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Where to ski [from New Zealand to N.A. in late Feb or early March]

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hi, my son and I are looking to ski USA/Canada either end of Feb or end of March.    We are from New Zealand and don't have a lot of idea where to go.  Was looking at Whistler but the snow report doesn't sound that good.   My son in an intermediate bordering on advanced.   Looking for nice snow!    Can any one help?  Many thanks

post #2 of 23

What's your budget like?  Ski-in/Ski-out or drive to the hill?  Skiing only or do you have some interest in the town etc around it? 

 

Interior BC has done ok..Revelstoke, Fernie, Lake Louise have good snowpack relative to historical norms at the moment.  Tahoe area is terrible.  Colorado has done pretty good, especially the southern areas.  Utah has not had much snow although they look set to get a bunch today and tomorrow. Montana has done ok as well. 

post #3 of 23

I'll be in Aspen for Waitangi Day!  I think you'd enjoy it and there are easy connections thru LAX or SFO.

No driving on the wrong side required.

post #4 of 23
Whitefish has had phenomenal conditions this season, but is not that easy a destination from New Zealand, in spite of the fact I've got a Kiwi in my class.
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Whitefish has had phenomenal conditions this season, but is not that easy a destination from New Zealand, in spite of the fact I've got a Kiwi in my class.


Homer..  :D

 

But it's true..they do have great snow. 

post #6 of 23
And it dumped all day today. Would like to have stayed and enjoyed it, but had a migraine and it was all I could do to stay upright to get to the locker room. :-( There were four inches on my car there at noon, it continued coming the rest of the day and supposed to continue all night. Can't wait to hear how they did whenever my head gets better.
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Whitefish has had phenomenal conditions this season, but is not that easy a destination from New Zealand, in spite of the fact I've got a Kiwi in my class.

What about from LAX?

To the OP: I can tell you where not to visit this season -- California. Having said that, if you want to surf AND ski both, there is only place in America where you can do it -- even possibly on the same day. That's Los Angeles.
post #8 of 23
Certainly not direct. This is a lovely SMALL airport with all of three gates. Direct flights are from Denver, Seattle, Minneapolis, Salt Lake.
http://www.iflyglacier.com/cities-served.html

http://www.iflyglacier.com/flight-status.php

Yeah, the seasonal from Los Angeles is summer. That's our big season.
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 

Cheers.....looking seriously at Vail.

post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 

Love the idea of Aspen, but phew accomodation costs.....out of this world

post #11 of 23
I don't think Vail will be any cheaper.
They also sell 300,000 Epic Passes a year.
It's a good value, but you'd be foolish to go there if you don't have one.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by aklfishboy View Post
 

Cheers.....looking seriously at Vail.


Great mountain, but crowded and expensive.  You do have the option of Beaver Creek next door.  Most CO locals will advise you to look at areas that don't get the big day skier and weekend crowds from Denver.  That means Aspen, Steamboat, Crested Butte, etc.  However, if you are skiing during the week, that's less of an issue. 

post #13 of 23

I notice Winter Park has gotten about 58cm in the past couple of days, which should improve conditions there considerably.

 

There is a shuttle direct from Denver International.

 

Of course, everything could be different in a month.

post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by aklfishboy View Post
 

Hi, my son and I are looking to ski USA/Canada either end of Feb or end of March.    We are from New Zealand and don't have a lot of idea where to go.  Was looking at Whistler but the snow report doesn't sound that good.   My son in an intermediate bordering on advanced.   Looking for nice snow!    Can any one help?  Many thanks

 

The first question I'd have is: Are you interested in a) driving around to several resorts, or b) do you just want to park yourself at one and not have to drive anywhere?

 

 

If a) then my rec would be to go to SLC, stay in Cottonwood Heights, Sandy, or Midvale and try the ~10 different ski areas within an hour or so.

 

If b) then Big Sky is a great choice. With the recent takeover of adjoining  moonlight Basin and Spanish Peaks it's the largest ski area on the continent.  Plenty to keep you occupied for a week, and terrain for all abilities.

 

I'd recommend against Vail, as you will be paying $120/day to ski elbow to elbow with Denver locals who bought a season pas for $500.  If you must go to that area, Beaver Creek is by far the better choice.  Not quite as big as Vail, but still quite sizable, and less crowded due to the extra distance from Denver.  You could take a day trip to Vail to see what you are (not) missing.

post #15 of 23

We've made the trip from NZ to North America a few times so can hopefully help a little. There's pros and cons to lots of mountains

 

A few questions, do you like to ski in NZ? What sort of terrain do you like, not like, want to experience? How long are you thinking of going for? Do you only want to ski or do you want to do other things?

 

What sort of accommodation style do you want, hostel, hotel, condo? Ski in ski out, on the shuttle route? Car or shuttle to get around? Eat in or out? Do you want nightlife?

post #16 of 23
I'll second Aspen. There are affordable lodging options if you look. The snow is off the charts this season and the terrain is fantastic.

Mike
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 

Hi thanks.   My son and I mostly ski Cardrona, he is getting on to some black runs now, not quite carving.

 

We will be mobile - hire car.

 

No hugely worried  about ski in ski out.

 

Not fussed about accom except we don't want slum it or conversely pay for top end hotels.

 

We are planning on approx 6- 7 days skiing and stopping off in LA on the way.

 

We will be mostly skiing monday to Friday, as I understand the crowd/week end issue.

 

Quite liked the idea of Whistler/Blackcomb, but worried about lack of good snow.

 

Appreciate any help.

 

Cheers

post #18 of 23
Thread Starter 

THanks I'll have a further look at Salt Lake City.

post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks there some reasonal deals around if you hunt them, thanks read about the passes.

post #20 of 23

Ok, personally I'd give Whistler a miss this time - it is huge and has some fantastic terrain, but the bottom half of the mountain (longer than skiing from the top of Captains to the bottom of Valley View) can be really really icy and unpleasant. Whistler, was the place I understood why some people chose to download on lifts.

 

If you are stopping off in LA I'd go with either Aspen (but look at staying at Snowmass which is absolutely huge by NZ standards has great snow and terrain I think your son would love, with plenty of scope to go bigger on terrain. Snowmass is also a great introduction to tree skiing for those of us that aren't used to them.  If you go to Snowmass go up to Up 4 Pizza for lunch.

 

Staying at Snowmass is often cheaper and there is a free bus to the other three areas. Snowmass village is quite big, Aspen is like having Queenstown or Wanaka at the bottom of the lift.

 

The other option I'd look at is Steamboat, again great snow, nice town, good range of terrain.

 

Neither have issues with crowds (especially compared to Cardrona is the school holidays).

 

For a first trip both Aspen Snowmass and Steamboat are what I'd call quintessential North American ski experience.

 

If you book on a single ticket on Star Alliance (and possibly others we just used AirNZ) then the connections are good and the add on for Aspen or Hayden (Steamboat) is usually very minimal because it is the same sector as Denver (cost us $10 each I think).

post #21 of 23
Australian trip report about coming from there to Whitefish.
post #22 of 23

Thought of another couple of things, if you end up at Aspen / Snowmass or Steamboat you may not need to rent a car. Both have very efficient free transport systems. Not sure about cost of transport from the airport, although at Snowmass lots of places have complimentary shuttles.

 

Also, both Aspen and Hayden airports are small and subject to weather-related delays etc so either book your flights on one ticket (airlines problem if a connection is missed once your journey commences, or if they have to rebook you they deal with the whole chain; or give yourself heaps of breathing space between domestic US flights and the connection to NZ.

post #23 of 23
You'd be crazy to book Whistler for a trip in less than a month.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Where to ski [from New Zealand to N.A. in late Feb or early March]