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Tips for Planning Family Ski Trips from flatlands (Midwest, SE, Mid-Atlantic, NJ/NYC/CT/RI, Ontario)

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
It’s a challenge for a skiing family living in the flatlands to go on a ski vacation, especially when working around school schedules.  There are all sorts of considerations: financial, travel logistics, lodging, ski school capability, appropriate terrain for mixed abilities . . . the list goes on.  
 
Every family’s situation is unique.  Most family trips involve mixed ability on the slopes.  For instance, a family trip may include kids too young for ski school, tweens, teens, grandparents, a parent who isn’t into skiing, or a child’s friend.  One parent and/or older child might be advanced, while others are intermediates or even beginners.  Activities besides skiing are more likely to be important.  The idea behind this thread is to share some examples and provide tips to help parents who are thinking about what to do in order to get everyone on the slopes for a ski week, whether locally or across the country.
 
Looking forward to hearing from parents, whether you have tips to share or questions.  Some questions to consider:
 
* Is a drive over 5 hours worth it?  Or is buying plane tickets the way to go?  
* If flying, take everyone’s skis or rent?  
* Take along a child too young for ski school, or wait a few years?
 
Check out the EpicSki Article by @Jamesj as a starting point for a family road trip (click on "How" below).
post #2 of 52
Thread Starter 

Here is an example of calculations for the cost for a family of four who live in MN.  Note that it's quite a different situation if @MNSkiing10 were thinking about a solo ski trip out west. (Quoted with permission from a MN thread.)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MNSkiing10 View Post
 

I priced this out last season, for me traveling west is cheaper since I travel often, have frequent flier miles, and ski at Afton.  Below are the numbers, based on a 7 day trip, departing from Minneapolis, gas at $3.20 and 20 MPG.  IMHO, if you pay more than $300 for roundtrip airfare to Denver, you're doing it wrong.  I don't take food and drink into account since you've gotta eat either way.  I also based this on travelling with Southwest or a carrier with free bags, I've never paid to fly with my skis. 

 

Also, I'm basing this on Epic Local pass pricing, because really, who wants to ski out west during the holidays! 

 

For family of 4:

 

Lutsen

 

2x lift tickets @ $318 (adult rate)

2x lift tickets @ $213 (child rate)

Lodging @ $125 per night

Fuel/travel @ 78.4

 

Total: $2015.40 

 

Breckenridge:

 

2x epic local pass @ $589 (adult rate)

2x epic local pass @ $299 (child rate)

4x airfare @ $300

car rental/gas @ $450 per week

Lodging @ $200 per night

 

Total lift tickets: $1776

Total Airfare: $1200

Total car rental/gas:$450

Total lodging: $1400

 

Total: $4826

 

If you travel alone as I do, the dynamics change completely. If you take into account that the Epic pass works at Afton, the lift ticket cost is a wash.

 

For single:

 

Lutsen:

 

Lift ticket @ $318

Car/Travel @ $78.4

Lodging (7 nights, cheap hotel) @ $90 per night 

 

Total: $1026.4

 

Breckenridge:

 

Epic local pass @ $589

Airfare @ $300 

Shuttle @ $120

Hostel (7 nights) @ $35 per night

 

Total: $1254

 

For Me: 

 

Lutsen:

 

Lift ticket @ $318

Car/Travel @ $78.4

Lodging (7 nights, cheap hotel) @ $90 per night 

 

Total: $1026.4

 

Breckenridge: 

 

Lift ticket: $189 (based on the difference between the epic local pass and Afton season pass costs)

Airfare: $12 in fees (since I use frequent flier miles)

Shuttle: $120

Hostel: $245 for week 

 

Total: $566

 
post #3 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 
 
Every family’s situation is unique.  Most family trips involve mixed ability on the slopes.  For instance, a family trip may include kids too young for ski school, tweens, teens, grandparents, a parent who isn’t into skiing, or a child’s friend.  One parent and/or older child might be advanced, while others are intermediates or even beginners.  
 

 

This was a big reason we haven't taken our kids out west.  For the amount it costs I would personally want to ski all terrain possible, as much of the day as possible, etc.  My kids just can't do that quite yet.   If we went out west this year we'd likely ski runs that are similar to what we ski in the Midwest, but longer.     That sounds awesome to everyone in our family, but not for the amount we would have to pay to do it.

 

We're waiting until our kids skills develop a little more before making a big trip out west.   This year we're having the kids take lessons again (they didn't last year after many years of doing so) to get their skills pushed forward.

post #4 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by focker View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 
 
Every family’s situation is unique.  Most family trips involve mixed ability on the slopes.  For instance, a family trip may include kids too young for ski school, tweens, teens, grandparents, a parent who isn’t into skiing, or a child’s friend.  One parent and/or older child might be advanced, while others are intermediates or even beginners.  
 

 

This was a big reason we haven't taken our kids out west.  For the amount it costs I would personally want to ski all terrain possible, as much of the day as possible, etc.  My kids just can't do that quite yet.   If we went out west this year we'd likely ski runs that are similar to what we ski in the Midwest, but longer.     That sounds awesome to everyone in our family, but not for the amount we would have to pay to do it.

 

We're waiting until our kids skills develop a little more before making a big trip out west.   This year we're having the kids take lessons again (they didn't last year after many years of doing so) to get their skills pushed forward.


There's another reason to wait until kids are older besides their skiing ability.  Once they have skied on a big mountain, they will want to go back . . . every year.  When they haven't experienced a big mountain high-speed lift or gondola, they don't know what their missing. ;)

 

I waited until my daughter (only child) was able to ski any black run in our home region in the southeast, including at Snowshoe, WV.  I didn't even take her anywhere besides our home mountain until she could ski everything there (small but two solid Mid-Atlantic black runs).  By the time we did a spring break to Alta to meet up with friends at a school alumni gathering, she was more than ready for blues there.  She was about 8, Level 5/6 at ski school.  I brought home a budding powder hound because we caught a late season snowstorm.  In our case, going again every year during spring break was possible.  Had that not been the case, I think I would've waited another year or two.

post #5 of 52
Thread Starter 

Here is an example of a thread by a parent asking for advice for a late season family trip.  

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/125330/april-13-20-2014-family-trip-breckenridge-planning

 

The original thread title was "April 13-20 Family Trip" since the key question was where to go in Colorado because plane fares to Denver were low.  The family had skied in Utah, but were interested in trying a new place.  After the decision on destination was made "2014 and [Breckenridge planning]" were added to the title by a Moderator.  It helps to have more information in the thread title because many EpicSki readers scan thread titles when looking around to find threads of interest to them.

 

Below are few tips about creating a thread for advice.

 

These tips apply to any thread in EpicSki.  However, for questions about family trips, there are advantages to posting in less busy forums such as Family Skiing or Resorts, Conditions and Travel instead of General Skiing.

 

*  Longer thread titles can help knowledgeable folks notice the thread.  For family trip planning, the timeframe for the trip, destination region, home region, age of children (<8, tween, teen) are useful to include.

 

*  Be prepared to answer questions from people interested in giving advice.  May take a day or two to get replies.

 

*  Check back in a week or two and "bump" by posting a follow up question.

 

*  Even if have several types of questions, better to ask in the same thread instead of starting separate threads at the same time.  If there is a gap between your questions, the thread gets "bumped" to the top and anyone who replied is notified because the thread is in their Subscription list.

 

*  Posting a brief "trip report" or update during or shortly after the trip is appreciated by those who provided advice.

post #6 of 52
My daughter learned to ski in the mid-Atlantic on ice at a resort known for its crowds. Her first black diamond EVER was at Copper, she was either 7 or 8. No ice, no one on it. Her reaction at the bottom? "That was EASY!!" With a big grin. Don't undersell your kids. If their technique is solid, they may surprise you. They have less fear, more flexibility, quicker reactions, etc. If they are skiing fluidly and not snow plowing, a groomed black may not be an issue.
post #7 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

My daughter learned to ski in the mid-Atlantic on ice at a resort known for its crowds. Her first black diamond EVER was at Copper, she was either 7 or 8. No ice, no one on it. Her reaction at the bottom? "That was EASY!!" With a big grin. Don't undersell your kids. If their technique is solid, they may surprise you. They have less fear, more flexibility, quicker reactions, etc. If they are skiing fluidly and not snow plowing, a groomed black may not be an issue.


Good point.

 

Can get tricky when none of the adults in the family or travel group are up for blacks out west and the kids are too young to ski on their own.  Paying for ski school every day is costly.  If budget is not an issue and at least one parent can ski black groomers out west, I agree there is no reason to wait until the kids are older.

 

With my daughter, what I found was that up to about age 9, if she didn't have a ski buddy her own age then she was more than ready to get off the slopes shortly after lunch.  When we were at Alta and she didn't have other kids to ski with, sometimes I (and other adult friends) would ski with her in the morning and then have her do ski school in the afternoon.  I managed to keep learning enough to stay just a bit better as she improved by leaps and bounds, as kids do who ski enough and have lessons.

 

Some of the families at Alta Lodge would bring along a friend for their child for spring break, or invite another family to join them.  The issue with that scenario is that if the other child is only a beginner, it was still hard for the ski family's child to get in a full ski day.  There's a reason that a lift ticket for a child is less expensive.

 

For a driving trips in the southeast/Mid-A, we often brought along a friend and her mother (usually not a skier).  But then there was the option of skiing in the morning, doing something else in the afternoon, and getting back on the slopes for a few hours under the lights during the night session.  In general, getting a 2-day or 3-day lift ticket for a weekend trip meant that night skiing was included for no extra cost.

post #8 of 52
Thread Starter 

Here's an example of a father who brought along a friend to keep his son company. He planned carefully, including asking for a recommendation for an instructor for private lessons.  If you read the entire thread, it's clear that the investment was well worth the effort.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/118659/alta-looking-for-instructor-recommendations - A Beginner Zone thread

 

Quote: Post #1
Originally Posted by flagguy View Post

My family will be in Alta for 4 days starting March 21. I have two boys that I want to get a private lesson for on Friday the 21st. The lesson would be a full day lesson to get them started off right on the trip. One boy is level 3 and the other is a never-skied level 1. Both are 11 years old and decent athletes.

Can you folks suggest a good instructor?

Finally, would it make sense for me also to join the lesson with the boys? I am a level 4-5 skier (age 46 year old dad).

Thanks for the help.

Quote: Post #4

Originally Posted by flagguy View Post

I was considering the private lesson because my son did not enjoy the Breckenridge ski school when he was younger (he's the level 1). I'm hoping to get him off to a fresh start. His friend who is coming with us has skied for a few times but I thought they would both benefit from an instructor and I didn't want one boy being by himself.

I am willing to ski by myself that day if it makes sense for the boys to do their own thing with an instructor.
 
post #9 of 52

Hi,

new around here. Started skiing in Michigan just a few years ago. Level 7 / intermediate 41 year old skier. Last winter went to a conference at Snowmass and took 7 and 8 year old sons, both level 4ish skiers. My first time out west skiing and theirs. We had an awesome time. Conference early AM and couple hours in evening. Dropped them off at ski school all day, I went to conference then group lessons, out to dinner in evening then hot tub. They made friends while there. Seemed like a lot of kids in ski school all week. Skied together last couple days. Seriously our best vacation ever. Though I am not good enough to be looking wishfully at cliffs etc while skiing with the kids. I was tired by 3pm every day and ready to be done.

 

Decided to make another trip later in the winter and went to Copper on kids ski free deal. Also awesome. We did lessons at Woodward on trampolines and park. Agree with poster not to start doing this if you can't afford to do it every year. From Michigan much cheaper to fly to Denver than SLC or other places.

 

This year going to Beaver Creek in February and Vail in March. Again on conferences so room / my airfare covered. Bought us Epic local passes. May take wife and younger son on one trip (wife is uncoordinated level 1-2). 

 

So my advice:

- find cheap flights (Denver on Southwest with free ski bags for me)

- ski school

- hot tub

- do it on someone else's dime if possible

- I need to work on fitness to ski all day, runs around here are 300 vertical feet and I got tired out there

 

Scott

post #10 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottrmartin View Post
 

Hi,

new around here. Started skiing in Michigan just a few years ago. Level 7 / intermediate 41 year old skier. Last winter went to a conference at Snowmass and took 7 and 8 year old sons, both level 4ish skiers. My first time out west skiing and theirs. We had an awesome time. Conference early AM and couple hours in evening. Dropped them off at ski school all day, I went to conference then group lessons, out to dinner in evening then hot tub. They made friends while there. Seemed like a lot of kids in ski school all week. Skied together last couple days. Seriously our best vacation ever. Though I am not good enough to be looking wishfully at cliffs etc while skiing with the kids. I was tired by 3pm every day and ready to be done.

 

Decided to make another trip later in the winter and went to Copper on kids ski free deal. Also awesome. We did lessons at Woodward on trampolines and park. Agree with poster not to start doing this if you can't afford to do it every year. From Michigan much cheaper to fly to Denver than SLC or other places.

 

This year going to Beaver Creek in February and Vail in March. Again on conferences so room / my airfare covered. Bought us Epic local passes. May take wife and younger son on one trip (wife is uncoordinated level 1-2). 

 

So my advice:

- find cheap flights (Denver on Southwest with free ski bags for me)

- ski school

- hot tub

- do it on someone else's dime if possible

- I need to work on fitness to ski all day, runs around here are 300 vertical feet and I got tired out there

 

Scott


Welcome to EpicSki!  Sounds like you have the making of a family of ski nuts.  I bet with some lessons, your wife would enjoy skiing with the boys.  You have a few years before they think skiing with parents is uncool. ;)

 

Reminds of how another husband/father carefully laid the foundation for family ski trips.  In this case, he started before having kids so mom got a head start.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/117239/need-a-recipe-for-success-for-a-never-ever-wife-at-deer-valley-a-beginner-zone-thread

post #11 of 52
Thread Starter 

A little off topic, but the comment about improving fitness in order to be able to ski full days while on a 1-week ski vacation prompted a thought.  Applies to families who have several people likely to work on fitness together, even during the off season, and have the room and budget for equipment.

 

The Skiers Edge is good for working leg muscles directly related to skiing/boarding as well as improving cardio.  The smallest version is good for kids and lighter adults.  The LT Carver is designed for people up to 150 pounds.  The most complex systems are used by world class ski teams.  I lucked out and got an older model for a steal on craigslist that is comparable in size and function to the LT Carver.  Since I'm a petite woman, 5'0", 120 lbs, it works well for me.

 

 

Just for comparison, here are the specs for the LT Carver and the Classic designed for home use by adults.

 

LT Carver
Length: 55 Inches
Width: 14.5 inches
Frame Height: 10 inches
Rail Incline: 17 degrees
Powerbands: 2
Resistance Settings: 9 Settings

T5 Classic
Length: 63 Inches
Width: 14.5 inches
Frame Height: 9.3 inches
Rail Incline: 10.5 degrees
Powerbands: 2
Resistance Settings:11 Settings with the option to upgrade to 18 settings

post #12 of 52

The Lutsen vs. Breckenridge comparison for MN skiers is interesting, but if your airfare costs are $300 it's worthwhile to compare to a car trip as well. Sure it take a bit more time (not as much as you might think though) but is considerably less expensive.

 

MN to CO is around 900 miles give or take.

At 20 mpg that comes to 45 gallons of gas. At $3.20/gallon that's $144 on gas one way, or $288 round trip.

If you stick to the freeways and average 65 mph you can make that drive in just under 14 hours.

For comparison, you're spending 1-2 hours at MSP pre flight, a 2 hour flight to DIA, another hour to collect baggage, get your rental care, etc. and that's easily 6 hours and then you have to drive to the resort - another 1.5+ hours depending on weather, traffic, etc.

 

The way I see it is you can drive both ways for the cost of one airfare, you save the cost of a car rental besides. Granted it does cost you an extra 7 or so hours each way..

 

I'm taking my kids to Keystone for their first time over Thanksgiving this year. Yes, I know it will be a lot of WROD, the crowds will likely be bad, etc. But by comparison we ski on WROD all year a lot of times in MN, and it's often icy to boot. The worst snow in CO is pretty close to the best we see in MN. Plus we'll have 1,000+ vert. instead of 150...

 

For our trip I'm looking at a total of about $2,000 or less for 5 days. Seems reasonable to me, but everyone's circumstances are different.

 

2 bdrm condo at Red Hawk Lodge in River Run: $630 (one bedrooms even cheaper but I opted for more room, and two twins in second bedroom for the kids).

Lift Tickets: $500 or so. Plan to do one day at Breck and one day at ABasin. One full day and maybe some other evenings at Keystone depending on our stamina.

Gas: $300

Food: ?? We plan to do breakfast in condo each day. May do some lunches and/or dinners too depending on where we're skiing that day.

post #13 of 52

Had a timeshare sales guy in the Dell's spin a sale on "what is it you remember? Family trips or the presents you got at Christmas?"

 

While I wasn't sold on the timeshare, I couldn't disagree with what one remembers.

 

From simply a Midwest Iowa perspective, if one can spin it then do a once a year family trip to Co. I started skiing late when spouse informed me that we'd do a family trip once a year. Our eldest at the time was 3, so I had a year to learn some stuff. Our eldest started at 4 in Steamboat for a weeklong lesson, best money spent. Yeah, expensive but then again, there were other factors that mitigated the money cost: She skied for free with my 5 day ticket purchase (other places likely have discounts too eg: 5 and under free), there were reduced/free kids airline tickets,

 

Time passed, reduced special priced tickets went away, fees for luggage, delays on usually one of our legs, etc. now we drive. It's 942 miles, 14hrs for us now but with 5 it beats $2K in air and either rental or tx costs. plus, as noted, most times we had either the out or return trip with delays that started being avg of 12 hrs. Now, we simply plan one extra day for the out, to overnight in Nebraska or Wyoming, hang at the pool, drink some wine and let the kids do what they wish. We drive through Medicine Bow, stop at the WyCoLo lodge for hot chocolate and snacks prior to hanging our for a week in Steamboat.

 

I won't claim it's cheap, but if you can work it like any vacation, flying or driving, it's a numbers game and what one can afford or justify.

 

This doesn't work as well if we didn't spend the week but decided long ago to spend extra days to help justify the total costs. My three kids remember these yearly trips and look forward towards planning with my wife and I.

 

While we enjoy hanging out at a hotel on the out and skiing, we have considered swapping days to explore other destinations along the way. We're considering Denver for a day or two.to explore.

 

This doesn't work well for east cost and perhaps out to Chicagoland due to drive times.

 

For kids, I would consider unless great airfare, local lessons if available but can say there was something special about picking up a child after a day of lessons and having them show you what they learned on a few runs. Then hitting pools or hot tubs, games at a condo for added memories.

 

If not west from east coast, north if less costly. We've done a train too, that was quite the adventure and memory too.

 

 

pete

post #14 of 52

Nice work Eagle.  That sounds like an amazing trip.  What kind of discounts/programs are you using to buy you lift tickets?

 

We've looked into driving vs flying a ton as well in deciding when and where we'll go.    For us it comes down to how long of a vacation are we going on?  If our trip is a full week long we'll definitely drive since we'd have to much time available.  For us it's 1000 miles to Summit Co and 1000 miles to Bozeman.  In time we'll likely take a week long trip to each over spring break.

 

Here's the breakdown on this winters trip to Lutsen, MN

 

Condo        $770 (4 nights lakeside on Lake Superior, Huge 3 Bedroom townhouse right on lake)

Gas            $65 (480 miles round trip)

Ski passes $372 (2 full days)

Total          $1207

 

We'll stay 5 days 4 nights and ski the best two days we are there based on the conditions.  Our tickets cost $54 per adult and $39 per kid this year with the Welch Village discount

post #15 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle93 View Post
 

The Lutsen vs. Breckenridge comparison for MN skiers is interesting, but if your airfare costs are $300 it's worthwhile to compare to a car trip as well. Sure it take a bit more time (not as much as you might think though) but is considerably less expensive.

 

MN to CO is around 900 miles give or take.

At 20 mpg that comes to 45 gallons of gas. At $3.20/gallon that's $144 on gas one way, or $288 round trip.

If you stick to the freeways and average 65 mph you can make that drive in just under 14 hours.

For comparison, you're spending 1-2 hours at MSP pre flight, a 2 hour flight to DIA, another hour to collect baggage, get your rental care, etc. and that's easily 6 hours and then you have to drive to the resort - another 1.5+ hours depending on weather, traffic, etc.

 

The way I see it is you can drive both ways for the cost of one airfare, you save the cost of a car rental besides. Granted it does cost you an extra 7 or so hours each way..

 

I'm taking my kids to Keystone for their first time over Thanksgiving this year. Yes, I know it will be a lot of WROD, the crowds will likely be bad, etc. But by comparison we ski on WROD all year a lot of times in MN, and it's often icy to boot. The worst snow in CO is pretty close to the best we see in MN. Plus we'll have 1,000+ vert. instead of 150...

 

For our trip I'm looking at a total of about $2,000 or less for 5 days. Seems reasonable to me, but everyone's circumstances are different.

 

2 bdrm condo at Red Hawk Lodge in River Run: $630 (one bedrooms even cheaper but I opted for more room, and two twins in second bedroom for the kids).

Lift Tickets: $500 or so. Plan to do one day at Breck and one day at ABasin. One full day and maybe some other evenings at Keystone depending on our stamina.

Gas: $300

Food: ?? We plan to do breakfast in condo each day. May do some lunches and/or dinners too depending on where we're skiing that day.


Good plan.  The only question I have is why Thanksgiving?  Wouldn't you see a lot better conditions at Easter/Spring break time, or is that a lot more expensive for you?  Or do you have other ski plans for Easter:)

post #16 of 52
For lift tickets I'm basing prices off a 3-day Keystone ticket $210 for adults and $132 for 12&under. I recently saw a post about the School of Shred program for 5th/6th graders so I'm looking into that for. My daughter. Not sure if that's available for out-of-state though.
post #17 of 52
Why Thanksgiving? It just worked for us. I know conditions will be better pretty much any other time, who knows maybe we'll figure out a spring break trip too.
post #18 of 52
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle93 View Post

For lift tickets I'm basing prices off a 3-day Keystone ticket $210 for adults and $132 for 12&under. I recently saw a post about the School of Shred program for 5th/6th graders so I'm looking into that for. My daughter. Not sure if that's available for out-of-state though.


Keystone is currently selling a four-pack ticket for $179, not sure if that works for your situation:  http://www.snow.com/epic-pass/passes/keystone-four-pack.aspx

post #19 of 52

I looked at that, but it's restricted for half the time we're there.

 

I'm also aware of the Loveland 4-pack, fully transferrable for $129. May grab one of those if conditions there are good and Keystone/Breck not so good. That price is good through 11/23 I believe.

post #20 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle93 View Post

Why Thanksgiving? It just worked for us. I know conditions will be better pretty much any other time, who knows maybe we'll figure out a spring break trip too.


What type of terrain does your family enjoy?  Is there any place to ski locally in Iowa?

 

If you don't mind me asking, how old are the kids now?  Teens? Tweens?  Or still younger?  I do the 850 mile drive from NC to Lake Placid for other reasons, not really for skiing although I'll squeeze in a day or two if it happens to be ski season.  My daughter loves being up in the Adirondacks but is aways hoping a friend will go along so she has company during the drive.  We usually stop over night at least in one direction.  I'm usually driving solo.

 

We started drive 3-4 hours each way for weekend ski trips in the southeast when she was 4.  Added an annual spring break trip to Utah (flying, meeting friends) when she was 7 and quite ready for blues and powder out west.  Took advantage of deals for kids at Alta in April.

 

My BIL (brother-in-law) used to drive out to CO from Chicago during spring breaks when his son was a teenager.  He teamed up with another father and son.  His son could keep up with the friends, who were advanced/expert because they went more often.  His son was very athletic.  A few family ski trips flying out west as a tween, with lessons, gave him a pretty solid foundation.  Once the boys were in college, they ventured farther and checked out Utah a few times.  The last trip the sons drove out first and the fathers flew out later.  The sons were too young to rent a car.  I think one father flew back and the other rode in the car.  Looks like about 1400 miles, 20 hours driving. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pete View Post
 

Had a timeshare sales guy in the Dell's spin a sale on "what is it you remember? Family trips or the presents you got at Christmas?"

 

While I wasn't sold on the timeshare, I couldn't disagree with what one remembers.

 

From simply a Midwest Iowa perspective, if one can spin it then do a once a year family trip to Co. I started skiing late when spouse informed me that we'd do a family trip once a year. Our eldest at the time was 3, so I had a year to learn some stuff. Our eldest started at 4 in Steamboat for a weeklong lesson, best money spent. Yeah, expensive but then again, there were other factors that mitigated the money cost: She skied for free with my 5 day ticket purchase (other places likely have discounts too eg: 5 and under free), there were reduced/free kids airline tickets,

 

Time passed, reduced special priced tickets went away, fees for luggage, delays on usually one of our legs, etc. now we drive. It's 942 miles, 14hrs for us now but with 5 it beats $2K in air and either rental or tx costs. plus, as noted, most times we had either the out or return trip with delays that started being avg of 12 hrs. Now, we simply plan one extra day for the out, to overnight in Nebraska or Wyoming, hang at the pool, drink some wine and let the kids do what they wish. We drive through Medicine Bow, stop at the WyCoLo lodge for hot chocolate and snacks prior to hanging our for a week in Steamboat.

 

I won't claim it's cheap, but if you can work it like any vacation, flying or driving, it's a numbers game and what one can afford or justify.

 

This doesn't work as well if we didn't spend the week but decided long ago to spend extra days to help justify the total costs. My three kids remember these yearly trips and look forward towards planning with my wife and I.

 

While we enjoy hanging out at a hotel on the out and skiing, we have considered swapping days to explore other destinations along the way. We're considering Denver for a day or two.to explore.

 

This doesn't work well for east cost and perhaps out to Chicagoland due to drive times.

 

For kids, I would consider unless great airfare, local lessons if available but can say there was something special about picking up a child after a day of lessons and having them show you what they learned on a few runs. Then hitting pools or hot tubs, games at a condo for added memories.

 

If not west from east coast, north if less costly. We've done a train too, that was quite the adventure and memory too.

 

 

pete

post #21 of 52

Humm,

 

MARZNC, ... BIL?  that a PEO reference? My eldest had joined PEO when she just started college which implied me as a dad am a BIL.

 

Iowa wise, NE provides Chestnut Mountain and Sundown Mountain in Galena Il and Dubuque Ia respectively. I do wish to hit Lutsen and it looks great, has a great drop for Midwest but given it's ~8-9 hrs from home, always pushes me to justify the added 8-10 hr round trip to Co. However if I can attend a conf or seminar (AKA, per scottrmartin):

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottrmartin View Post
 

Hi,

 

 

So my advice:

-

- do it on someone else's dime if possible

- I need to work on fitness to ski all day, runs around here are 300 vertical feet and I got tired out there

 

Scott

 

I wish to drive the 4-5 hrs north to Lutsen to give it a try. then family and I can use Minneapolis as a overnight to hit activities there, aka, Mall or America, tax free clothing.

 

In terms of kids boredom, I can't help but point out that some of the best inventions (fyi, by engineers!) are portable DVD, Laptops, tablets, and cell phones. F 8 hr first day drive was not bad, planned to leave midday, meaning arrival to a hotel early enough for swimming before pool closing. As I suspect most trips go, first half is quiet, talking , quiet, then movies. second half mostly movies on laptop and then boredom and "when will we get there?" questions. 

 

First year not bad, second and more issues with boredom and third had new cell phones bought just prior to the trip, so texts between kids kept them busy as they made fun or their parents without speech. next year boredom then tablets and other games.

 

So, my comment is really planning ahead and trying to get activities set up and if possible, time permitting a stop or two to visit site seeing locations. Also, time of travel makes a big difference. Noted was leaving midday (noon) for a 9 hr drive, this allowed arrival (something to look forward to) at the hotel to swim. That too is daylight, darkness sets in around 7-8pm (Midwest) which fosters movies and quiet time or naps before the hotel.  Return trip we've been driving through for effectively same reason, that it gets dark 7-8 hrs along and then sleep pursues. This with the fortunate event that an eldest getting a drivers license and desire to drive part of the way on a straight 4 lane divided highway made for nice escape from driving.

 

Eagle93 note too, 5th grade ski pass still available, 6th is $99, we picked up one this year and not restricted to Co residents:

 

http://www.coloradoski.com/passport

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle93 View Post

For lift tickets I'm basing prices off a 3-day Keystone ticket $210 for adults and $132 for 12&under. I recently saw a post about the School of Shred program for 5th/6th graders so I'm looking into that for. My daughter. Not sure if that's available for out-of-state though.

 

I did our "train trip" using this pass with my middle child. Was great as I had a WP Rocky Mountain Plus pass and the 5th grade pass. We stayed at WP Zepher, would ski for 1-2 hrs, come in, rest, ski a bit more, hang out, work puzzle and watch and ABC Harry Potter Week movies. She still speaks of this today on how much fun it was just a father daughter trip (wife met us up in WP and proceeded to keel over due to oxygen at 10K+ feet in need of rest, funny story) for the first 2 days with no schedule other than on the fly.

 

This got me to the habit of not thinking "we have X days and have to ski Xhrs every day and then .... " to more, "tired, sleep in, hit pool, hot tub, ski when you want, etc" . I can say nice thing on Steamboat which likely is true elsewhere is that if we had a kids lesson planned and booked for 3, 4 or 5 days, they never had an issue with us skipping a day, calling that morning to say "my kids tired and needs a day". Another tip. Given the expense, I would simply presume that idea is a happy customer comes back, which has been true for us.

 

pete

post #22 of 52
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pete View Post
 

Humm,

 

MARZNC, ... BIL?  that a PEO reference? My eldest had joined PEO when she just started college which implied me as a dad am a BIL.

 

Iowa wise, NE provides Chestnut Mountain and Sundown Mountain in Galena Il and Dubuque Ia respectively. I do wish to hit Lutsen and it looks great, has a great drop for Midwest but given it's ~8-9 hrs from home, always pushes me to justify the added 8-10 hr round trip to Co. However if I can attend a conf or seminar (AKA, per scottrmartin):

 

I wish to drive the 4-5 hrs north to Lutsen to give it a try. then family and I can use Minneapolis as a overnight to hit activities there, aka, Mall or America, tax free clothing.

 

In terms of kids boredom, I can't help but point out that some of the best inventions (fyi, by engineers!) are portable DVD, Laptops, tablets, and cell phones. F 8 hr first day drive was not bad, planned to leave midday, meaning arrival to a hotel early enough for swimming before pool closing. As I suspect most trips go, first half is quiet, talking , quiet, then movies. second half mostly movies on laptop and then boredom and "when will we get there?" questions. 

 

First year not bad, second and more issues with boredom and third had new cell phones bought just prior to the trip, so texts between kids kept them busy as they made fun or their parents without speech. next year boredom then tablets and other games.

 

So, my comment is really planning ahead and trying to get activities set up and if possible, time permitting a stop or two to visit site seeing locations. Also, time of travel makes a big difference. Noted was leaving midday (noon) for a 9 hr drive, this allowed arrival (something to look forward to) at the hotel to swim. That too is daylight, darkness sets in around 7-8pm (Midwest) which fosters movies and quiet time or naps before the hotel.  Return trip we've been driving through for effectively same reason, that it gets dark 7-8 hrs along and then sleep pursues. This with the fortunate event that an eldest getting a drivers license and desire to drive part of the way on a straight 4 lane divided highway made for nice escape from driving.

 

[snip]

LOL, what is PEO?  BIL=brother-in-law.  He is a medical professional so has also done a few "conference" ski trips.

 

Yep, the primary requirement for our second minivan was to have a built-in DVD player.  By then she and I were driving for weekend ski trips at least 4 times Jan-Feb, often more.  If not starting in afternoon because she had school, my approach for long (>4 hour) drive is to leave really early in the morning, meaning 6:00-7:00am.  She can roll out of bed and then sleep for the first few hours in the car.

 

Finding a motel with a pool and free breakfast was a given when she was younger.  Without any siblings, a pool was no longer as important once she was an older tween.

post #23 of 52
Thread Starter 

An example of a planning thread for an American family with older girls going to Whistler-Blackcomb in 2015.  They are experienced skiers and travelers.  Decided to fly to Seattle and drive to Vancouver.  Note that they plan to do more than ski during the vacation, which is during a February holiday period.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/129942/holiday-family-to-whistler-any-lodging-leads-tips

post #24 of 52
Thread Starter 

A family from the midwest who are seriously considering an early April trip to Alyeska.  Two teens and parents, mostly advanced skiers with one who is more cautious but can handle black trails in Colorado.  There is input from a low advanced skier (not too much big mountain experience) who went to Alyeska in late April and had a good time during a heli day.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/130071/alyeska-experiences-to-help-plan-a-family-vacation-in-april-from-midwest-advanced-skiers#post_1789833

post #25 of 52
Thread Starter 

When a parent stays involved in a thread, then more likely to get new ideas about the pros and cons for various options.  The thread below was about a trip during the end of year holidays, typically an extremely busy time.  After weighing the options, the decision turned out to be finding alternative dates.  A key factor was being able to get together with friends about the same age as the child in the family.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/129351/stowe-sugarloaf-or-killington-over-new-years-with-11-y-o-from-ri

post #26 of 52
Thread Starter 

Here's a thread by father who was planning for him and his teen son to take a trip to Alta/Snowbird over MLK weekend.  They ski in the midwest.  In this case, having private lessons pre-scheduled was of interest.  Planning started early, which gave them more options for lodging during a holiday period.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/128179/snowbird-alta-strategy-midwest-father-son-january

post #27 of 52
Thread Starter 

A planning thread where the destination is in New England, in particular Sunday River or other options in Maine or New Hampshire.  Weather considerations are a bit different in the northeast compared to the Rockies, especially for a trip during the end of year school holidays.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/130828/we-are-headed-to-maine-where-should-we-go-sugarloaf-sundayriver-anywhere-else-family-trip

 

In general, Sunday River is a good destination to consider for a family ski trip when driving from Boston.

post #28 of 52
Thread Starter 

Experienced travelers and advanced skiers can also get useful suggestions when it comes to a family trip that has to be scheduled around school holidays.  This thread was asking for ideas for a trip out west during late season (early April) based on using the Mountain Collective Pass (MCP) for a father and tween daughter from NJ.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/131048/planning-april-trip-and-looking-at-closing-dates-in-2015

 

The MCP is a multi-destination pass that is good for 2 days at a number of popular destinations, including Alta/Snowbird, Squaw/Alpine, Mammoth, and Whistler.  The price for an adult in 2014-15 ranged from $369 to $409 depending on when it was bought.  The price for a child when a parent bought the MCP was $99.  After the two included days, additional days are 50% off.  The MCP can be a good deal for families who can get to two of the destinations or are planning a longer stay at one of the destinations.

post #29 of 52
Thread Starter 

Another example of a family trip from 2013-14 where most of the family are advanced skiers.  They were going to Colorado for the first time, but had plenty of experience at big mountains around Tahoe.  (Green arrow is a link to the original post/thread.)

 

POST #1 with family background and specific questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by skispark View Post
 

Hi all,

 

I have booked a family ski trip to Colorado in February, 5 nights / 6 days, so most likely we'll ski 4 days or 4.5 days. This would be our first time visiting non-Tahoe area for skiing. We have Epic Local pass, so the plan is to visit Vail and maybe also check out other resorts under Vail (Beaver Creek, Breckenridge, Keystone).

Originally I planned it to be 8 days / 7 nights, but we had to cut it short - my original plan was to visit all 4 first, then spend the remaining 3 days whichever ones we liked, but given the shortened schedule, we'll have to make trade-offs.

 

My family is advanced-intermediates to advanced.

I can ski most of single black diamond runs in Tahoe (Chute 75 / West Face / various runs off Headwall in Squaw, Wall / Eagle Bowl / Sentinel Bowl / Palisades in Kirkwood - but no jumping off cliff). My teenage kids can mostly keep up with me, though they are not as comfortable on the steepest blacks. My wife is the weakest skier in the family - I'd say she's a solid intermediate and not quite advanced yet. She's fine on groomed easier blacks (e.g. groomed runs off Cornice chair at Kirkwood), but finds moguls or steeper blacks challenging.

 

My questions are:

 

1) How many days should we spend in Vail vs others ? Since we're staying in Vail, I'm planning to ski there at least two days.

2) Among Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone, we can probably visit only one or two - which ones should we visit ?

3) Looking at Beaver Creek, reviewers recommend Stone Creek Chute and Royal Elk Glades, but they are marked double black. If I count those out as too much for my family, looks like there's relatively few single black diamond runs - is that a fair assessment ?

4) Reading the reviews, Peak 10 chair in Breck sounds like a good area for my family. I'm familiar with most of Tahoe area ski resorts - anybody know comparable runs in Tahoe for runs off Peak 10 chair in Breck ?

5) Any particular runs in Vail or other three that we should definitely check out ? My kids like trees, though they don't like it too steep (Mott in Heavenly, even the least steep part, was a bit too steep for them).

6) Any general advice/guide on visiting Colorado first time would be great (we spent past 10 years skiing in Tahoe area only).

 

Thanks!

 

TRIP REPORT in same thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by skispark View Post
 

Just got back from the trip - we had a blast. Here's a quick trip report.

 

The first day, we of course skied Vail.

We did a whirlwind tour of going through the mountain - we skied China Bowl, Blue Sky Basin, and Northwood area. The snow was soft everywhere.

We did a few different lines through Dragon's Teeth in China Bowl. Fun stuff, but the fun part was rather short, as the bowl mellows very quickly.

Lover's Leap was good - good steep section at the top with good soft snow. I entered right next to the sign (above the big boulder), and my kids went further down the ridge to pick more gentle entrance. Prima was a solid mogul run. It was good but it's not very steep - I don't quite understand why they mark it as double black diamonds. I think the run is pretty much comparable to Little Dipper in Heavenly. We wanted to hit Pronto as well, but I missed that split.

One mistake I made on the first day was going through Sleepytime Road. I didn't realize it was that long - if I knew, I'd have avoided it and either took Sourdough or Sun Up lift. Unless you enjoy long narrow blue cat track, you should avoid Sleepytime Road (especially the portion after Sun Up Lift). It was mindlessly boring for us (compared to that, Skyline Trail in Heavenly has nice scenery to enjoy throughout and is much much shorter).

 

The second day, I decided to try Beaver Creek, to see if they have more sustained steep pitch, as we were slightly disappointed about Vail's steeps - they (Lover's Leap and Prima) were a lot of fun, but not challenging enough. It turns out BC was very icy/hard packed (my kids now call BC "the ice mountain"), except for moguls under Grouse Mountain / Birds of Prey / Larkspur. Golden Eagle was, as expected, icy and steep - I can't say I had fun there. But other runs with moguls - Peregrine / Raven Ridge / Osprey / Loco, etc - were all great, as nice sustained steeps with good soft snow and nicely shaped moguls. And, compared to Vail, there wasn't a lot of "blue cruisers" you have to go through before or after those steeps, so I covered a lot more verticals at BC than at Vail. It also helped that there was no crowd at all at BC on the day, so practically no wait at the lifts, especially those three. It's also nice that those three chairs are right next to each other. I didn't try Royal Elk Glade, as the snow condition wasn't that great (I consider icy + steep + tight trees a deadly combo), but I can see it would be great in the right snow condition - looking from the lift, it seemed very comparable to Mott in Heavenly, slightly longer but less wide.

 

The third day, it snowed >3 inches overnight, and continued snowing through the morning - i.e. a powder day. Not a super deep powder day, but still a solid powder day. So we headed to Vail.

We did Sun Up and Sun Down bowls. My wife struggled quite a bit in the powder (we already knew she's not comfortable in powder), but the rest of us had a blast. We did multiple runs off Highnoon Express and Tea Cup Express, covering most of the sides of bowls. Some of the first runs were fresh tracks. Unfortunately, China Bowl / Blue Sky Basin was closed that day. We also did Prima-Pronto. Pronto was slightly more challenging with deeper moguls, but it felt too short - as it doesn't take many turns to finish. After the trip, someone told me about PPL (Prima-Pronto-Log Chute) line being considered a good bump run combination in Vail - next time, we'll definitely try that.

 

The fourth (and the last) day, we hit Vail again, as we knew fresh snow was still to be found, and there were plenty of runs we still wanted to hit but haven't had time. We headed straight to Blue Sky Basin, and was rewarded with a few runs with fresh tracks - the very first run there was right below Skyline Express. That was a fantastic powder run - fresh tracks almost the entire way. Then we did Lover's Leap again, this time I hit the other side of the big exposed boulder (not the one in the picture below, but further left not visible in the picture) in Lover's Leap - on the first day I hit the higher/left side from looking up - and my daughter tried much higher line than the first day. Here's the picture of her victory dance: 

 

 

 

Then we hit Pete's Express and follow the lift line, and was rewarded with some fresh tracks in the trees (though by this time easily accessible areas were already tracked).

Before (late) lunch, we hit the cornice in China Bowl (around Jade Glade / Genghis Khan), then after lunch, after a few more China Bowl runs, we finally hit Inner Mongolia Bowl - I was going to try Siberia Bowl, but it didn't seem to have anything unique (compared to other bowls), so we took Mongolia lift and went to Inner Mongolia Bowl. It turns out Inner Mongolia is even less interesting, as the bowl was so gentle - the only advantage of Mongolia Bowl seems to be less tracked snow, but given that you have to take the flat and lengthy Silk Road back, it doesn't seem worth. At that point, we were basically out of time - by the time we arrived at Lionshead, it was nearly 4:20.

 

Overall, it was an excellent trip - lots of fun skiing on (mostly) excellent snow.

 

Vail is fantastic on powder days. It's a great resort for relaxing and enjoying the snow. It's certainly not a resort with a lot of challenges for advanced skier. BC has many good leg burners.

 

PS. Lionshead side doesn't really have anything interesting for advanced, and is farther away from the Back Bowls. So if you're advanced, you should stay or park in Vail Village and hit Gondola One or Riva Bahn as your first lift up in the morning. 

 

PS2. Apparently Tahoe resorts (esp. Squaw and Kirkwood) have quite a different standard for a "black diamond" run than Vail, and to a lesser degree, BC. I think at least 50% of "black diamond" runs in Vail would be considered blues at most Tahoe resorts. Reading this thread back, now I realize some people who responded don't know much about some of the runs in Tahoe I mentioned.

 

PS3. The Little Diner was fantastic. Many thanks for that suggestion.

post #30 of 52
Thread Starter 

Trip for midwest family with three younger boys, (3, 6yo twins) to Keystone for spring break.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/131979/keystone-for-spring-break-with-young-kids

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