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Least crowded ski areas during Xmas [family with school age kids]

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

I did perform a search of this topic prior to posting and didn't see too much. There was a thread way back regarding crowds during xmas break and the concensus was the 1st week was way better than the 2nd week. A few places were listed and I believe included:

 

Aspen

Big sky

Bridger

Copper

Telluride?

 

Just looking to expand or subtract from this list as next ski season may be my first time actually traveling to ski during that time period. My daughters first year in a public school. Not too worried about terrain or nightlife. Just a place to get away with the fam. Thanks

 

Agreen

post #2 of 23
I think it'd still be helpful to have some info on what kind of skiing you guys do, what "crowded" means to you, and what kind of peripheral activities your family enjoys while on a ski vacation.

I forget, what day of the week is Christmas this year?

Clueless in Salt Lake City wink.gif
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 

My daughters will be 3 and 7 and they like icy moguls... JK. They (and we) like a good ski school and they are still on bunny slopes. My wife likes green/blue cruisers and 5 star resorts with spas :). I like deep powder, powder bumps, powdered sugar, and huge wide open bowls.

 

To me, crowded means long lift lines >10 min, waiting >10 min for your elevator in the hotel, and waiting >10 min to be seated for dinner. My wife and I are patient people but my 3 year old is NOT.

 

I think xmas falls on a Thursday this year so we would probably go from the Sunday before to the Saturday after.

 

Do you know a thing or two about Solitude at that time? I never saw Solitude mentioned on the other thread and wondered why?

 

thank you

post #4 of 23

I'd expect it not to be busy anywhere until the night of the 26th.

post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by epic View Post
 

I'd expect it not to be busy anywhere until the night of the 26th.

 

Even Whistler?

post #6 of 23
You would probably be ok at most resorts the week before Christmas. The day after Christmas is typically a travel day and then that weekend will be the crush.

Aspen is the least crowded resort I've been too and it sounds like your family would really like Snowmass.
post #7 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post

My daughters will be 3 and 7 and they like icy moguls... JK. They (and we) like a good ski school and they are still on bunny slopes. My wife likes green/blue cruisers and 5 star resorts with spas smile.gif. I like deep powder, powder bumps, powdered sugar, and huge wide open bowls.

To me, crowded means long lift lines >10 min, waiting >10 min for your elevator in the hotel, and waiting >10 min to be seated for dinner. My wife and I are patient people but my 3 year old is NOT.

I think xmas falls on a Thursday this year so we would probably go from the Sunday before to the Saturday after.

Do you know a thing or two about Solitude at that time? I never saw Solitude mentioned on the other thread and wondered why?

thank you

There is a TR on here about Solitude at Xmas and the word was crowds were a complete non factor. With Brighton next door and probably the best shot at good snow of pretty much anywhere, it should be high on your list. One thing you won't have is unlimited dining options as its a smaller albeit very nice village. SLC is just 15 minutes away where there's all the restaurants you could ask for.
post #8 of 23

Sun Valley would work for you except for the powder part (but you might get lucky) and possilby the fact that the Sun Valley Lodge will be closed for expansion and remodelling. They are adding a spa, spo maybe the next year.

post #9 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post
 

I did perform a search of this topic prior to posting and didn't see too much. There was a thread way back regarding crowds during xmas break and the concensus was the 1st week was way better than the 2nd week. A few places were listed and I believe included:

 

Aspen

Big sky

Bridger

Copper

Telluride?

 

Just looking to expand or subtract from this list as next ski season may be my first time actually traveling to ski during that time period. My daughters first year in a public school. Not too worried about terrain or nightlife. Just a place to get away with the fam. Thanks

 

Agreen


I don't know when you could ever find a crowd at Telluride!

post #10 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Miles View Post
 

Sun Valley would work for you except for the powder part (but you might get lucky) and possilby the fact that the Sun Valley Lodge will be closed for expansion and remodelling. They are adding a spa, spo maybe the next year.

 

I would skip Sun Valley. The bunny/learning slopes are a few miles away from Baldy (main area at Sun Valley) on Dollar Mtn. You need a car/bus to get between the 2 areas. I would want to be able to ski to where my kids are skiing and spending their day. It is easier for drop offs and pick ups and any problems that would require you to visit the ski school. Also, there is very little low intermediate on Baldy for the OP's wife.

As mentioned, Snowmass is a good choice.

post #11 of 23
Normally I'd be chiming in on the uncrowded thing, but five star resorts with spas? Really not our specialty. Maybe The Lodge at Whitefish Lake. They have a shuttle bus. Kandahar Lodge has pretensions in that direction. But neither of those are close to town, so wandering around shops requires the Snow Bus or a car. Well. I guess you could walk to town from the first one if you're full of energy, but it could be icy even though there's a great, shoveled, walkway the entire way.

As for timing, the crowds are on the slopes 12/27. I'd expect some clearing by 1/1, and totally clear the following week.

We've only got one "wide open" bowl. The rest have trees. The current NOAA projections are suggesting we won't open with a bang like last season.
post #12 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post

Even Whistler?

Whistler is the most crowded resort I've been to so far.
It has fantastic expert skiing, but do to the crappy weather, I think it's a poor choice for beginners.
post #13 of 23
Oh, yeah. Whitefish has fog. So much for that open bowl skiing..
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies. Shredhead, would you rec flying into Aspen or Grand junction with the little ones and my wife has a fear of flying. Ive heard the Aspen airport can be a little sketchy sometimes but dont know if Grand junction is any better?

post #15 of 23

The British Columbia Interior is over built for lifts relative to its population, so as long as you avoid the dozen or so resorts that are frequented by skiers from Calgary, then there is lots of uncrowded skiing in the B.C. Interior at Xmas. At most places you might get a 10 minute line up only at peak times of the day and only at the most popular chairs.

 

Ari, if you haven't already done it then you should read my review of Sun Peaks. The biggest negative for Sun Peaks is probably traveling there via 2 flights and a shuttle bus each way with young kids. The Delta Hotel is now called the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel and they have 1 & 2 bedroom condos called Grand Residences attached to the hotel which would be ideal. There are hot tubs and a heated outdoor pool with indoor entrance and exercise room but no dedicated Spa. I think there is a visiting masseuse in the resort.

 

Another option is Silver Star near the small city of Vernon, B.C. It is about an hour shuttle drive from the Kelowna airport to Silver Star. Last December one of the major airlines started direct flights from LAX to Kelowna so no second flight needed. I think it is was aimed at skiers so I assume it is still happening, but I don't remember which airline.  I don't know it there are any high end hotels or spa at Silver Star.

 

Kelowna airport to Sun Peaks is about a 3 hour drive (there might be a shuttle but it would be costly going that distance) or its a connector flight to Kamloops and then a shuttle to Sun Peaks.

 

I won't recommend Big White which is only 45 minutes from the Kelowna Airport because Big Whiteout is its nickname due to all the fog that they get. It is also slightly smaller than Sun Peaks but has twice the beds and the nearby city of Kelowna is twice the size of Sun Peaks' nearby city of Kamloops so it is potentially busier at Xmas.

post #16 of 23

A lot of people are saying crowds don't start until the day after Xmas, but I haven't found this to be true. In my experience they start the Saturday before Xmas. A lot of travel coincides with school breaks, so people travel that first weekend their kids are done. I was in Sun Valley before and including the weekend before Xmas last year, and there was a huge difference between before Saturday, and after. Xmas was on a Wednesday last year and everyone showed up the Saturday before. Locally, this has been the case for me as well--our local areas see a huge jump in visits starting the first day of Xmas break. Now, maybe it is even worse at ski resorts starting the 26th. But I think you need to go the week before Xmas break starts--not just the week before Xmas--to really avoid crowds. 

post #17 of 23
Here's the Solitude trip report i mentioned.
http://www.epicski.com/t/96140/solitude-at-christmas-yes-updated-with-tr
Edited by JoeSchmoe - 5/12/14 at 3:36pm
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post
 

Thanks for the replies. Shredhead, would you rec flying into Aspen or Grand junction with the little ones and my wife has a fear of flying. Ive heard the Aspen airport can be a little sketchy sometimes but dont know if Grand junction is any better?

 

 

The direct from LAX is a very nice flight and makes the whole trip really easy to do without a car.

post #19 of 23

With Christmas falling on a Thursday, my guess is that a lot of schools will be off all of that week, meaning Dec. 22-26.  That could mean more people than usual already at the ski resorts by the weekend of Dec. 20-21.  The other way to think about it is that some families would rather stay home to celebrate Christmas and not travel until Dec. 26 or 27.

post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for the replies. Dano Sun Peaks is definitely on my list for a Christmas getaway... when the kids get a little older. I did read your trip report when I returned from the Mammoth trip after getting a good first hand account from you. Be there in a couple to three more years for sure but for next season I hope to ski with you again in Jackson for the gathering.

 

I think at this point its definitely between Snowmass and Solitude and I probably cant go wrong with either and will probably alternate through the coming years. Its gonna be a long summer but planning trips is one of my favorite summer hobbies :)

post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeSchmoe View Post

Here's the Solitude trip report i mentioned.
http://www.epicski.com/t/96140/solitude-at-christmas-yes-updated-with-tr

Good reference!  I added a Tag to this 2010 thread about Solitude.

 

To look at the other tagged threads, click on Solitude under Topics Discussed (right hand column), scroll all the way to the bottom of the Solitude Resort Page, then look for "more" (bottom right corner).  That's the best way to find related threads.  For instance, there is this one from 2010 that includes pics and video clips in the last few posts for those who have never been there:

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/91357/utah-2-15-2-22-anyone-gonna-be-there

post #22 of 23

One other thought to throw into the mix:  Big Sky with a side trip into Yellowstone in winter.  Given the amount of travel time from West Yellowstone into Old Faithful (where the Snow Lodge is) you need to have enough time, but it is truly a spectacular, magical experience as well as one that will set you back mucho dinero.  Night life?  There is none except for your fellow travelers on the stars and moonlight tour.  

 

Mike

post #23 of 23

Snowbasin might suit.

 

Good bunny slopes and a great lodge.

 

I don't know how crowded it will be but it is a bit off the beaten track.

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