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Where should I go for a ski vacation? [Feb family trip, non-skiing mom, from MA]

post #1 of 86
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm a high schooler living in MA. This coming February my family and I are planning to go on a ski vacation. It's probably going to be my only ski vacation in high school, so I'm trying to decide where to go. I ski a bit of intermediate terrain but I'm starting to ski more advanced terrain (glades, steep, bumps). I was thinking I might wanna go west, and i've heard that there are many great places (Salt lake city, aspen, telluride, lake Tahoe, etc). So far I've only skied in NE, places like Sugarbush, Mt snow, and a couple others. I like big mountains to explore, and I'd prefer a place that isn't crowded. What would you suggest?

 

Mod note: info added to the thread title

post #2 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrB17 View Post
 

Hi, I'm a high schooler living in MA. This coming February my family and I are planning to go on a ski vacation. It's probably going to be my only ski vacation in high school, so I'm trying to decide where to go. I ski a bit of intermediate terrain but I'm starting to ski more advanced terrain (glades, steep, bumps). I was thinking I might wanna go west, and i've heard that there are many great places (Salt lake city, aspen, telluride, lake Tahoe, etc). So far I've only skied in NE, places like Sugarbush, Mt snow, and a couple others. I like big mountains to explore, and I'd prefer a place that isn't crowded. What would you suggest?


What is the rest of the family going to do while you're skiing?  Meaning, do you need non-skiing activities available?  Usually the places out west that have uncrowded skiing don't have much for non-skiers to do.

post #3 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marznc View Post
 


What is the rest of the family going to do while you're skiing?  Meaning, do you need non-skiing activities available?  Usually the places out west that have uncrowded skiing don't have much for non-skiers to do.


Oh, yes, forgot about that. My younger sister and my dad like to ski easy-intermediate trails, and my mom doesn't ski, so she would probably enjoy places to walk, things to see, a nice city, stuff like that.

post #4 of 86

First thoughts: Park City or Aspen/Snowmass.  If you went to Park City, go over to Alta for a day.  For Aspen/Snowmass, start at Buttermilk on the first day.

 

Note that any place you go in the Rockies will be bigger than any of the places you've been so far.

post #5 of 86
Vail or Park City.
post #6 of 86
Aspen or Park City
post #7 of 86

Aspen is an iconic N. American ski resort with 4 uncrowded mountains and usually great weather with lots of sunshine.

post #8 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanoT View Post
 

Aspen is an iconic N. American ski resort with 4 uncrowded mountains and usually great weather with lots of sunshine.


And a real town with a very good free bus system between mountains.

post #9 of 86

I will jump on the Aspen / Snowmass recommendation also and ...  cough ...   Vail or Breck.  Don't forget Steamboat and Tahoe is definitely also worth considering.  I would recommend Copper but with mom not skiing it is not the best choice.

post #10 of 86

Sounds like a great opportunity to get Mom out on the slopes and teach her how to ski!

Honestly, I think Breckenridge is a good choice for the family. It’s easy to get to from Denver. The town has quite a bit to offer in terms of shopping and entertainment. Depending on where you stay, it’s a fairly short distance to get downtown from the ski area. There are lots of mellow runs to choose from and there are lots of advanced /expert runs to choose from. Unless you go early or late in the season, you should expect crowds.  This is going to be true of just about any resort within 100 miles of  a major metropolitan area. Frankly the mountains are big enough to where you should not feel cramped on even a busy day. Also using Breckenridge as  a base camp, you can ski Keystone and A basin which are both less than a 30 minute drive from Breckenridge (depending on mother nature and traffic). Skiing Vail or Beavercreek  would be an option too. Copper mountain and Loveland are also fairly close but would not be included on your lift plan as it’s not part of the VR family. The towns of Frisco and Dillon are also nearby and would offer more options for shopping and entertainment. There is a great county wide bus system and many of the lodging areas offer free shuttle service around town.

 

Aspen is an excellent suggestion too but it’s a bit more of a journey to get there if your flying into Denver. Steamboat does not suck either but it does not quite give you the options and variety of staying in Breckenridge or Summit County . Heck if Mom likes to gamble then  you could also consider going to the Lake Tahoe region!

 

Where ever you go, make sure you properly prepare for the altitude! Breckenridge is a fairly high altitude resort! It can be a real bummer for a day or two while you acclimate!

 

Good Luck!

post #11 of 86

Western resorts have much higher base elevation than eastern.  This can be difficult for some to adjust to - it depends on your physical conditioning.  I would suggest staying in Park City, but not necessarily skiing every day at Park City.  Deer Valley has fancier food and lodges at the base and probably something Mom would enjoy - meeting for lunch one day at Stein's. Deer Valley is one of my favorites for the overall skiing experience and is great for intermediates.

 

Park City base elevation is 6000 ish ft in town, depending on where exactly you stay.  Mom may not like how she feels at the higher elevation resorts - ie Vail, Breck or Aspen.

post #12 of 86
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the responses. Personally I'd rather go a bit farther from a major city to get shorter lift lines. So far the two most recommended choices seem to be aspen and park city. I've looked at some videos of Aspen Snowmass terrain, and most of it looks pretty suited to my ability, I haven't got a chance to look at park city yet. Which would you recommend? (aspen, park city, or other)
post #13 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrB17 View Post

Thanks for all the responses. Personally I'd rather go a bit farther from a major city to get shorter lift lines. So far the two most recommended choices seem to be aspen and park city. I've looked at some videos of Aspen Snowmass terrain, and most of it looks pretty suited to my ability, I haven't got a chance to look at park city yet. Which would you recommend? (aspen, park city, or other)


If budget is not a constraint, go to Aspen.

post #14 of 86
Telluride has everything you want and the whole family will love it.
post #15 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by levy1 View Post

Telluride has everything you want and the whole family will love it.
Yeah I've heard very good things about Telluride, so I'll add that to the list of choices. How long in advance from February would you suggest making a decision and booking?
post #16 of 86
Right now is early season and the best deals. You can sign up on their website and receive offers. Airfare is less expensive now. The mountain and the town are magical. Post up wherever you choose. Have fun be safe.
Best
Fred
post #17 of 86
I agree with@levy1. If you are considering Telluride and are looking for the best prices you need to go online or call as soon as you can. I believe their absolute best deal on some products has already ended. I also believe the cheap flights deal from Denver ends this weekend. Could be wrong but you might want to check it out. They could have more airfare deals in the future but who knows?
post #18 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrB17 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by levy1 View Post

Telluride has everything you want and the whole family will love it.
Yeah I've heard very good things about Telluride, so I'll add that to the list of choices. How long in advance from February would you suggest making a decision and booking?


In general, I would guess that many parents who buy plane tickets for their family to ski in the Rockies mid-season start making plans by early fall.  Sept and early Oct can be times that you can find air fare sales.  More affordable lodging options book up early, definitely gone by Thanksgiving.  When limited to a holiday week, seats on planes and good lodging go even faster because families who fly out west every year may start planning as soon as they know the school schedule(s).

post #19 of 86
Thread Starter 

We're planning to book within the next couple weekends. So considering my level (read original post), would Aspen or Telluride be most suited for me?

post #20 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrB17 View Post
 

Hi, I'm a high schooler living in MA. This coming February my family and I are planning to go on a ski vacation. It's probably going to be my only ski vacation in high school, so I'm trying to decide where to go. I ski a bit of intermediate terrain but I'm starting to ski more advanced terrain (glades, steep, bumps). I was thinking I might wanna go west, and i've heard that there are many great places (Salt lake city, aspen, telluride, lake Tahoe, etc). So far I've only skied in NE, places like Sugarbush, Mt snow, and a couple others. I like big mountains to explore, and I'd prefer a place that isn't crowded. What would you suggest?

 

Mod note: info added to the thread title

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrB17 View Post
 

Oh, yes, forgot about that. My younger sister and my dad like to ski easy-intermediate trails, and my mom doesn't ski, so she would probably enjoy places to walk, things to see, a nice city, stuff like that.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrB17 View Post
 

Hi, I'm a high schooler living in MA. This coming February my family and I are planning to go on a ski vacation. It's probably going to be my only ski vacation in high school, so I'm trying to decide where to go. I ski a bit of intermediate terrain but I'm starting to ski more advanced terrain (glades, steep, bumps). I was thinking I might wanna go west, and i've heard that there are many great places (Salt lake city, aspen, telluride, lake Tahoe, etc). So far I've only skied in NE, places like Sugarbush, Mt snow, and a couple others. I like big mountains to explore, and I'd prefer a place that isn't crowded. What would you suggest?

 

Mod note: info added to the thread title

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrB17 View Post
 

We're planning to book within the next couple weekends. So considering my level (read original post), would Aspen or Telluride be most suited for me?


Paging @Lofcaudio , pretty sure he's been to Telluride and Aspen and knows the intermediate terrain there.

 

I know your family would enjoy Aspen but have never been to Telluride.

post #21 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrB17 View Post
 

We're planning to book within the next couple weekends. So considering my level (read original post), would Aspen or Telluride be most suited for me?

 

I have never been to Telluride so I have nothing good or bad to say, except, if you tell your non skiing buddies that the family ski trip is to Aspen this year they will know exactly what and where you are talking about. OTOH, Telluride?? The non skiers are are likely to say Tell what? Ride where? Just sayin' Aspen has cache.

post #22 of 86

Telluride has plenty of fantastic terrain for all the skier levels in your group, and all on one mountain (as opposed to Aspen's four different mountains). The free gondola is a nice option for your Mom, and there are plenty of cool shops and a few museums and such in town. If anyone in the group is sensitive to altitude, though, Telluride's definitely on the high side. Telluride and Aspen will both be less crowded than Park City, so since that's a priority, I'd lean toward one of the Colorado areas. And you should have a great time in Telluride or Aspen.

 

On the other hand, a nonstop flight can be a real advantage... will you be flying out of Logan? If so, I think it's worth taking a look at getting a nonstop to Munich, Zurich, Seattle, or Salt Lake. I don't have any practical advice for the Alps, and probably the International forum here is a better bet for getting feedback if those are feasible options. Seattle's local areas have a reputation for being relatively uncrowded, and February should see decent snow--the problem is that you'd have to pick a spot to stay away from the slopes, then drive up each morning. Seattle or Leavenworth are both good towns to leave your mom, though Leavenworth kind of locks you in to just a couple midsize resorts (Stevens Pass or Mission Ridge) and Seattle is a bit of a long commute to all the various options (those two plus Snoqualmie, Crystal Mountain, or Mount Baker).

 

For a less crowded Salt Lake experience, I'd recommend staying at Sundance--it's really beautiful, and there are galleries and activities that your mom might appreciate. All the skiers should find several days worth of enjoyment at Sundance. It's an easy, scenic commute up to Park City/Deer Valley for a day or two of skiing there (bring Mom to walk around Park City). And the Big and Little Cottonwood Canyon areas are well situated for skiing the day you fly in and/or the day you leave (Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, and Solitude... Mom should bring a book). The traffic between Sundance and the Cottonwood Canyons can be pretty brutal, so other than your airport days, it's probably not worth it.

post #23 of 86

Aspen vs. Telluride

 

That's like asking me which one of my children I love more.  Both of these places are very special to me and offer magical settings for a ski vacation you will never forget.  Having said that, here are a few of my thoughts if a choice was to be made on which of these spots is better suited to your wish list.

 

First of all, you should know that both Aspen and Telluride are pricey.  So I am assuming that you are willing to give up a few extra nickels for breathtaking scenery, outstanding terrain, and no lift lines.  However, if you are on a tight budget, you may need to look elsewhere since it is very difficult to find bargain deals at these spots.

 

I'm not going to spend any time distinguishing the two in the areas where they are virtually equal or close in comparison.  I will focus on those areas where I think one spot clearly has an advantage over the other.

 

Beginner Terrain: Telluride.  Without a doubt, Telluride is one of the best places ANYWHERE to learn to ski or to improve on your budding skills as it has what I consider to be the best beginner terrain in the Lift 10 area (a/k/a Sunshine Express) and gives beginners the ability to ski on runs with almost 3,000 vertical feet (Galloping Goose).

 

Intermediate Terrain: Aspen.  Telluride has decent intermediate terrain, but Aspen has about 100x more of it at all four of the Aspen mountains (Aspen, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk).  Aspen is intermediate paradise.

 

Advanced Terrain: Aspen.  This is a closer call as I love the front face of Telluride, but again...Aspen just has more.  (And it also has fast lifts unlike Lift 9 at Telluride which seems to last forever.)

 

Expert Terrain: Telluride.  Probably not pertinent to the OP, so I won't go into any more detail here.

 

Accessibility: Aspen.  Just about every place in the world is easier to get to than Telluride.

 

Non-skier stuff: Aspen.  Telluride has plenty of stuff to do for non-skiers, but again...Aspen just has more.

 

Scenery: Telluride.

 

I consider everything else to be just about equal, including ski school should anyone want to take lessons.

post #24 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lofcaudio View Post
 

Aspen vs. Telluride

 

That's like asking me which one of my children I love more.  Both of these places are very special to me and offer magical settings for a ski vacation you will never forget.  Having said that, here are a few of my thoughts if a choice was to be made on which of these spots is better suited to your wish list.

 

First of all, you should know that both Aspen and Telluride are pricey.  So I am assuming that you are willing to give up a few extra nickels for breathtaking scenery, outstanding terrain, and no lift lines.  However, if you are on a tight budget, you may need to look elsewhere since it is very difficult to find bargain deals at these spots.

 

I'm not going to spend any time distinguishing the two in the areas where they are virtually equal or close in comparison.  I will focus on those areas where I think one spot clearly has an advantage over the other.

 

Beginner Terrain: Telluride.  Without a doubt, Telluride is one of the best places ANYWHERE to learn to ski or to improve on your budding skills as it has what I consider to be the best beginner terrain in the Lift 10 area (a/k/a Sunshine Express) and gives beginners the ability to ski on runs with almost 3,000 vertical feet (Galloping Goose).

 

Intermediate Terrain: Aspen.  Telluride has decent intermediate terrain, but Aspen has about 100x more of it at all four of the Aspen mountains (Aspen, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk).  Aspen is intermediate paradise.

 

Advanced Terrain: Aspen.  This is a closer call as I love the front face of Telluride, but again...Aspen just has more.  (And it also has fast lifts unlike Lift 9 at Telluride which seems to last forever.)

 

Expert Terrain: Telluride.  Probably not pertinent to the OP, so I won't go into any more detail here.

 

Accessibility: Aspen.  Just about every place in the world is easier to get to than Telluride.

 

Non-skier stuff: Aspen.  Telluride has plenty of stuff to do for non-skiers, but again...Aspen just has more.

 

Scenery: Telluride.

 

I consider everything else to be just about equal, including ski school should anyone want to take lessons.

Thanks for the write-up. As for the type of terrain I've enjoyed skiing here in NE in the past, I really enjoy glades, moguls, and the groomers for when I get tired. I ski advanced terrain cautiously, but I keep off expert terrain. You mentioned that Aspen has more of intermediate and advanced terrain. Is it possible that I will "run out" of trails to ski in telluride if I ski for 4-5 days?

post #25 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by New2Utah View Post
 

 though Leavenworth kind of locks you in 

 

Pun intended?  (Obviously not...but hilarious nonetheless.)

post #26 of 86

You should definitely consider Deer Valley.  Only 45 minutes from the Salt Lake City airport.  Much more accessible via air than either Aspen or Telluride.

 

The town of Park City is great and is only a few minutes away for evening dinners and during the day for non-skiers.  Free town bus system.  The service on the mountain is second to none.  I think Deer Valley is a fantastic resort for both easy intermediates and advanced skiers.  Not much expert terrain but that is not what the OP is looking for.  The elevation is much friendlier than the Colorado resorts which I think is important given than the OP's family has never skied out West before and the last thing they would want to have is a once in a decade vacation ruined by altitude sickness or even adjustment.

 

The St Regis, Montage, and Stein Erikson hotels are pretty incredible.  May be outside the OP's price range.  If so, there are plenty of more affordable hotels and condos in the area.  VRBO has lots of choices for Deer Valley as well.

post #27 of 86
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrB17 View Post
 

 Is it possible that I will "run out" of trails to ski in telluride if I ski for 4-5 days?

 

Not a chance.  Telluride overall is a pretty challenging mountain and will give you more than enough interesting terrain and as @New2Utah pointed out, has a logistical advantage in that there is only one mountain as opposed to "Aspen" really being four separate mountains separated by a 10-15 minute bus ride.  (Telluride is bigger than Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk, but smaller than Snowmass.)  If you like moguls, you will love Telluride.  If you like steep groomers, you will love Telluride.  Telluride has some outstanding glades as well (Apex, Log Pile, Silver Glade, Silver Tip, etc.).  February is also a very good time to visit Telluride as it will most likely be 100% open and nobody will be there.

post #28 of 86

You could ski easy greens and blues all week at Telluride. 

post #29 of 86
I'm guessing the blue runs will seem like black runs compared to what you've been skiing. These are bigger mountains. I remember Telluride being an eye opener the last time I was there after skiing the East for fifteen years.
post #30 of 86

The greens were to easy, the blues just right

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