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Western USA Spring Break (driving from TX)

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hi, a lot of people on here probably know who I am, but I am a 17 year old from TX, and now that my ski trip plans for Christmas are set, my thoughts have turned to Spring Break with a few of my friends. We sprung the idea on our parents and they seem OK with it, depending on certain factors. So we decided to start planning and just keep it in our back pockets in case things don't work out. We are basically just looking at any really cool destination in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and California (took out Utah because we all know Utah pretty well). Factors include low crowds, reliable snow, scenery, advanced terrain (1 friend is a better skier than me, but I'm trying to catch up), and decent ski school/learning terrain (1 or 2 other friends are beginners). We're not really factoring money into this at this point, but the Epic areas in Colorado are probably too expensive for my friends (I'm the only one with an epic local pass). Distance is not a factor as well (except for Canada and the PNW). Any thoughts?
post #2 of 25

Big Sky. Huuuuuuuge (much bigger in acreage than Breck, for example), low crowds, wide variety of terrain for beginners to super gnar skiers, amazing views from the tram even if you can't ski the terrain from there.

 

Full disclosure: I haven't skied that many places outside of Colorado, but I went to Big Sky last spring. Even with unseasonably warm conditions that limited the advanced terrain, I had tons of fun and scared myself silly a few times. There's not really an apres scene, though, if that's important to you. Pretty much ski/sleep/ski/sleep.

post #3 of 25
There's Apres at Whitefish. It's what we do. Ask the Canadians.

But it's pretty far, so I'm not going to suggest it. Skiing is better than driving.
post #4 of 25
Lake Tahoe where else do you get a combo skiing and gambling if that is a preference
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by obsessedtxskier View Post

Hi, a lot of people on here probably know who I am, but I am a 17 year old from TX, and now that my ski trip plans for Christmas are set, my thoughts have turned to Spring Break with a few of my friends. We sprung the idea on our parents and they seem OK with it, depending on certain factors. So we decided to start planning and just keep it in our back pockets in case things don't work out. We are basically just looking at any really cool destination in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and California (took out Utah because we all know Utah pretty well). Factors include low crowds, reliable snow, scenery, advanced terrain (1 friend is a better skier than me, but I'm trying to catch up), and decent ski school/learning terrain (1 or 2 other friends are beginners). We're not really factoring money into this at this point, but the Epic areas in Colorado are probably too expensive for my friends (I'm the only one with an epic local pass). Distance is not a factor as well (except for Canada and the PNW). Any thoughts?


Is your spring break in March?  First half of the month or second half?  After mid-March a few things happen.  Depending on when Easter falls, prices can go down for lift tickets and lodging.  Depending on the weather and elevation, spring skiing condition can start.  Day time temps in the 40s or 50s may mean that need to wait until mid-morning for the snow to soften before it's worth heading up a chairlift.

 

Have you looked at the thread about a mid-season ski safari in Colorado by @jmeb?  Check out the lift ticket prices for the places being discussed.  I assume they are much lower than destination resorts.  A-Basin and Loveland are popular spring destinations even for travelers who fly because of lower lift ticket prices and high elevation.

 

My nephew and his father used to drive from Chicago to Colorado with another father/son for spring break when the sons were in high school.  Always had a good time.

post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Our spring break is the second week of March. Last year Spring Break was sloppy in Utah, but the year before that the conditions were fantastic in Aspen. Après is not that important, but it's a plus. I agree that Whitefish is a little too far. Big Sky and Lake Tahoe are as far as we'll go. Here is a list of the resorts I'm looking at (we will probably ski more than one):
Big Sky
Jackson Hole
Sun Valley
Aspen
Telluride
Steamboat
Winter Park
Crested Butte
Squaw Valley
Mammoth
post #7 of 25

Your driving.   Make the decision the day you leave.

post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post
 

Your driving.   Make the decision the day you leave.


Somehow I don't think that would go over that well with the parents. :rolleyes

post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by obsessedtxskier View Post

Our spring break is the second week of March. Last year Spring Break was sloppy in Utah, but the year before that the conditions were fantastic in Aspen. Après is not that important, but it's a plus. I agree that Whitefish is a little too far. Big Sky and Lake Tahoe are as far as we'll go. Here is a list of the resorts I'm looking at (we will probably ski more than one):
Big Sky
Jackson Hole
Sun Valley
Aspen
Telluride
Steamboat
Winter Park
Crested Butte
Squaw Valley
Mammoth


Your list is mostly well known destination resorts, which means they are expensive for lift tickets and lodging nearby.  You could have a lot of fun at places that are less well known.  You're young.  Plenty of time to get to "bucket list" dream destinations when you and your friends have the money to fly from TX.

 

For instance, look at the prices at Bridger compared to Big Sky.  Or Grand Targhee compared to Jackson Hole.  Both Bridger and GT have more than enough terrain to keep you fully entertained for a few days.

post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post


Somehow I don't think that would go over that well with the parents. rolleyes.gif

Probably not...
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post


Your list is mostly well known destination resorts, which means they are expensive for lift tickets and lodging nearby.  You could have a lot of fun at places that are less well known.  You're young.  Plenty of time to get to "bucket list" dream destinations when you and your friends have the money to fly from TX.

For instance, look at the prices at Bridger compared to Big Sky.  Or Grand Targhee compared to Jackson Hole.  Both Bridger and GT have more than often terrain to keep you fully entertained for a few days.

Good point. After reading a page about a SW Colorado safari, that sounds pretty fun. Maybe some combo of Taos, Wolf Creek, Monarch, Purgatory, Telluride, and Crested Butte. And they are closer to home.
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
I went with my Dad last year to Grand Targhee last year. It was a great time, and almost every lift was ski on. It was also the first time I stayed at a ski in/ski out hotel, so that was incredibly cool.
post #13 of 25

At 17 yrs of age I don't think we need to consider nightlife into the equation. Itll be hanging out in the hotel with your friends playing drinking games and drawing on the faces of those that pass out early. Ahh the good ol days. I'll vote for Telluride.

post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post

At 17 yrs of age I don't think we need to consider nightlife into the equation. Itll be hanging out in the hotel with your friends playing drinking games and drawing on the faces of those that pass out early. Ahh the good ol days. I'll vote for Telluride.

When I speak of Après ski, I'm usually speaking of dining instead of nightlife. My buddies and I really appreciate nice restaurants. But that other stuff is accurate 😂

I'll look into Telluride. Today we got a pamphlet in the mail from Aspen that advertised their prices on it. The teen multiday tickets start at $69 per day for 2-3 days and $59 per day beyond that. So that's a possibility. I also know that the lodging down valley from Aspen is much less expensive.
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by obsessedtxskier View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post

At 17 yrs of age I don't think we need to consider nightlife into the equation. Itll be hanging out in the hotel with your friends playing drinking games and drawing on the faces of those that pass out early. Ahh the good ol days. I'll vote for Telluride.

When I speak of Après ski, I'm usually speaking of dining instead of nightlife. My buddies and I really appreciate nice restaurants. But that other stuff is accurate 😂

I'll look into Telluride. Today we got a pamphlet in the mail from Aspen that advertised their prices on it. The teen multiday tickets start at $69 per day for 2-3 days and $59 per day beyond that. So that's a possibility. I also know that the lodging down valley from Aspen is much less expensive.


Im pretty sure Aspen has Telluride beat in the fine dining department and also has a lot of choices of different types of terrain for the variety of skill levels in your group and has an amazing ski school (from what Ive heard). It will be an awesome trip and one you will remember for a lifetime no matter where you end up going. My buddies and I still tell funny stories about those trips, 25 years later.

post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by agreen View Post


Im pretty sure Aspen has Telluride beat in the fine dining department and also has a lot of choices of different types of terrain for the variety of skill levels in your group and has an amazing ski school (from what Ive heard). It will be an awesome trip and one you will remember for a lifetime no matter where you end up going. My buddies and I still tell funny stories about those trips, 25 years later.

I really hope this works out so I can have that sort of thing with my buddies. And after thinking, spending less money sounds good. Any day on the snow with friends is an awesome day.
post #17 of 25

Aspen would be great if you can pull it off.  Same with Taos and there are a lot of cheap motels in the town of Taos. (Sometimes getting a motel with no one older than a teenager in your group can be tricky.  Perhaps if you prepay before leaving home you won't have to discuss ages with motel.)  A combo trip of A-Basin and Loveland could be a good and cheap trip.  Pretty friendly drive from Houston.  Use your epic pass at Arapahoe Basin and they have some pretty cheap passes on liftopia for your frirends.  You and friends could share four packs to cover some days at Loveland.  Oops, that might be somewhat of a repeat of your Christmas trip, but A-B and Loveland are quite a different experience than say Breck or Vail.

post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 

Aspen would be great if you can pull it off.  Same with Taos and there are a lot of cheap motels in the town of Taos. (Sometimes getting a motel with no one older than a teenager in your group can be tricky.  Perhaps if you prepay before leaving home you won't have to discuss ages with motel.)  A combo trip of A-Basin and Loveland could be a good and cheap trip.  Pretty friendly drive from Houston.  Use your epic pass at Arapahoe Basin and they have some pretty cheap passes on liftopia for your frirends.  You and friends could share four packs to cover some days at Loveland.  Oops, that might be somewhat of a repeat of your Christmas trip, but A-B and Loveland are quite a different experience than say Breck or Vail.


What would you recommend between A-Basin and Loveland given that the OP may be traveling with a couple beginners?

post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamesj View Post
 

Aspen would be great if you can pull it off.  Same with Taos and there are a lot of cheap motels in the town of Taos. (Sometimes getting a motel with no one older than a teenager in your group can be tricky.  Perhaps if you prepay before leaving home you won't have to discuss ages with motel.)  A combo trip of A-Basin and Loveland could be a good and cheap trip.  Pretty friendly drive from Houston.  Use your epic pass at Arapahoe Basin and they have some pretty cheap passes on liftopia for your frirends.  You and friends could share four packs to cover some days at Loveland.  Oops, that might be somewhat of a repeat of your Christmas trip, but A-B and Loveland are quite a different experience than say Breck or Vail.


What would you recommend between A-Basin and Loveland given that the OP may be traveling with a couple beginners?

 

I think Loveland ... it has the whole Valley area, specifically for beginners and relatively new skiers. A-Basin doesn't have as much terrain for newer skiers.

post #20 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoben02 View Post

Lake Tahoe where else do you get a combo skiing and gambling if that is a preference


Probably not a lot of gambling options for a 17 year old though.

post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
Good stuff, we've decided that our top choice in Colorado is Aspen, followed by Loveland and AB. We are toying with going to Utah as well even though we had not included that earlier. Park City is on my Epic Pass of course, so we would ski a few days there, along with a few LCC/BCC resorts and maybe DV. We are also like the idea of a condo in Park City for the things there are to do in Park City. Last spring break, I skied Grand Targhee and Park City with my Dad. Targhee was fun, but the snow was bulletproof. Even though Park City had a horrible snow year, and parts of the mountain were bare, I found the groomers to be pretty soft in the mornings, and by the afternoon, the trees were really fun. I thought the slush bumps on the lower mountain were a blast too. 😄 Of course, I always hope for more winter like conditions. Are there any Park City locals that could tell me what Mid March is like in an average snow year? Also anyone have an opinion on the best tree skiing in Utah?
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by obsessedtxskier View Post

Good stuff, we've decided that our top choice in Colorado is Aspen, followed by Loveland and AB. We are toying with going to Utah as well even though we had not included that earlier. Park City is on my Epic Pass of course, so we would ski a few days there, along with a few LCC/BCC resorts and maybe DV. We are also like the idea of a condo in Park City for the things there are to do in Park City. Last spring break, I skied Grand Targhee and Park City with my Dad. Targhee was fun, but the snow was bulletproof. Even though Park City had a horrible snow year, and parts of the mountain were bare, I found the groomers to be pretty soft in the mornings, and by the afternoon, the trees were really fun. I thought the slush bumps on the lower mountain were a blast too. 😄 Of course, I always hope for more winter like conditions. Are there any Park City locals that could tell me what Mid March is like in an average snow year? Also anyone have an opinion on the best tree skiing in Utah?

Paging @Mr. Crab or @Maui Steve about Park City in March.

 

I ski Alta/Snowbird in late March and April.  Definitely spring skiing but can also have powder storms.  For someone starting out in trees, Solitude or Brighton could be fun.  Depending on the weather, Powder Mountain or Snowbasin might be worth a day trip.

post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
Right now, one thought we are having is splitting the week between Vail and Park City.
The epic local pass gives me access to both of course. We love road tripping, so this would give us a little more excitement in that category. Park City is also just a feel good place for me. Thoughts on this?
post #24 of 25

When in March? I've skied PC in March for at least the last 10 years. I think the first half of march is more reliable than the second half, but even if you get spring conditions, you can still have a good time. One of the best ski trips I ever had was the last week of March/first week of April. Snowed 16 days in a row. During that period Alta had 165 inches. PC less, but still epic. Was full on winter. Chances are it will be fine, but spring conditions are not out of the question. Generally can do ok timing the mountain for softening elevation, etc.  

post #25 of 25

PS, I grew up in Houston. The sking is better in Utah.

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