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Good resort/area for beginner teenager, intermediate dad and non-skiing mom?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 

We're considering spring breaking in CO or UT to introduce our 16-year old to skiing. She's a never-ever, but she's fearless and very fit from speed, agility and weight training. My husband (was intermediate) hasn't skied in about 10 years, but he's a marathon runner so he's in shape, if a bit rusty. I had shoulder replacement surgery last month, so I'm sidelined this year.

 

We're looking for:

 

- Not horribly crowded, with good snow conditions mid-March

- Challenging, but won't kill him trails for husband

- Reasonable lift tickets and lessons

- Some way for me to spend my time (coffee shop, library, skier-watching, etc.)

- Laid back - we're more surfer town than upscale, fine-dining types

- Ski-in/ski-out or easy shuttle ride condos

- A ski village atmosphere, if that makes any sense - want daughter to "feel the magic"

 

We're flying free, so either SLC or Denver works. We'll rent a car and don't mind driving 3-4 hours for the right place. We'd also consider splitting our time - maybe somewhere with cheaper lessons the first couple of days and then move on to a different resort if it fits more of our want list (for ex. SB appeals, but ski school seems pricey).

 

Husband and I have skied a few places in Colorado, but we know nothing about UT. I've done a little research into SB, Monarch, Wolf Creek, Solitude, Sundance, Winter Park, maybe others, but I'm overwhelmed and on painkillers, so any help would be much appreciated. :-)

post #2 of 25
Snowmass would be awesome! PM me if you have questions.
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much! I'll do some looking into Snowmass and PM if I have any questions!

post #4 of 25

Park City, Ut.

 

It has everything that fits your list plus it is lower altitude than Colorado. There are over 9000 acres of skiing between Park Cty/Canyons and Deer Valley. You won't need a car either, as it is a under an hour from SLC airport and there is decent town bus service.

post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewWing View Post
 

We're considering spring breaking in CO or UT to introduce our 16-year old to skiing. She's a never-ever, but she's fearless and very fit from speed, agility and weight training. My husband (was intermediate) hasn't skied in about 10 years, but he's a marathon runner so he's in shape, if a bit rusty. I had shoulder replacement surgery last month, so I'm sidelined this year.

 

We're looking for:

 

- Not horribly crowded, with good snow conditions mid-March

- Challenging, but won't kill him trails for husband

- Reasonable lift tickets and lessons

- Some way for me to spend my time (coffee shop, library, skier-watching, etc.)

- Laid back - we're more surfer town than upscale, fine-dining types

- Ski-in/ski-out or easy shuttle ride condos

- A ski village atmosphere, if that makes any sense - want daughter to "feel the magic"

 

We're flying free, so either SLC or Denver works. We'll rent a car and don't mind driving 3-4 hours for the right place. We'd also consider splitting our time - maybe somewhere with cheaper lessons the first couple of days and then move on to a different resort if it fits more of our want list (for ex. SB appeals, but ski school seems pricey).

 

Husband and I have skied a few places in Colorado, but we know nothing about UT. I've done a little research into SB, Monarch, Wolf Creek, Solitude, Sundance, Winter Park, maybe others, but I'm overwhelmed and on painkillers, so any help would be much appreciated. :-)


Welcome to EpicSki!  Exactly what week?  Early or late March makes a bit of a difference, although not really significant for beginner/intermediate terrain.

 

What do you consider reasonable for lift tickets?  $60, $75, $100?  Most destination resorts are $100+ per day, with discounts available with resort lodging packages.

post #6 of 25
Sundance sounds like a good fit if the lodging prices are within your budget... the "laid-back surfer town" vibe is definitely applicable... it reminds me of Santa Barbara... relaxed and fun, but not necessarily cheap. Although the lift tickets aren't too expensive. It's also a pretty quick and very scenic drive up to Park City if the skiers end up wanting more variety. With skier-watching, day and night skiing, art galleries and classes, and gorgeous nature trails, there should be plenty to keep you entertained. I think Sundance would be my top pick.
 
Solitude or Park City would potentially be good choices, too. Assuming that you need to pay for lodging, I wouldn't worry too much just about lift ticket and lesson pricing--Solitude and Park City might be more than many other choices for lift tickets and lessons, but lodging can be relatively affordable, so maybe it balances.
 
One other possibility worth considering if prices are looking intimidating... Eagle Point in Southern Utah might be a great way to do part of the trip on the cheap. They're only open Friday-Monday, but lessons, tickets, and lodging are all very affordable, and crowds are so low it seems likely that your daughter's "group" lesson would end up one-on-one with an instructor. Activities for you are a bit more limited--some skier-watching, and you can hang out in either lodge without feeling guilty since there won't be a crowd. But probably bring a good book or two, too.
 
You mention "SB..." do you mean Snowbasin or Snowbird? Snowbasin's big drawback is the lack of nearby lodging to "feel the magic." Snowbird is a very challenging mountain, and not one that I'd recommend for a never-ever or out-of-practice intermediate.
 
Unless your daughter already has her heart absolutely set on skiing, I'd recommend leaving open the possibility that she might prefer snowboarding. For that reason, I'd recommend against Alta or Deer Valley, since they both prohibit snowboarding.
 
The added drive-time from Denver International to any of the ski areas there makes Colorado seem less attractive, I think.
post #7 of 25

There was a father who took the family to Brian Head for the first couple of ski vacations.  They had a good time as I remember.  Southern Utah is getting good snowstorms.

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

We're considering spring breaking in CO or UT to introduce our 16-year old to skiing. She's a never-ever, but she's fearless and very fit from speed, agility and weight training. My husband (was intermediate) hasn't skied in about 10 years, but he's a marathon runner so he's in shape, if a bit rusty. I had shoulder replacement surgery last month, so I'm sidelined this year.

 

We're looking for:

 

- Not horribly crowded, with good snow conditions mid-March

- Challenging, but won't kill him trails for husband

- Reasonable lift tickets and lessons

- Some way for me to spend my time (coffee shop, library, skier-watching, etc.)

- Laid back - we're more surfer town than upscale, fine-dining types

- Ski-in/ski-out or easy shuttle ride condos

- A ski village atmosphere, if that makes any sense - want daughter to "feel the magic"

 

We're flying free, so either SLC or Denver works. We'll rent a car and don't mind driving 3-4 hours for the right place. We'd also consider splitting our time - maybe somewhere with cheaper lessons the first couple of days and then move on to a different resort if it fits more of our want list (for ex. SB appeals, but ski school seems pricey).

 

Husband and I have skied a few places in Colorado, but we know nothing about UT. I've done a little research into SB, Monarch, Wolf Creek, Solitude, Sundance, Winter Park, maybe others, but I'm overwhelmed and on painkillers, so any help would be much appreciated. :-)

Snowmass and Park City are fine suggestions.  Although, you've asked for a tough combination of qualities.  Mid-March coincides with peak spring break crowds.  Reasonable ticket and lesson prices don't usually go with magical ski-in/ski-out village locations.  If you are ok with a very small "village" rather than a major ski town for your own non-ski interests that might open up a number of additional possibilities like the Sundance and Brian Head suggestions, also Solitude has a cute but very small village.  Brian Head would offer more value.  Mid-March in Summit County, CO can be quite busy, but you might consider Copper Mtn for your family, or staying in Frisco (nice little central biz district) for you, while family shuttles to several nearby ski areas.  Easy day trips to interesting major ski towns like Breckenridge and Vail are possible from Frisco.

post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 

Marznc, our timing is flexible - anytime between 3/10 and 3/20. I see that most lift tickets are $100+, as you say. Since there will be only two skiing, that issue is probably not crucial, but some of the UT resorts do seem a bit less costly. I should figure out the balance of lodging + lift ticket + transportation, as New2Utah mentioned.

 

The "magic" atmosphere isn't that big of a deal. I was thinking about something touching on the ski villages we've seen in Switzerland and Italy (in summertime), but I suspect I'm dreaming and won't find that here. The skiing itself will hopefully be magical enough for her. Snowboarding is definitely a possibility, New2Utah. She surfs pretty well - does that type of balance skill come into boarding at all? It looks like surfing on snow to me, but then I base my knowledge solely on staring in awe at Shawn White!

 

The driving time in CO to the more distant resorts, and the crowds at the closer Summit Co. places make me lean towards Utah. Sundance, Brian Head and Solitude all look like good possibilities. Thanks for the suggestions, all! Off to check them out now...

post #10 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewWing View Post
 

The "magic" atmosphere isn't that big of a deal. I was thinking about something touching on the ski villages we've seen in Switzerland and Italy (in summertime), but I suspect I'm dreaming and won't find that here. The skiing itself will hopefully be magical enough for her. Snowboarding is definitely a possibility, New2Utah. She surfs pretty well - does that type of balance skill come into boarding at all? It looks like surfing on snow to me, but then I base my knowledge solely on staring in awe at Shawn White!

I've heard that prior experience surfing makes snowboarding feel more natural. And, as someone who has never surfed, snowboarding felt awful when I tried it for ten minutes. But that ten minutes doesn't necessarily make me very authoritative on the subject :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewWing View Post

 

The driving time in CO to the more distant resorts, and the crowds at the closer Summit Co. places make me lean towards Utah. Sundance, Brian Head and Solitude all look like good possibilities. Thanks for the suggestions, all! Off to check them out now...

Brian Head is much closer to the Las Vegas airport, if that's a possibility. It's not as good a fit for a vacation through Salt Lake, although if you want to spend a day at each end sightseeing and traveling, it works (Capitol Reef, Escalante, and Bryce Canyon).

post #11 of 25

We did Park City-Canyons in mid-March last year.  The mountains were great but temps reached 65+ every day and the "snow" was ice first thing and slush by 10-11AM.  Not exactly great conditions for a first time skier or the 10 years since last time skier.   Of course the weather may be different this year.  Park City is a nice town but I'm not sure about "laid back" magic.  Breckenridge CO, on the other hand, certainly has some laid back "magic" potential.  A very fun town, they've always got something going on, lots of stuff to do other than ski.  Fine dining or burgers and brew.  Unfortunately the passes are pretty expensive if you don't have the EpicPass.  And the ski area is generally pretty crowded on weekends.  

post #12 of 25
I'm a fan of Breckenridge for new skiers. It's got a large section that's green runs, and they're wide, relatively uncrowded (at least so far this year) and mostly without steeper sections. The blues also have a wide variety of terrain. The area has also been getting hammered with snow this year. I just got home from vail, which had 15+ inches of fresh powder. My 8yo son got to try skiing knee-deep for the first time.
post #13 of 25

Since Breck was mentioned, that always makes me wonder if the family has slept at high altitude.  Meaning over 9000 ft.  Personally, one reason I have skied a lot more in Utah than Colorado is that adjusting to high altitude takes a day or two flying from the southeast.  I much prefer having 3-4 days to adjust if going to ski over 11,000 ft.  That's not the case for spring break trips.

post #14 of 25
Fair point. I live at almost 6000 feet, so it's less of an issue.
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead View Post
 

We did Park City-Canyons in mid-March last year.  The mountains were great but temps reached 65+ every day and the "snow" was ice first thing and slush by 10-11AM.  Not exactly great conditions for a first time skier or the 10 years since last time skier.   Of course the weather may be different this year. 

I wouldn't use last year as a guide for anything. I cancelled my trip to Park City at that time last year because it was so bad and I didn't want to waste the money. This year, as are all the others is different. 

post #16 of 25
Snowmass/Aspen. She can go to Buttermilk which is pretty much empty and a fantastic intermediate beginner zone. Plus you get to see the x games half pipe. If it's still there.
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by kurtis500 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead View Post
 

We did Park City-Canyons in mid-March last year.  The mountains were great but temps reached 65+ every day and the "snow" was ice first thing and slush by 10-11AM.  Not exactly great conditions for a first time skier or the 10 years since last time skier.   Of course the weather may be different this year. 

I wouldn't use last year as a guide for anything. I cancelled my trip to Park City at that time last year because it was so bad and I didn't want to waste the money. This year, as are all the others is different. 


Agree that March 2015 was not at all "normal" for Park City and Utah in general.  The snow levels were extremely low and the warm days in March and April were well over 50.  But at the same time, those of us who didn't cancel spring break trips in April were treated with powder days, including the powder dump that ended up 30+ inches on April 15.

 

For a perspective based on much more than the past season when planning for a family trip, or any mixed ability group who must travel in March or April.

 

http://www.bestsnow.net/fam_ski.htm

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

We're considering spring breaking in CO or UT to introduce our 16-year old to skiing. She's a never-ever, but she's fearless and very fit from speed, agility and weight training. My husband (was intermediate) hasn't skied in about 10 years, but he's a marathon runner so he's in shape, if a bit rusty. I had shoulder replacement surgery last month, so I'm sidelined this year.

We're looking for:

- Not horribly crowded, with good snow conditions mid-March
- Challenging, but won't kill him trails for husband
- Reasonable lift tickets and lessons
- Some way for me to spend my time (coffee shop, library, skier-watching, etc.)
- Laid back - we're more surfer town than upscale, fine-dining types
- Ski-in/ski-out or easy shuttle ride condos
- A ski village atmosphere, if that makes any sense - want daughter to "feel the magic"

We're flying free, so either SLC or Denver works. We'll rent a car and don't mind driving 3-4 hours for the right place. We'd also consider splitting our time - maybe somewhere with cheaper lessons the first couple of days and then move on to a different resort if it fits more of our want list (for ex. SB appeals, but ski school seems pricey).

Husband and I have skied a few places in Colorado, but we know nothing about UT. I've done a little research into SB, Monarch, Wolf Creek, Solitude, Sundance, Winter Park, maybe others, but I'm overwhelmed and on painkillers, so any help would be much appreciated. :-)

Since you say you're flying free I assume that means on miles? Which airline? If one of the majors you may be surprised at the availability direct into one of the ski towns. Aspen or Hayden (Steamboat) for instance has pretty decent award availability on American if you have just a bit of flexibility. That would make Snowmass even more enticing to me. Even if flying into Denver it was worth the 4-5 hour drive for me last year even with 3 young kids in tow. The place is that special.
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewWing View Post

We're considering spring breaking in CO or UT to introduce our 16-year old to skiing. She's a never-ever, but she's fearless and very fit from speed, agility and weight training. My husband (was intermediate) hasn't skied in about 10 years, but he's a marathon runner so he's in shape, if a bit rusty. I had shoulder replacement surgery last month, so I'm sidelined this year.

We're looking for:

- Not horribly crowded, with good snow conditions mid-March
- Challenging, but won't kill him trails for husband
- Reasonable lift tickets and lessons
- Some way for me to spend my time (coffee shop, library, skier-watching, etc.)
- Laid back - we're more surfer town than upscale, fine-dining types
- Ski-in/ski-out or easy shuttle ride condos
- A ski village atmosphere, if that makes any sense - want daughter to "feel the magic"

We're flying free, so either SLC or Denver works. We'll rent a car and don't mind driving 3-4 hours for the right place. We'd also consider splitting our time - maybe somewhere with cheaper lessons the first couple of days and then move on to a different resort if it fits more of our want list (for ex. SB appeals, but ski school seems pricey).

Husband and I have skied a few places in Colorado, but we know nothing about UT. I've done a little research into SB, Monarch, Wolf Creek, Solitude, Sundance, Winter Park, maybe others, but I'm overwhelmed and on painkillers, so any help would be much appreciated. :-)

Here is a link to a my trip planning thread from last year with lots of good advice that ultimately led to Snowloads.
http://www.epicski.com/t/128644/steamboat-or-copper-for-beginner-intermediates-1st-week-of-march-snowmass-too/120#post_1851116

And the resulting trip report http://www.epicski.com/t/133555/snowmass-trip-report-family-with-young-kids-2-27-15-3-8-15#post_1853113
post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Utah View Post
 

I've heard that prior experience surfing makes snowboarding feel more natural. And, as someone who has never surfed, snowboarding felt awful when I tried it for ten minutes. But that ten minutes doesn't necessarily make me very authoritative on the subject :)

 

Brian Head is much closer to the Las Vegas airport, if that's a possibility. It's not as good a fit for a vacation through Salt Lake, although if you want to spend a day at each end sightseeing and traveling, it works (Capitol Reef, Escalante, and Bryce Canyon).

 

Flying into Vegas is definitely appealing because we can fly there nonstop on SW and even arrive by 6:45 a.m. I'm now really considering the idea of getting to Vegas super early, driving to Brian Head (or Eagle Point?) for two days (lessons) and then driving north to Sundance for 4-5 days. Sundance sounds like the best vibe for us and a good resort for me to find something to do. It also looks like we could do a day trip to another resort pretty easily from there?

 

Does this sound like a decent plan? It'd be a long drive back to Vegas, but our flight home wouldn't leave until after 8 p.m., so we wouldn't have to rush.

post #21 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 

Since Breck was mentioned, that always makes me wonder if the family has slept at high altitude.  Meaning over 9000 ft.  Personally, one reason I have skied a lot more in Utah than Colorado is that adjusting to high altitude takes a day or two flying from the southeast.  I much prefer having 3-4 days to adjust if going to ski over 11,000 ft.  That's not the case for spring break trips.

 

We have slept at high altitude without issue, but I forgot about that problem when thinking about going straight to Brian Head from Vegas. I think it's at 11,000. Maybe the lower Eagle Point is better...or perhaps going straight to Sundance and bypassing the southern resorts altogether is the best idea. Hmm. Much to consider. 

post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hokienRIC View Post


Since you say you're flying free I assume that means on miles? Which airline? If one of the majors you may be surprised at the availability direct into one of the ski towns. Aspen or Hayden (Steamboat) for instance has pretty decent award availability on American if you have just a bit of flexibility. That would make Snowmass even more enticing to me. Even if flying into Denver it was worth the 4-5 hour drive for me last year even with 3 young kids in tow. The place is that special.

Our miles are on SW and United, but I don't think either fly into Aspen or Hayden. Snowmass does sound great and we could get to Denver easily on SW. It's actually only an 8-hour drive for us, so we'd probably save the miles and drive since rental car rates in Denver are sky-high in mid-March, but my kid is protesting long travel time eating into vacation. All things considered, Vegas to a Utah resort is the best deal for us at this point, even with a long drive north to the Provo or SLC area.

 

But I really appreciate the info from everyone about Breckinridge, Snowmass, and Colorado skiing, in general! That's probably our next destination if she likes skiing.

post #23 of 25

United does fly into Aspen from Denver, L.A., and Chicago. You wouldn'y need a rental car once there.

post #24 of 25

It sounds like something like Brianhead might suit your bill best.  It's accessible from LV and has been getting great snow.  If you do decide to go elsewhere, you might look at Alta.  From your description it was the first thing that popped into my head.

post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by NewWing View Post
 

 

Flying into Vegas is definitely appealing because we can fly there nonstop on SW and even arrive by 6:45 a.m. I'm now really considering the idea of getting to Vegas super early, driving to Brian Head (or Eagle Point?) for two days (lessons) and then driving north to Sundance for 4-5 days. Sundance sounds like the best vibe for us and a good resort for me to find something to do. It also looks like we could do a day trip to another resort pretty easily from there?

 

Does this sound like a decent plan? It'd be a long drive back to Vegas, but our flight home wouldn't leave until after 8 p.m., so we wouldn't have to rush.

Sounds like a fun trip! Bring books or something for Brian Head or Eagle Point... there are other distractions, but not a whole lot going on and better to have something on hand than to be bored and wishing you did :) Zion National Park is a good day trip from Brian Head and spectacular in the spring; Bryce Canyon is a pretty easy day trip from either... might be good if the skiers want a break or if you want to go on a solo excursion.

 

Unless they've changed semi-recently, Southwest will let you book two one-way segments for the same mileage as round trip (or splitting the difference if they're different rates). It might be worth looking at flying into Vegas and out of Salt Lake--you'd have a surcharge on the rental car, but might still be a good deal.

 

From Sundance, yes, it's an easy day trip to a few options. Park City/Deer Valley are an easy drive through spectacular country; Alta or Snowbird are mostly city driving, so rush hour can be a bit of a pain. Brighton and Solitude are longer mostly-urban drives so not the best fit if you're staying at Sundance.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewWing View Post
 

 

We have slept at high altitude without issue, but I forgot about that problem when thinking about going straight to Brian Head from Vegas. I think it's at 11,000. Maybe the lower Eagle Point is better...or perhaps going straight to Sundance and bypassing the southern resorts altogether is the best idea. Hmm. Much to consider. 

If you've slept at altitude before, you'll probably be fine--just remember to stay hydrated (good advice anyway). Lodging at both Brian Head and Eagle Point is mostly between 9,500' and 10,000'.

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