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Where can I take this group ?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
My wife and a friend have deputed me to come up with ideas for an holiday next year, skiing in the US, having regard to the following issues.

Both families have school age kids so we will not be able to leave the UK until the last week of March 2005.Likely duration is a minimum of 10 days, probably longer.

We have self and 16 year old son, both decent skiers who would tend to look for black diamond groomed or ungroomed terrain. My wife broke her leg skiing a few years ago and this will be her re-entry to the sport. She is not sure how she will cope with that so we need easy terrain for her and something for her as a non skier if her re-entry falls apart at an early stage.

Our friends are an athletic early 40s couple who took up skiing late and greatly enjoyed a trip to Austria this year but that is the limit of their skiing experience ie one week. Their two sons are teenage snowboarders with more experience than their parents but still at the early stage, but with all the enthusiasm of kids their age.

Both families will be looking for reasonable accomodation and decent apres/ eating out opportunities.

Where to go? I have been to Tahoe and Whistler and both are possibles, but Whistler weather may be a minus and we may want somewhere where you dont have to drive everyday to ski, like Tahoe.

Colorado is a possibility- I thought Steamboat for a few days and then somewhere else, but where? Aspen looked good- I know the ladies would like the shops if my wallet might not, but what is it like then, end of season etc? Also of the four areas which one? By the looks of it some would be best on Buttermilk or Snowmass whilst my son and I might like Aspen Mountain.Or Vail ??

We are all sea level dwellers so altitude may be an issue. I doubt my friends would appreciate a trip which gives them AMS for days.Steamboat might let us acclimatise to altitude if we are there a few days.

Utah is a problem (not insuperable but an hassle) as there is no direct flight from the UK, Colorado/California/Vancouver/Calgary have direct flights.We could stopover in LA to break the journey to Utah if we had to.
post #2 of 4
I would say Utah has everything your looking for. Another thought.... Tahoe??
post #3 of 4
Banff is beautiful and is said to have fantastic conditions in the time frame you are looking at and its arguable you won't find a prettier place on this continent. It also fits the reasonable accomodation bill nicely. You won't have slopeside lodging, but there are regularly scheduled buses to get you to either Sunshine Village or Lake Louise. The town of Banff is also pretty fun.

I would also tend to think Utah should be viewed as less problematic than you think. I realize there are no direct flights, but an extra connection will cost you two to three hours, but you'll make most of that time up because you're only 30 - 45 minutes to the slopes from SLC airport. Vail will take you two to three hours from the Denver Airport and the other resorts are even further (or you'll have to make a connection you were trying to avoid).
post #4 of 4
I would suggest that you take a long hard look at conditions across the continent right now and follow them for the next couple of weeks.

In the areas that do not lend themselves to AMS problems, you will likely see conditions this time of the year deteriorate very quickly when the southern jet stream whips up into the center of the continent. Places like Tahoe and Salt Lake City experience worsening conditions from this situation, but do have the advantage of a deep snow base that quickly changes to winter conditions with the advance of a good thrust of the northern jet stream. The problem with your trip is that it will likely last long enough that you can't expect either of these areas to have consistent conditions for the entire trip.

The Banff area is a different scenario. A trip up there gives you the benefit of sleeping at 4300 ft. each night and skiing close to 9000 ft each day. The trips to the ski fields are generally pretty easy by that time of the year because the valleys where the roads are, are entering spring with consistent thaws and warming during the daylight hours. The mountaintops where the skiing is located are still susceptible to being locked into a winter weather pattern. It is not unusual for places like Fernie, Big Mountain, and Panorama to be in full melt down, while the Banff area is still enjoying pristine winter-like conditions.

In short, I am sure that if you watch the weather pattern for the next 15-20 days, you will have to agree that the weather in the Banff region offers the best opportunities for a good winter vacation next April.

Good Luck!
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