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Three Week Christmas vacation Ski Suggestions [A Family Skiing planning thread]

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
My wife and I have decided we are going to start a new family tradition of spending the holidays in the mountains. Next year this will be December 18th through January 6th (so a full three weeks). We are a family of four with two kids who will be 3 and 5 at the time of the trip. Currently thinking Steamboat is the best pick for our family based on the below criteria but would like other suggestions:

1. Decent town to spend Christmas in;
2. Strong likelihood of good snow;
3. Kid friendly with good ski school;
4. Affordable lodging (Steamboat seems to actually have a lot of good options here); and
5. Minimizing lift lines to the extent possible during such a busy time.

We will likely rent a 4 bedroom house and have a different group of friends/family visit and ski with us each of the weeks we are there. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated!
Edited by lowndes - 12/23/15 at 5:49pm
post #2 of 8

Sounds like a great family tradition to me!  You would be flying to start the ski vacation?

 

Do you mind if the thread is moved to Family Skiing since you have plenty of time for people to offer planning suggestions?

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks! We think so as well. And I'll be driving a car up from Texas but rest of family will fly. For three weeks think it would be nice to have our own car but open to suggestions where it isn't needed.

And yes please move to the most appropriate spot as time is certainly on our side here.
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowndes View Post

My wife and I have decided we are going to start a new family tradition of spending the holidays in the mountains. Next year this will be December 18th through January 6th (so a full three weeks). We are a family of four with two kids who will be 3 and 5 at the time of the trip. Currently thinking Steamboat is the best pick for our family based on the below criteria but would like other suggestions:

1. Decent town to spend Christmas in;
2. Strong likelihood of good snow;
3. Kid friendly with good ski school;
4. Affordable lodging (Steamboat seems to actually have a lot of good options here); and
5. Minimizing lift lines to the extent possible during such a busy time.

We will likely rent a 4 bedroom house and have a different group of friends/family visit and ski with us each of the weeks we are there. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated!
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowndes View Post

Thanks! We think so as well. And I'll be driving a car up from Texas but rest of family will fly. For three weeks think it would be nice to have our own car but open to suggestions where it isn't needed.

And yes please move to the most appropriate spot as time is certainly on our side here.

I moved to Family Skiing and added a note to the thread title.  Looking forward to the discussion.

 

For that long a ski vacation, I would definitely want a car.  Also opens up the lodging options.  With young kids, while ski in/out is nice, the cost savings outweigh the need for either a short drive or a shuttle bus ride for the relatively few hours that they will be skiing.  At my home mountain, have been doing ski weekends (3-4 days) with kids staying in a condo that's 5-10 min away from the base lodge for 10 years.  Even on days where we went back to the condo for a lunch break, then went back for another hour or two of skiing, it was fine.

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowndes View Post

My wife and I have decided we are going to start a new family tradition of spending the holidays in the mountains....
1. Decent town to spend Christmas in;

Are you thinking that the tradition will be to go back to the same spot in the mountains every year, or to try new places? And what are your expectations in terms of a "decent" town? What matters?--shopping, dining, nightlife, quirkiness, activities, Christmasy hustle & bustle? relaxed atmosphere?

 

If you plan to bounce from town to town each year, I definitely think you should try a year at Leavenworth, Washington (fly through SeaTac), as the Christmas decorations and festivities are really tons of fun. But the ski conditions are less dependable.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowndes View Post

Thanks! We think so as well. And I'll be driving a car up from Texas but rest of family will fly. For three weeks think it would be nice to have our own car but open to suggestions where it isn't needed.

 

If you're close enough to DFW or IAH to fly direct from one of them, you've got a lot of choices. If not, I'd recommend looking carefully at destinations that offer nonstop air service from your home airport, as switching planes with young kids can definitely be a chore.

Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post

With young kids, while ski in/out is nice, the cost savings outweigh the need for either a short drive or a shuttle bus ride for the relatively few hours that they will be skiing.  At my home mountain, have been doing ski weekends (3-4 days) with kids staying in a condo that's 5-10 min away from the base lodge for 10 years.  Even on days where we went back to the condo for a lunch break, then went back for another hour or two of skiing, it was fine.

 

I think it depends a lot on what your acceptable cost thresholds are. With little kids, slopeside can definitely be worth quite a bit. If you're looking in the $5k-10k price range, I'd say that it makes sense to insist on slopeside, even if that helps guide the destination choice.

 

For a spot with tons of affordable slopeside choices and fairly reliable early season performance, take a look at Brian Head, Utah. Flying through Vegas should generally be less expensive and more convenient than flying to a ski town, and you have Vegas fairly nearby if the sleepy little Utah towns aren't cutting it as "decent."

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Utah View Post

Are you thinking that the tradition will be to go back to the same spot in the mountains every year, or to try new places? And what are your expectations in terms of a "decent" town? What matters?--shopping, dining, nightlife, quirkiness, activities, Christmasy hustle & bustle? relaxed atmosphere?

If you plan to bounce from town to town each year, I definitely think you should try a year at Leavenworth, Washington (fly through SeaTac), as the Christmas decorations and festivities are really tons of fun. But the ski conditions are less dependable.


If you're close enough to DFW or IAH to fly direct from one of them, you've got a lot of choices. If not, I'd recommend looking carefully at destinations that offer nonstop air service from your home airport, as switching planes with young kids can definitely be a chore.

I think it depends a lot on what your acceptable cost thresholds are. With little kids, slopeside can definitely be worth quite a bit. If you're looking in the $5k-10k price range, I'd say that it makes sense to insist on slopeside, even if that helps guide the destination choice.

For a spot with tons of affordable slopeside choices and fairly reliable early season performance, take a look at Brian Head, Utah. Flying through Vegas should generally be less expensive and more convenient than flying to a ski town, and you have Vegas fairly nearby if the sleepy little Utah towns aren't cutting it as "decent."

Thanks, appreciate the reply and suggestions. As far as town goes I think general Christmas activities, shopping, a few good places to eat, etc. don't need much of a nightlife at all. An example of a ski town that has everything we would need is Telluride.

Haven't decided on bouncing around or going back to same spot every year. Although if we find a place that has decent snow, crowds aren't crazy and we can find a decent place to stay I couldn't imagine changing it up once we find what we are after.

I like the idea of slopeside to but am trying to keep the per night fee under $500 (maybe $600) or so for accomadations. Hard to tell how easy that is to do over the Holidays.

And we are about 20 minutes from IAH so a lot of flying options there.

Also, are most ski in/ski outs on easy slopes? If it isn't something a 5 year old can ski then it would be pointless for us. Guess worth asking when booking a place.
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowndes View Post
Thanks, appreciate the reply and suggestions. As far as town goes I think general Christmas activities, shopping, a few good places to eat, etc. don't need much of a nightlife at all. An example of a ski town that has everything we would need is Telluride.

Haven't decided on bouncing around or going back to same spot every year. Although if we find a place that has decent snow, crowds aren't crazy and we can find a decent place to stay I couldn't imagine changing it up once we find what we are after.

I like the idea of slopeside to but am trying to keep the per night fee under $500 (maybe $600) or so for accomadations. Hard to tell how easy that is to do over the Holidays.

And we are about 20 minutes from IAH so a lot of flying options there.

Also, are most ski in/ski outs on easy slopes? If it isn't something a 5 year old can ski then it would be pointless for us. Guess worth asking when booking a place.

 

Might as well pick a couple places and price slope side lodging for Pres. Day week in Feb.  Could compare with a non-holiday week to get a feel for the difference.  Obviously not quite the same as Christmas break but some data could be useful.

 

Even though Massanutten is a small ski hill, it was a fun place to go as an annual tradition.  Certainly more relaxing for me as the parent.  From ages 4-8, there was more time off the ski hill than on so being at a place where we knew about other fun activities and food options was helpful.  Not having to research lodging every year also made it easier to commit early on.  Also easier to invited friends and family we I knew what to expect.

 

Pretty hard to generalize about lodging.  For instance, based on where I've been and what I've read Telluride, Snowmass, Winter Park are all set up pretty differently without considering cost.  Park City falls into the category of a place that's relatively easy to reach so is always crowded during holiday period, but that's a lot of driving from Texas so I wouldn't expect that to make your short list.

post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowndes View Post


Thanks, appreciate the reply and suggestions. As far as town goes I think general Christmas activities, shopping, a few good places to eat, etc. don't need much of a nightlife at all. An example of a ski town that has everything we would need is Telluride.

OK, with Telluride as a baseline, I think you'd be disappointed with Brian Head's town, so probably cross it off the list. Crested Butte's a neat town, but it's not walkable from the mountain like Telluride, and the beginner terrain isn't as good--might be a good one to try when the kids are older. Steamboat sounds like a promising option, but I've never been there. And Telluride, of course, would be a fantastic destination for you, if you can make the prices work. In many winters, much of their black diamond terrain won't yet be open by Christmas, but it sounds like that's not necessarily a major draw anyway.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lowndes View Post


I like the idea of slopeside to but am trying to keep the per night fee under $500 (maybe $600) or so for accomadations. Hard to tell how easy that is to do over the Holidays.

And we are about 20 minutes from IAH so a lot of flying options there.

Also, are most ski in/ski outs on easy slopes? If it isn't something a 5 year old can ski then it would be pointless for us. Guess worth asking when booking a place.
At least some spots at VRBO.com are booking the dates you're looking at, so you can get a sense there--but I think more availability will show up as time goes on.
I'd say it's well-worth investigating any unit before booking. Everything ski-in ski-out that I can think of at Telluride and Crested Butte is on a green or easy groomed blue run, but Park City definitely has some ski-in ski-out properties on more challenging blue runs that don't get daily grooming. Google Maps can be a great tool to see just where a potential rental is in relation to ski terrain and the town--and if you're looking at a rental along a particular run, you can probably get feedback about that specific run here on Epicski.
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