or Connect
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › EpicSki Community › Trip Reports  › Aussies on a ski road trip.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Aussies on a ski road trip.

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 
Firstly we're a family that are intermediate skiers so this report will be likely not interest expert skiers. Neither myself or my wife are photographers.
We flew in to Salt Lake on Christmas Eve and woke up Christmas morning to this -

We wanted a quiet day after traveling so we cruised around town and the took the kids tubing and mini snowmobile riding at Gorgoza Park - they loved it.
Next day we skied at Alta but most time was spent at Snowbird. Conditions were grand, crowds were not too bad. Loved skiing in Mineral Basin after experiencing sh## conditions there in the past. LCC has 'blow your mind scenery'.

A couple more days at Snowbird - similar fantastic conditions. Despite what I keep being told Snowbird has plenty of terrain for intermediates. Our one ride on the tram was an experience I won't strive to have again. Wonderful lift system though. Here's our red trolley -

Spent a day at Brighton. Beautiful snow but pretty crowded. I would imagine it would be good skiing in a storm compared to much of Alta or Snowbird due to the wealth of tree lined runs.
We drove from SLC to Moab for a couple of days to check out Arches NP. Absolutely stunning.

Took the kids horse riding on a ranch that was used to film a John Wayne movie back in the day. My daughter in particular loved it. Her horse was Hondo.

Took an easy drive to Aspen.

I will take the time to say the rumoured high prices aren't true if you don't want them to be. On mountain dining is similar to all other ski resorts I've been to and restaurants are reasonable for the great food. Alcohol prices are standard. We won't be doing any 'retail' so I can't comment on clothing/ski gear prices.
The hills themselves offer different things. We loved Aspen Highlands for the easy blues. Snowmass is huge. So much variety. There are no crowds. We haven't waited in a lift line. Seriously - not for more than 10 seconds. The lift systems seem great. The crowds.


My 9 year old son loved the jumps in the terrain parks at Buttermilk while my wife liked that she could slay the 'black' runs on the Tiehack side. She quipped 'Now I know I can ski black runs I should have done some with you when we were in Utah'.
We had lunch with the beautiful people at the Sundeck on Ajax mountain.

Didn't really like Aspen mountain greatly. Can anyone say bumps? And more bumps. Probably won't go back there. Had the obligatory Apre beers at Ajax Tavern. Aspen town is busy. I'm sure most of the people in town don't ski or board. The amount of fur and over the top makeup is amazing.

Accomodations have been excellent. We typically opt for clean and basic but in a great location. You Americans are spoilt with cheap lodging options. Kids love the heated outdoor pool. The like to swim while it's snowing.

So far it's been a great trip. Top service, friendly locals.
To be continued.

mod note: language edited #
post #2 of 38

When I saw the title "Aussies on a road trip" I thought there would be much more debauchery. This is much  too wholesome!!

post #3 of 38

Great trip report! I love Aspen. Looking forward to seeing where else you go. Thumbs Up

post #4 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by graham418 View Post

When I saw the title "Aussies on a road trip" I thought there would be much more debauchery. This is much  too wholesome!!
Debauchery isn't involved unfortunately. Trashed legs from bell to bell skiing deserves beer though and they've been getting plenty - after 5pm. In bed early every night though.
The fur though lol.

Kids went ice skating tonight in Aspen. Four bucks for all day. Cheap in Calcutta!

Skiing was great at Snowmass today. Did 21 lifts with about 35000 feet vertical. Avoided the groomers. Legs are trashed and kids are spent.
Big Burn, Sheer Bliss, High Alpine, Elk Camp and Campground have much diverse terrain. Almost as diverse as Whistler Blackcomb. Had a great lunch at Gwyn's High Alpine -reasonable price too.
Will try to repeat the day tomorrow. Hoping to 'hike' to Long Shot - just to say we've done so.
Edited by sbooker - 1/3/17 at 6:59pm
post #5 of 38

Well done.  Looks like you're having a great trip.  I'm watching the weather over there myself and the snow kicked in for you just in time.  It was a Christmas gift across a number of states.

 

Enjoy!

post #6 of 38
Thread Starter 
Big day at Snowmass again today. Caught 18 lifts - and they're long lifts.
Strangely the Elk Camp Quad was shut down due to wind?? for some of the day when High Alpine and Sheer Bliss were still open. There were no crowds - again.
Seriously that was at about 11am.
Look at this for lift lines - this was probably the busiest I saw all day.
My crew on another busy run just after lunch. Posers.

Paid a crazy amount for a 'snow cat dinner' at a cabin half way up the hill at Snowmass. Food was good, kids got to 'drive' the Snowcat. My wife sprung this night out on me today as she had booked it weeks ago and knew I would baulk (the exchange rate!!) at the cost. $300. The first sign of gouging I've seen at Aspen.
post #7 of 38

Great family trip that your kids will remember forever.  They should thank mom and dad every night.

 

Some of my favorite times I've spent have been skiing w/ mine when they were young.  My youngest, 23, and I are heading to Telluride for a week in Feb.

 

Unfortunately, chicken fingers and a coke no longer cut it for dinner.

post #8 of 38

Well ... how often do you get to drive a snowcat half way up a mountain in Colorado to have dinner?  :)

post #9 of 38

looks like an awesome trip! thanks for sharing! 

post #10 of 38
Thread Starter 
Now in Sun Valley. Staying in Ketchum. Lovely town and nice ski hill but very cold yesterday. Today should be warmer with fresh snow. I don't know how they keep the hill open - for a weekend it's very quiet.
I've heard about the luxury restrooms at Snowbasin. Sun Valley's are pretty impressive.
The lodges are beautiful but the food on mountain is a bit expensive. More so than Aspen.

Ketchum is lovely and there's obvious money here but not in a glitzy or showy way like Aspen - in my opinion of course. Beautiful restaurants - great ambience.

The Main Street is gorgeous and has a terrific feel.
post #11 of 38
Thread Starter 
On the skiing front I can report Bald mountain is steep. The blues would easily be blacks at most other places. The greens are steeper than some blacks at Snowmass. The runs have uniform pitch and some are quite long. There are some great bump runs. The fresh snow today should make the turns soft - which they weren't yesterday.
post #12 of 38

No surprise the lodges at Snowbasin are similar to Sun Valley.  They are under the same ownership.  It's a family business for the Holding family.  Earl Holding bought SV in 1977 and Snowbasin in 1984.  He put a lot of money into both places, which made a significant difference.  SV lodges existed before the fancy lodges were built at Snowbasin for the 2002 Winter Olympics.

post #13 of 38

What a trip so far.  Enjoying your posts/pictures.

post #14 of 38
Thread Starter 
Powder day at Sun Valley today. We got real lucky.
Snowed hard!
My son was spent after a long day of skiing powder. For novices it's very hard on your thigh muscles.
Sun Valley has a great lift system. So easy to eat up lots of vertical. The runs were much slower as we were working the stashes on the sides. Great fun. Memorable.
post #15 of 38

I am in love with this trip report, sbooker.  You are having a wonderful trip and your kids will remember it forever.

 

Keep the reports coming!

 

You aren't going to McCall, Idaho, by any chance?  I'd love to see a Brundage Mountain report.

post #16 of 38

Seems to be Mountain Collective resorts so far - do you have these passes?  Maybe I've missed that.  Aren't you the one that posted about the Snowbird tram?

post #17 of 38
You are setting yourselves up for a lifetime of fun. Some of our greatest moments now are when our daughters make their annual trip to visit us in Breckenridge. I call them my little old lady skiers (they're almost 60) and we just have a blast throughout their stay.
post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeDog View Post
 

Seems to be Mountain Collective resorts so far - do you have these passes?  Maybe I've missed that.  Aren't you the one that posted about the Snowbird tram?


Yep, and not the first season that @sbooker has planned a family trip based on the MCP.  Relatively unusual for intermediates.  Makes for a great TR for sure.

post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbooker View Post

Powder day at Sun Valley today. We got real lucky.
Snowed hard!
My son was spent after a long day of skiing powder. For novices it's very hard on your thigh muscles.
Sun Valley has a great lift system. So easy to eat up lots of vertical. The runs were much slower as we were working the stashes on the sides. Great fun. Memorable.

 

"My son was spent after a long day of skiing powder. For novices it's very hard on your thigh muscles."

 

Maybe an opportunity for a powder lesson?  I bet the midweek group lessons won't include many people at all. :)

post #20 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Peters View Post

I am in love with this trip report, sbooker.  You are having a wonderful trip and your kids will remember it forever.

Keep the reports coming!

You aren't going to McCall, Idaho, by any chance?  I'd love to see a Brundage Mountain report.
Hi Bob
We're not going to McCall unfortunately. Our trip is coming to an end. We'll be hitting Jackson Hole next January - might see you on the bunny slope then. smile.gif
Simon
post #21 of 38
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpikeDog View Post

Seems to be Mountain Collective resorts so far - do you have these passes?  Maybe I've missed that.  Aren't you the one that posted about the Snowbird tram?
Yep we've got the Mountain Collective pass. It was me with the tram.
post #22 of 38
Sbooker
Great report/ pics. Luv the one of your SnowCat drivers!
post #23 of 38
Thread Starter 
@marznc - I agree we need to make the effort on lessons in the future.

Our holiday is coming to an end - must get back to the grind for another year. We'll be back next winter. Depending on what resort is added to the MCP we'll likely base a trip around Jackson Hole, SLC (hoping for Snowbasin being added), maybe Telluride and we'd like to get back to Mammoth - it's been a few years since we were last there.

A few very random thoughts from this trip:

We got lucky with conditions. I'm not expecting we'll be that lucky every year.

We're shit skiers. Sitting on the lifts looking at great skiers and boarders moving beautifully down the hill is entertainment enough - the trip down the hill ourselves is almost a bonus. Our lack of skills doesn't stop the fun though.

The service from ski hill staff, transport people, hospitality workers, accomodation professionals has been A1. I can't remember anything but smiles.

I've made a point of having two beers (5pm to 6pm is my time to chill while my wife and kids get ready for dinner) at a local 'dive' bar each evening. I've had friendly conversations with locals each night. People have been interesting to talk to and they have seemed interested in talking to the Australian tourist.
Speaking of local bars I've enjoyed drinks at the Casino Bar and Lefty's in Ketchum, Zane's Tavern in Snowmass, Ryno's Pub in Aspen, the Rio and Woody's in Moab, Fiddlers Elbow and Beer Hive in Salt Lake amongst others. You Americans have great craft beer - I've enjoyed too many varieties to remember. Have aquired plenty of beer glasses and coasters as momentoes.

The food. It's been either very good or great in the main. We've not had any chain fast food at all - which saves us from giving the view that the 'food in the US is rubbish' that so many tourists have. Notable meals have been from the Pioneer and Saw Tooth Club and Warfield in Ketchum, The Spoke in Moab, Big Hoss and The Slice in Snowmass, Red Onion in Aspen, Tuscan Grill in SLC. We had a nice Christmas dinner at the Marriott in Salt Lake which was very reasonably priced given it was Christmas night.

The coffee. I get that American coffee is different to ours. There are more Espresso options available now than in previous years but it's still not the same. This is one area that Australia is leading the way lol - in my opinion of course.

Sun Valley feels like it has as much money as Aspen but it is way less 'in your face'. Love the rolls of duct tape next to the water fountain in the Sun Valley lodges.

Snowbird has serious skiers and boarders. Had yells from behind of 'right' or 'left' at Snowbird and not once at other hills. This is not a critisism - just an observation. Snowmass, Highlands and Buttermilk has a more 'here for the fun' vibe. Brighton feels like you're back at high school - so many teenagers. Sun Valley has more older patrons?

We had a great time at all mountains and all have their own attributes. We had fresh snow at most areas but award to best snow goes to Altabird. I guess I'm not professing anything new here. No wonder so many punters keep returning.

Strange to see the 'green' shops in Colorado. I was never really into pot as a youngster but I was tempted to partake so I could say I've had a 'legal' smoke for the first time in my life. Didn't pull the trigger in the end - not a good look in front of the kids.

I've heard many varied accents - both from tourists and workers. Some from Australia, some from Europe and a few from Asia and the subcontinent but most from central and South America. Is Mr Trump's wall a good thing in general? Who will clean all the hotel rooms and wait tables at the restaurants? (They do an outstanding job imho).

Real estate people. I sell real estate for a living back home. In Australia we're thought of as untrustworthy slimebags until we prove otherwise. From speaking to locals I don't get the impression estate agents are thought of in the same regard here? (People I've spoken to haven't knoqn what I do for a job).

Having skied The States and Canada at Christmas and Easter (spring) a few times now I think I'd prefer the winter conditions. It did get a touch too cold a couple of days but I'll take it over slushy snow. Just happens that international airfares are double this time of year compared to late March/early April.
post #24 of 38

Thoroughly enjoyed your Trip Report.  Sounds like your whole family had a great time. Thumbs Up

post #25 of 38

Families that ski together, stay together.. A trip these kids will always remember is right!

post #26 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbooker View Post


A few very random thoughts from this trip:

 

 

I have a couple of comments to add about your random thoughts (which were all great, by the way!).  Thank you so much for sharing your perspective on some of the things we do right in these parts (craft beer) and some things we need to work on (coffee).  Overall impression is that you are really getting a lot of value out of the Mountain Collective Pass.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbooker View Post

(hoping for Snowbasin being added), maybe Telluride
 

 

You just mentioned my two favorite places to ski.  I have been sticking to Mountain Collective resorts the last few seasons, with one exception (Snowbasin).  It is worth the additional cost and travel as an add-on day (or two) if you are in SLC for AltaBird.  In my opinion, the Alta, Snowbird, and Snowbasin trio make SLC the "Mecca" of North American skiing (with the Aspen area being not too far behind).  I will be making my first trip to Whistler in three weeks, so my opinion on this may change in the near future.

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbooker View Post


Snowbird has serious skiers and boarders.
 

 

Agreed.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbooker View Post


Snowmass, Highlands and Buttermilk has a more 'here for the fun' vibe.
 

 

Agreed.  (Telluride is a perfect combo of Snowbird and Aspen in this regard as you will see tons of crazy hard-core skiers who are just taking it easy and having a blast.  Jackson Hole is much like Snowbird.)

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbooker View Post


Brighton feels like you're back at high school - so many teenagers.
 

 

Agreed.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sbooker View Post


Sun Valley has more older patrons?

 

 

Agreed, but the average skier at Alta seems even older.

post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lofcaudio View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbooker View Post


Sun Valley has more older patrons?

 

 

Agreed, but the average skier at Alta seems even older.

Especially on weekdays.  The Wild Old Bunch at Alta probably averages closer to 80 than 70 these days.  And they don't just ski in the mornings, which seems to be more common at Sun Valley.  At least, not when there is good snow in the trees at Alta. Have listened to a few discussing which trees to head to after their usual mid-morning break.  :)

post #28 of 38
Thread Starter 
Back to reality.
Currently 95 degrees and super high humidity here. Working all day today so will spend the late afternoon/evening in the pool with cold beer as a comforter.
Only about 345 days until our next trip to our favoured climate.
post #29 of 38
Thread Starter 

Not such a bad place to be I guess.
My son said this afternoon - "Dad. Does it ever snow in April in Australia?"
post #30 of 38

Quite a contrast in temps, huh?  :D.  I think it's great you get to take your whole family on an extended ski trip every year.  Do you hit up the New Zealand slopes in your winter by any chance?

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Trip Reports
EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › EpicSki Community › Trip Reports  › Aussies on a ski road trip.