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Need advice from knowledgeable peeps [European family with non-skier, week before Christmas]

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

Long time reader first time poster here.

 

I'm European and coming to the states for trip of a lifetime with family.  We fly to LA on the 13 December and fly out of NYC on the 5th January,  with accomodation booked in NYC 23rd December to the 5th Jan.

 

From the 13th to 23rd we want to see LA and SAF but also go skiing.  I have two girls but wife is a non skiier, in fact hates the cold!!  Me and the girls are advanced skiiers but not experts.  We normally ski the French alps, we are going to Alp d'Heuz in January. Previously been to Tignes, La Plagne, Courchavel, Val d'Isere.

 

So, I have been overwhelmed with the choice in the States, Utah, Coloarda, California, wow you guys are lucky!  We want to go somewhere that is awesome but doesn't eat to much into our vacation with travelling. Try and avoid crazy queues and not get fleeced with lift prices.

 

So I have narrowed it down to leaving LA on the 18th December and flying to Denver then driving to Winter PArk or Copper Mountain.  Drive back to Denver on the 23rd for flight to NYC.

 

or

 

drive to Mammoth 18th, drive back to LA for flight to NYC.

 

I have based this purely on reading reviews and looking at flights.  I fancied Utah area but the flights to NYC are not great from SLC.  

 

So any advice from locals or experienced people would be very much appreciated.

 

Mod edit: info from later posts

Quote: Post #26
Originally Posted by CTID View Post
 

absolutely fantastic feedback. Can't thank you enough.  Sorry for not being on line, I blame it on the time difference!

 

We are used to travel and jet lag.  Having lived in Thailand for 4 years and regularly coming back to Europe has made us hardcore.  

 

It has been a real challenge to fit everything in, we need to be in NYC for Xmas for my girls (they are young teens) Blame Home Alone films!!  So the 23rd is the latest we can leave in so we have Xmas eve there.  I am back at work on the 6th so that's why we have longer on the East coast.  Maybe ski there too!

 

Wife is very happy to be a hanger on for 4 days.  A spa would be lovely for her but not a deal breaker.  She is a selfless angel :-)

 

Obviously skiing the Alps, the majority is grooomed pistes.  Called corduory in the US I think?  I want to sample something really different, but my two girls are not that experienced in powder, they are better than me technically so would pick it up quickly.  I love the idea of off piste, trees, wide runs.  Looking for Advance intermediate to advanced areas, in Europe it is red runs and blacks, but not mega serious blacks. 

 

Yes, NL is Netherlands!  British but live and work here.

Quote: Post #27
Originally Posted by CTID View Post
 

Just spotted the accomodation question.

 

We are very, very spoilt in the Alps and in the past we have had a hotel actually on the slope, this year a 7-8 minute walk to the first lift.  But, a drive or bus is fine for us too.  We will rent a car regardless as I want flexibilty.

 

I have an airbnb place for the NYC leg, that was the priority due to Christmas and New Year.  For LA / SAF and skiing I don't have anything yet.

 
post #2 of 41

You could easily go to Mammoth to ski but there's not a lot around there for your wife if she doesn't like the cold.  

You could also go to Reno to stay which is slightly warmer and ski at some North Lake Tahoe resorts like Northstar, Squaw/Alpine Meadows. 

Or. you could invest in the Epic Pass, which will need to be purchased by Sunday Nov 23 and have the flexibility to ski any of the 3 Tahoe Resorts, Park City in Utah or 5 resorts in Colorado, depending on what the snow looks like in all of those locations, which are between LA and NY. 

 

http://www.snow.com/epic-pass/passes.aspx?cmpid=PPC302732764&gclid=CLnX8PbNjcICFWFgMgodyyEAKQ

post #3 of 41

Dec. 13-23 is still relatively early, so best to be flexible. Trekchick's idea is a good one to buy passes that work in all 3 destinations.  The catch is that the Epic Pass resorts are not the ones with the best early snow records in their regions, except for Vail and Kirkwood.

 

Considering what you ski in the French Alps and the early time of season you're here,  I would lean to Alta/Snowbird.  They are mostly likely to have the snow (up to a meter predicted this weekend perhaps) and thus have some advanced/expert terrain open.  Lift tickets and Salt Lake City lodging will be cheaper than the California and Colorado alternatives.  This should more than make up for any

flight inconvenience.

post #4 of 41
Thread Starter 

Thanks Trekchick and Tony, more suggestions to throw in the mix and great advice.

 

My fantastic wife is happy to sit in a warm lounge and read, it would be even better if there is a spa or shops.

 

I think I need to put all the prices into a spreadsheet and factor in flights, accomodation and life prices.  I am also mindful that if I arrive in LA on Saturday and spend 5 days in LA / SAF, I then hit the slopes on a weekend, which is not ideal with such a small window of time to ski.  I also need to be mindful of the amount of travelling Stateside.  We could land then go immediately skiing, returning to LA for the tourist bit before flying to NY.

 

I really want to experience something different with the US, I'm an really REALLY looking forward to the ski section of the trip!  And I want to get some new ski gear, it looks like it is much cheaper than Europe, especially NL where I live.

post #5 of 41

Good input from others about flexibility.  My suggestion would be to visit LA, then drive to Mammoth (with possibly drive to Utah as back-up).  The later you ski in Dec the better chances for good snow conditions.  Ski areas are usually not too busy in the US before Christmas, including the 7 days immediately preceding Christmas day. It is likely that you'll find last minute accommodations at Mammoth between Dec 18 and 23. Finding accommodations is never a problem in Salt Lake City and very affordable, so you could be flexible as to whether you drive from LA to Mammoth or to SLC. Drive to Mammoth is ~6 hours, drive to SLC is ~9 hours and not especially mountainous.

Sounds like you're only skiing about 3 or 4 days, so EpicPass may not be a great deal, plus it doesn't cover Mammoth or Alta, too good candidates for your situation.

post #6 of 41

As much as I love Alta/Snowbird, there is absolutely nothing for your wife to do at the base. Park  CIty would be much better, but I'm not sure how the snow will be then. 

 

I am also a fan of Copper and Winter Park for skiing, but it's a similar situation (though not quite so dire), not much in the way of a town at either. Winter Park would be better than Copper in that regard, though.

 

The flexibility of the Epic Pass would be good, but for the number of days you are skiing, it would be cheaper to buy tickets at the window (which is the most expensive way of all). It looks like you have a max of 4 days  to ski? The Epic is $769 right now, which would break down to ... a lot. It's expensive to ski in the US, but $190 a day is over the top, .lol.

 

And now we come to the reason Vail and Breckenridge see so many skier visits ... they are also pretty good places for non-skiers. 

 

That said, this area (and Utah too I think)  is heading into another storm cycle, so if you can wait until Tuesday to decide, it should be more obvious what terrain will be open at all these areas. And don't worry too much about skiing weekends before Christmas, it's not usually crowded until afterward.

post #7 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTID View Post
 

Thanks Trekchick and Tony, more suggestions to throw in the mix and great advice.

 

My fantastic wife is happy to sit in a warm lounge and read, it would be even better if there is a spa or shops.

 

I think I need to put all the prices into a spreadsheet and factor in flights, accomodation and life prices.  I am also mindful that if I arrive in LA on Saturday and spend 5 days in LA / SAF, I then hit the slopes on a weekend, which is not ideal with such a small window of time to ski.  I also need to be mindful of the amount of travelling Stateside.  We could land then go immediately skiing, returning to LA for the tourist bit before flying to NY.

 

I really want to experience something different with the US, I'm an really REALLY looking forward to the ski section of the trip!  And I want to get some new ski gear, it looks like it is much cheaper than Europe, especially NL where I live.


That's quite a trip!  Has the family dealt with that amount of time change before?  Usually takes me a couple days to completely adjust when shifting over 8 hours.

 

What type of lodging are you thinking about when skiing?  Ski in/out or is having to rent a car and drive 20-30 min to the slopes acceptable?

post #8 of 41
Quote:

Originally Posted by CTID View Post

Me and the girls are advanced skiiers but not experts. 

Can you clarify what type of skiing you like?  Are you looking to stay on the pistes (groomed runs) or other types of skiing (trees, bowls, moguls, etc.)

 

Also, more details about what you're looking for in a ski town would be helpful.  Would you really want to stay in a city like SLC, a ski town (with many non-ski activities) or a ski resort with just a few restaurants and a spa, etc...

 

Without these details, you're going to get tons of different suggestions...

post #9 of 41
Aspen opened today with top to bottom skiing, on the most vert in North America.
Fly direct LAX-ASE - ORD-NY.
It will have the best shopping/spas in the US and your wife will be the happiest.
post #10 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

Aspen opened today with top to bottom skiing, on the most vert in North America.
Fly direct LAX-ASE - ORD-NY.
It will have the best shopping/spas in the US and your wife will be the happiest.

I was going to suggest this, too, but fell back asleep before I had time to research the flights. 

post #11 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by segbrown View Post

 

And now we come to the reason Vail and Breckenridge see so many skier visits ... they are also pretty good places for non-skiers. 

 

 

Exactly.  Plus, obviously Aspen, as @SHREDHEAD suggests.

 

I'll add Beaver Creek to the mix.     Great skiing, shopping, spas, food, and a village that is a well engineered magical experience around Christmas.   That would be my choice.

 

But, since the OP narrowed down to Copper and Winter Park for CO ski areas.... seems he may have different criteria.  It would be great to hear how he got to those.  Maybe cost ruled out the higher end areas?

post #12 of 41
Quote:

Originally Posted by CTID View Post

 

From the 13th to 23rd [of December] we want to see LA and SAF but also go skiing.

 

Tony has already given some great advice for early season resorts, but here's some additional information he's written that can help you

 

 
 
Have fun and post vacation pictures!
post #13 of 41
Quote:
As much as I love Alta/Snowbird, there is absolutely nothing for your wife to do at the base. Park  CIty would be much better, but I'm not sure how the snow will be then. 

Your wife should stay in Salt Lake with the car if she doesn't want to be at the ski areas.  She could go where she pleases, even Park City.  Most convenient for her would be to drop you at one of the UTA bus stops at the base of the Cottonwoods, then pick you up at the end of the day.

 

It's December, finding the best snow has to be your priority. Skiing a bunch of manmade groomers is not going to cut it for people used to skiing the French Alps. I agree with the drive option to Salt Lake: 9-10 hours of mostly desert Interstate with weather issues very rare.

post #14 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 

Your wife should stay in Salt Lake with the car if she doesn't want to be at the ski areas.  She could go where she pleases, even Park City.  Most convenient for her would be to drop you at one of the UTA bus stops at the base of the Cottonwoods, then pick you up at the end of the day.

 

It's December, finding the best snow has to be your priority. Skiing a bunch of manmade groomers is not going to cut it for people used to skiing the French Alps. I agree with the drive option to Salt Lake: 9-10 hours of mostly desert Interstate with weather issues very rare.

Hanging out in the SLC suburbs won't cut it for people used to hanging out in the Alps, either. :-) I don't know, maybe the CLiff Lodge would work?

post #15 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTID View PostFrom the 13th to 23rd we want to see LA and SAF but also go skiing.  I have two girls but wife is a non skiier, in fact hates the cold!!  Me and the girls are advanced skiiers but not experts.  We normally ski the French alps, we are going to Alp d'Heuz in January. Previously been to Tignes, La Plagne, Courchavel, Val d'Isere.

 

So, I have been overwhelmed with the choice in the States, Utah, Coloarda, California, wow you guys are lucky!  We want to go somewhere that is awesome but doesn't eat to much into our vacation with travelling. Try and avoid crazy queues and not get fleeced with lift prices.

 

So I have narrowed it down to leaving LA on the 18th December and flying to Denver then driving to Winter PArk or Copper Mountain.  Drive back to Denver on the 23rd for flight to NYC.

or

drive to Mammoth 18th, drive back to LA for flight to NYC.

i'm not sure what you will find to do for so many days in NYC. 

Your plan to fly from LA to Denver and skiing out of there is a good idea, probably the best idea.  There are multiple resorts and little towns to see in CO.  It'll be hard on a non-skiing wife, no matter how good natured, to hang out for so many days. 

The way I might do it, but only if I had more time, would be to drive from LA to Vegas and spend 2 days there, then Cliff Lodge at Snowbird in SLC or Park City, then Aspen or Vail.  You will have a good tour of the American West with beautiful scenery, but long drives. 

In any event, hopefully we'll soon get the big storms so you can enjoy our mtns.

Where is NL???

post #16 of 41

Another vote for Aspen. Good skiing and a good town to explore.

 

As this is a special one off trip with a non skier this is the best option IMHO

post #17 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post
 
Where is NL???

NL = The Netherlands

post #18 of 41
Quote:
The way I might do it, but only if I had more time, would be to drive from LA to Vegas and spend 2 days there, then Cliff Lodge at Snowbird in SLC or Park City, then Aspen or Vail. 

Staying in Vegas on the way to/from SLC does break up the drive.  If the wife really wants no part of the mountains, she could stay in Vegas while the rest of you are at Alta/Snowbird.  Then you fly on to NYC from Vegas, which should be very easy.

post #19 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post
 

i'm not sure what you will find to do for so many days in NYC. 

.............

Where is NL???

???

post #20 of 41

Great suggestions to visit Aspen and continue on to NYC. Spend a night in Chicago (if flight goes that way), it might be cold around that time but it is beautiful city to visit.

 

If you are coming all the way from Europe to spend Christmas/New Year vacation there is no better way to do it than proposed itinerary LAX-Aspen-NYC 

 

You will see sunny and glitzy California, snowy and majestic Colorado and Aspen and NYC. Which is a trip by itself.

 

No matter which way you choose - enjoy your vacation in  this great country and all it has to offer to visitors.

post #21 of 41
You should send a private message to member Eaglespdx, he's the marketing director for Vail Utah. He knows all the wants and needs of European skiers like yourselves. He can recommend easy flights and pleasant accommodations to ensure your Eurocentric journey to Utah exceeds your expectations.

wink.gif
post #22 of 41

I see your humor here, but let's help this family enjoy their vacation in the US. 

 

Please keep her/him/it away !!!

post #23 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTID View Post
 

We want to go somewhere that is awesome but doesn't eat to much into our vacation with travelling. Try and avoid crazy queues and not get fleeced with lift prices.

 

 

Check out the 4x40 Pass that gets you 2 days at Winter Park and two days at Steamboat for $199:

http://www.winterparkresort.com/tickets-and-passes/season-passes.aspx

 

That will be half of what you pay for four days at Aspen, Vail or Breck.   It's a really good deal, and could go away at any moment.  I was surprised to see it's still for sale.

 

I'd suggest flying into DIA. Ski WP then drive to Steamboat.  Three nights and two days skiing at Steamboat, then hit WP again on the way back to DIA.   Steamboat is a fantastic, real Colorado town.

post #24 of 41

From an overall ski quality standpoint, my vote is still for Alta/Snowbird.  But if you choose to go to DIA in December, I like the Winter Park/Steamboat plan as those are among the best early season choices in Colorado.  Vail is good too, and will NOT be a zoo in the OP's timeframe, but it will be far more expensive than Winter Park/Steamboat.

post #25 of 41
From "family from Europe" vacation standpoint it is a no brainer: Los Angeles/San Francisco - Aspen - New York City. Glam of the U.S. of A
post #26 of 41
Winter Park seems like dudville for a non skiing spouse. Steamboat is a better town with more to do for non skiers.

I think Breck and Aspen are better towns for non skiing spouse and the skiing should be good by that time.
post #27 of 41
Thread Starter 

absolutely fantastic feedback. Can't thank you enough.  Sorry for not being on line, I blame it on the time difference!

 

We are used to travel and jet lag.  Having lived in Thailand for 4 years and regularly coming back to Europe has made us hardcore.  

 

It has been a real challenge to fit everything in, we need to be in NYC for Xmas for my girls (they are young teens) Blame Home Alone films!!  So the 23rd is the latest we can leave in so we have Xmas eve there.  I am back at work on the 6th so that's why we have longer on the East coast.  Maybe ski there too!

 

Wife is very happy to be a hanger on for 4 days.  A spa would be lovely for her but not a deal breaker.  She is a selfless angel :-)

 

Obviously skiing the Alps, the majority is grooomed pistes.  Called corduory in the US I think?  I want to sample something really different, but my two girls are not that experienced in powder, they are better than me technically so would pick it up quickly.  I love the idea of off piste, trees, wide runs.  Looking for Advance intermediate to advanced areas, in Europe it is red runs and blacks, but not mega serious blacks. 

 

Yes, NL is Netherlands!  British but live and work here.

post #28 of 41
Thread Starter 

Just spotted the accomodation question.

 

We are very, very spoilt in the Alps and in the past we have had a hotel actually on the slope, this year a 7-8 minute walk to the first lift.  But, a drive or bus is fine for us too.  We will rent a car regardless as I want flexibilty.

 

I have an airbnb place for the NYC leg, that was the priority due to Christmas and New Year.  For LA / SAF and skiing I don't have anything yet.

post #29 of 41
SLC area resorts seem to be getting some early season snow, which may bode well for that area in late December. Some of the resorts there also have pretty decent snowmaking, and recent snow history (compared to many other U.S. regions) seems to favor UT above CA and CO. Snow is also better for powder skiing.

For the non-skier, here are some ideas for activities near SLC:
--Antelope Island: amazing hiking, views of the lake and mountains, and wildlife watching opportunities.
--winter hiking/snowshoeing: various clubs offer some interesting trips
--Nordic skiing (snow permitting)
--shopping: outlet mall at Kimball Junction near Park City, or the big mall in SLC.
--cycle paths near ogden--lower elevation so ice and snow may not be a problem.
post #30 of 41

While in NY don't miss the Radio City Christmas Show (#1 don't miss), Rockefeller Center vibe/shopping/skating, FAO Schwartz toy store, Paragon Sports sporting goods, Soho, and ice skating in Central Park.  Also visit one of the famous deli's, Katz's or Carnegie, for a corned beef sandwich, matzah ball soup and side of knish.(note: order 1 for 2)

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