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Where to go with an adult beginner in mid-March?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

I'm planning to take my wife on her first ever skiing trip over spring break, and I need some help choosing where to go. We'll likely be flying in from Houston Monday March 9 and leaving Friday March 13.

 

My wife is a complete beginner, but she's reasonably fit. I used to be a fairly advanced skier, though better on on piste, but I've got pretty rusty since I last went about five years ago. I've mostly skied the French and Swiss Alps, except for one two-week trip with friends to Breckenridge in 2007, when we skied there, Copper (I think), Vail, Beaver Creek and A Basin. It was a lot of fun.

 

These are our main criteria:
- Good for beginners but also lots of blue and black runs for me
- Avoid the college kids on Spring Break
- Some decent restaurants (my wife will not want to live off pizza and burgers)
- Convenience of access, both flight and drive time and access to the slopes
- Decent snow (obviously). I've checked the forecasts, and Colorado is probably looking best.

 

Unfortunately, booking at such short notice makes things tricky. After looking at a few resort reviews and snow forecasts, this is where I've been thinking so far:
- Beaver Creek - but things seem eye-wateringly expensive
- Snowmass - also seems expensive, but not as much as BC. Is there enough beginner terrain?
- Big Sky or Grand Targhee - should be quiet, but further to go, plus the snow forecast doesn't look so good

 

I'm open to suggestions. Is there anywhere that obviously stands out where we should go?

 

Thanks very much.

post #2 of 19

Snowmass has plenty of beginner terrain and a fenced off area called the Meadows for beginners.  It is a great area without the worry of random people skiing through.

 

After the Meadows, there is plenty of green/easy blue terrain.   Snowmass has plenty of lodging near the hill and the airport is 20 minutes away.

Buttermilk which is a short bus ride away has plenty of beginner terrain.   You can take the bus to Aspen and enjoy the town.

 

I think you and your wife would have a great time at Snowmass.

 

(Disclaimer:  I am an instructor at Snowmass)

post #3 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen778 View Post
 

Hi all,

 

I'm planning to take my wife on her first ever skiing trip over spring break, and I need some help choosing where to go. We'll likely be flying in from Houston Monday March 9 and leaving Friday March 13.

 

My wife is a complete beginner, but she's reasonably fit. I used to be a fairly advanced skier, though better on on piste, but I've got pretty rusty since I last went about five years ago. I've mostly skied the French and Swiss Alps, except for one two-week trip with friends to Breckenridge in 2007, when we skied there, Copper (I think), Vail, Beaver Creek and A Basin. It was a lot of fun.

 

These are our main criteria:
- Good for beginners but also lots of blue and black runs for me
- Avoid the college kids on Spring Break
- Some decent restaurants (my wife will not want to live off pizza and burgers)
- Convenience of access, both flight and drive time and access to the slopes
- Decent snow (obviously). I've checked the forecasts, and Colorado is probably looking best.

 

Unfortunately, booking at such short notice makes things tricky. After looking at a few resort reviews and snow forecasts, this is where I've been thinking so far:
- Beaver Creek - but things seem eye-wateringly expensive
- Snowmass - also seems expensive, but not as much as BC. Is there enough beginner terrain?
- Big Sky or Grand Targhee - should be quiet, but further to go, plus the snow forecast doesn't look so good

 

I'm open to suggestions. Is there anywhere that obviously stands out where we should go?

 

Thanks very much.


Welcome to EpicSki!  Haven't been to Snowmass or Beaver Creek, but can comment on Big Sky and Targhee.  Big Sky is huge and has plenty of terrain at all levels.  A friend of mine who was pretty much a beginner from the southeast joined in a group event at Big Sky a few years ago.  She had a good time.  We also spent a couple days at Bridger in Bozeman.  She really liked Bridger.  While it's actually pretty big, it was less intimidating than Big Sky for someone sticking to green runs.  I would not recommend Targhee for a week.  Pretty limited green terrain.  Really nothing to do but ski.  Unless you go over to Jackson for a day trip (takes about an hour in good weather).

 

I have friends who will be at Big Sky March 7-13.  I don't think they are worried about snow conditions because it's started snowing recently.

 

Snowmass is often recommended for families with kids who are learning.  The combination of Buttermilk and Snowmass is a lot of terrain.  But there are two other mountains as well: Aspen and Aspen Highlands.  You can find other threads about Snowmass by using the link under Topics Discussed (right hand column) and scrolling down to the bottom of the Resorts page.

post #4 of 19
United has daily directs to Aspen. No place will be as easy to get too.
I would stay in Aspen and take the bus to Buttermilk and Snowmass.
Your wife will be very happy and love you long time!
post #5 of 19

Jeepers, that's like 2 wks away; anywhere you can get a halfway decent room/condo for 4 days and flight for 2 would do;  there are non-stops to EGE (vail-eagle) from some cities like yours - it's another 30 miles shuttle to the ski places but it isn't through mountain passes like coming from Denver;  you could do Beaver Creek and stay in Avon (2 mi away; a lift actually goes into the resort from there but the free resort shuttle is faster) - Avon isn't the resort town but does have enough good restaurants for a week and may have rooms available.  Try BeaverCreekWest for example.  Walk-to-lift is a whole nother world of coin; can't help you there.

 

I'm not sure you'll be able to avoid college kids on spring break week anywhere in CO, however.

post #6 of 19

If PC ever gets any decent snow, that would be a good call. Mainly for ease of access. 30 minutes from airport. And SLC airport way easier to deal with than DEN. However, if can get reasonably priced flight into Aspen or Eagle, that would definitely work. But, flying into DEN and dealing with trains and shuttles before you even get on the road and then a 3 hour drive to BC is not easy access. Depends on priorities. And if weather changes, PC would be fine for conditions. But huge caveat, if weather changes. Which it better as I go there mid March for 2 weeks. 

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone, that's much more help than I was expecting, I'm impressed. Looks like Snowmass might be the best option, even if the direct flights are getting expensive. Next year we might get to take the kids, but that requires my other half enjoying it this year.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

United has daily directs to Aspen. No place will be as easy to get too.
I would stay in Aspen and take the bus to Buttermilk and Snowmass.
Your wife will be very happy and love you long time!

 

Yes, the convenience is difficult to ignore. Flying direct to Eagle for BC would be as convenient, except what little accommodation is left in BC itself seems to have hit eight hundred bucks, and there isn't much left in Avon either.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevescho View Post
 

Jeepers, that's like 2 wks away; anywhere you can get a halfway decent room/condo for 4 days and flight for 2 would do;  there are non-stops to EGE (vail-eagle) from some cities like yours - it's another 30 miles shuttle to the ski places but it isn't through mountain passes like coming from Denver;  you could do Beaver Creek and stay in Avon (2 mi away; a lift actually goes into the resort from there but the free resort shuttle is faster) - Avon isn't the resort town but does have enough good restaurants for a week and may have rooms available.  Try BeaverCreekWest for example.  Walk-to-lift is a whole nother world of coin; can't help you there.

 

I'm not sure you'll be able to avoid college kids on spring break week anywhere in CO, however.

 

Booking a spring break week less than two weeks out is a little stupid, yes. Unfortunately, circumstances outside our control mean booking was too much of a risk before now.

post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen778 View Post

 

Yes, the convenience is difficult to ignore. Flying direct to Eagle for BC would be as convenient, except what little accommodation is left in BC itself seems to have hit eight hundred bucks, and there isn't much left in Avon either.

 

 

Sorry, but I don't think so.   Four directs to ASE instead of one to EGE.   Airports three miles from town vs almost 30 to BC.

 

Many Aspen/Snowmass lodges will pick you up for free.  Call Stay Aspen at 888-649-5982 and maybe they can package a deal and save you a little money.

post #9 of 19

If flights to ASE are too expensive, you can fly to EGE and drive to Aspen in about an hour.  Drive is pretty easy with no mountain passes.

post #10 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen778 View Post
 

Thanks everyone, that's much more help than I was expecting, I'm impressed. Looks like Snowmass might be the best option, even if the direct flights are getting expensive. Next year we might get to take the kids, but that requires my other half enjoying it this year.

 

 

Yes, the convenience is difficult to ignore. Flying direct to Eagle for BC would be as convenient, except what little accommodation is left in BC itself seems to have hit eight hundred bucks, and there isn't much left in Avon either.

 

 

Booking a spring break week less than two weeks out is a little stupid, yes. Unfortunately, circumstances outside our control mean booking was too much of a risk before now.

 

 

Really?  I see several decent-looking options in Avon on VRBO currently for those particular dates (see below, hope the link works):

http://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/usa/colorado/northwest/avon?from-date=2015-03-09&to-date=2015-03-13

 

Aspen area has less available/costs somewhat more for lodging but you could probably figure something out at Snowmass too.


Edited by stevescho - 2/25/15 at 1:52pm
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

 

 

Sorry, but I don't think so.   Four directs to ASE instead of one to EGE.   Airports three miles from town vs almost 30 to BC.

 

Many Aspen/Snowmass lodges will pick you up for free.  Call Stay Aspen at 888-649-5982 and maybe they can package a deal and save you a little money.

Fair enough. The flight prices weren't that much different when I looked, but I guess more people fly to Denver when they could fly to Eagle, with Aspen being a bit too far.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanvg View Post
 

If flights to ASE are too expensive, you can fly to EGE and drive to Aspen in about an hour.  Drive is pretty easy with no mountain passes.

True, but part of the attraction of flying into a local airport is saving on car rental and parking costs.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevescho View Post
 

 

 

Really?  I see several decent-looking options in Avon on VRBO currently for those particular dates (see below, hope the link works):

http://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/usa/colorado/northwest/avon?from-date=2015-03-09&to-date=2015-03-13

 

Aspen area has less available/costs somewhat more for lodging but you could probably figure something out at Snowmass too.

 

Thanks. I guess I wasn't looking in all the right places. That may yet be very helpful.

post #12 of 19

And ask about package/discount lift tickets, rentals, etc., where you are thinking about staying; it is a significant cost for non-passholders.

post #13 of 19

I've stayed in Avon when visiting BC. They make it really easy to get to the mountain, with free and frequent bus service; either make sure you are near a stop, or you can drive to Elk or Bear lots and pick it up there. http://co-avon.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/View/11648

 

BC has great beginner terrain; there is a special beginner gondola, and very flat green terrain at the top of the mountain (so, more fun than being stuck at the base).

 

I wouldn't say Avon (or BC, for that matter) has great restaurants, but there is a variety, and there is some decent stuff. I really like the happy hour at Vin 48. At the end of the ski day be at the Chophouse at 3:30 for the free champagne.

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the advice, everyone.

 

Talking to my wife last night, she is even more more paranoid about her sleep being disturbed than I realized. So, we're going to Snowmass, and to ease her worries, we've gone expensive. I'm hoping that she will enjoy herself enough to come back with the kids next year, book earlier, and so book somewhere not quite so exorbitantly priced. Hopefully, next year we can spend the same amount on a longer trip for five of us.

 

Now comes the rest of the spending - lift passes, gear rental, beginner lessons, clothing, including new pants for me (turns out I've, um, grown, in the last five years). Steve - thanks for the advice, I'll email the hotel and ask if they have any discounts arranged.

post #15 of 19

Winter Park has connecting green runs all the way to 11,200 ft. from a base of 9000.  Easy, quick access from DIA and the huge traffic jams on I-70 are less of a problem from Winter Park.  Don't know what you mean by "sleep disturbed,"  but if you are referring to altitude, try a Melatonin based supplement - it works.

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pdtj View Post
 

Winter Park has connecting green runs all the way to 11,200 ft. from a base of 9000.  Easy, quick access from DIA and the huge traffic jams on I-70 are less of a problem from Winter Park.  Don't know what you mean by "sleep disturbed,"  but if you are referring to altitude, try a Melatonin based supplement - it works.

 

She is worried about loud drunk people on spring break. But yes, I should get her to bring melatonin too.

post #17 of 19

I have stayed at hotels at both Snowmass and BeaverCreek with kids + wife. Both were very nice (Westin Snowmass, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek). Cost was high at both, more so in Beaver Creek. Doubt you will have a problem with loud teenagers at hotel or condo at either place. I am sure she will enjoy.

post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the help, everyone, we arrived home yesterday after four days of great skiing.

 

Snowmass was in great shape. The lowest areas, around the Two Creeks and Campground chairs, were getting quite hard packed, but I've skied much worse in the past. Elsewhere were wonderful spring conditions throughout.

 

Four days wasn't enough to get me back to the level I used to ski at, but I still managed some great black runs by Tuesday, along with a lot of wide, open blues. Wednesday was then a different sort of fun - skiing greens with my wife. She really enjoyed the skiing, but her knees were unfortunately in pain every evening.

 

My favorite runs? Long Shot (a local assured me this is the longest run in North America, but it seems not), Slot and The Edge.

 

This was the top of The Edge on Tuesday lunchtime:

 

 

Not bad at all.

post #19 of 19
I would suggest Jackson Hole , let her look over the drop in Corbet's Couloir and see if she likes what she sees .
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