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where to ski in USA

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My fiancee and I are thinking about taking a trip out for 10 days from the UK.

The timing we can do is looking like the 1st week of April and we are thinking of Colorado.

Can anyone tell me if this is risky with Snow (Its getting risky for the alps)

Also could anyone volunteer some suggestions on where to go! We would probably get our own flights then get a car and book some accomodation - the whol tour operator thing isnt really for me.

I really fancy sampling some of the legendary powder would also be nice maybe to say hello to any regulars who are about having lurked for a year or so.

Louise my fiancee has found some where in Buttermilk mountain in aspen. That looks good. But we are open - load me up with some suggestions!
post #2 of 12
We have done similar trips from the uk, but never to Colorado so here is some of our experience- I did look at Colorado as a possibility on a few occasions.

I would avoid tour operators. What you need are flights/car/rooms/ski passes- you can do all that yourself and save a lot of cash and get what you want

The resorts are very high for us sea level dwellers so you should consider altitude sickness and the need to acclimatise, say a couple of days in Denver before you start skiing. Steamboat Springs is I think the lowest level one which should cause the least problem.

There is only one airline which flys direct non stop to Denver which is BA from London. The times are not especially convenient- I think you arrive in Denver late evening so a stop over at an hotel near the airport is likely. As you might imagine BA prices are not at the low end -but you might be lucky. If you cant get a fare with them then you have to go through one of the usual gateways eg New York/Boston/Chicago/Minneapolis which adds a lot onto the travel time andincreases the prospect of lost or delayed luggage.

Try Air Canada via Toronto- they occasionally have good fares and I think you clear US Customs/Immigration in Toronto which saves hassle when you get to Denver.

Early April is getting towards the end of the season, but that can depend on snow levels and when Easter falls which is later this year- I think- but check closing dates for the ski areas you want to ski. Cheap deals on accomodation and tickets may be available.Mostly they will close the areas because of lack of people rather than lack of snow

Alternatively you may want to try Lake Tahoe or Mammoth- in California, which can be accessed from Los Angeles or San Francisco, both of which are easier and cheaper to get to from the UK.You can get there with a number of airlines direct from London or by using Paris/Amsterdam/Frankfurt. The resorts are lower and altitude sickness should not be an issue. Most of the areas there are open until mid-late April or longer and you can tag on a weekend city break at the end of your trip.There are loads of threadson this site for where to go in Tahoe.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks Colin,

some really useful advice - whats the skiing like in California - is it comparable?

This will probably be our one and only trip to the US to ski for a while as we are getting a place in Val D'isere next season so will be skiing there.

post #4 of 12
If you want the possibility of winter like conditions, I recommend Colorado over California. the altitude keeps the conditions more winter like for longer.
post #5 of 12
Alta/Snowbird report an Avg. of 70 inches of snow in April.
You probably have a good chance for powder there. Also, they have really hot lift/lodging deals in April.
I'll be there April 4-11, that's already a done deal.
Good luck!
post #6 of 12
The only thing that will probably be a lock-in for good snow preservation during April of this year is Banff. El Nino is kicking up its heels, and anywhere in the lower 48 and coastal B.C., are very much at risk for an early warm-up. Like everyone else here, I hope good conditions last well into April for the lower 48, but the first part of the season sure isn't hinting toward that.

Hope you have a wonderful trip!!! [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #7 of 12
We have been to Tahoe twice in April. The weather started off glorious both times- clear blue skies and very definitely spring skiing. Very enjoyable until 2pm ish but getting pretty gloppy at the lower levels towards the end of the day. The upside was we came away, went back to where we were staying, rested abit and were playing tennis in t shirts and shorts in the later afternoon.

Both times storms came over when we were there and dumped a load of new snow so we had the benefit of that as well, but it wont be winter skiing as one of the above posts mentions. For that you do, as in Europe need to head high which means probably Colorado.

If you have never been to the States skiing before and are used to the Alps then it is different. The areas are defined by boundaries , there is none of the skiing from one village to the next etc as in Europe. See them as single or multi day tripswhere you go there, ski and come away, unless you are living slopeside.

Tahoe certainly has a number of different areas which cover the whole range of skiing terran and ability levels- as of course does Colorado. At Tahoe the choice is to stay on the North Shore or the South, that decision will largely determine where you ski as staying South and skiing North or vice versa involves possibly more car travel than you would wish. Others may have a different take but my view is a rental car would be essential for there especially in the North which is where we stayed.

Be aware though that Tahoe is on the Calif/Nevada border and Nevada means casinos/gambling/slots. I n some bits it is frankly a bit tacky- not the picturesque Alpine ambiance you might be used to!!

One of the issues we had with Colorado- which i never resolved in my own head- was where to go. Steamboat looked good,but it also looked to be a bitof a drive from there to anywhere else. If youare going from the UK you are probably looking at going for at least a week possibly 10 days. Is there enough skiing there to keep you happy for that time- if not can you go anywhere else easily?

Similarly Aspen- yes you have 4 mountains but 2 of them shut in early April it would seem. Is there enough left to keep you happy.Can you get acheap deal to lessen the pain of the lodging/lift ticket cost-lift tickets in the States are wayyyyy more expensive than Europe (or Canada for that matter)

Then there are the Summit County resorts- quite a few of them but they seem to be the high ones so that might cause a problem with altitude. Like Tahoe you are probably talking aboutgoing to a different resort on a daily basis- by car- and then perhaps going back to 1 or 2 that you really liked.

Utah- as someone suggested- is an option.No direct flights from the UK but you could fly to San Francisco, have a weekend there and thenfly to Salt Lake City which is a hub for Delta Air so loads of flights.You can stay in Salt Lake City, hire a car and have a number of different resorts within a 45 minute drive in good conditions.

Or like me this year you could go to Canada. Vancouver or Calgary are both readily accessible from the UK (direct non stop from London or the major European gateways) and in just about every area it is cheaper than the States, other than possibly airfares.Los Angeles and San Francisco will be cheaper unless you are very unlucky, Denver and Salt Lake City probablyabout the same or they may be a bit less. In my experiencehotels, lift tickets and, especially, eating/drinking is often significantly cheaper in Canada

Also this year, as from Jan1 the US have introduced new rules on airline security and baggage- following 9/11- which may make travelling with skis a bit of a pain, if that is what you plan to do. Nothing which is checked in is to be locked as they scan everything now and if they see something, they want to access the baggage- they will break the lock if they have to so you are told to unlock it all.
post #8 of 12
Hit Utah or Colorado. The snow will still be good and the season is longer. California, by April, will be a slush bowl. April is pushing it, but you'll find plenty of great deals, and if you get hit with a good storm, you'll be living the good life. Whatever you choose, have fun and enjoy! Have a "Fat Tire" for me when you decide to Apres!
post #9 of 12
Utah and Colorado are the best bets in April. If you are concerned about altitude, stay in Salt Lake City which is close to the slopes by car. Regardless of its reputation, SLC can be a fun town. Colorado resorts are more remote and higher in altitude. SLC is 4700 feet, Aspen is 7900 and Breckenridge 8600 feet.

post #10 of 12
My suggestion would be to phone Ski-Independence on 0131 557 8555. I've used them a lot, and they are very good. Maybe not the cheapest, but I think they're the best.

post #11 of 12
I would agree with the recommendations for Utah or Colorado for the US areas. I skied Sun Valley once in mid april, and it was amazing- a half-foot of fresh every night, and sunshine every day (yes, quite a bit heavy in the afternoon, but it was such glorious weather noone cared). DOn't know what it is like this year, however. In years past, Snowbird was offering very steep discounts in April if you booked using an American Express card. Last year, the Summit County areas (Breck, Keystone, Copper, A-Basin) all had very poor snow packs in the latter part of spring, and A Basin had its earliest closing ever (3rd week of May, if I remember correctly), and although January was pretty dry here, things seem to be picking up thus far in February. Keystone has been short-changed again this year, with less snowfall than its neighbors. Vail has been fairly good for a low snowfall year, but still not nearly as much snow as usual, despite a fantastic early season. I don't know too much about the western CO areas- Telluride, Crested Butte, or Grand Targhee in WY.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Just a quick note to thank you all for your help, I think we have decided on Colorado now.

I'll try giving Ski Independance a ring.

Thanks again all

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