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Family friendly skiing?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
We took the kids to Winter Park in mid Jan. for their first ski trip and it was a big hit. They are 11 & 13, and my wife and I were away from the mountains for 20yrs. We all enjoyed
Winter Park, but were looking to try some new resorts. We are only comfortable with the easier "Blues" right now. Any suggestions?
post #2 of 10
I think that the trail ratings at Breckenridge are mostly on the generous side, meaning their blues are pretty easy for blues (that is one of my complaints about the area for better skiers- I end up staying mostly in the high alpine bowls) Lots of cruisers and an extensive lift system, nice town. The downside is that it can get crowded there, and for a family, there are several base areas, so getting lost/ separated is a potential problem. Steamboat has the reputation of being one of the best family places around, but it is less convenient from denver than the front range resorts (a consideration mostly for day trips). My family's favorite place is, as odd as it sounds, Snowbird. My son learned to ski there at age 3- they have a fantastic ski school. The terrain is certainly more challenging (the top of Big Emma is the blackest green run I know of!), but with lessons there you will make fast progress.
post #3 of 10
Most regions on the continent have places that would be considered 'friendly' for most family groups. My picks would be:

New Mexico - Angel Fire

Colorado - Monarch, Ski Cooper, Copper Mtn., Steamboat, Sunlight

Utah - Park City, Deer Valley, The Canyons, Brighton

California - Northstar, Mt Rose, Sierra-at-Tahoe

Wyoming - Grand Targhee

Idaho - Schweitzer

Candian Rockies - Sunshine Village, Lake Louise

British Columbia - Sun Peaks, Big White

There are many more, but I would consider a trip for an 'emerging' ski family appropriate to any of these ski areas. I suggest that all of them make a valid attempt at providing for the family needs.

Here's hoping your 'next' trip is always better than the last!!
post #4 of 10
Mt. Bachelor in Oregon has a good amount of fun green runs and wide open blue runs especially on the east side of the mountain. It also does a great job of grooming it runs to keep them from getting icy, too mushy or bumpy (many people consider this a downside but for the recreational skier it is a plus). Mt. Bachelor has good snow all season long but if you are thinking of traveling in the spring put it high on your list because it has great spring skiing.
post #5 of 10
I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but... Whistler. Their kids program is second to none. We've had our children in every year since they were 18 months old (now 8 & 11). The instructors know how to have fun, the kids learn fast, and are smiling and don't want to leave at the end of the day. They give the parents a pager, so they can get in touch with you if the little ones need a hug from Mom & Dad. Blackcomb has "The Castle", a fun kids play area on the hill. Whistler Mtn's Emerald area has gentle runs groomed like butter, easy tree skiing for hide & seek, and a beginner terrain park (I love the Emerald area, but don't tell anyone). At the Olympic station they get snowmobile rides in the Whistler Kids program. For the babies and tots, there is a play room with sitters who are early childhood development students or graduates, and they get to have fun playing in the snow too.

Another nice thing about Whistler is that almost all hotels have their own pools, unlike some resorts that just have one community pool. I highly recommend Club Intrawest in the Upper Village. There are 2 seperate pool areas, one for kids and one for adults only. The kids one has a 20m water slide! There is also a video games room, and the games are free, as well as a theatre that has kids movies at 6:00. If they don't like the theatre, you can borrow kids videos and family board games for free.

It's almost a cliche praising Whistler, but the place really does have it all.
post #6 of 10
This may surprise you if you haven't been there and have only read reviews, but I just got back from Telluride, and there is an absolutely HUGE amount of terrain for beginners through intermediates.

They rate their trails with green, double green, blue, double blue, black, and double black. The double greens are very easy warm-up runs, the blues are generally wide, groomed, and fairly easy, and they all have spectacular scenery attached. There's a big area of green-double green fairly high up (Prospect Bowl, Ute Park) that's like taking a pleasant walk in a park with very wide-set pine trees all through.

There are also easy blues at every level of the mountain including the highest run around the boundary and down.

Terrific place
post #7 of 10
Vail Colorado is one big blue mountain. Good package deals on accomodation, rentals, SS & lift tickets. Avoid Dec 22 to January 10.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ January 24, 2003, 11:02 AM: Message edited by: man from oz ]
post #8 of 10
Ditto, Vail
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the info. We originally avoided Vail because everyone kept telling us the how expensive it was compared to
other resort areas. I've since looked a little deeper and found
that not to be so. Crowds are not a big issue for us, as we plan most vacations from Mon. - Fri. So we're probably looking at
Vail, Breckenridge, or Steamboat.
The kids want to go back to Winterpark. (I like to sample!)
Again, Thanks for the help !
post #10 of 10
Your range of choices seems to be a good one, but I would like to encourage you to look at Beaver Creek instead of Vail for your next visit.

There are a number of reasons, but the best one is that the mountain is better suited to an emerging skier than Vail is. You would probably want to wander over to Vail for a day, but Vail has very little beyond the front side for an emerging skier, and the top of Vail is flat enough that getting around up there can be a real chore if you don't know your way around. The other part of the equation are the crowds and service. Beaver Creek is definitely a notch above Vail in both areas and the lift pricing is identical. I hope you will give it a look, because I think Beaver Creek is in the top two or three in the state when you put all factors together. I intentionally left it off my list because I assumed when you said 'family', that your choice would be a budget conscious one. I think Vail and Beaver Creek are about on the same plane costwise, but Beaver Creek is better managed in several ways.

Hope you have a great trip!! [img]smile.gif[/img]
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