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Looking for advice on where to take our next ski trip

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

My family is taking a ski trip this year and we are up in the air as to where we are going to go. We went to Deer Valley a couple years ago and had a great time, but it was expensive.   I would like to know what you  all thought was the best "bang for your buck" in the US or Canada. We've looked at Whistler, but it seems it's 2.5 hours from the airport and the snow/weather is iffy. I would like to know what your favorite ski destinations are regarding price, snow, ease of access, etc. We want ski in/ski out wherever we go. Our guys mostly stay on the blues with occasional blacks and the girls prefer greens. We also usually cook most of our meals in the condo/house, but still want to have some good food on the mountain as well. We are currently looking at Deer Valley again and Whistler. Thanks!

post #2 of 20

Tell us a lot more about what you like/don't like, where will you be departing from and what type of family?

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 

After speaking with the in laws ski in/out isn't imperative ha.  We will be departing out of Jackson, MS. We are all grown adults and most of us have plenty of experience. We like to stay on the slopes from open till close.  The women might want to shop around, but probably only a day. My brother in law and I prefer the runs through the woods while the rest of the family enjoys plenty of open space. 

post #4 of 20

You would like Snowmass and it will be the easiest to get to, but it's not the cheapest.

 

Cheapest, most bang for the buck,  would probably be flying into Denver or SLC and renting a car.

post #5 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcsimmons View Post
 

My family is taking a ski trip this year and we are up in the air as to where we are going to go. We went to Deer Valley a couple years ago and had a great time, but it was expensive.   I would like to know what you  all thought was the best "bang for your buck" in the US or Canada. We've looked at Whistler, but it seems it's 2.5 hours from the airport and the snow/weather is iffy. I would like to know what your favorite ski destinations are regarding price, snow, ease of access, etc. We want ski in/ski out wherever we go. Our guys mostly stay on the blues with occasional blacks and the girls prefer greens. We also usually cook most of our meals in the condo/house, but still want to have some good food on the mountain as well. We are currently looking at Deer Valley again and Whistler. Thanks!

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcsimmons View Post
 

After speaking with the in laws ski in/out isn't imperative ha.  We will be departing out of Jackson, MS. We are all grown adults and most of us have plenty of experience. We like to stay on the slopes from open till close.  The women might want to shop around, but probably only a day. My brother in law and I prefer the runs through the woods while the rest of the family enjoys plenty of open space. 


Welcome to EpicSki!  Always good to see new folks from the southeast.

 

When you stayed at Deer Valley, did you consider skiing at PCMR or Canyons?  Are you aware those two areas will be linked by a gondola by next season?

 

What timeframe?  In particular, would this vacation be during a busy holiday period or is there flexibility for dates.

post #6 of 20

Marznc has a point if you thought DV was expensive. Just do the same thing at Canyons or PCMR. which will be linked next season. So, lots of skiable terrain.

post #7 of 20

In my opinion, "best bang for your buck" places are Snowbasin, Alta, and Grand Targhee.  Snowbasin has no ski in/ski out.  Alta and Grand Targhee do.  Alta is by far the easiest to get to.  While I love Colorado, it is generally more expensive than Utah.

post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcsimmons View Post
 

My family is taking a ski trip this year and we are up in the air as to where we are going to go. We went to Deer Valley a couple years ago and had a great time, but it was expensive.   I would like to know what you  all thought was the best "bang for your buck" in the US or Canada. We've looked at Whistler, but it seems it's 2.5 hours from the airport and the snow/weather is iffy. I would like to know what your favorite ski destinations are regarding price, snow, ease of access, etc. We want ski in/ski out wherever we go. Our guys mostly stay on the blues with occasional blacks and the girls prefer greens. We also usually cook most of our meals in the condo/house, but still want to have some good food on the mountain as well. We are currently looking at Deer Valley again and Whistler. Thanks!

For your first trip to Colorado, I would suggest Winter Park as a destination resort with bang for your buck.  It is an easy drive from the airport.  It has good snow and a variety of terrain with fast lifts.  Ski during the weekdays and it is not busy but it does get packed every weekend.  I have stayed ski in / ski out at The Ironhorse and also at The Zephyr.  I got reasonably priced packages with lift tickets.  The town a few miles down the road has restaurants and stores with decent prices.  Load up on groceries at the Safeway in Idaho Springs or at the one in town at Fraser.  That's how I used to do it.

After I got tired of Winter Park, I started staying at Copper Mountain for a few trips.  Now I fly to Aspen and stay at Snowmass.  All of Colorado can be expensive.  You have to do research to find bang for your buck.  It's very easy to get not much bang for alot of bucks if you don't care.  One last thing, Aspen is very expensive, but worth it.

post #9 of 20

I'm not sure I can think of anywhere destination wise with lots of ski in/out that is massively "green" - lower mountain at Breck springs mainly to mind (& I guess the Winter Park side of WP).  Whistler certainly has some nice mellow terrain but it seems a crying shame to go there if you're not really up to exploring the whole of the mountain (which can be done on (western standard) blues). 

post #10 of 20

My favorite mixed ability mountains are:

 

1) Telluride (by far);

2) Aspen Highlands (shocking, I know);

3) Snowmass

4) Grand Targhee

5) Alta

6) Snowbasin.

 

@Rubberduck described the Aspen area as "very expensive, but worth it."  I tend to agree, though there are certainly options that aren't "very" expensive.  Snowmass is a vast area with tons of ski-in, ski-out options and a great bus system to take you into Aspen for shopping, dining, etc. and access to Aspen Highlands which is another under-the-radar area that surprisingly has a decent amount of very nice blue and green terrain.  Which is why the Aspen area as a whole is one of the best ski destinations in North America taking everything into consideration.  Best of all, no lift lines!

 

Telluride is also a special place, but is hard to get to and a little pricey.  What it offers is incredible terrain options for all skier levels from first-timers all the way up to the best of the best.  If you're content with greens and blues, any time after January 1st is good.  The expert terrain usually takes another month to open.  For beginners and green terrain, I have yet to find a better place than Telluride.

 

Grand Targhee, Alta and Snowbasin are great values and can service all levels of skiers though the green terrain at these places is somewhat limited.

 

My issue with some of the other places mentioned above (such as Winter Park and Breckenridge) is that it is very hard for green and blue skiers to escape the crowds at either of those locations.  Compared to those that I have mentioned, the places close to Denver are some of the highest traffic resorts in North America.

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post
 

I'm not sure I can think of anywhere destination wise with lots of ski in/out that is massively "green" - lower mountain at Breck springs mainly to mind (& I guess the Winter Park side of WP).  Whistler certainly has some nice mellow terrain but it seems a crying shame to go there if you're not really up to exploring the whole of the mountain (which can be done on (western standard) blues). 

 

 

Snowmass is pretty dam green at the bottom.

 

I agree about Whistler, it's an awsome mountain, but a shitty place for beginners.  The weather can absolutely suck.  If you're an expert, you just deal with it.   Beginners just don't know how.

post #12 of 20

For your first time to Colorado, the most bang for your buck destination resort that I would suggest is Winter Park.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

 

 

Snowmass is pretty dam green at the bottom.

 

I agree about Whistler, it's an awsome mountain, but a shitty place for beginners.  The weather can absolutely suck.  If you're an expert, you just deal with it.   Beginners just don't know how.


Yup, don't got to Whistler yet.  Snowmass is my favorite ski area.  Fun for the whole family.  And it is dam green [but boring] at the bottom.  However, the blues on Elk Camp are the most beautiful, long, empty, smooth, easy cruisers I have ever seen by far.  And then there is the Big Burn with 2000 vertical feet that could be an entire ski area by itself.  And in between you hit Alpine Springs lift and ski Naked Lady which is one of the original best cut cruising runs on the mountain.  Or you could continue up High Alpine lift and have some blacks all to yourself.  If the weather is good ride up to the top of the Cirque at 12500 feet and ski anywhere down the bowl.  The Campground lift is old school with long, fun, empty runs.  And I STILL have not made it into Hanging Valley or The Wall but I will be back in April 2016.

post #13 of 20
If I wasn't expecting another disappointing winter, I'd be here saying that the Idaho and Montana areas, aside from Big Sky and Sun Valley, are reasonably priced and low crowds. Here in Whitefish, there are plenty of cruisers, ski in/out lodging (although not a huge amount), and great grooming. The new Flower Point area was a godsend last winter due to its microclimate and helped keep us open longer than most of the region, while spreading the crowds of Christmas around. The MOST EXPENSIVE day ticket was $71 last season, which can be reduced to around $50 with just a bit of planning. The rest of Montana and Idaho (with the mentioned exclusions) are more likely even lower in price.

But, given the current forecast, wait for a La Nina year to be wowed. I spent a lot of time on groomers last year....
post #14 of 20

Since the OP is considering a trip to Canada (Whistler) I would suggest instead flying to Calgary or Vancouver with a connector flight to Kamloops B.C. and a shuttle to Sun Peaks. Compared to Whistler, Sun Peaks has better quality snow, better longer lasting grooming, is less expensive, and has way, way, way less skier visits, AND it is intermediate heaven with over 80 long easy cruiser runs as well as some easy groomed black diamond runs that are very skiable for strong intermediates.

 

The small compact village has 7 ski in/out hotels plus tons of private ski in/out or short walk townhomes and houses.

 

Ski Canada Magazine once called Sun Peaks "The most like skiing in Colorado of any ski resort in Canada". They were referring to the long wide cruiser runs and abundance (for Canada) of winter sunshine. They were not referring to crowds which are virtually nonexistent at SP. At 4270 acres of skiable terrain, Sun Peaks is tied with Lake Louise for second biggest ski area in Canada  Most runs, most of the time, you won't have anyone skiing any where near you except your own group.

 

Right now the Canadian $ is worth about .80 cents US, so an $84CDN lift ticket is $70US. Canada is On Sale.

post #15 of 20

all of the above is correct.

If your considering B.C. most of it also applies to a number of other resorts in the region. You will be able to find a good match to your abilities.

Most of our larger areas have ski in ski out, worse case is staying in a town nearby. However our biggest drawback is usually not the snow conditions, crowds or prices  It's the potential extra hours you might need to get here.

I would consider flight connections first

If it's a short holiday that extra drive time or connecting flights can end up being a lot.

Consider that  2hr drive from Vancouver YVR to Whistler is a short one out here. 

post #16 of 20

Wait, wait. Girls ski greens, boys ski blues? Invest in a few lessons for the chicas and you'll all be skiing the same terrain. More fun, more options for everyone, and much less stereotypical.

 

-- a concerned female skier

post #17 of 20

 If you are traveling that far you need to be near a town and you definitely want to be near the mountain(s). The idea is to get a rest from work and have a great time, right? You can't go wrong with Park City (now linked to Canyons making it the largest resort in the USA), but you already were in UT. Canada is the better  bargain, but it will take longer getting there. Whistler/Blackcomb is huge, and if you stay in the village there won't be much need to travel during the week. A lot of the other Canadian areas will take longer to get to depending upon the flights and connections and drives, but are absolute bargains once you get there.  Aspen will be expensive, but skiing Snowmass and Aspen Highlands is worth it. Breckenridge should be on your short list for the CO resorts. I also love Steamboat, but it is more difficult getting there. Don't automatically exclude Lake Tahoe. Think of it as a destination and not a resort, because there are so many resorts and other things to do there or on the way there. Reno is the closest airport, but Reno isn't exactly a city with panache. If you can extend the vacation, consider flying into San Francisco and spending a few days in the City, driving to wine country, etc.  You can even find things to do driving up to Lake Tahoe from SF.

 

In terms of price, it depends upon the time of year you are going. Really. Getting the condo(s) is mandatory if you like cooking some of your meals (I do, too). Whistler/Blackcomb is super easy, since the village area is so large. So is staying anywhere in Park City or at the Canyons side, where there is a lot of ski in/out options. Lake Tahoe means driving unless you stay in one of the resort villages. Heavenly has a lot of condos in the area, the casinos and shows are right there, etc. The North Shore has a completely different feel, and unless you are staying at the village in Northstar or Squaw you will be driving to the resorts. IMHO it would be a shame to stay anywhere in Lake Tahoe and ski only one resort.

 

Have the beginners take lessons at any mountain and they will be on the blues quickly enough. Spend some money on the lessons...it will be worth it.

post #18 of 20

Whistler is not a good choice at all for a group with a lot of low end skiers.  What makes Whistler skiing great is the high alpine, which has just a few groomed intermediate routes and zero green terrain.

 

The OP has still not stated a time frame for this trip.

Quote:
You can't go wrong with Park City (now linked to Canyons making it the largest resort in the USA)

An excellent choice mid-season, not so much in early or late season.

Quote:
Breckenridge should be on your short list for the CO resorts.

Summit County Colorado is an excellent terrain fit for your group but is in general the most crowded destination ski region.  Thus avoid during peak times like Christmas, President's week, Texas spring break.   Snowfall is average but snow preservation excellent, so late March/early April is probably the best time.

 

I agree that Aspen/Snowmass is also an excellent choice though will cost more than the two options above. 


Edited by Tony Crocker - 6/27/15 at 8:01pm
post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by bounceswoosh View Post
 

Wait, wait. Girls ski greens, boys ski blues? Invest in a few lessons for the chicas and you'll all be skiing the same terrain. More fun, more options for everyone, and much less stereotypical.

 

-- a concerned female skier


A large percentage of casual skiers, men and women,  just want to have fun and not be too concerned with "improving"  That's not the prevailing sentiment on this forum but it does apply to the general skiing population. There is no requirement for the OP to meet some other person's idea of fun or to avoid your idea of a stereotype.

 

I would imagine the concept of lessons has already been discussed if not realized; perhaps sharing your local knowledge would be more useful to them.

 

-- a concerned skier

post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuller View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bounceswoosh View Post
 

Wait, wait. Girls ski greens, boys ski blues? Invest in a few lessons for the chicas and you'll all be skiing the same terrain. More fun, more options for everyone, and much less stereotypical.

 

-- a concerned female skier


A large percentage of casual skiers, men and women,  just want to have fun and not be too concerned with "improving"  That's not the prevailing sentiment on this forum but it does apply to the general skiing population. There is no requirement for the OP to meet some other person's idea of fun or to avoid your idea of a stereotype.

 

I would imagine the concept of lessons has already been discussed if not realized; perhaps sharing your local knowledge would be more useful to them.

 

-- a concerned skier

 

Opinions are like buttholes ... everybody has one. The OP is welcome to read my post and make their own decision. The fact is that a lot of women sell themselves short in skiing, and I wasn't exactly suggesting some huge jump in skiing ability or a massive training regimen. Just a couple of lessons. You get far more options, even for lodging, if you're comfortable skiing blues.

 

You might imagine the idea of lessons has been discussed, but from what I've seen, the general skiing population doesn't put much stock in lessons,. The general experience of, say, a husband teaching a wife to ski, or a parent teaching a child, is often suboptimal.

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