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Christmas 2015 Ski Trip Suggestions [first family trip out west]

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

New Englander here, with two kids ages 11 and 13 that have not been skiing out west.  We're all very capable skiers and the wife and I are planning a trip out west over Christmas.  Looking for suggestions on where to go.  Good snow is a consideration of course, but really interested in short lift lines and variety of terrain, including glades.  Nightlife is not a big factor as we ski hard and collapse at night.  

 

Thinking Big Sky?

 

What has your experience been skiing over the Christmas break?

 

Mod note: moved to Resorts, Conditions & Travel

post #2 of 15

Thinking a little outside the big resort box and with the focus on small crowds and challenging terrain, maybe wait until the last minute and go for either Taos or Araphoe Basin depending on conditions at the time.  You could even buy airfares to Denver and make the final call at the last minute.  Taos has a glut of lodging in town during winter because it is a bigger tourist draw in summer.  If you drive from Denver to Taos (5.5 hrs) you could hit Wolf Creek coming or going.  If you went for A-Basin you could easily incorporate Loveland for cheap skiing, moderate crowds and there is quite a bit of lodging in Frisco/Silverthorne that should have some last minute availability even before Christmas, maybe.  Big Sky would certainly work for nice acreage to crowd ration, but my concern would be cold temps.  Taos can be pretty nice/sunny even in late Dec/early Jan.  Snowbasin, UT might also be a consideration.

Welcome to Epicski.

post #3 of 15
He's from New England. Even when it's warmer there it's colder there. All that humidity.
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by skinoobied View Post
 

New Englander here, with two kids ages 11 and 13 that have not been skiing out west.  We're all very capable skiers and the wife and I are planning a trip out west over Christmas.  Looking for suggestions on where to go.  Good snow is a consideration of course, but really interested in short lift lines and variety of terrain, including glades.  Nightlife is not a big factor as we ski hard and collapse at night.  

 

Thinking Big Sky?

 

What has your experience been skiing over the Christmas break?


Welcome to EpicSki!  Grand Targhee is often mentioned for Christmas vacation where relatively empty slopes and good skiing is the priority.

 

If you decide on Big Sky, consider staying in Bozeman to start with for a warm up at Bridger.  Good for the overall trip budget.

 

Big Sky has a lot more lodging options than Targhee.

 

Where would you fly from?

post #5 of 15

Had the same question this past off season and ended up at Solitude. No lines, good terrain, and good snow. Great for families, kids loved the heated swimming pool and game room.

post #6 of 15
Quote:

Originally Posted by skinoobied View PostWe're all very capable skiers and the wife and I are planning a trip out west over Christmas. . .

 

Good snow is a consideration of course, but really interested in short lift lines and variety of terrain, including glades. . .

 

What has your experience been skiing over the Christmas break?

 

Here are some great articles by Tony Crocker to help with finding the best opportunity for good snow

 

http://web.archive.org/web/20060527094327/http://www.skiingmag.com/skiing/travel/article/0,12910,328638,00.html

 

https://gator1314.hostgator.com/~bestsnow/fam_ski.htm

 

Been to Whistler-Blackcomb over X'mas. It can be a very busy and expensive proposition, but it's just a magical time to be skiing. Book early for the most options. It was not super crowded X'mas eve and X'mas day, but everybody arrives after that and stay till New Years.

post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 

Thinking a little outside the big resort box ...and go for either Taos or Araphoe Basin depending on conditions at the time.  You could even buy airfares to Denver and make the final call at the last minute.  

 

Not good advice.  First, Arapahoe Basin has no lodging, so you'd have to stay at Keystone or somesuch anyway.  Lodging at A-Bay was tried in the 1960s, I believe, but too many visitors couldn't tolerate staying at such high altitude. That very high altitude at A-Bay is a second consideration for sea-levelish visitors. Third, I have a rental condo in Frisco; Christmas rentals are usually arranged at least six months in advance.  The idea of making a destination decision at the last minute and trying to find affordable accommodation is not realistic. Truth be told, for your first trip out skiing out west your family will probably enjoy a big resort atmosphere at the holidays.

post #8 of 15

Did Big Sky and Bridger Bowl last year during Xmas week. If you're looking for short lift lines during the holidays, Big Sky is the place to be. Stayed at the Huntley, and couldn't be happier.

post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by raspritz View Post
 

 

Not good advice.  First, Arapahoe Basin has no lodging, so you'd have to stay at Keystone or somesuch anyway.  Lodging at A-Bay was tried in the 1960s, I believe, but too many visitors couldn't tolerate staying at such high altitude. That very high altitude at A-Bay is a second consideration for sea-levelish visitors. Third, I have a rental condo in Frisco; Christmas rentals are usually arranged at least six months in advance.  The idea of making a destination decision at the last minute and trying to find affordable accommodation is not realistic. Truth be told, for your first trip out skiing out west your family will probably enjoy a big resort atmosphere at the holidays.

I defer to the Frisco resident.Thumbs Up  However, I was thinking of lodging for A-basin in the numerous motels in Frisco/Dillon/Silverthorne area or even Georgetown and Idaho Springs.  Also, I may have focused too much in my response on the criteria for short lift lines, challenging terrain, and lack of interest in nightlife/resortsy stuff.

post #10 of 15
Big Sky is a great resort, bit Xmas may be a bit early for the terrain to open. You might be happier at Aspen or Steamboat which will have manageable lift lines and a better chance of good conditions at Cmas...

Mike
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 

SUPER info guys.  Thanks very much!  We'd be flying out of Boston Logan.  And yea - "cold" is relative.  Woke up on Saturday morning to -20F in northern NH.  We slow rolled it to let it warm up to 0F before heading out to snowmobile in the "not-so-steep but quite deep".  Hadn't considered Targhee.  That's an interesting suggestion.

 

RatherPlayThanWork:  any issues with open terrain at Big Sky over Xmas?  Budget is a consideration as it gets expensive quickly with a family.  And we can't fly by the seat of our pants as my wife doesn't have that "adventurous" disposition.,  We'll be traveling with another family as well.

 

Although I've never been there, I think the scale of Big Sky will just blow the kids' minds.  The downside is that it will probably set the bar ridiculously high for future trips!

 

Before Kids my wife and I went out to Red Mountain in BC.  Talk about a sleeper ski resort.  We were just buried in snow and the place was empty.  Did a snowmobiling day into the mountain meadows too.  Great memories.  That was 18 years ago.  Curious what it's like these days...

post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by skinoobied View Post
 
Curious what it's like these days...

 

It's a really nice area, has expanded quite a bit in 18 yrs and has the glades covered in spades.     It's probably not the best choice at Christmas, due to low snow, low elevation and not much snowmaking, but who knows.   They really suffered this year, maybe they're due?

 

Christmas is on a Friday this year.  If you could go 12/19-26, it would open up a lot of options and probably save you some money,  since most resorts won't be crowded during that period.

Saturday the 26 is going to be a double whammy travel day this year.

post #13 of 15

We had no issues with coverage, but I gather that is not always the case at Big Sky that early in the season. We were definitely lucky with several storms right before we arrived and during our first few days. I booked early and hoped for the best. I figured even if they were only 25% open it's still 2000 acres vs. the few hundred acres filled with people at a NE resort during the holidays. 

post #14 of 15
Had a family gathering at BS over the holidays 14/15. My home mountain so I am biased. We had a great time. If I remember correctly there was like 3500 acres open. Skied off the tram.It did get cold. So far the
coldest of the year.
We rented a house in Powder Ridge. I would recommend with a big group, upto 12. Ski in/out, once you figure out the right trails very convenient. They book early that time of year.
I personally think possibly because of the size the snow gets understated. One day during that trip it was snowing heavy for several hours. The next day it was reported as 5 inches. No way, it snowed that much in a few hours and it snowed all day. The other positive for BS is because of its size it has every aspect of mountain direction. Just because it hasn't snowed doesn't mean you aren't going to ski pow. If the wind moves it.
post #15 of 15
For got to mention. It is not my thing but my grandkids were thrilled with all the terrain parks.
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