So we went to Sugarloaf, ME, for the winter break, Dec 29-Jan 4. We love vacations at Sugarloaf - it's far enough north to have enough snow at Christmas time, the kids (ages 5 and 7) love the ski school there, and Sugarloaf isn't as crowded or as expensive as Vermont resorts at vacation time. (We are in NY so ski Northeast.)
BUT this time it was just too cold, for most of the time. We are all tough skiers and don't enjoy sitting in the lodge or other winter vacation activities. So we did ski in subzero temps for a few days, but it was just getting colder and colder and colder, so we ended up leaving 2 days early (no refunds on lodging).
Worse, the snow coverage was pretty poor. Southern Maine had a big dump on Dec 29, Massachussetts had a huge snowstorm on Jan 2... Sugarloaf got maybe 2" over the whole week.
Half the trails were closed, the rest were icy. Not great skiing at all. With good coverage, one could stay lower in the mountain (=warmer) and ski bumps and trees... but that wasn't an option, and all reasonable trails (even those that the kids wanted to ski) were higher up and very, very cold.
Now here's the question: is there a way to plan better to ensure an enjoyable ski vacation? usually we try to watch the budget very carefully, but we could shell out a bit more if we can get more bang for our buck. (Skiing boilerplate at subzero temps isn't much bang, right?) Or should we just accept that skiing is an outdoor winter activity that might involve poor weather and blah blah blah... so no good planning and no guarantees?
If we splurged on plane tickets to Utah, is it still possible to land in extreme temps, poor snow etc? Also thinking about a vacation in Europe sometime, maybe.
I know the snow is better later in the season, and that it's best to avoid school vacation times etc. But due to the nature of our jobs we are locked into particular vacation times (Christmas+ a week in March); we also live too far from skiing to be able to powder chase, or day trip anywhere.