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February Family Ski Trip: Alta or Grand Targhee [from Chicago, Snowmass suggested] - Page 2

post #31 of 43

Snowmass is fantastic for green/blue/blue-black skiers who like groomed rums.  

 

Aspen is a (maybe THE) classic American ski resort.  You can't go wrong going there no matter what.

 

That said, the reasons cited to the OP for NOT going to Grand Targhee are the exact reasons that still make it one of the most uncrowded, high-quality snow experiences left in America.  It's hard to get to, not much lodging or amenities at the base, cold, etc. etc. etc.

 

As long as those opinions persist, it will continue to be one of the most uncrowded places left on our continent to ski on a powder day. 

post #32 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by debra View Post
 

I think we've decided on Snowmass for this trip. I was able to find a flight to/from Aspen, non-stop from Chicago for a little more than a flight to Denver or Salt Lake City, and less than a flight to Jackson. The Jackson flight wasn't at a good time (we have really limited flexibility because we are working around the kids' school schedule, and they only have a 3 day weekend).  Now, I guess we just hope the flight doesn't get cancelled.

The expensive part at Alta is not the lift tickets or the rentals, but the lodging, which was quoted at over twice the rate at Snowmass. And the accommodation at Snowmass is much bigger and has a kitchen. Alta includes breakfast and dinner, but even my teenagers don't eat that much.

Maybe if we ski well this year and the 2 blue skiers build some confidence (and skills) we will try Snowbird/Alta next year. And if we can have a few more days to travel, then Grand Targhee is a top choice. Looks like GT is even relatively affordable during the December holiday period.

Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions and advice.


Have a good time!

 

Note that what you pay for at a lodge at Alta is location and service, and gourmet dinners a family with teenagers would be unlikely to consider except for a special occasion.  It's also a fun way to meet others who love to ski of all ages.  People spend very little time in their rooms.  As you've discovered there is very little lodging in Little Cottonwood Canyon.  Completely understand that a slope side condo at Snowmass makes more sense for your family.  But a comparison on price alone is apples and oranges.

post #33 of 43

A few quick thoughts. Just to mess with your plans. 

 

Sounds like you are on a tight schedule. Which means "travel risk" is a factor. You might look at what percentage of flights into Aspen are significantly delayed or rerouted (and finished by bus). Likewise for getting out. 

 

I'm a big fan of Snowmass for groomer cruising. But if I were booking for 3 days of groomer cruising, I'm not sure Aspen is where I'd book my flights. 

 

I'm gonna be all blasphemous.  SLC is both easy and reliable. And the PC resorts offer truly excellent groomer skiing without the canyon closure risks of the cottonwoods. 

 

BTW - I am a huge fan of GT. But again, getting there is a PITA compared to Park City.

post #34 of 43

I go to both Snowbird and Snowmass every year (flying from the midwest also).  Your family will love the terrain at Snowmass - It's my favorite place in Colorado.  Flying into Aspen is really nice.  You should have a great vacation.

 

There is a nice grocery store located at the Snowmass Center that you can walk to or take the bus, and a good pizza place called Tasters there too.  I really like staying at Snowmass and it is very easy to take a bus to Aspen, worth the trip even just to walk around downtown and check it out.  I would ski only at Snowmass, it's huge, you won't want to leave.  Long runs, fast lifts, no lines, good snow.

 

It's a totally different trip than Snowbird, but way better for your family.  Have fun.

post #35 of 43

And for ski rentals, in the Snowmass Mall go to Gene Taylors.  They have teenager pricing to save money and they are demo quality.  My son likes to pick out his skis there.  The people there are very nice.

post #36 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by debra View Post
 

I think we've decided on Snowmass for this trip.......really limited flexibility because we are working around the kids' school schedule.......

Thanks again for all the helpful suggestions and advice.

 

ah school!  ignore it and get an extra day or two in ... heck, the last 3-4 years we've traveled over the same period had a snow day or two! : )

 

I feel somewhat fortunate as my kids school (public) has been very flexible. This year our middle child will take finals in January a week early so we may travel ... 7 signatures to do it. The comment was regarding Thurs/Fri finals .. "we just waste our time studying the whole week for the tests" ... maybe our Prez can change that to the 1-2% time for testing   ; )

 

anyhow, if you can, maybe you can work out an extra day and take advantage of adding a day for likely a low adder.

post #37 of 43
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the Snowmass tips!

 

We are flying on Wednesday and Sunday, planning to ski Thurs, Fri, Sat. I will just hope that any delays or reroutes won't interfere too much.

 

And unfortunately, this isn't a good year for missing school. We've pulled them out plenty for travelling in the past, so much so that I've gotten nasty letters from the school district about being an irresponsible parent! but can't do it this year.

 

Marznc, I do believe that Alta would be a great experience that can't be compared to any other slope-side lodging, but with current and future expenses, I think it would an unwise to indulgence now. But hopefully some day.

 

I hope everyone has a great time at the Gathering. Maybe I'll see you on the lifts or in the restaurants at lunch, but I'll be taking the blue cruisers down to the bottom, which I'm sure are not the runs you all will be on!

 

Any other specific Snowmass recommendations for the family would be great - restaurants, runs (blue, black, other), etc... thanks so much!

post #38 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by debra View Post
 

Thanks for the Snowmass tips!

 

We are flying on Wednesday and Sunday, planning to ski Thurs, Fri, Sat. I will just hope that any delays or reroutes won't interfere too much.

 

And unfortunately, this isn't a good year for missing school. We've pulled them out plenty for travelling in the past, so much so that I've gotten nasty letters from the school district about being an irresponsible parent! but can't do it this year.

 

Marznc, I do believe that Alta would be a great experience that can't be compared to any other slope-side lodging, but with current and future expenses, I think it would an unwise to indulgence now. But hopefully some day.

 

I hope everyone has a great time at the Gathering. Maybe I'll see you on the lifts or in the restaurants at lunch, but I'll be taking the blue cruisers down to the bottom, which I'm sure are not the runs you all will be on!

 

Any other specific Snowmass recommendations for the family would be great - restaurants, runs (blue, black, other), etc... thanks so much!


Oh!  I completely missed that your dates overlap with the Aspen Gathering since you originally asked about other places.  I'll be at Aspen those days.  Be fun to say hello.  I tend to ski hard in the morning and then take it easier in the afternoons.  Old enough that I like to save energy for the next ski days to come during a trip out west.  Also know a couple of folks I met last season who are intermediates who are going to the Gathering.  It's not just for advanced/experts.

 

Do you mind if I add "Snowmass" to your thread title?  Would make it easier for other families thinking about where to go to find the thread later on.

post #39 of 43
Thread Starter 

Of course, change the thread title. The conversation and final decision took a big turn from the original question!

post #40 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by debra View Post
 

Of course, change the thread title. The conversation and final decision took a big turn from the original question!


Thanks.  Glad the community could help.

 

I have relatives who live in Chicagoland and ski out west.  There were spring breaks when the kids were in high school that a couple fathers would drive out to Colorado to get in a few days of skiing.  Definitely gets harder as the kids get older.  My daughter hasn't been to Alta in a few years and it may be college before she gets back.

post #41 of 43

@debra : note that the Gathering is pretty informal.  It's not like a ski club trip that is only for dues-paying members who can make the entire ski week.  That means if you want to take advantage of the lift ticket discount, you could.

 

Easiest way to find all the key Gathering threads is to go to the Aspen Gathering Group overview.

 

http://www.epicski.com/groups/show/55/2016-epicski-gathering-at-aspen-february-3-through-9

 

Discount Lift Tickets

http://www.epicski.com/t/142077/lift-ticket-discount-aspen-gathering-2016

 

I and my friends traveling with me have the Mountain Collective Pass, so haven't been paying that much attention to the lift ticket discussion.

post #42 of 43

I can't resist chiming in: After reading how this thread has developed, I can also endorse the eventual decision to choose Snowmass for this particular family excursion including the considerations of skier ability, ages, budget, and time constraints. I think Bob Peters' input is right on the money: GT is right up in my top 5 favorite destinations list, and should be tried at some point in the OP's family's skiing career. I had the luxury of spending 3 nights my first time at GT before meeting a group of friends at Jackson Hole for the following week. Staying at GT's base is, uh...funky, but I really enjoyed the vibe of being one of only very few who overnighted at the resort. I have some incredible memories of unlimited free powder refills on the Blackfoot double chair, but the OP seems not to have mentioned powder as being a priority. Still, if one were to luck into hitting GT during a storm cycle, I can think of no better place to learn how to ski powder. Rubberduck's comment that "Grand Targhee gets some fog" has somehow gotten glossed over in this thread; they don't call the place "Grand Fogee" for nothing. Can be a bit scary if you don't know the place, but the friendly natives will most certainly help out. Every time I have returned to Jackson Hole (thanks again, @Bob Peters for the personal tour) I have always driven over the pass for a day's re-visit. 

 

Alta should also be on the eventual agenda, and meals most certainly be factored into the calculus of how expensive staying there might be. Breakfast and dinner aren't just included: Breakfast and dinner are INCREDIBLE, at least as far as my experiences at The Goldminer's Daughter. For budgeting purposes, I would peg the value of those two meals at at least $75/person/day. Bottom line: every resort mentioned in this thread has its pluses and minuses relative to each other, but all are solid choices.


Edited by cosmoliu - 10/30/15 at 10:34am
post #43 of 43
Thread Starter 

Hello!

We are back from a wonderful long ski weekend at Snowmass and I wanted to say a big THANK YOU! to everyone who helped us decide where to go and gave us great advice. 

We decided to fly directly into Aspen given our limited time, and got lucky with a timely flight and good weather. Earlier in the week flights had been cancelled but ours left and arrived on time. With a transport (no rental car!) we were at Snowmass so quickly.

The slopeside lodging was great - so convenient.

We rented with Gene Taylor's Sports, which was easy and fast.

We had great weather - a little chilly on Thursday (2/4) but it warmed up a little each day, and by Saturday, we were sitting outside during lunch. And the best part was that the sun was shining bright all 3 days that we skied. The scenery and views were fantastic, exactly what I was hoping for.

The terrain (blue cruisers! ;)) was perfect for us. My son enjoyed racing down, while my daughter and I cruised along feeling safe and enjoying the views. Husband and son explored some of the black runs, too.

And while I could tell that there were lots of people there, the lift/gondola lines were never very long. The only time I really felt the crowd was one day at lunch when there were people hovering waiting for a free table, and when the lift stopped and the line backed up a little. 

I would definitely go back to Snowmass.

Thanks again!!

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