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Advice on late March ski trip for family (Big Sky, Park City, Snowbird, Breckenridge, Steamboat?)

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hi all.  We're thinking about taking a family trip out west the last week of March (weekend before Easter this year, so spring break time).  My kids are 9, 11, and 13 -- husband and I are both advanced skiers whose days of skiing chutes are probably over and the kids are verging into advanced territory as well.  They like blacks, but haven't had a ton of experience in moguls or glades.  Two winters ago we went to Whistler and absolutely loved it, although the snow did get slushy on the warmer days.

 

Any recommendations on where we would have the best bet on good conditions that late in the season?  Would love to take the  kids to Steamboat, but am wondering if we should save that trip for a winter when we can go earlier in the season.  We're considering Big Sky, Breckenridge, Snowbird and Park City, but certainly open to other suggestions.  Would prefer ski in/ski out or easy access accommodations.  Nightlife not that important, but good restaurants would be nice.  Not too concerned about non-ski activities -- we find that after a day on the slopes, we're a dinner and early to bed kind of family.

 

Good ski school would be nice too -- plan is to have kids in ski school 2 days and ski as a family 2 days.

 

Thanks so much!
 

post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MurphyMom View Post
 

Hi all.  We're thinking about taking a family trip out west the last week of March (weekend before Easter this year, so spring break time).  My kids are 9, 11, and 13 -- husband and I are both advanced skiers whose days of skiing chutes are probably over and the kids are verging into advanced territory as well.  They like blacks, but haven't had a ton of experience in moguls or glades.  Two winters ago we went to Whistler and absolutely loved it, although the snow did get slushy on the warmer days.

 

Any recommendations on where we would have the best bet on good conditions that late in the season?  Would love to take the  kids to Steamboat, but am wondering if we should save that trip for a winter when we can go earlier in the season.  We're considering Big Sky, Breckenridge, Snowbird and Park City, but certainly open to other suggestions.  Would prefer ski in/ski out or easy access accommodations.  Nightlife not that important, but good restaurants would be nice.  Not too concerned about non-ski activities -- we find that after a day on the slopes, we're a dinner and early to bed kind of family.

 

Good ski school would be nice too -- plan is to have kids in ski school 2 days and ski as a family 2 days.

 

Thanks so much!
 


Welcome to EpicSki!  Of your list, Breck and Snowbird are the best bets for good snow conditions.  I'll be at Alta that week for an annual spring break trip with friends.  Often there are folks who stay in Park City that late who end up driving to LCC.  If you end up at Snowbird, be happy to meet up.  My friends' kids are 12 and 14 (girl, boy) and they are advanced skiers who have been skiing off-piste at Alta for a few years.

post #3 of 16

Pictures speak volumes when it comes to snow conditions: Murphy-Mom, so here are all April skiing video clips since 2008 (North America only) - just scroll through to get a feel as they are all over 8 minutes long. Will comment on ski school and note the age of the kid involved kind of spans your brood's age-range. So here it is 

 

1. 2008: Sunshine Village Alberta (3rd week of April) 5 years old . Good ski school, young European instructors then

 

2. Alta(Jan 2010 and the latter part is April 2010), Utah : 7 year old ; Superb Ski School. Lifts have no bars - everywhere! Some thing to get used to especially for the kids but it works..

 

3. As you mentioned Park City, Deer Valley has a good ski school, and we have friends who love the Canyons (never been myself). Deer Valley great for beginner-intermediates and advanced intermediates, big, long, wide ski runs, great grooming. 

 

4. Whistler-Blackcomb :  you know it well, in our view, biggest, baddest, mountain in the Americas, has incredible terrain variety for all. Ski School excellent but they have 1400 instructors or something like that so luck of the draw when it comes to kids instructors.

 

5. Aspen-Snowmass 2014 April 11-20, 11 years old: Snowmass ski school was excellent for kids, and we skied with Bob Barnes here on this forum in Aspen Highlands. Best Ski Town in America, the WE have been to (many we have not so cannot judge that at all otherwise) I know, I know, it's all 'posh', but Aspen is just a nice town, and Snowmass Village is pretty nice for what it is, and the food was good 

post #4 of 16

An update . . . Alta installed safety bars on all the lifts a few years ago, complete with posts that go between legs to keep little ones from slipping under the bar.  Also have conveyor loading on the Supreme lift so it slows less often.

post #5 of 16
Really? Enough to make me want to go back if you mean they have foot rests?
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

An update . . . Alta installed safety bars on all the lifts a few years ago, complete with posts that go between legs to keep little ones from slipping under the bar.  Also have conveyor loading on the Supreme lift so it slows less often.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

Really? Enough to make me want to go back if you mean they have foot rests?


Nope, no foot rests.  But if you haven't been to Alta since the Collins lift replaced two lifts (Germania and ?), it's a lot more fun getting to the top from the Wildcat base.  Also, the current Sugarloaf lift is a lot faster than the old one.

post #7 of 16
I think it was 16 years ago.
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sibhusky View Post

I think it was 16 years ago.


The Collins lift that goes all the way to the top was dates from 2004.  Has a bend at mid station (loading only) that's pretty unique.

post #9 of 16

Interesting so Alta has safety bars now, did not in Jan 2011 if I am not mistaken, was last time we were there...

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by dustyfog View Post
 

Interesting so Alta has safety bars now, did not in Jan 2011 if I am not mistaken, was last time we were there...


Yep, they were installed over the summer of 2011, so first in use for the 2011-12 season.  Fair to say that many locals don't bother to use them.

post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by dustyfog View Post

 
Interesting so Alta has safety bars now, did not in Jan 2011 if I am not mistaken, was last time we were there...


Yep, they were installed over the summer of 2011, so first in use for the 2011-12 season.  Fair to say that many locals don't bother to use them.
... And some of us still get a little confused when they get pulled down. Everyone's very polite about it, though.
post #12 of 16

At PCMR, we were instructed to call them "comfort bars", for liability reasons. (not making this up).

post #13 of 16
I visited all the OP's listed choices in late March/April over many years of going west when the Michigan ski season ended. Snow conditions at that time of the year is the main reason I chose Breck as the place to relocate.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Would love to take the  kids to Steamboat, but am wondering if we should save that trip for a winter when we can go earlier in the season.

 

That place is magical for Easter.  Easter egg drop from helicopter for kids at the ski jump.  Easter restaurant party at night on the mountain.

Skiing.  Hot air balloon ride (a must).  and More. 

post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MurphyMom View Post
 

Hi all.  We're thinking about taking a family trip out west the last week of March (weekend before Easter this year, so spring break time).  My kids are 9, 11, and 13 -- husband and I are both advanced skiers whose days of skiing chutes are probably over and the kids are verging into advanced territory as well.  They like blacks, but haven't had a ton of experience in moguls or glades.  Two winters ago we went to Whistler and absolutely loved it, although the snow did get slushy on the warmer days.

 

Any recommendations on where we would have the best bet on good conditions that late in the season?  Would love to take the  kids to Steamboat, but am wondering if we should save that trip for a winter when we can go earlier in the season.  We're considering Big Sky, Breckenridge, Snowbird and Park City, but certainly open to other suggestions.  Would prefer ski in/ski out or easy access accommodations.  Nightlife not that important, but good restaurants would be nice.  Not too concerned about non-ski activities -- we find that after a day on the slopes, we're a dinner and early to bed kind of family.

 

Good ski school would be nice too -- plan is to have kids in ski school 2 days and ski as a family 2 days.

 

Thanks so much!
 

 

My personal favorite mountain is Snowbird but it is a really technical and expert mountain, despite their attempts to make it more novice friendly.  In addition, there is no nightlife so you can really only eat at one of the half dozen restaurants at the Snowbird base or go next door to Alta and eat at the Shallow Shaft.  The Cliff Lodge is very convenient, ski-in/out, price is reasonable and they are renovating it this summer so it should look quite nice this coming winter.  A very nice alternative is to stay at Alta.  Both mountains will have very good snow in late March.  Alta is much more balanced for beginners/intermediates/experts and has a great rustic charm about it.  I would recommend staying at Snowpine or Alta Rustler lodge.  All the lodges include breakfast & dinner in their lodging price.  The food and ambiance is excellent.  You can get a single life ticket that allows you to ski both Alta and Snowbird together since they are connected.  Whether you stay at Alta or Snowbird, you ski/pool/hot tub/eat/sleep daily and then repeat.  There is nothing else to do but my family & I don't want to do anything else so we've been going there for 15+ years.

 

Deer Valley and Old Town, Park City is the complete opposite of Snowbird and Alta.  The luxury and food quality is incredible at Deer Valley.  Customer service is top notch and the price is also sky high to match.  Old Town, Park City is an old mining town and has the feel and ambiance that is fantastic.  Great restaurants and bars abound.  You can find the most exclusive places at Deer Valley if want to pay $1500/night at Stein Erikson or St Regis.  More at my level, I like Marriott Mountainside which is ski-in/out and Marriott SummitWatch is virtually ski-in/out via the town lift.  The elevation at both Deer Valley and Park City is significantly lower and you don't get as much snow here (500" at Alta/Snowbird vs 300" at Deer Valley/PCMR).  But the skiing is still quite good as long as you have good snow.  Late March means that the weather will be unpredictable so you may want to skip it unless you can wait til Jan/Feb to book so you can see how the snow accumulation is doing.

 

Breckenridge is also a great option.  The town is also an old mining town and has a similar ambiance as Park City.  The food and bars are equally as good as Park City. Breckenridge elevation tops out at 13,000ft so it is higher than Alta/Snowbird and much higher than Deer Valley/Park City.  This means that the snow will be quite good, even in late March.  Breckenridge is a very balanced mountain that caters equally well to beginners, intermediates, and experts.  There is something for everyone and the mountain feels very big since it is spread out across 5 peaks. There is very good bowl and tree skiing for both experts and intermediates.  The only downside is that Breckenridge is one of the busiest ski resorts in the country.  It is very big so you'll be fine during mid-week but it will get very crowded on the weekends, as will the town and restaurants.  Nice places to stay at Breck include Grand Lodge at Peak 7 and Hyatt Main Street Station.

 

I've never been to Big Sky so I can't comment.  But I was on a lift this winter at Alta with someone who had recently visited Big Sky for the first time.  He said that it was quite overcast the entire time he was there and the Lone Peak at Big Sky was reminiscent of the evil Mordor mountain in the the Lord of the Rings novels/movies.  So, I think you should go if you are a Lord of the Rings fan. ;)

 

So I kid you not, what I had already planned to do with my family next year is: Alta/Snowbird for Christmas week, Breckenridge for Presidents week, and Park City for Good Friday/Easter weekend.

 

For you, I would recommend going to Alta/Snowbird if you just want to ski and you don't care much about any other activities.  Otherwise, go to Breck because you'll have lots to do/see and just be prepared for the crowds.

 

P.S.  All the ski schools are good in my view (I have 4 kids).  All the places I mention above are ski-in/out.

post #16 of 16
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