Originally Posted by Toller
My wife and I are looking at our first ski trip out of the Northeast in April. She is a pretty mediocre skier and we both like nicely groomed trails. We are in our 60s, but good health.
I have narrowed it down to Beaver Creek and Breckenridge.
I am concerned about the altitude at Breckenridge (I don't think she has ever been over 5,000') and I have heard it is likely to be slushy at Beaver Creek.
Any wisdom to help me decide? (I mean other than going earlier in the year..)
Well, both of those are good choices, but I have some wisdom to impart:
a) you may prefer "slushy"; because - depending on overnight temperatures - if below freezing, it will be a solid block of ice in the morning, which will have been ground up by the grooming machines into what are termed "death cookies", "frozen chickens", or other such terms - because when you hit them they can knock your skis off. These turn into "mashed potatoes" earlier, the lower the elevation. So do you want to dodge pieces of ice all day? Of course, too slushy is an issue as well. So, it's hard to say on your trip - depends when in April, and the particular weather you have when you are there.
b) neither of those resorts are all that low - Breckenridge is higher, and could be somewhat colder - and - as you will discover if you go there, alot more windy. But Beaver Creek is not all that low....
c) There is no shortage of mediocre intermediate skiing on groomed trails at either place.
d) I don't think the base elevation is going to make a difference as to whether or not you get altitude sickness - both are high enough to give it to you; it is a condition I don't really get anymore - sometimes a headache - in which case I would recommend aspirin. This shouldn't be at deciding factor. And, I don't think reversing and staying early 4,000 feet at Moab for a few days is going to be enough to acclimate you, or, make enough difference in elevation.
e) the bus systems and parking/pay facilities vary between these places; some managed motels/condo complexes have shuttle buses for guests as well....if you are staying a bit farther away than "walk to lift"; you'll need to figure out how all this works.
f) don't drive all the way to BC and then drive backwards to Breck. If you are going to BC, then ski there.
g) The towns are different - Beaver Creek (expensive) is really a resort village ~2 miles outside the town of Avon (less expensive, and a bit lower elevation); Breckenridge is quite a bit bigger than Avon/Beaver Creek, but still a small town.