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Where to go in US / Canada [from UK, mixed ability]

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

My family are wanting to go skiing in the US / Canada for the first time next year and I want to know where people think would be a great resort to go to. We're looking at going for 1-2 weeks. A couple are advanced and two are beginners / intermediate skiers so we need a resort that has everything. Where would you people recommend? 

post #2 of 17
We need more info to make a recommendation.
post #3 of 17

Shredhead's favorite ski area Aspen/Snowmass is pretty hard to beat if you have the budget for it.  Four ski areas within 10 miles, terrain for all levels, enough for two weeks without relocating, interconnected by free bus service, great apres ski action.  Others like Whistler, Breckenridge, Big Sky, Heavenly, Park City will provide full resort experience as well.  When are you thinking of going?  Do you want to do a safari or stay in one place?  Strong budget, weak budget?

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

We need more info to make a recommendation.

I appreciate that, but at the moment, we're just open to any suggestions. 

 

 

 

Unfortunately, Aspen is out of our budget, but we do have a fairly strong budget. Looking at March time most likely and we could be open to doing a ski safari, but the idea at the moment is to stay in one place. 

post #5 of 17

The Canadian dollar is not as strong as the US $ so your money would go further in Canada. For what you describe I would suggest there are two options worth checking - as previously mentioned Whistler but also Banff. Earlier in the season Banff snow can be iffy plus it can be very cold but March should be prime time for both snow and temperature. Banff means taking a shuttle to Lake Louise or Sunshine but the scenery is spectacular and it's not a long drive. Whistler is also great but different.-Banff gives you the full on 'Canada postcard' experience and Whistler gives you the full on 'Vegas with snow' experience.

post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Castle Dave View Post
 

The Canadian dollar is not as strong as the US $ so your money would go further in Canada. For what you describe I would suggest there are two options worth checking - as previously mentioned Whistler but also Banff. Earlier in the season Banff snow can be iffy plus it can be very cold but March should be prime time for both snow and temperature. Banff means taking a shuttle to Lake Louise or Sunshine but the scenery is spectacular and it's not a long drive. Whistler is also great but different.-Banff gives you the full on 'Canada postcard' experience and Whistler gives you the full on 'Vegas with snow' experience.


Full postcard at Banff sounds good!  Always wanted to go there myself.

post #7 of 17

I can only comment on Canada. So much depends what you want from your trip. If you're looking for a completely different experience to European skiing then I would endorse the idea of Banff. The rockies are just stunning and the whole ski experience is different plus wonderful terrain. Some people don't like the idea of travelling to the slopes each day though. Having stayed in Banff and Lake Louise, I don't find it a problem at all but you would have to think about it. Whistler's skiing is brilliant but it tends to be busy and being full of Brits has much less of a Canadian feel to it.

 

Have a look at Sun Peaks. Lovely skiing and a really nice purpose built resort with a village atmosphere. 

 

Having done trips to Canada a number of times, if I can help at all with advice on travel etc. just PM me.

post #8 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Castle Dave View Post
 

The Canadian dollar is not as strong as the US $ so your money would go further in Canada. For what you describe I would suggest there are two options worth checking - as previously mentioned Whistler but also Banff. Earlier in the season Banff snow can be iffy plus it can be very cold but March should be prime time for both snow and temperature. Banff means taking a shuttle to Lake Louise or Sunshine but the scenery is spectacular and it's not a long drive. Whistler is also great but different.-Banff gives you the full on 'Canada postcard' experience and Whistler gives you the full on 'Vegas with snow' experience.

 

Whistler= "Vegas with snow" made me LOL. And Banff really is the Canadian scenic postcard with winter being the off season and March/April the best time to go there or Whistler.

 

I also like to call Whistler a "Shopping Mall that you can ski at". It does have fabulous shopping and terrain and is the best party mountain in North America.

 

For more info on Sun Peaks, check out my "Long time locals review" below.

 

Depending on when in March you go the OP might have large Spring Break crowds from Calgary at Banff or from Vancouver at Whistler. Sun Peaks will be busy during Spring Break but at 4200 acres (2nd largest in Canada) with this summer's expansion, is never crowded.

post #9 of 17

No brainer I thought.  Fly to Denver Stay in Snowmass.

 

Ski Aspen Snowmass Buttermilk Highlands.

 

But on having second thoughts that means the good skiers have to slep over to Aspen or Highlands for the more challenging stuff. 15 miles 45 mins in the free shuttle.

 

However Beginners and weak intermediates will love Buttermilk and Snowmass.

 

So still fly to Denver but maybe Steamboat. Town has better ambiance and easier to meet up for lunch.

 

If you are coming for two weeks first week in Snowmass second in Steamboat might be a plan.

 

Note there is a flight that connects to an airport in the mountains. Check for transfer times from Denver.

post #10 of 17

 for the Canadian resorts also think about access.

Getting non stop London- Vancouver or London-Calgary is easy. Other areas will require at least another connecting flight from Vancouver or Calgary plus the shuttle from your eventual last stop or a long bus ride from same. It will take more hours than going to either Whistler of Banff.

But packages at some of the smaller areas can be a bit cheaper. 

 

If you are planning on staying at just at one area either Banff or Whistler will  give you enough variety for a 2 week stay. All levels are catered to. 

The other areas out here are great for skiing but often are more limited with what else there is to do beside skiing. Staying 2 weeks at one of them might wear a bit thin.

 

On spring breaks always more people but all of the areas are big enough that the crowd will be spread out pretty thin on the slopes .

 

Seriously think about the added expense of a car.

 

I'd recommend one for Banff. Its not absolutely required but its nice to get to the hills at your own pace rather than waiting for the shuttles. You will mainly be skiing at Lake Louise  45 min drive from Banff or Sunshine about 20 min. However the best reason to get a car is to take in the drives in the area. The icefield parkway drive between Lake Louise and Jasper on a clear day is worth a weeks rental fee. One of the top highways in the world for views

 

Whistler - a car can be a liability, be sure to check if you have to pay to park it. Once there you likely won't use it again. Lifts start in town.  The airport shuttle takes you up the Sea to Sky highway which in it's self is just as spectacular as the most of the other areas on the coast.

Or you can pay a bit more get a private shuttle which will give you more opportunity to stop at sight of your choice.

 

If a partying is not your thing -recommend staying out of the village core or over at Creekside which is always quiet at night. Transit connects everything so really does not matter where you stay    

post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Castle Dave View Post
 

The Canadian dollar is not as strong as the US $ so your money would go further in Canada.

The first part of this sentence is correct, but the second is not necessarily true.  Prices are not equal between the two countries and even though the CDN $ is valued at less than the US $ the prices in Canada are often much higher than those in the US even when the difference in currency value is taken into account.  Some research would be required to find out just how much the difference would be and it would depend on the place you chose to go.  I live just 20 minutes from the US-Canada border on the US side and we are inundated by Canadian shoppers using their CDN but still getting bargains due to lower US prices.

 

I'd still recommend Banff, though.

post #12 of 17

comment about cost is true.

From a Canadian perspective vacationing in the US often does seem cheaper. 

Lodging, liquor and gasoline have the biggest differences.

And judging from the number of Canadians that cross the border just to go shopping other stuff must be too.

 

Another reason for Banff in winter.

It is when its affordable,

It's not as pretty with the lakes frozen but the summer rates might scare you off.

Whistler works the other way it's cheaper in summer. 

 

Skiing is very good both places

post #13 of 17

If your priority is the total western North American ski experience, then the suggestions for staying at places like Aspen are probably your best bet. The same can be said for Vail and probably a half-dozen more destination resorts. If on other hand skiing is your priority, you may want to consider the Salt Lake City area.

 

Flights into SLC are less expensive than flying to places like Bozeman (Big Sky) and Jackson, and SLC is serviced by quite a number  airlines. While it can be very expensive to stay at the slopeside lodges, if you are willing and able to drive, you can stay in or near Salt Lake very reasonably at any number of chain hotels and would have the option of skiing 7 world-class resorts. On the western side of the Wasatch range, closest to Salt Lake, you can ski Alta, Snowbird, Solitude and Brighton. A 30 minute drive to the east will bring you to Park City where you can ski PCMR, Canyons and Deer Valley. You could of course stay in Park City and do the reverse, but in general, lodging in Park City is more expensive than in Salt Lake. It may be worth considering that option however, since Park City is a fairly charming former mining town (which would give you more of the resort experience) and all of the skiing options from town can be reached by shuttle (the Town Lift at PCMR actually comes down to Main Street).

post #14 of 17

Anyone considering staying in Park City should read [skim at least] the thread in Ski News.

 

There is a possibility of lift disruption if Cummings goes scorched earth.

post #15 of 17

I have skied Salt Lake City the last two years and have enjoyed the variety of resorts. I hire a car and stay in Studio 6.

 

Flying from the UK will be 8 hrs + into Denver and then a connection to SLC, those extra hours to SLC might feel never ending

 

So my recommendation remains fly to Denver and choose any of the local big name resorts EXCEPT Breckenridge. Too high!

post #16 of 17

Can't go wrong with Banff.  One week will fly by when you're there.  2 weeks will do your trip some justice. Plenty to do and see for any budget. If you plan on staying in Banff, you really don't need a car, HOWEVER, the Icefield Parkway is arguably the most scenic drive in North America, so a car will let you take day trips or hit a couple other resorts too.  And make sure you visit the outdoor hot springs in Banff!

 

If you do stay in Banff, you can do a couple days at Sunshine, at least a few days in Lake Louise (it's better than Sunshine), but you can also do a day (or overnight) trip to Kicking Horse for the Advanced couple, or Panorama for everyone.  Or maybe even hit Marmot Basin in Jasper if you drive up there when doing the Icefield Parkway.  Spend 2 days there and you're set.

 

Depending when you go, it can be cold or sketchy snow, but unless you're chasing powder then the experience more than outweighs any downsides.

post #17 of 17

i wouldn't dismiss Aspen, you could stay at Snowmass or Buttermilk, there is some reasonable accommodation, we stayed at the Molly Gibson in Aspen the rate included breakfast at they have an afternoon Apres session, don't think Austria and table dancing the have buffet free wine and beer, we went through Ski Independence and got a deal on the ski pass as well as accommodation, the are is great and would suit your mixed group, its easy to move between areas using the free bus and eating on the mountain can be reasonable compared to France! The transfer from Denver is 4 hours which is a bit long, but i would do it again.

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