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Family ski trip [from MN]

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

We are looking for a ski trip going around the end of March beginning of April.  Who will have snow ( who won't)?  Often do beaver/ vail in February....how about late season?  Where else?  open to Colorado, Utah,Montana ....   Would love a place we could get close too and not have to rent a car and drive half a day.   Or maybe we take a road trip all the way from Minnesota ( haven't done that since I was  kid)?   Any opinion on predicted conditions or recomendations are appreciated.  Thanks

post #2 of 22

We went to Big Sky in Montana last year March 23-30th during my son's spring break from college.  It was my wife, son and 2 of his friends.  We had a blast.  The skiing was great. There is skiing for all abilities-my wife and I are intermediates trying to challenge ourselves more, my son and his friends are all excellent skiers-and no crowds.  There are a few places to eat and grab some drinks but the main attraction is the skiing and that's what you are going for.  Ski hard during the day. Ate most meals in the condo and hung out together at night.  You didn't say anything about your group-ages or skiing ability.  We didn't take lessons but I imagine the ski school is very good and since it is not crowded I wouldn't think the group lessons get very full but can't say for sure

post #3 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickM View Post
 

We are looking for a ski trip going around the end of March beginning of April.  Who will have snow ( who won't)?  Often do beaver/ vail in February....how about late season?  Where else?  open to Colorado, Utah,Montana ....   Would love a place we could get close too and not have to rent a car and drive half a day.   Or maybe we take a road trip all the way from Minnesota ( haven't done that since I was  kid)?   Any opinion on predicted conditions or recomendations are appreciated.  Thanks


I suggest you check out the thread in the Family section with examples of family trip planning.  Seems like there are posts about families in MN.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/129632/tips-for-planning-family-ski-trips-from-flatlands-midwest-se-mid-atlantic-nj-nyc-ct-ri-ontario

 

Do you mind if this thread is moved to the Family section?

post #4 of 22

The spring break trips I've taken with my daughter have all been to Alta in April.  While there may be a warm day or two, we've also enjoyed fresh powder every time.  Might only last half a day, but quite fun.

 

How old are the kids?  What ability level for the family?

post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickM View Post
 

We are looking for a ski trip going around the end of March beginning of April.  .........   Would love a place we could get close too and not have to rent a car and drive half a day.   Or maybe we take a road trip all the way from Minnesota ( haven't done that since I was  kid)?   Any opinion on predicted conditions or recomendations are appreciated.  Thanks

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

 

 

How old are the kids?  What ability level for the family?

 

good to know ages, skill level and what you consider as a "ski trip".  Too may be what you consider reasonable trade offs for cost, time, hassle, etc?

 

I take regular trips yearly with family, used to fly but it became cost prohibitive from my (ok, and spouse) perspective. Family trip wise we now drive 942 miles to Steamboat every year but will overnight the first night as my kids love the idea just to hit a hotel and swim, watch tv and eat popcorn, my spouse and I will drink a decent bottle of wine. Then the next day's Steamboat .. lately we drive straight back to Iowa sans an overnight but always willing to in order to check out local tourist stops in Nebraska. (not to knock Nebraska but there is a reason speed limits have been raised!)

 

However one of my kids best memories was a trip we took via Amtrak, a dad/daughter trip where we visited Winter Park for "vacation". Our first day there we skied only 1 1/2 to maybe 2 1/2 hrs.  Sat in a hot tub, hit the local pub where we ate burgers and then hung out in the slope side condo putting together puzzles and watching an ABC cable Harry Potter Marathon. 6 yrs later she still remembers the trip as a favorite especially as we can joke how a "14 Peaks" Colorado Puzzle in the condo was missing 1 pc .. hours putting it together to have one missing pc that also had another puzzles pc as a replacement .. funny joke likely by previous visitors!

 

point being .. an overview of what you think is desired in a trip goes a long way. Marcnz has a lot of history on this site and I enjoy tossing out ideas .. so whatever you can provide will get you (hopefully) a better answer.

 

 

pete

post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies. Sorry I wasn't more specific.  We are a skiing family. 4 of the 5 of us just walked in from race practice ( it is cold here tonight!).  We have plenty of experience at Vail Beaver Creek as a family. Just wondering about later in the year guesses at good snow and getting our of the rut of flying to Denver and renting a car etc.  The idea hit of going some where different. Flying or driving from home. would be fun.  We wouldn't be looking for  anything extreme.

 Our priorities would be a variety of skiing: 3 of us would be in black and double black all day, 2 of us want mellow groomed runs ( why Beaver Creek/ Vail has worked well).  A place with decent snow April 1. ( I have not followed who is getting snow this year). Affordability, we would love to keep costs down as this trip exceeds our yearly skiing budget:).Not really looking for lessons or any of that stuff  just a fun place to ski in a fun place ( 2 of us may take one day off skiing).

 Pete's a regular drive to Steamboat  and how they do it is great! ....Since kids I've been here, vail/bc and Aspen/ Snowmass

Thanks

post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickM View Post
 

Thanks for the replies. Sorry I wasn't more specific.  We are a skiing family. 4 of the 5 of us just walked in from race practice ( it is cold here tonight!).  

oh crap .. just in from skiing and I fretted the -6F 2hrs ago!  your sitting north 200miles!

 

I'll ponder but presume getting out of the rut to Denver and car renting, which I presume to be Minneapolis area puts more the likes of SLC or Montana in the sites if flying? Or Montana if driving?

 

You have Lutzen up north which drive wise is far fewer hours from Minneapolis and costs are lower. March April time frame is more tepid (though you can have a cold snap) but then one may be able to cancel or postpone to warmer week/weekend?

 

Too depends on non slope activities? Is the "good" trip spent lounging about a condo, the pool or hot tub and relaxing or you seek tubing, exploring a town, etc?

 

I keep pondering Beaver Creek but haven't done this yet ..

 

Anyhow, Lutzen has ~1000 acres and 1000 vert .. any interest in such a route?

post #8 of 22
I can always tell you yesterday's snow report, the rest well good luck. Park city may be a good bet or any where in UT.
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 

We are at Lutsen the next 2 weekends.  So yeah, kinda thinking driving to Montana ( which place? how is the snow historically there April 1).  Or SLC,( Which place? Historically how is the snow April 1).  Any places are worth checking out?  Haven't skied either state in 20 years.  I don't know, I'd drive to Steam boat too, goolge says 15 hrs from mpls.  The more affordable the better ( we ski travel 4 of the next 5 weekends) the ski budget is run out.

post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickM View Post
 

We are at Lutsen the next 2 weekends.  So yeah, kinda thinking driving to Montana ( which place? how is the snow historically there April 1).  Or SLC,( Which place? Historically how is the snow April 1).  Any places are worth checking out?  Haven't skied either state in 20 years.  I don't know, I'd drive to Steam boat too, goolge says 15 hrs from mpls.  The more affordable the better ( we ski travel 4 of the next 5 weekends) the ski budget is run out.


For Montana, my guess is the best advice is to wait and see how things are and make a last minute decision.  Seems like Big Sky closes the first weekend of April.  Probably not because there isn't still some snow, but once the traveling skiers stop booking there is less reason to stay open.

 

As for Alta . . . I started taking my daughter to ski there in April in 2008.  We meet up with friends and have a ball.  One year Easter was late so that ski week was the third week of April.  Lack of snow was not an issue.  I've extended the trip three times to check a late season powder storm.

 

Snowbird does some great packages in late season that include lodging and lift tickets.  Can upgrade one day to a combo ticket for about $35 to explore Alta.  Last year I met up with a family of 4 from NYC who had a very good time.  The two daughters were tweens/teens and had started racing last season.

 

Have you ever checked out the EpicSki Unofficial Guides for Alta and Snowbird?

 

I added a tag link for "Spring Skiing" under Topics Discussed (right hand column under Featured Articles).  Click on the tag to get a list of relevant threads from the last few years.

post #11 of 22
Our closing date is later than usual this year at Whitefish, April 12. Whether we'll make it or not is another story. Our base is currently excellent, but you're talking three months from now.
post #12 of 22

Little Cottonwood Canyon, as marznc mentioned, usually is a good bet well into April, and so far they have been building a pretty good, if not exceptional, base. I have to throw Mammoth into the discussion, of course. Mammoth usually stays open until/after Father's Day. Occasionally July 4. However, this year has not started off much better than last. (However, my iPhone has just popped up with snow forecast for next Saturday, my next planned trip!) Coming from back east, flying into Reno makes the most sense, then it is a several hour drive. That might not be that much different from the Denver>drive pattern you are trying to get away from. Also, Mammoth Lakes may not hold quite the interest you mentioned you might be looking for. The slope variety aspect, though, seems to fit. Mammoth is, well... mammoth. No lack of double blacks, for sure.

post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickM View Post
 

Thanks for the replies. Sorry I wasn't more specific.  We are a skiing family. 4 of the 5 of us just walked in from race practice ( it is cold here tonight!).  We have plenty of experience at Vail Beaver Creek as a family. Just wondering about later in the year guesses at good snow and getting our of the rut of flying to Denver and renting a car etc.  The idea hit of going some where different. Flying or driving from home. would be fun.  We wouldn't be looking for  anything extreme.

 Our priorities would be a variety of skiing: 3 of us would be in black and double black all day, 2 of us want mellow groomed runs ( why Beaver Creek/ Vail has worked well).  A place with decent snow April 1. ( I have not followed who is getting snow this year). Affordability, we would love to keep costs down as this trip exceeds our yearly skiing budget:).Not really looking for lessons or any of that stuff  just a fun place to ski in a fun place ( 2 of us may take one day off skiing).

 Pete's a regular drive to Steamboat  and how they do it is great! ....Since kids I've been here, vail/bc and Aspen/ Snowmass

Thanks

 

It's really hard to beat Summit County for a trip beginning April 1st.  The March crowds disappear, the elevation preservers the snow better than just about anywhere, and lodging goes from high season in March to low season come April 1st.  And since you are looking to save money, the drive from MN is easy if you have the time to take two days each way.  Or, a long drive to near Denver in a single day will put you in range to ski the next day.  Gas is cheap and the days are long for driving come April, so if you are ever going to do the drive this would be the year!

 

You can get cheap tickets to Copper, A-basin and Loveland on liftopia.  Cheap tickets to Breck and Keystone are much harder to come by, but they will be a little less than what you paid for tix at the Beav.   One of the best deals anywhere is the Shell two-for-one tickets that are good at Loveland and Copper: 

http://skifreedeals.com/ski-resorts-all

post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickM View Post
 

We are at Lutsen the next 2 weekends.  So yeah, kinda thinking driving to Montana ( which place? how is the snow historically there April 1).  Or SLC,( Which place? Historically how is the snow April 1).  Any places are worth checking out?  Haven't skied either state in 20 years.  I don't know, I'd drive to Steam boat too, goolge says 15 hrs from mpls.  The more affordable the better ( we ski travel 4 of the next 5 weekends) the ski budget is run out.

 

I love Steamboat but can state with certainty that in the last 3 yrs I coaxed co-workers on a trip, late March, early April, weather/snow is a real flip of coin and very good chance bottom of mountain is sloppy and you can get rain. I really wanted to go but it was always planned as a "follow the snow" trip with Summit or WP as the alternate. But locking into a rental is somewhat risky and I never could pull the trigger any sooner than a week out.

 

Drive wise, I'd say Summit is quicker and between it and say Winter Park, better bets due to altitude and preserved snow. 

 

However if you are pondering SLC, it's possible decent flights can be found and snow conditions would hold as others indicated but this opens up a lot of options if flying. 

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by gray81 View Post
 

We went to Big Sky in Montana last year March 23-30th during my son's spring break from college.  It was my wife, son and 2 of his friends.  We had a blast.  

if not really wanting Co but driving, then Big Sky at 15hrs may still be an option if closing date co-operates ... there's other Montana resorts but I don't know much about em.

post #15 of 22
You could look into Bridger, Red Lodge and Big Sky all on the same trip to Montana. Red Lodge is only 660 miles past fargo.
post #16 of 22
Thread Starter 
Any opinion or history of how the snow in Montana is April 1?
post #17 of 22
Montana is a huge state. That being said, it'll be "spring conditions". Check out Tony Crocker or NOAA or provide the name of the resorts that interest you. Most resorts in the state have projected closings of either the first or second weekend in April.

Based on our snowpack to date and our temps to date and NOAA, I'm projecting coverage with dirt showing here and there for the first weekend. I wouldn't lay any bets on us making the following weekend. That prognostication could change based on what happens in February.
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by PatrickM View Post

We are at Lutsen the next 2 weekends.  So yeah, kinda thinking driving to Montana ( which place? how is the snow historically there April 1).  Or SLC,( Which place? Historically how is the snow April 1).  Any places are worth checking out?  Haven't skied either state in 20 years.  I don't know, I'd drive to Steam boat too, goolge says 15 hrs from mpls.  The more affordable the better ( we ski travel 4 of the next 5 weekends) the ski budget is run out.

We have been going to breck that time of year and snow has always been great, even last year where conditions were avg per colorado standards. If trying to save some $, staying at frisco is a great place. Having keystone and breck 15 min drive or so totally doable and now that breck opened peak 6, good terrain for the black double black in the group.

If you have epic local pass skiing at both of these is part of the deal. You also get 10 days at vail which is 30 min drive.

We like frisco a lot since it is an actual town vs tourist town. Plus they just opened a new 'Whole Paycheck' which is nice addition as a grocery option besides Wally World.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by midwestfabs View Post


We have been going to breck that time of year and snow has always been great, even last year where conditions were avg per colorado standards. If trying to save some $, staying at frisco is a great place. Having keystone and breck 15 min drive or so totally doable and now that breck opened peak 6, good terrain for the black double black in the group.

If you have epic local pass skiing at both of these is part of the deal. You also get 10 days at vail which is 30 min drive.

We like frisco a lot since it is an actual town vs tourist town. Plus they just opened a new 'Whole Paycheck' which is nice addition as a grocery option besides Wally World.


I'd agree, if driving from Minn, between Steamboat and Summit Co, snow condition due to altitude gives it to Summit. Theory it could be a slightly shorter drive and if one decides to do other travel, Denver is a great town in itself. Nice Museums.

post #20 of 22
How was Lutsen? They don't seem to have gotten a lot of snow yet this year and I'm reading reviews to not head up there until they do.
post #21 of 22
Chatted with someone that was up there couple of weeks ago while chugging along on a 2seater at afton that it was ok (not to enthusiasticically sounding) and very icy. For what its worth.
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 

They have snow cover, meaning the runs are covered.  It was vercold this weekend, the wind made it really tough.  The wind and cold limited how much we roamed around.  There is snow. It is icy.  It is January in Minnesota.  

This weekend forecast highs in the upper 20's,  it will feel hot.  

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