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"Top" Family Ski Resorts, anything new for 2015-16? [A Family Skiing thread] - Page 4

post #91 of 100
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

If you are implying that a children's program that does not start at age 3 is in some way incompetent, I disagree.  But it certainly can be a business reality that it's difficult to have enough ski school staff to offer a program that includes 3 year olds who essentially need more babysitting time than ski instruction for a full day of ski school.  Especially in regions where parents are not necessarily good skiers themselves.

 

[snip]

 

The situation for staffing ski school is very different in regions without a concentration of big mountain ski areas/resorts.

 

I rather agree with you.  I just don't think it's fair to blame the child's maturity.

post #92 of 100
Thread Starter 

A few more examples of lift ticket prices.  

 

SOLITUDE, UT (2055' vert, 1000-1500 acres)

5 day adult (14-69) 5 * $73 = $365
5 day senior (70+) 5 * $55 = $275
5 day junior (7-13) 5 * $50 = $250
5 day child (6 and under) free with a paid adult
 
All Day Beginner (Link, Moonbeam, Sunrise lifts) $58
Multiday rate applies for 3+ days
 
BRIDGER BOWL, MT (1950' vert, 1500-2000 acres)
5 day adult (13-69) 5 * $51 = $255
5 day senior (70-79) 5 * $27 = $135
5 day child (7-12) 5 * $19 = $95
most likely senior 80+ and child <7 are free
 
Multiday rate applies for 3+ days
 
ALTA, UT (2005' vert, 2000-2500 acres, skiers only)
5 of 6 adult $389
5 of 6 child (age 12 and under) $219
All Day Beginner (Albion, Sunnyside, Cecret) $42/38
An RFID card can be reloaded after initial purchase
 

Bottom line for folks planning a family trip is that expenses for all major categories need to be taken into account when comparing the total cost for possible destinations.  The variation in the cost of travel (car+motel or plane), lodging (at ski destination), ski school, and lift tickets can be significant depending on many factors.  A family of 4 who are all intermediate/advanced skiers or boarders is likely to make a different decision than a family of 5 with 2  beginners/intermediates who would spend 2-3 days at ski school.  The good news is that with a little planning, the choice of destination may not make that much difference.  A family vacation based around sliding on snow is fun!

post #93 of 100

Let me start by saying that I don't have children. However, as a ski instructor, I teach families all the time and understand their needs and preferences. Based on my experience living and teaching on the East and West Coasts... here are my recommendations from East to West...

 

1. Smuggler's Notch, VT - if you can handle the cold, great family experience and value.

2. Pico, VT - Killington's little brother... a single base area, light mountain traffic, local mountain feel. Killington ski instructors work both Killington and Pico, and both mountains follow the successful Max 3/Max 5 programs. Pico is less expensive than Killington. Children's programs generally get on the snow at 930am, but you can drop kids off at 800am leaving more ski time for you.

3. Bear Creek, PA - Small resort about 45min north of Philadelphia. The best mid-Atlantic mountain that many don't know about. Snow surface is first class and the onsite hotel is a decent value, even on winter weekends, and provides an active haven for children whether on or off snow. 

4. Steamboat, CO - One of the best children's ski schools in the country, whether your child is 5 or 15.

5. Northstar, CA - Not sure how Heavenly beats out Northstar for families. Northstar has a single base area (always important when kids get separated from their families, outstanding children's daily and seasonal programs, kid-friendly activities off snow, accessible mountain for pedestrians, and a very courteous atmosphere. Northstar is my home mountain, and I love it for adults too!

post #94 of 100
Quote:
Not sure how Heavenly beats out Northstar for families.

It doesn't. Rating Heavenly high as a family resort could only be done by someone who has never had kids. 

post #95 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker View Post
 
Quote:
Not sure how Heavenly beats out Northstar for families.

It doesn't. Rating Heavenly high as a family resort could only be done by someone who has never had kids. 


Agree that Northstar is better for a family who are knowledgeable about skiing.

 

That said, my brother-in-law set up an extended family ski trip to Heavenly when his kids were tweens that was good fun.  The kids had been on a few ski vacations out west so were good enough for the wide blue groomers.  I was an intermediate who hadn't skied for a few years.  We probably only skied <10% of the available terrain but that was more than enough.  The views were great.  In that case, the main reason for choosing Heavenly was that my father-in-law had a timeshare we could use that was next to the gondola base.

post #96 of 100
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssm949 View Post
 

Let me start by saying that I don't have children. However, as a ski instructor, I teach families all the time and understand their needs and preferences. Based on my experience living and teaching on the East and West Coasts... here are my recommendations from East to West...

 

1. Smuggler's Notch, VT - if you can handle the cold, great family experience and value.

2. Pico, VT - Killington's little brother... a single base area, light mountain traffic, local mountain feel. Killington ski instructors work both Killington and Pico, and both mountains follow the successful Max 3/Max 5 programs. Pico is less expensive than Killington. Children's programs generally get on the snow at 930am, but you can drop kids off at 800am leaving more ski time for you.

3. Bear Creek, PA - Small resort about 45min north of Philadelphia. The best mid-Atlantic mountain that many don't know about. Snow surface is first class and the onsite hotel is a decent value, even on winter weekends, and provides an active haven for children whether on or off snow. 

4. Steamboat, CO - One of the best children's ski schools in the country, whether your child is 5 or 15.

5. Northstar, CA - Not sure how Heavenly beats out Northstar for families. Northstar has a single base area (always important when kids get separated from their families, outstanding children's daily and seasonal programs, kid-friendly activities off snow, accessible mountain for pedestrians, and a very courteous atmosphere. Northstar is my home mountain, and I love it for adults too!


I had a chance to check out Pico last March.  Agree that it's a good place for families who are okay not staying slope side.  There are several good TRs for Pico by @ralba from last season.

 

Bear Creek looks interesting as a place to learn.  Hill is about the same size as my home resort of Massanutten, with less vertical and a few more acres.  Noticed that Bear Creek ski school starts at age 6.  If mom needs to learn too, the women's clinic is a plus.

post #97 of 100
Thread Starter 

I've never been to Breck, but just watched a video about grooming at Breck.  Apparently they groom 800 acres every night, all the greens and blues.  For a family taking a vacation at a ski resort who aren't all advanced skiers, that sounds good.

 

post #98 of 100


Mark,

 

Had a coworker who frequently skied with his wife and 5 youngsters.  He loved Jack Frost in PA (I like Jack Frost and their other area across the road - Big Boulder) for short trips and Attatash up in NH for longer trips.  

 

A very nice place for a beginner family is Bear Creek in PA.  A remarkably fun little place for what it is.  

 

Nothing challenging there for anyone beyond beginner but I can't recall riding a lift there without hearing someone rave about the place.  We've gone there to take newbies in early season. I recall other friends and coworkers mentioning Loon and Gunstock in NH (there are a lot of smaller ski places on that I-93 run through NH).  Bromley and Magic Mt in VT are very family oriented AFAIK.  

 

Just some thoughts.  No in-depth info.

post #99 of 100


I am a Breck fan but prefer to go out to Beaver Creek for the weekend days.  Breck is a big place and they do a lot of grooming - and they do it well.  We like to get out early and follow the sun as it softens up the cord.   I've spent enough days there that I find it easy enough to get around.  Once you know Beaver Creek a bit it is also pretty easy to get around.  Larkspur is a fun area to play around in there.

 

Keystone is a great place also IMHO.  Someone above mentioned Schoolmarm - it goes on all day it seems.  My wife loves that run.  They have some long rolling blue groomer also.  I don't find Keystone an easy place to get back and forth though.

 

Vail is Vail.  You do a LOT of traversing there to explore the the place but an intermediate skier can get the bowl and "trees" experience there.  

post #100 of 100
Thread Starter 

I spent a couple days checking out Loon during early season last season.  Rather liked it.  Certainly plenty of lodging pretty close to lifts.  Having a gondola is always a plus to deal with cold and windy New England days.  Have heard the only problem is that it's pretty crowded on weekends since it's relatively close to Boston.  There is the option of driving over to Cannon on the weekend if staying for a full week.  Being part of the Boyne collection means that there are lift ticket and pass options like the MAX Pass that could come in handy for a family who can get to other Boyne ski resorts or a ski destination on the MAX Pass list.

 

Looks like kids age 3 have a ski school option, with half-day options for ages 4-6 most of the time.  Even 3yos can get started on snowboards using terrain based instruction set up in partnership with Burton.

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