so if anyone will be in the area and wants to ski together a little bit, that would be wonderful! (Would especially like to have a buddy for some trees.)
Any other thoughts or advice.
Thanks in advance!