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Going snowboarding in January - Need advice

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

I'm planning a trip next week to go snowboarding somewhere in North America and would really appreciate some advice budget and equipment wise. Right now I am staying in downtown Chicago so there aren't too many slopes near me but I don't mind travelling to Canada/Colorado/etc for this trip. I'll be going by bus/train preferably, but plane is also okay if prices are reasonable.

I'd like to keep the expenses as low as possible and the number of snowboarding days as high as possible (don't we all), but right now I'm thinking $1500-2500 USD as the absolute maximum. I'll be going with my brother and we're both beginners (I've snowboarded for two days in the Swiss Alps with an instructor, fairly comfortable with blue trails - brother is a complete beginner).

I've taken a look at the rental prices also, and it seems that renting a full set (boots + board + bindings) for a week would easily cost about $250, which after a simple Google search shows that an entry level set would cost about $300. Should I just buy the set instead of renting?

 

So far I've looked at Whistler and Breckenridge. Both seem a little out of my budget unfortunately.

post #2 of 21

Trains in USA are slow and expensive, but Chicago to Winter Park, CO is doable by train. But compare to air travel.  there is fairly cheap lodging in town of Winter Park, about 3 mile shuttle bus to ski slopes.

post #3 of 21
Look at Whitefish. Lots come here via train, but I don't know the details. Lots of cruising stuff here. Train station is about 15-20 minutes from the slopes (but the train arrives in the middle of the night). There is a hostel within about four blocks of the train station and a free shuttle bus to the mountain. The train is rarely on time, however.
post #4 of 21
If money's more important than time, then the train might make sense. Glenwood would also be cheap and Sunlight would be plenty of hill.
Air to SLC / hotel with public transport to BCC is probably the best cost/ski time ratio.
If you can rent a car, it opens a lot more options.
post #5 of 21

When you looking to go? I can't speak for much other than WP or places from Denver .. so ..

 

prices on the train like airfare jumps about quite a bit. I pondered Amtrak to WP mid Dec but opted out as it was really cheaper to fly, if I shopped, but in Jan prices were down to $220 but this from Iowa, so Chicago is higher (~$50) so you'd be getting into nearly equal costs if you can find a deal on air, SW perhaps from Chicago to Denver.  Another thing is that it's 20+ hrs from Chicago to WP so .. quite a time expenditure.

 

Lodging wise, if in the lower value season, early Jan to Presidents in Feb, pricing on lodging is typically much better, so one can opt to stay cheap or find fancier places. Too if they come with Breakfast if in a hotel.

 

My kids learned to ski then at ~14/15 wanted to learn boarding. Instructors and others noted typically 3 days gets you onto blues. Lots of places offer specials on lift/class too, I think Burton offers via many resorts Burton promises to learn in X days or get more days in class till you learn.

 

Rental or buy?  it's a bit of a flip. I bought for my kids but picked up more Rocker type board with edging that were more forgiving. Not horribly priced and I think for my last buy (1 1/2 years ago) it was around as you said, $300. This for what I can give no professional opinion on quality but the last was for an Atomic board with Atomic bindings and Burton boots which given I'm in the Midwest, worth the cost given rental's around here run $35-50 a day ...

 

Have you considered Wausau? Granite Peak may offer you all you desire especially if learning. Understanding weather and snow make a big difference, the nice thing on this option (or other Midwest hill) is that you can plan two shorter trips, one to learn the other to practice .. or even consider learning there, then flying or train to the west?

 

Another thought, if wanting to save, I think some of the Chicagoland clubs have really decent package deals though one has to do it on their schedule.

 

 

 

pete

post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pete View Post
 

When you looking to go? I can't speak for much other than WP or places from Denver .. so ..

 

prices on the train like airfare jumps about quite a bit. I pondered Amtrak to WP mid Dec but opted out as it was really cheaper to fly, if I shopped, but in Jan prices were down to $220 but this from Iowa, so Chicago is higher (~$50) so you'd be getting into nearly equal costs if you can find a deal on air, SW perhaps from Chicago to Denver.  Another thing is that it's 20+ hrs from Chicago to WP so .. quite a time expenditure.

 

Lodging wise, if in the lower value season, early Jan to Presidents in Feb, pricing on lodging is typically much better, so one can opt to stay cheap or find fancier places. Too if they come with Breakfast if in a hotel.

 

My kids learned to ski then at ~14/15 wanted to learn boarding. Instructors and others noted typically 3 days gets you onto blues. Lots of places offer specials on lift/class too, I think Burton offers via many resorts Burton promises to learn in X days or get more days in class till you learn.

 

Rental or buy?  it's a bit of a flip. I bought for my kids but picked up more Rocker type board with edging that were more forgiving. Not horribly priced and I think for my last buy (1 1/2 years ago) it was around as you said, $300. This for what I can give no professional opinion on quality but the last was for an Atomic board with Atomic bindings and Burton boots which given I'm in the Midwest, worth the cost given rental's around here run $35-50 a day ...

 

Have you considered Wausau? Granite Peak may offer you all you desire especially if learning. Understanding weather and snow make a big difference, the nice thing on this option (or other Midwest hill) is that you can plan two shorter trips, one to learn the other to practice .. or even consider learning there, then flying or train to the west?

 

Another thought, if wanting to save, I think some of the Chicagoland clubs have really decent package deals though one has to do it on their schedule.

 

 

 

pete

Damn there are so many options and resorts that it's hard to choose from. I'm not very familiar with the weather and snow (lived in a tropical island most of my life) and I just figured that this is a pretty dry season for the Midwest based on the weather here in Chicago so I wanted to fly North to Canada or West to UT/CO. 

 

Granite Peak is definitely the most affordable one on my list now, I really appreciate the suggestion. However transportation by train is about $260 round-trip for two, and it's $245 by plane all the way down to Salt Lake City, UT. Lift tickets are only $10-30 more expensive every day, and if it's a significant difference I think it'll be worth the distance, especially as transportation and lodging is about the same. Then again, Granite Peak works out to be about $300 cheaper based on a 5-day trip, which we could add to our equipment budget...

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

Actually turns out that Snowbasin in Utah is my cheapest option. Brighton/Snowbird/Solitude is about $200 more (for a 7-day trip), which would you recommend?

post #8 of 21

snowbasin is nice:

post #9 of 21

Snowbasin also is very limited on beginner terrain. Especially since they very rarely spin Wildcat chair. My 7YO is timid but halfway skilled having taken tons of lessons, and the options are limited as to where to take her. The thought of taking her through Bear Hollow scares the bejeezus out of me.

post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by adamw7 View Post
 

Actually turns out that Snowbasin in Utah is my cheapest option. Brighton/Snowbird/Solitude is about $200 more (for a 7-day trip), which would you recommend?


What were you thinking for lodging?  For Snowbasin, while taking public transport and shuttle buses is possible, it would be a bit of a pain.  If you can find a lodging deal at Solitude, it's possible to have a fun week learning to snowboard without a rental car.  Assuming you get supplies and eat in.

 

Do not go to Snowbird.  At least that's the advice given to beginner skiers for good reason.  Some beginners stay at Snowbird anyway, but they have the option learning to ski at Alta next door.

 

The least expensive way to do trip to SLC is to use public transport from the airport and stay in a motel that is near a bus stop.  I know guys who stay at the La Quinta in Midvale (hot breakfast, pool, hot tub) and have a very good time.  You can take the bus from there to Brighton or Solitude.  My guess is that snowboard lessons at Brighton should be pretty good.  The local snowboarders spend a lot of time at Brighton in the late afternoon and evening.  There is night skiing on some of the easier trails, as well as the terrain park.

post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by adamw7 View Post
 

Hey guys,

I'm planning a trip next week to go snowboarding somewhere in North America and would really appreciate some advice budget and equipment wise. Right now I am staying in downtown Chicago so there aren't too many slopes near me but I don't mind travelling to Canada/Colorado/etc for this trip. I'll be going by bus/train preferably, but plane is also okay if prices are reasonable.

I'd like to keep the expenses as low as possible and the number of snowboarding days as high as possible (don't we all), but right now I'm thinking $1500-2500 USD as the absolute maximum. I'll be going with my brother and we're both beginners (I've snowboarded for two days in the Swiss Alps with an instructor, fairly comfortable with blue trails - brother is a complete beginner).

I've taken a look at the rental prices also, and it seems that renting a full set (boots + board + bindings) for a week would easily cost about $250, which after a simple Google search shows that an entry level set would cost about $300. Should I just buy the set instead of renting?

 

So far I've looked at Whistler and Breckenridge. Both seem a little out of my budget unfortunately.


Are you thinking of before Jan. 4 or after?  The holiday week is a completely different story than the week of Jan. 5.

post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

 

........ Some beginners stay at Snowbird anyway, but they have the option learning to ski at Alta next door.

 

Adam noted boarding ... so Alta being Ski only - yes? ..... : )

 

 

anyhow, I noted the "January" in title but just kept reading over it ... in my reply . duh! So pricing for lodging near slopeside would be better if sought.

 

The SLC idea given pricing (air) looks good (I'll presume you haven't a car for Wausau (or other locations) given costs, nor can rent? how old are ya?) and as noted, public tx can get you to either Solitude or Brighton and many of the local hotels offer packages ... so you can get lifts, breakfast included on the cheap. Others threads have info on SLC deals, I haven't hit SLC for 5 yrs now.

 

I'll presume boarding is your prime objective and not so much night life? If so, I can't attest to where or what to do in SLC but I know there's activity. While Solitude and Brighton are great, without a car you will have more limited night life but if lodging in SLC using public tx to and from mountain you can then use Public Tx for other nightlife.

 

Park City has a night life and lodging and while more expensive might be in budget. I really don't know specifics of the lessons available, but do know one would be able to hit PC or Canyons (Deer Valley too) via Public Tx .

 

I'd suggest checking out lessons available at the websites for the resorts of interest. Even Colorado if still in the thoughts. I'd presume Chicago has decent fare to Denver and if you can rent a car, still an option. They offer shuttles too which can run you out too.

 

Seems you have some options open where you just need to base primarily on transportation costs/options time. I really think the Train is fun, but it would be the first thing I toss off the list given the lower airfare. The time saved will get you an extra day on the slopes .. which is a good thing.

 

One item on buying or renting and airfare. If flying but buying equipt, check for any hidden cost for taking equipt  as sometimes one's hit with extra baggage fees. It's possible then with planning that you pack two boards and the boots into one bag vrs being charged for two bags. Real pain in  ... gone are the fun days when I'ld haul a box of wine on a trip since it was in my "2 bag" limit ....

post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 

snowbasin is nice:


I was looking at this and realized you can see my neighborhood :D @Jamesj can I steal a copy of this and share it with friends and family? We haven't had a good day to get shots like this year (although soon, very soon. It's puking here right now!)

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Are you thinking of before Jan. 4 or after?  The holiday week is a completely different story than the week of Jan. 5.

I have to return to Chicago by January 11 morning at the very latest and I would like to extend my days on the slopes as much as I can, so I'm thinking maybe Jan 2-9 or 3-10. Do you mean that prices will be different or the snowboarding experience (ie crowds)? I'm basically going to decide the dates on the cheapest airfare possible.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


What were you thinking for lodging?  For Snowbasin, while taking public transport and shuttle buses is possible, it would be a bit of a pain.  If you can find a lodging deal at Solitude, it's possible to have a fun week learning to snowboard without a rental car.  Assuming you get supplies and eat in.

 

Do not go to Snowbird.  At least that's the advice given to beginner skiers for good reason.  Some beginners stay at Snowbird anyway, but they have the option learning to ski at Alta next door.

 

The least expensive way to do trip to SLC is to use public transport from the airport and stay in a motel that is near a bus stop.  I know guys who stay at the La Quinta in Midvale (hot breakfast, pool, hot tub) and have a very good time.  You can take the bus from there to Brighton or Solitude.  My guess is that snowboard lessons at Brighton should be pretty good.  The local snowboarders spend a lot of time at Brighton in the late afternoon and evening.  There is night skiing on some of the easier trails, as well as the terrain park.

How much of a pain are we talking about? I'm going to have to do some more planning obviously, but I'm thinking of staying in a cheap apartment in downtown SLC (through AirBnB) and then taking the bus there to the resorts. Brighton/Solitude are about $77/day, while Snowbasin is only $56 though so I'm thinking Snowbasin the first half of the trip. How do the shuttle buses work? 

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by adamw7 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Are you thinking of before Jan. 4 or after?  The holiday week is a completely different story than the week of Jan. 5.

I have to return to Chicago by January 11 morning at the very latest and I would like to extend my days on the slopes as much as I can, so I'm thinking maybe Jan 2-9 or 3-10. Do you mean that prices will be different or the snowboarding experience (ie crowds)? I'm basically going to decide the dates on the cheapest airfare possible.

Many people will stay until Jan. 3 or 4 to finish out the holiday week.  By Jan. 4 the crowds will be decreasing on the slopes.  Has nothing to do with skiing vs snowboarding.

post #16 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


What were you thinking for lodging?  For Snowbasin, while taking public transport and shuttle buses is possible, it would be a bit of a pain.  If you can find a lodging deal at Solitude, it's possible to have a fun week learning to snowboard without a rental car.  Assuming you get supplies and eat in.

 

Do not go to Snowbird.  At least that's the advice given to beginner skiers for good reason.  Some beginners stay at Snowbird anyway, but they have the option learning to ski at Alta next door.

 

The least expensive way to do trip to SLC is to use public transport from the airport and stay in a motel that is near a bus stop.  I know guys who stay at the La Quinta in Midvale (hot breakfast, pool, hot tub) and have a very good time.  You can take the bus from there to Brighton or Solitude.  My guess is that snowboard lessons at Brighton should be pretty good.  The local snowboarders spend a lot of time at Brighton in the late afternoon and evening.  There is night skiing on some of the easier trails, as well as the terrain park.

How much of a pain are we talking about? I'm going to have to do some more planning obviously, but I'm thinking of staying in a cheap apartment in downtown SLC (through AirBnB) and then taking the bus there to the resorts. Brighton/Solitude are about $77/day, while Snowbasin is only $56 though so I'm thinking Snowbasin the first half of the trip. How do the shuttle buses work? 

Taking the bus to BCC (Solitude, Brighton) is straightforward if you stay within walking distance of a bus stop.

 

Look at a map in terms of where Snowbasin is in relation to SLC.  Not exactly in the neighborhood.  As beginners, there is little reason to spend 3-4 hours a day commuting when you can be having fun in BCC.

post #17 of 21

FYI,

 

Believe this is correct for a sanity check if going the bus route. Being a paranoid person as a double check I tend call the hotel on or near the route that I'd be staying to check. Given your thinking B and B would presume they can provide info.

 

http://www.rideuta.com/mc/?page=Bus-BusHome-Route960

 

Looks from here, even from what I see as the "park and ride" location nearest the Canyon, it's a 32min minimum ride in .... 

 

So cheap car rental may be useful depending on days. However if your used to public TX, it may not matter from your perspective as it may be time to snack, gab, etc.

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pete View Post
 

FYI,

 

Believe this is correct for a sanity check if going the bus route. Being a paranoid person as a double check I tend call the hotel on or near the route that I'd be staying to check. Given your thinking B and B would presume they can provide info.

 

http://www.rideuta.com/mc/?page=Bus-BusHome-Route960

 

Looks from here, even from what I see as the "park and ride" location nearest the Canyon, it's a 32min minimum ride in .... 

 

So cheap car rental may be useful depending on days. However if your used to public TX, it may not matter from your perspective as it may be time to snack, gab, etc.

Wow I had no idea it would take close 2-3 hours by bus to Snowbasin...unfortunately neither my brother nor I have licenses (though this will likely change by our next trip). Should we stay in Cottonwood Heights instead of SLC? Based on Google Maps it's an hour commute, which is just about bearable.

post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by adamw7 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pete View Post
 

FYI,

 

Believe this is correct for a sanity check if going the bus route. Being a paranoid person as a double check I tend call the hotel on or near the route that I'd be staying to check. Given your thinking B and B would presume they can provide info.

 

http://www.rideuta.com/mc/?page=Bus-BusHome-Route960

 

Looks from here, even from what I see as the "park and ride" location nearest the Canyon, it's a 32min minimum ride in .... 

 

So cheap car rental may be useful depending on days. However if your used to public TX, it may not matter from your perspective as it may be time to snack, gab, etc.

Wow I had no idea it would take close 2-3 hours by bus to Snowbasin...unfortunately neither my brother nor I have licenses (though this will likely change by our next trip). Should we stay in Cottonwood Heights instead of SLC? Based on Google Maps it's an hour commute, which is just about bearable.


The drive from SLC to Snowbasin is a bit over an hour.  A bus is going to stop every so often.  Plus I think you would have to transfer at least once, if not twice.  So adding up the trip to Snowbasin and back, definitely would take at least 3 hours out of the day, perhaps 4.

 

The guys I know who fly to SLC and do not rent a car stay at the La Quinta in Midvale.  From there it's straightforward to take the bus to BCC for Solitude or Brighton.  Need to allow about an hour, including waiting for the bus and the stops between the motel and the ski area.  Can get a SuperPass at the La Quinta that for the number of days you plan to be on snow.  A SuperPass includes a bus pass.

post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


The drive from SLC to Snowbasin is a bit over an hour.  A bus is going to stop every so often.  Plus I think you would have to transfer at least once, if not twice.  So adding up the trip to Snowbasin and back, definitely would take at least 3 hours out of the day, perhaps 4.

 

The guys I know who fly to SLC and do not rent a car stay at the La Quinta in Midvale.  From there it's straightforward to take the bus to BCC for Solitude or Brighton.  Need to allow about an hour, including waiting for the bus and the stops between the motel and the ski area.  Can get a SuperPass at the La Quinta that for the number of days you plan to be on snow.  A SuperPass includes a bus pass.


nice advice!  As said, I don't really know the time frames well as I always rent a car. Tx from hotel to resort does take time but you can too figure time spent parking, etc. But if you're really only gonna ski, then work the pricing for staying in Midvale (breakfast, etc) and that at Solitude. I know Solitude will be more expensive but if your not planning to explore the town and not looking for city nightlife, then extra money spent to be at the resort may not be poorly spent and likely not missed 6 mo from now. Maybe if you stop en route to pick up supplies, costs could be offset.

 

wishing whatever route you go, a great time!

 

Keep us updated on the route, destination ( eg, Park City/Canyons. Co, etc)

post #21 of 21

You can take the train from the airport to about two to three hundred yards from La Quinta, then you could take the ski bus to the slopes at Brighton, Solitude or Snowbird each day.

A car is much better, but if you are on a severe budget it's certainly doable. 

Also, around the La Quinta(~$70/nt with breakfast) are two even cheaper hotels. Check on Orbitz.

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