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Vail...the week after Christmas [family from the South]

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I've been lurking the forum for a few months now and I would like to begin by thanking everyone for the wealth of information I have read. What a great forum! Plus, I really enjoy living vicariously through some of these threads.

To introduce myself: I'm Dad, family of 5. I would classify myself as a rusty, intermediate level skier. I am comfortable on any groomed slope, but have little mogul experience and it's been years since I skied powder (we had almost 24" of powder the day we arrived in Vail (Christmas week then too) in 1983 (I think that was the year)). My wife won't ski, but will hang out in the condo and enjoy walking the town, reading etc. She'll love all the scenery and is almost as excited as I am! My 3 children have skied a few times, but living in the South, we only get to ski if we head West, and 2 of the 3 kids want to take up snowboarding this trip. Me, I'm to selfish to spend 2 or 3 days learning a new way to get down the mountain.

We are skiing for 6 days starting the 27th. It's all booked and planned except for a few minor details (staying in Vail village) The last time we skied Vail was spring break several years ago and the lift lines were always less than 5 minutes, even though the back bowls were mostly closed. Prior to that, I was in Vail for two different Christmas weeks in the early 80's, and as best I can remember the lift lines were 5-15 minutes.

I have a couple of questions which I hope you fine folks can help with:
1) How long would you expect the lift lines to be (in minutes)?
2) Any strategy for minimizing wait times?

We have a private lesson booked for the first day on the slopes, which I hear will allow us to get in the short line.

I'm hoping the bowls will be open, but would love to know your answers assuming bowls open vs bowls closed.

We're all in no matter what, and if the lines are really long, we'll have more time to make a new friend or two. I'm just curious what to expect.

To borrow a term from y'all, I'm really STOKED!
post #2 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcpowell View Post

I've been lurking the forum for a few months now and I would like to begin by thanking everyone for the wealth of information I have read. What a great forum! Plus, I really enjoy living vicariously through some of these threads.

To introduce myself: I'm Dad, family of 5. I would classify myself as a rusty, intermediate level skier. I am comfortable on any groomed slope, but have little mogul experience and it's been years since I skied powder (we had almost 24" of powder the day we arrived in Vail (Christmas week then too) in 1983 (I think that was the year)). My wife won't ski, but will hang out in the condo and enjoy walking the town, reading etc. She'll love all the scenery and is almost as excited as I am! My 3 children have skied a few times, but living in the South, we only get to ski if we head West, and 2 of the 3 kids want to take up snowboarding this trip. Me, I'm to selfish to spend 2 or 3 days learning a new way to get down the mountain.

We are skiing for 6 days starting the 27th. It's all booked and planned except for a few minor details (staying in Vail village) The last time we skied Vail was spring break several years ago and the lift lines were always less than 5 minutes, even though the back bowls were mostly closed. Prior to that, I was in Vail for two different Christmas weeks in the early 80's, and as best I can remember the lift lines were 5-15 minutes.

I have a couple of questions which I hope you fine folks can help with:
1) How long would you expect the lift lines to be (in minutes)?
2) Any strategy for minimizing wait times?

We have a private lesson booked for the first day on the slopes, which I hear will allow us to get in the short line.

I'm hoping the bowls will be open, but would love to know your answers assuming bowls open vs bowls closed.

We're all in no matter what, and if the lines are really long, we'll have more time to make a new friend or two. I'm just curious what to expect.

To borrow a term from y'all, I'm really STOKED!


Hey there!  Glad you decided to de-lurk.  As you've probably noticed there are a fair number of folks around here who live in the south.  Are you talking about Texas, FL, or the southeast (Carolinas, AL, GA, etc.)?

 

From what I've been reading, I think you'll find Vail pretty different from the 1980s in terms of lift lines.  Spring break crowds are very different from Christmas holidays because spring break weeks are scattered from early March to early April.

 

If you want a recommendation for a specific instructor for the private lesson, you could probably get one.  I've found that being able to book based on a recommendation is the best way for a trip out west.  Regardless, you will be able to get suggestions from the instructor about how to avoid the worst of the lift lines based on the ability level of your family.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Hey there!  Glad you decided to de-lurk.  As you've probably noticed there are a fair number of folks around here who live in the south.  Are you talking about Texas, FL, or the southeast (Carolinas, AL, GA, etc.)?

 

From what I've been reading, I think you'll find Vail pretty different from the 1980s in terms of lift lines.  Spring break crowds are very different from Christmas holidays because spring break weeks are scattered from early March to early April.

 

If you want a recommendation for a specific instructor for the private lesson, you could probably get one.  I've found that being able to book based on a recommendation is the best way for a trip out west.  Regardless, you will be able to get suggestions from the instructor about how to avoid the worst of the lift lines based on the ability level of your family.

marznc,

We're in GA, an hour Northeast of Atlanta. 

 

A recommendation for a specific instructor would be great. We'll need someone who can mostly teach my 15 & 20 year old to snowboard, but could also knock the rust off my 22 year old and myself, we will both be skiing. BTW, I've read the tipping threads, so if they do a good job, I will certainly tip at the end of the day. 

 

Would it be best for the recommendations to arrive via PM? 

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcpowell View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Hey there!  Glad you decided to de-lurk.  As you've probably noticed there are a fair number of folks around here who live in the south.  Are you talking about Texas, FL, or the southeast (Carolinas, AL, GA, etc.)?

 

From what I've been reading, I think you'll find Vail pretty different from the 1980s in terms of lift lines.  Spring break crowds are very different from Christmas holidays because spring break weeks are scattered from early March to early April.

 

If you want a recommendation for a specific instructor for the private lesson, you could probably get one.  I've found that being able to book based on a recommendation is the best way for a trip out west.  Regardless, you will be able to get suggestions from the instructor about how to avoid the worst of the lift lines based on the ability level of your family.

marznc,

We're in GA, an hour Northeast of Atlanta. 

 

A recommendation for a specific instructor would be great. We'll need someone who can mostly teach my 15 & 20 year old to snowboard, but could also knock the rust off my 22 year old and myself, we will both be skiing. BTW, I've read the tipping threads, so if they do a good job, I will certainly tip at the end of the day. 

 

Would it be best for the recommendations to arrive via PM? 

 

Always good to hear from others in the southeast.  :)

 

Hmm, for a snowboard instructor recommendation, you could try asking in the Snowboard sub-forum.  Although since your young adults are beginners, a group lesson for never-evers should be fine.  Then perhaps book a 1/2 day private for the 2nd or 3rd day. I would not expect any ski school to book a private with one instructor for both snowboarding and skiing.

 

Paging @TheRusty who has been teaching both skiing and snowboarding for a while in the Mid-Atlantic.

 

Any chance of driving up to the NC mountains for weekend in Dec?  Assuming of course, snowmaking can start by Thanksgiving.  A lot cheaper to do never-ever lesson packages in the southeast than Vail.  I know of folks who drive to Cataloochee for day trips, but staying one night makes more sense to me.

 

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Always good to hear from others in the southeast.  smile.gif

Any chance of driving up to the NC mountains for weekend in Dec?  Assuming of course, snowmaking can start by Thanksgiving.  A lot cheaper to do never-ever lesson packages in the southeast than Vail.  I know of folks who drive to Cataloochee for day trips, but staying one night makes more sense to me.



That's a good idea to make a quick run to NC. Asheville is 2.5 hours from here, and an easy drive. We could go for a day, the week before Christmas if they get any snow or have a chance to make any.
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcpowell View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

Always good to hear from others in the southeast.  smile.gif

Any chance of driving up to the NC mountains for weekend in Dec?  Assuming of course, snowmaking can start by Thanksgiving.  A lot cheaper to do never-ever lesson packages in the southeast than Vail.  I know of folks who drive to Cataloochee for day trips, but staying one night makes more sense to me.
 
That's a good idea to make a quick run to NC. Asheville is 2.5 hours from here, and an easy drive. We could go for a day, the week before Christmas if they get any snow or have a chance to make any.

Cataloochee is typically one of the first in the region to start blowing snow.  One advantage of being small, about 25 acres, is that it doesn't take long to open all the trails.  The best source for weather prediction in for the NC mountains is SkiSoutheast.com .  You can also ask about NC conditions in the ongoing regional thread.  Probably won't be much to talk about until Thanksgiving though.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/142548/2015-16-southeast-news-meetups-weather-nc-va-wv-plus-folks-in-sc-ga-tn-al-fl

 

Cataloochee was one of the first ski areas to start working with Snow Operating, a consulting company that helps ski/board school set up a program based on using snow features in the teaching area.  So even a small place like Cat can get never-ever boarders going pretty fast.  Snowshoe installed terrain based instruction too.

 

 

Based on my daughter's experience giving boarding a try (age 10) after she was a solid intermediate skier, the first day . . . involves a lot of falling.  Far more falling compared to a never-ever skier who takes a lesson to start with.  She opted to stick with skis after the experience.  Of course, the fact that her favorite place to ski out west is Alta is a factor too. ;) 

post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mcpowell View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


Hey there!  Glad you decided to de-lurk.  As you've probably noticed there are a fair number of folks around here who live in the south.  Are you talking about Texas, FL, or the southeast (Carolinas, AL, GA, etc.)?

 

From what I've been reading, I think you'll find Vail pretty different from the 1980s in terms of lift lines.  Spring break crowds are very different from Christmas holidays because spring break weeks are scattered from early March to early April.

 

If you want a recommendation for a specific instructor for the private lesson, you could probably get one.  I've found that being able to book based on a recommendation is the best way for a trip out west.  Regardless, you will be able to get suggestions from the instructor about how to avoid the worst of the lift lines based on the ability level of your family.

marznc,

We're in GA, an hour Northeast of Atlanta. 

 

A recommendation for a specific instructor would be great. We'll need someone who can mostly teach my 15 & 20 year old to snowboard, but could also knock the rust off my 22 year old and myself, we will both be skiing. BTW, I've read the tipping threads, so if they do a good job, I will certainly tip at the end of the day. 

 

Would it be best for the recommendations to arrive via PM? 

 

Always good to hear from others in the southeast.  :)

 

Hmm, for a snowboard instructor recommendation, you could try asking in the Snowboard sub-forum.  Although since your young adults are beginners, a group lesson for never-evers should be fine.  Then perhaps book a 1/2 day private for the 2nd or 3rd day. I would not expect any ski school to book a private with one instructor for both snowboarding and skiing.

 

Paging @TheRusty who has been teaching both skiing and snowboarding for a while in the Mid-Atlantic.

 

 

 

Huh? What? Oh!

 

Sorry, I have no specific snowboard instructor recommendations for Vail. Charlie Clarke is an examiner who works there. If you can't get him for a private, he should be able to provide a great recommendation. Unless money is of little concern or there are specific learning needs, a regular beginner snowboard lesson for your kids should be fine. Some folks pick up riding like a duck to water, others (no names mentioned Rusty - but in my defense I was over 40 when I learned to ride) have to be bludgeoned in order to "get it". My recommendation is to see how they take to it in a regular lesson and then play it by ear. 

 

I did get to teach a skier and a rider in the same lesson last year. They were happy with the result. It was an interesting experiment, but I would not recommend it. The word "insane" comes readily to mind.

post #8 of 9

I would plan for lines...lots of long lines.  Once you are off the lift then Vail as usual spreads the people out well with a few choke point exceptions.  No one know what the conditions will be like so just pray for snow like the rest of us.

post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
As a follow up for future readers who may have the same questions:

Lift lines: we were standing at Gondola one each morning by 8:30. It would take us ~ 5 minutes of waiting to be going up the mountain. I hear the lines were longer between 9:00 and 9:30, but that never affected us.

The longest line we waited in was for chair 4, about mid day. We probably waited a little over ten minutes, one time (maybe Tuesday or Thursday). Every other lift line was less than 5 minutes.

I did see where the wait for chair 37 was 15 minutes, at one time, but that was a posted time and I didn't experience it firsthand.

Most of the day the slopes would be a little crowded, sometimes not crowded at all, and rush hour in the afternoons could be very crowded. We downloaded gondola one a couple of times in the beginning of the week, when my children were not comfortable skiing down. Later in the week, we skied down the mountain with the rest of the crowds. BTW, the mountain was 98% open.

I may try to post up a trip report, but that would be for another thread. Overall, we had a blast.
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