or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Skiing out West for the first time
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Skiing out West for the first time

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hi guys,

 

I'm an east coast skier that's looking to go out west for a couple days this year. Problem is, I'm a teacher so can't really go unless it's a holiday break so I was hoping you guys could point me in the right direction for a cheap trip. We're all intermediate/advanced skiers/riders. I'm assuming we're not gonna be doing any backcountry stuff or anything crazy but still want to experience something different from Vermont.

 

We have 4 people going, we're going to fly out and want to stay during the week of 2/16-2/20 or 3/30-4/3. We're open to staying in a budget hotel.

 

Should we pick a place with a shuttle or rent a car???

 

Any advice, recommendations, pokes and prods in the right direction would be appreciated. Tahoe, Colorado, California...don't care, just wanna have a good time. Wanna keep it under $1500.

 

Thanks in advance guys!

Joe

post #2 of 12
If Feb, Utah - Snowbasin/PowMow - stay in Ogden affordably, minimize travel time on shorter trip, somewhat lesser known resorts may deal with holiday crowds better.

If late March/early April - Summit County, CO - many resorts within driving distance, still winter snow at that time.
post #3 of 12

You really can't beat taking the 7am Delta flight out of PHL>SLC, it was $650.  Arriving at 10:30am.  Stopping in a parking lot and dressing on the way to the hill and skiing a half day.  Rent a car.  Stay in Midvale or Sandy or Jordan(a little further) (google to get $70/nt hotels with breakfast).  First day ski Alta, they have some kind of deal if you register and bring your board pass.  Then ski the other 3 resorts in the Cottonwood Canyons, all less than 30 minutes away.  Last day ski Snowbasin to 2pm, which is on the other side of the airport and take the 5 or 5:30 flight home.    You could also do Park City, and ski those three resorts. 

 

A flight to Denver will likely be cheaper.  But you can't ski the day of arrival or departure, but that's not as much concern if have extra days.  You would likely be going to Summit County, not Vail or Aspen for cheaper hotels. 

 

Of course there are all kinds of other resorts and states to consider.  But you should research CO or UT and figure out your air/hotel and even lift ticket prices.  You would very likely be much better off getting your own car.  An SUV split 4 ways won't add that much to your trip and gives you food and skiing options.

post #4 of 12
If you want to maximize your ski time, fly in the night before.
Rent a mini van for 4 or sometimes two econos are cheaper.
I just got a Kia Sol for $10/day in Den.
It's perfect for two.

You can easily ski CO the day you arrive. Den has lots more flight options.
post #5 of 12
Joe, where are you flying out of? SLC is a great suggestion -- try sticking to major hubs like SLC or Denver to keep your air down, and that will help filter your destination list. The advantage of the SLC resorts over those within a couple hours of Denver is the ability to grab budget lodging. As mentioned above, Sandy is close to Alta, and Ogden valley is close to Snowbasin and Powder Mountain, and both scenarios give you access to much cheaper nights.

That said, I gather you're keying on President's "Week" due to work, and with that in mind, I'd focus on Snowbasin and Powder Mountain -- far less crowds! Try your dates on vrbo.com (vacation rentals by owner) and look in the Eden, Utah area in your search. That will place you pretty close to both resorts.

Also, to my question, experiment with departure cities. I live 20 minutes from the Philly airport, but driving an hour to Baltimore usually saves me $150 or more.

All that said, you could "change the rules" and go on your Spring Break and take the full week. Places like Sunshine Village in Alberta (in the beautiful Canadian Rockies) are well regarded for April conditions, keeps you out of the maddening holiday crowds, and presumably puts you into a value season rate for Banff accommodations.
post #6 of 12

I agree stick to SLC for the President's weekend option.  Snowbasin, Powder Mt, Solitude, Sundance are reliable crowd escape areas.

 

The Easter week should be less of a crunch.  So for that time anyplace I rate good for spring break here with altitude/exposure http://50.87.144.177/~bestsnow/fam_ski.htm should be fine, assuming it meets budget criteria. Banff and Summit County, recommeded above, both are among the better spring options.

post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by SKI-3PO View Post

If Feb, Utah - Snowbasin/PowMow - stay in Ogden affordably, minimize travel time on shorter trip, somewhat lesser known resorts may deal with holiday crowds better.

If late March/early April - Summit County, CO - many resorts within driving distance, still winter snow at that time.

I concur with these choices for the two date options presented by OP.  It sounds like the OP has a whole week to devote to the trip, so I'd say go ahead and use a whole week.  Ski for a couple days, take a day off to rest, and ski another two or three days.  You've come a long way and you might as well stay a while if you have a whole week off from school.

Speaking in generalities, it may be cheaper to do the trip to UT vs. CO during mid-season due to availability of numerous inexpensive suburban SLC motels, but because the second dates for early Apr get into a less popular time in CO there may be some lodging and ticket bargains around places like Arapahoe Basin and Keystone. Also, the later date may have appeal because it comes at a time when conditions in VT are deteriorating and the OP likely wouldn't be missing opportunities for great/powdery local skiing.  

post #8 of 12
We just booked for our annual guys trip for Big Sky and everyone well average around $1,200 for flight, share of cabin, and lift tickets. I would recommend it if you want lighter crowds and don't care much about nightlife/shopping.
post #9 of 12

I'd second those recommending Salt Lake City - the SLC areas are a great choice to minimize cost and maximize slope time on some of North America's best mountains. The city is served by a quite a number of airlines including Southwest which will almost certainly be the least expensive once you add in the cost of luggage (which is free on SW for 2 checked bags - one of which can be skis). Staying at budget hotel in SLC (really Midvale/Sandy) will be the cheapest option but will mean a bit of a ride to any of the 4 Cottonwood Canyon resorts. Discount lift tickets can be gotten for all of the resorts through Liftopia or at almost any outdoor/ski shop in SLC. Keep in mind that you can't get discounted tickets at the resorts (also true for Park City). There is also the SkiUtah promo for a nearly half-price ticket based on your boarding pass for Alto or Snobird. Only good for the first 24 hrs of your stay and you have to pre-register at www.alta.com/boardingpass or www.snowbird.com/boardingpass

 

There are more options in Park City on the other side of the Wasatch, but the cost is likely to be somewhat higher. One benefit of staying in PC though is that its a nice little town to spend your evenings in, with a fair number of decent eating and drinking places. Another benefit is that you can literally ski into (and take the lift out of) town. Canyons (or whatever they now plan to call themselves) and Deer Valley are within a few miles of PC as well. If you plan on a car and don't mind driving a little a little, you can find some very nice and very reasonably priced condos just outside of Park City proper. Check VRBO. The only real downside is that the snow is generally better on the windward side of the range.

 

If you are not swayed by the combination of convenience, great skiing and low cost and are set on Big Sky, you can either fly into Bozeman - which is not particularly cheap, nor are there lots of choices - or fly to SLC and drive up (~400 mi). There are a number of lodging options at Big Sky, many of which are pretty easy walking distance to the lifts.While there are plenty of restaurants and bars at BS, and some more a few miles down the mountain at the Meadows, nightlife is not like Vail, Aspen or even Park City. Not a big deal for me, but can be for others. Since I don't care about nightlife, my preference is BS's sister resort on the other side of Lone Mountain, Moonlight Basin. Slightly smaller than BS but still has great terrain and so few people (not that BS is crowded) that the mountain feels like your own private resort. Lodging options are more limited though and can be much more expensive. Still, you may be able to find a relatively reasonably priced condo there if you do a bit of searching. 

 

Snowfall in both the Wasatch and the Spanish Peaks has not been particularly abundant so far this year - looks like many of the bigger accumulations have been in parts of CO and WY. Conditions can change for the better pretty rapidly however and your trip dates are far enough in the future that you should be fine. Best of luck.


Edited by CharlieRN - 12/5/14 at 9:49am
post #10 of 12

I guess he found what he was looking for....  He hasn't been back to the site since posting his question.

post #11 of 12

Snowbasin is my favorite outside of SLC

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by SKI-3PO View Post

If Feb, Utah - Snowbasin/PowMow - stay in Ogden affordably, minimize travel time on shorter trip, somewhat lesser known resorts may deal with holiday crowds better.

If late March/early April - Summit County, CO - many resorts within driving distance, still winter snow at that time.

 

I think that's good advice. We're East Coasters who have done a few trips. A few thoughts: The SLC airport is about as accessible as it gets. And < 1 hour from the airport to Alta, Snowbird, Solitude, Brighton, and Park City. And probably 1.5 hours or so to Snowbasin and Powder Mountain. If money is a primary object, you could stay in Sandy or Midvale (outskirts of SLC) or perhaps Ogden if targeting Snowbasin and Powder Mountains. Staying in Sandy or Midvale is like staying in any suburb. Nothing bad about it, lots of restaurants, but no resort feel. Park City is a proper resort village but will be more expensive. We've loved the skiing everywhere we've tried. Solitude is generally pretty quiet. The Cottonwoods Canyons resorts have higher bases and tend to have better snow than the PC resorts. The PC resorts will likely be busier. Powder Mountain is really unique. Snowbasin is terrific. It's all good. Alta is probably our favorite place to ski, but we've had a great time everywhere we've tried, and that includes a day at Sundance. It's a longer drive from the Denver Airport and I find the airport more challenging to navigate. We went to Vail one year and were not enamored with the town (probably says more about us than the town); the skiing was vast and very fun though the Midvail area gets pretty congested. We also stayed in Frisco one year and loved Frisco (in Summit County). Skied at Breck, A-Basin, Keystone, Vail, Beaver Creek. My sense is that CO will feel busier than UT in February. Maybe we've been lucky but I've never felt crowds in UT were too overwhelming. I also think that East Coast crowds at busy times are much worse than anything I've experienced out West. 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Resorts, Conditions & Travel
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Skiing out West for the first time