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Teaching Kids to Ski - Vail, Breck, Keystone, or Beaver Creek Help/suggestions [family in Colorado Springs]

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I'm signing my kids up for the Epic School Kids Colorado Pass this year. I will be teaching my 6 year old to ski myself and my 8 year old wants to make the transition to Snowboarding. I will be taking advantage of the free First-timer lesson for each of them. As I plan on how to go about using their passes I have a few questions as it will help me decide between the Summit Value pass or Epic Local Pass for myself.

 

I am not familiar with any of these resorts. I skied Vail and Beaver Creek over a decade ago and remember not being very impressed with Vail. Most of my skiing has been done at Winter Park which I love, but its hard to pass up this pass for my kids. I will also likely add in a day or two at Monarch since my 6 year old is still free and their Snowboard lessons are more affordable if my 8 year old wants to keep boarding after his first lesson.

 

I live in Colorado Springs so ski days will be mostly Saturdays and the occasional Friday. We may do a burst of 4 days over Christmas break or Spring Break.

 

Which of these resorts would be the best choice for the First-timer lesson?

 

Which resort is best for parents working with children to learn and master the basics? (In particular publicly available magic carpets and a large learning area).

 

TIA

post #2 of 12

Breckenridge has a pretty good school, though for a first time lesson I think any of the resorts would be fine.

 

Beaver creek is the least crowded and has some great green/blue terrain but it is also the furthest away. Breck gets very crowded though it's one of my favorite places to ski. The beginner terrain in particular tends to get pretty crazily busy. Keystone also gets fairly swamped and some of their blues are not the friendliest for beginners because significant number of expert runs funnel into them and it can disconcerting to have people zipping by.

 

Vail is huge and worth it for beginners IMHO. It doesn't offer a lot of truly expert terrain which is why a lot of posters here are not a huge fan of it but it's a great place for beginners and intermediates to ski.

 

Since you live in Colorado Springs do yourself a favor and learn how to get to summit the back way via 24 and Highway 9. Going to Breck it takes about the same time as going through Denver up I-70, everywhere else it adds about 20-30mins but it pretty much guarantees that you won't have any traffic. If you hit some traffic it definitely won't be as bad as 70.     

post #3 of 12

All the areas you mentioned have very reputable ski schools.

 

Since you will be skiing on Saturdays and at least one of the major holiday times, Breck (and Keystone) will be very crowded.  Keystone also requires a long walk from parking to get to any lift - that may not be desirable for Dad if the kids struggle to haul their equipment.  

 

If the extra distance is not an issue for you, I'd suggest Beaver Creek.  Much less crowded on weekends and holidays.  BC has a very nice green section up top which is somewhat unusual and very scenic, IMHO.  The downside of that used to be that you eventually needed to ski back down a never ending cat trail (Cinch?), some of which required significant skating.  But now they have modified a lift to add gondola cars so beginners can ride back down.  

 

I never thought Vail particularly good for beginners but others may disagree.

 

The route Lonewolf suggested is preferable to I25 and I70, Especially on Saturdays or holidays, but could be a real bear in foul weather.  Do you have 4WD and/or snow tires?

post #4 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead View Post
 

The route Lonewolf suggested is preferable to I25 and I70, Especially on Saturdays or holidays, but could be a real bear in foul weather.  Do you have 4WD and/or snow tires?

 

Honestly I hear people mention all the time how it can be a bear in foul weather but in all the years I drove it there where maybe 2-3 times where I would say it was even moderate. Only once where it was it was pretty nasty and then it was mostly wind/visibility not road conditions. Going up hoosier from the Breck side can get hit hard but they immediately start blowing and keep 1-2 plows just cycling up and down it. Once you get over the pass the storm is rarely bad on the other side. Then again I do lots of winter driving so maybe I'm just used to it.

post #5 of 12


I've only driven it twice; once in the summer so it was no problem and once in a snow storm and that time it was a bear ;)

post #6 of 12

You might check to see if this program is still in effect for the coming season, I couldn't verify it from the Vail web site. It was started last year.

It might be just the thing for your 6 YO.

 

VAIL RESORTS LAUNCHES UNPRECEDENTED NEW PROGRAM OFFERING FREE SKIING AND RIDING FOR ALL K-5 SCHOOL KIDS

 
  • Benefits include four complimentary days of skiing and riding at Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone, respectively, for the 2015-2016 winter season – that’s 16 days free per student
  • Participants receive one complimentary full-day beginner lesson, including equipment rental, during the month of January, during Learn to Ski & Ride Month
  • An Experience of a Lifetime in the Rocky Mountains is more accessible than ever before for kids in our Colorado community 
  •  
 

http://news.vailresorts.com/corporate/vail-resorts-school-kids-free-skiing-riding.htm

post #7 of 12
Unprecedented might be a stretch unless they are talking about themselves. The 5th grade free ski program in Colorado has been around for awhile. I'm not sure VR was a participating resort and based on what I'm reading above they certainly have the "marketing" down.
post #8 of 12

5th & 6th Grade Passport is a real deal for kids that age. UP to 60 days of free skiing.

 

http://coloradoski.com/index.php?url=passport/

 

However, won't work for OP's 6 YO because 5th grade is usually about 11.

post #9 of 12

I would think Breck would be your best bet,  as it's at least an hour closer than BC.

But agree BC has a nice set up and isn't as crowded.

 

Does VR even have public magic carpets?

 

Lot's of blacked out days, including much of Christmas.

 

You might just be better off at Monarch full time.

post #10 of 12

I taught at Keystone and Beaver Creek. Keystone is definitely the way to go for beginners. It has the best beginner areas with lots of space and a good progression. Corporate markets it as the family resort. It's also a lot closer than Vail/BC and parking is much easier than Breck. The quality of instruction will be essentially the same at all resorts. When your kids get intermediate/advanced switch to BC- it's the least crowded and has a lot of high level kid skiers compared to other resorts which is good for finding a lesson that will be fun and relevant; it also has an excellent multi-week program (Beavo). I don't have much experience with Breck, but don't do Vail - it's really inaccessible as far as getting to the resort and getting around on the snow and easy to get lost. Enjoy :)

post #11 of 12

There is also the Bombers program at Breck.  It isn't cheap, but it does get kids started right...

 

Mike

http://www.breckenridge.com/ski-and-ride-school/specialty-programs/ski-and-snowboard-bombers.aspx#/AllMountainBombers

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post

I would think Breck would be your best bet,  as it's at least an hour closer than BC.
But agree BC has a nice set up and isn't as crowded.

Does VR even have public magic carpets?

Lot's of blacked out days, including much of Christmas.

You might just be better off at Monarch full time.

If you have a lift ticket, you can use all but the fenced-off kids area magic carpets. That's the two alpine and two snowboard carpets at Peak 8 and the two carpets on Peak 9.
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