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Just how bad is "spring break week"

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
My family took a ski trip over thanksgiving. It was our first time and we fell in love with snow skiing. We would like to come back over my son's spring break. We have 2 problems..... 1. Money
2. Money
Actually, my question has two parts...are the crowds really as bad over spring break as I hear..and..Are there any money saving tips you can offer for that time period. Looking to ski Breck.

[ December 18, 2003, 11:33 AM: Message edited by: villagenut ]
post #2 of 19
Spring break is a very busy time. That translates into optimal revenue production. So, to answer your question... Don't expect deep discounts at a major resort like Breck during Spring Break. Do expect crowds of people. Some may suggest that going to a nearby area like A-Basin will spare you the crowds. They get busy too because people will go there thinking that the crowds are less severe. The fact is... tourism is in full swing everywhere near and at Breckenridge. [img]smile.gif[/img]
post #3 of 19
While we enjoyed Summit County with our kids during the Spring Break of 2002, the wait can be long - unless you try the Bee Line pass at Copper Mtn (must stay at the resort, therefore prices are higher).

The resorts around Salt Lake City were not nearly as crowded as we had experienced at the Summit County and the conditions were better in March.

Unless you are really set on Breck, suggest SLC or one of the destination areas that does not get as much day traffic as the front range areas.

Good luck!
post #4 of 19
I have to agree with what others are saying. The crowds and prices during spring break are really miserable. I went to Breck during spring break a few years ago and, while the snow was wonderful, the lift lines made me feel more like I was at Disneyworld than enjoying the peace and relaxation of the Rocky Mountains. The beginner and intermediate runs were jam packed and fairly moguled out by the end of the day. We still had a blast (hey, even the worst day of skiing is better than not being on the mountain) but I would highly reccomend looking elsewhere. Montana, Utah, or even Steamboat Springs might be better for both pricing and crowds.

My 2c

[ December 19, 2003, 01:59 AM: Message edited by: Laertes ]
post #5 of 19
Hi VN,

Your request for information is a difficult one. In assessing crowds, you need to remember that ski areas like to keep infrastructure at levels that will just handle their heaviest loads. Places that have attracted a large nearby bed base(Summit County Colorado, Steamboat, Snowmass, Park City, Tahoe) all stand the chance of presenting the Spring Break traveler with a below average experience.

It is a little like big city freeway systems. Busy periods can move a lot of people around, but a slightly heavier load or a failure in the system somewhere; and you have a backlog that might not clear for the entire day. In the case of areas with high bed base densities, the experience can be severely effected by just a couple of bus loads showing up from some staging area an hour or two away.

The Summit county areas see this on a regular basis during Spring Break. Frugal Texans and mid westerners move in on all of the resorts from staging areas throughout the region. This influx, coupled with a consistent front range skier population and high bed base densities can make these areas a real nightmare by western standards. Salt Lake City areas are headed in this direction also, but might never feel the kind of pressure Summit county has felt. Many Californians are attracted to Tahoe; and the Utah desert 'life experience' is very different from high alpine Colorado.

You didn't bother to give details on your location, travel options, etc., etc.. There are plenty of options throughout the western US to aviod the Spring Break, but you will need to provide info for sorting through the options.

Bottom line -- Breck will have a good chance of being really crowded, and there is little or no reason for anyone to try to entice additional skiers through discounted pricing.

[ December 19, 2003, 05:43 AM: Message edited by: feal ]
post #6 of 19
Keep in mind that spring break is different from one locale to another, and so the busy period covers more like a month with travelling skiers. I basically just try to avoid March.
post #7 of 19
Are there actual dates which are designated Spring Break by the ski areas themselves, or how do we know when prices and crowds go up and discount are low?

post #8 of 19
I think most of the month of March is considered Spring Break.
I've spent the 3rd week of March sking different resorts since my son started school.
The last place I'll go again in March is Breckenridge.Too many high school and college age spring breakers.You may have one out of a large group who can ski and he is trying to talk his buddies down the hill. After a couple of runs and few beers these kids can get dangerous.
Several years ago Breckenridge was marketed as PARTY CENTRAL for spring breakers.I live in a college town and there were billboards all over town advertising this.
Every place is crowded at this time of year,but once you learn the routine its manageable.
Do everything you can in advance, lift tics,ski school so your not waiting in as many lines.
post #9 of 19
OK OK My trip is scheduled for Feb. 28 - March 7 . Is this spring break? I pray not. Did I screw up. I didnt even think of the spring break factor. the plan is Jackson , Targee , Pow Mt, Brighton , Alta, and any variation there-of allowing for greatest snowfall on any givin day.

post #10 of 19
I think spring break is more mid-March than early March. I ski Telluride both at the end of January and spring break (2 kids in school). On the lower lifts the longest lift line in January is about 1-2 minutes, it can be as long es in 5-7 minutes at spring break. Still not bad. The down side is the Telluride's cost.
post #11 of 19
I can say last March, second week, midweek, Targhee was empty. Never a line with more people than I could count on my fingers ahead of me. My group lesson was a private. I asked and they said they would be a little busier the next week.
post #12 of 19
One option might be to do a tour of some of the smaller / less-traveled ski areas in Colorado. For instance, you can probably stay quite cheap in Georgetown, Leadville, and Salida. From Georgetown it's a short drive up to Loveland and I bet you'd really enjoy the skiing there. Technically there's two areas there - Loveland Valley and Loveland Basin. Either would fit your abilities.

From Leadville you can go to Ski Cooper. It's a nice area for beginners because it's not big enough to get lost at. You could let your kids run around on their own you'd have no problem finding them.

Down by Salida is Monarch - another nice ski area, somewhat more challenging terrain. Plus, you'd get to see parts of Colorado you'd never normally see. No, you won't have the glitz of Aspen,
but that's the tradeoff.

Or, go to Breck. If you don't like the crowds drive back over to Loveland - it's only about 45 minutes away.

You may end up finding some good package deals to Breck/Keystone/Vail. Right now Vail is partnering with United to offer air/lodging/lift ticket deals to those resorts. Copper will probably be the least crowded resort in Summit County.
post #13 of 19
If you want to avoid Spring Break crowd and keep your wallet shrinking slower, you may want to think differently from all the others. Here are few suggestions:

Interior BC (The Okanagans and Kootneys)
Schiwitzer, ID
Big Sky, MT
Snow Basin, UT
Mt. Hood, OR
Bear Valley, CA

Good Luck

[ December 21, 2003, 01:50 PM: Message edited by: JackW ]
post #14 of 19
Last year I was at Targhee over Presidents' week. It is supposedly their busiest week of the year. Longest lift line I saw was 5-ish minutes at the open after an 18 inch powder dump. After opening, lines averaged about 10-30 seconds - on a massive powder day. All during their busiest week of the year.

I was so thrilled I went back mid-March. The longest lift line I saw was... uhhh, hmmm, uhh... there weren't any!!!! Maybe had to wait 3 chairs once or twice over 3 days of skiing open to close (the 4th day was cat skiing at half off spring special prices...). 2K acres. Over 2K vertical. Zero lift lines. You do the math...

post #15 of 19
in my previous experience in tahoe alone, i would say avoid the big name resorts.

Squaw is like a zoo during spring break
Heavenly is like a zoo during spring break
Kirkwood is like a zoo during spring break

the smaller places and isolated places such as Sierra@Tahoe, Sugarbowl, and such are not too terribly bad during spring break. Yes, they get somewhat crowded, but with Sierra, there is no local lodging (you have to travel down to S. Tahoe City) so it stays relatively quiet and calm even through the peak periods.

From this, my suggestion would be to do some research and see which resorts in the area you're interested in have a lack of lodging around them. Those places will tend to be quieter imho.

post #16 of 19
Originally posted by BV:
One option might be to do a tour of some of the smaller / less-traveled ski areas in Colorado.
Great advice.

Loveland is one of my favorite places to ski. Georgetown is a very short drive. Ski Cooper is perfect for families and in my opinion has the best ski area food in Colorado. Ski Cooper may be among the best resorts for young kids in the state. I can recommend a great spot to stay in Twin Lakes that would be a short drive to Cooper and really scenic. I work at Eldora and Nederland is simply a very cool town and is just a short drive from Boulder. We have great terrain for families and a good kids ski school.

There are options other than the busy resorts
post #17 of 19
I've skied Squaw twice during spring break times and it really wasn't that bad. I don't recall ever waiting in a lift line or feeling that the place was overcrowded. The weekends can be a bit much, when you combine the usual crowds with the added students in the area, but mid week is usually just fine.

Eastern resorts in my experience really don't see an impact during spring break, as most college kids in the area head south for warmer climates.
post #18 of 19
I was at Taos during spring break and it wasn't too crowded. Even staying right by the lifts isn't very expensive at the Thunderbird Lodge. There doesn't seem to be too much good beginner terrain, but the blue trails are pretty good. Travel is likely to cost more than other places though.
post #19 of 19
I second the motion for the BC interior... Apex, Big White, Sun Peaks, Silver Star. You might have a 5-10 minute lift wait at peak times of day, but I have been at one of those resorts for several spring breaks and just skied right onto the chair. I'll be up that way with my family again this year. Don't even think about going to Whistler then.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Just how bad is "spring break week"