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Late season, last minute trip: where to go? [family from NY]

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

I am trying to schedule a last minute trip out West from the NY area.

 

I'd say I am advanced, my wife is a casual intermediate skier, and our little daughter to my delight started this year and loves to be on the snow. She started going on the lifts thanks to Smuggs' instructors!

 

My only goal would be good conditions. My wife has been a good sport accommodating my ski bug, so I'd like to treat her a bit on this trip. We'd like a pool where we are staying for our daughter (she likes it both in liquid and solid form :yahoo:. Finally, would like a good ski school for her to continue improving.

 

I am thinking of week of April 7th or April 14th. The latter works slightly better workwise, but if conditions would differ too much, I might be able to swing the former.

 

I checked long range forecasts for April on accuweather (I know out of a few days is not reliable, but I can't help it). And Alta seems to be OK in that period. But I wanted to ask this forum whether I should consider other places. If yes, where?

 

Thank you very much in advance!

post #2 of 38

Just about any large destination resort will have the amenities you are looking for as long as you are willing to pay for it. I'd say check the snow reports and weather forecasts and pick one.  You're still a week or two away, so it'll be a bit of a crap-shoot.  the longer you can wait to book, the more likely you'll go somewhere that has good conditions.

 

For myself, I've been taking my late season trip at Tremblant the last couple of seasons.  Since it's a drive-to trip I don't have to lock in the airfare weeks in advance, I can just wait until a day or two before going and see if it's worth it.  This year it seems to be.  Last year was fantastic.

 

I've been to Alta in early April, and it's been very good.  You do need to stay at the higher elevation SLC areas that time of year though. 

 

Tonny Crocker's site http://bestsnow.net/ is a comprehensive catalog of likely snow conditions throughout North America - if you are looking to place smart bets on where to go early or late season you'd do well to check it out.

post #3 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by lerops View Post
 

I am trying to schedule a last minute trip out West from the NY area.

 

I'd say I am advanced, my wife is a casual intermediate skier, and our little daughter to my delight started this year and loves to be on the snow. She started going on the lifts thanks to Smuggs' instructors!

 

My only goal would be good conditions. My wife has been a good sport accommodating my ski bug, so I'd like to treat her a bit on this trip. We'd like a pool where we are staying for our daughter (she likes it both in liquid and solid form :yahoo:. Finally, would like a good ski school for her to continue improving.

 

I am thinking of week of April 7th or April 14th. The latter works slightly better workwise, but if conditions would differ too much, I might be able to swing the former.

 

I checked long range forecasts for April on accuweather (I know out of a few days is not reliable, but I can't help it). And Alta seems to be OK in that period. But I wanted to ask this forum whether I should consider other places. If yes, where?

 

Thank you very much in advance!

If you want to spoil the family, stay at Alta Lodge.  Kids 12 and under are free in April.  That's why my daughter started getting spoiled at age 7.  The bonus for parents is that there is a free kid's program 4:45-8:15 that includes dinner.  Means that parents can relax and enjoy the included 4-course gourmet dinner.  Everyone loves the indoor hot pools with a view of High Rustler.  One is cooler for the kids.

 

The Alta Ski School is very good.  One of the families who started doing an annual spring break trip perhaps five years at Alta lodge has two kids.  The kids only ski that one week.  The girl was Level 7 last year at age 10.  The older boy and my daughter are the same age.  He was doing almost as well as her, and she has had more ski days.  Helped that those kids plan competitive ice hockey.  Bottom line is that all three love the Alta instructors.

 

Smuggs seems like a great place to learn.  Had a chance to check it out for the first time in early March.  I liked it better than Stowe for a family with kids getting started.

 

I'll be at Alta Lodge with friends April 7-15.  Includes intermediate women who would be happy to have your wife join in.  You would have no trouble finding advanced skiers for adventures off-piste.  That's one of the advantages of staying at a lodge in Alta.

 

Note that the Supreme lift closes on April 13.  Alta Demo Day is April 12.  Since Easter is April 20, the week of April 14 is a spring break week will be busier than usual for the last week of daily Alta skiing.

 

Warning . . . once you go to Alta in April and stay at a lodge, the family will want to repeat the experience.  The other lodges all have their strongpoints as well.  Snowbird has lodging specials, but would not be as good for your wife and daughter.

post #4 of 38

Since you're already booking this late and will be paying the price for that, wait as long as possible and watch the weather.  If you can at least book within the 10 day forecast you'll have some reasonable idea of what to expect.

 

You also won't get punished cost-wise the way you would in the middle of winter.

post #5 of 38

I would take a look at Snowmass.  Ton's of alternative activities, great ski school, extremely kid friendly and they are having a great season.   18" in the last 48hrs.

post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 

Thanks all. Alta is heaven for me, but maybe I thought trying out a new places, especially one of the higher elevation CO mountains, might be fun. But long range forecasts don't look too good for Snowmass area or other palces in CO. Will keep checking both LCC and CO, before pulling the trigger.

 

Do younger kids have fun at Alta? Do they get bored after a few days? My daughter is only 4, and I am trying to bribe her with other activities like parks, play, pool, etc. and making all of it part of the ski experience. I can see older kids having fun given the description, though.

post #7 of 38

CO has had a really strong year so I wouldn't rule out Winter Park, Copper, Breck, Vail, BC, etc. until you price things out and compare.  All have what you're looking for.  But if you have the coin slopeside at Alta is hard to beat.

post #8 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by lerops View Post
 

Thanks all. Alta is heaven for me, but maybe I thought trying out a new places, especially one of the higher elevation CO mountains, might be fun. But long range forecasts don't look too good for Snowmass area or other palces in CO. Will keep checking both LCC and CO, before pulling the trigger.

 

Do younger kids have fun at Alta? Do they get bored after a few days? My daughter is only 4, and I am trying to bribe her with other activities like parks, play, pool, etc. and making all of it part of the ski experience. I can see older kids having fun given the description, though.

The kids ages 3-6 at Alta Lodge have a ball.  Assuming they are not super shy and have pre-school/kindergarten/day camp experience.  People who stay there do not stay in their rooms much before bedtime, which is relatively early because most people want to be up and ready for first chair if there is no need to wait for snow to soften up.  No TV in any room.  The kids watch a movie in their special room after dinner.  There is a big screen in the common room that is used for sports or a movie.  The atmosphere is more like an extended family reunion than a hotel.  80% of Alta Lodge guests are return guests.

 

My kid is very social.  She had no trouble making friends for fun in the lodge.  The bonus for me was that sometimes that meant skiing together too after ski school.  Plus we made friends with another family (2 kids about the same age) who were also interested in annual spring break trips.  Not only do the kids go to ski school and free ski ski together, we have ended up doing other trips together during the summer.

 

For a trip that's probably easier on the budget that staying at a lodge at Alta, check out this relevant thread about Winter Park for a family with a younger kid:

http://www.epicski.com/t/121292/is-winter-park-the-best-combination-of-skiing-value-convenience-for-a-family

post #9 of 38
If you want to treat the wife, then Aspen is the place. I love the Cottonwoods, but SLC is not exactly a treat for the spouse, particularly if you are staying up the Canyon.

If you're worried about freeze thaw cycle, Alta has a big problem that way as well. Utah is warmer than Colorado.

The ski school at Aspen, IMHO, is the best in the nation. Look at the number of current and former demo team members on staff.

Finally, the amount of terrain and variety of terrain in Aspen is way better than Alta/Snowbird. Snowmass has a ton of low intermediate, intermediate, expert, and high expert terrain. And that doesn't count the 3 other mountains.

Mike
post #10 of 38

If given the option between Aspen and SLC / Alta lodge, etc - my wife would emphatically choose Aspen.  It's more of a treat for sure - not even comparable.

post #11 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by JayT View Post
 

If given the option between Aspen and SLC / Alta lodge, etc - my wife would emphatically choose Aspen.  It's more of a treat for sure - not even comparable.

The treat for parents at Alta Lodge is being able to relax and enjoy adult time for several hours in the late afternoon/evening, including dinner.  While knowing my kid is having a great time as well.  Plus there is no stress about where to eat or going out to do something else besides skiing.  But I travel alone with my daughter (non-skiing husband) and have little interest in night life or shopping, just being well rested for another full day at Alta/Snowbird. :)

 

That said, I got the extra day on the 2014-15 MCP for Snowmass/Aspen.  My husband has a conference in Denver next March.  I plan to keep him company then stick around for some ski days afterwards.  The combination of Snowmass/Aspen/Aspen Highlands sounds like fun.

post #12 of 38
Thread Starter 

Thank you everybody for the suggestions and ideas. have been checking them. Winter Park looks good, but the ski school seems to far away. Probably a better place for us when our daughter is a little older.

 

Aspen/Snowmass seems like a good alternative, will track weather.

post #13 of 38

I'm not sure what you're talking about. I'm an instructor at Winter Park, and both the children's and adult's ski schools are right at the base, as are many of the condos.  It doesn't get any closer than that.

post #14 of 38
Thread Starter 

Thank you very much for chiming in. I read the thread linked above http://www.epicski.com/t/121292/is-winter-park-the-best-combination-of-skiing-value-convenience-for-a-family

 

Many people seems to have mentioned that it was a long schlep to get kids to the ski school. Maybe I missed something.

post #15 of 38

Maybe folks are distinguishing between Winter Park the town and Winter Park the resort.  If you get a condo at the resort, everything is close together, with the ski school right at the base of the Gemini Express quad lift (which you can see on the interactive trail map on the Winter Park website).  If you get a condo in the town, you will have to drive two miles to the resort.  I'm teaching tomorrow, and conditions are great. We'll take good care of you, your wife, and your daughter.

post #16 of 38
There's even less to entertain your spouse at Winter Park than in SLC.

Mike
post #17 of 38

The biggest complain about Aspen is usually cost.

 

This late in the season, you might be able to get a nice discount there. If so, I can't imagine a better time to visit Aspen. 

 

Not having been there late season, I don't know how it compares with other Colorado area. I've done Summit county quite many times in mid-April and snow was usually pretty nice. A whole lot nicer than the average northeast condition in prime season. 

post #18 of 38
Thread Starter 

Thanks all, watching the weather closely. Looking at conditions, and season and recent snowfall, Grand Targhee seems to be interesting. Any thoughts on that? They close on April 20, which works well with my vacation as well.

post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by lerops View Post
 

Thanks all, watching the weather closely. Looking at conditions, and season and recent snowfall, Grand Targhee seems to be interesting. Any thoughts on that? They close on April 20, which works well with my vacation as well.

Paging @HarkinBanks for advice about GT for family of three.

 

From a terrain standpoint, GT could be a good destination.  Not sure about how things are right at the moment though.  However, the lodging options are pretty limited.  Especially since you noted that a pool was of interest.  Where were you thinking of flying to?

post #20 of 38
GT would be fine, but how much time do you want to spend getting there ? Gt is in BFE and there isn't shit to do at night. Nobody can tell you where will have the best surface conditions that weekend. Everybody has the base now. It's mostly a function of weather at this point. I think Alta would be ok, but I also think most of the Colorado ski towns would offer a better experience. I think the travel time to either is about equal from NY.
post #21 of 38

Booking a flight to SLC or Denver definitely would give far more options than making a commitment to GT.  For that matter, if you don't mind driving 4-5 hours it's quite possible to drive from SLC to GT.  For me, that's not unreasonable but then I've been driving 4 hours to ski in northern VA for years.  With a kid most of the time.

 

FYI, if you end up in SLC there are several Bears who will also be around.  You might well be able to find people to ski with.  For your wife as well.

post #22 of 38
Not gonna get into Saber-rattling with Shredhead. If someone is looking for a place to go over one's Go Pro edits in the bar after skiing 10,000 vertical feet that day then go to CO. If one wants to be dead tired after skiing 35,000 vertical feet of one of the deepest snowpack in the west, then come to GT. One either wants to get to Targhee or not.

Yes, GT has no night life, but it has this...(pic of mid-mountain stake from today - 04/04/14).

post #23 of 38
Yes lerops, GTR is family friendly.

HB
post #24 of 38
Seriously HB, you really think that's true?
post #25 of 38

Grand Targhee was fine for my family.  It's quiet at night,  We stayed at the Teton Teepee, which I really enjoyed but it's a different experience than your typical Marriott. 

One thing about GT is that it mostly has the same exposure everywhere, and not a huge amount of vertical, so if conditions where you are standing are poor, they are probably poor almost everywhere.  We ended up driving to Jackson Hole more than we skied GT.

Jackson Hole, Steamboat and Aspen are all good choices if you want to go to a ski town.  Aspen is the best, for high angle skiing and for the town, but Steamboat is cheaper and easier to get to. 

Breckinridge and Summit County and Salt Lake City are easiest to get to.  Summit County has too much altitude for sleeping for me now, but the altitude makes the skiing better. 

I'd look for off season deals at Aspen. YMMV. 

 

BK 

post #26 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by HarkinBanks View Post

Yes, GT has no night life...
 

 

Does Buzz Aldrin's brother still have that restaurant there?

 

BK

post #27 of 38
BK,

It was Chuck Irwin. He passed away over Christmas this last year. I don't think they have served dinner for a couple of years. Dinner at the Inn Lost Horizon was quite the interesting evening for sure.

(Sorry for the hi-jack everyone.)

HB
post #28 of 38
If the OP was going in early December, GT would be a great choice. Late spring, after Jackson's closed, not so much.

The OP probably needs to use a tour op or resort association at this point to get a reasonable block air fare.
post #29 of 38
Thread Starter 
Just booked flights to denver. Really stoked. I am thinking Breck or Winter Park


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
post #30 of 38

Breck is still 100% open. Awesome conditions as of Thursday.I suspect WP is pretty good, too.

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