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post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Some friends and I are wanting to take a long weekend (leaving Thursday and coming back on Monday) and ski out west. We're college students so money is a factor (we'd like to spend no more than $700, if it's even possible, and will probably fly from Charlotte, NC), but we are wanting to go the first weekend of April in order to hopefully find some decent prices but still have good snow (we'd go for spring break already have something planned). We're intermediate skiers and did Squaw Valley last year, but are looking for something a little less challenging yet still very reputable. Vail seems like an intersting option because of the terrain and the town, but we are open to any suggestions and advice about how to maximize our skiing for the weekend (ski-in/ski-out being one thing that is really important). Also, would it be in our best interest to try and book something soon or wait to try and find some last minute deals as the time approaches. Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

post #2 of 20
Here's some advice from someone in the travel biz. There basically are no longer last minute deals on airfare. Airfare right now to Denver is actually very fair, Eagle is not bad either. USairways flys non-stop from Charlotte to Eagle now. You should look at booking one of two ways.

A. Watch the airfare and book it now while it's low, getting your room/lifts later, even last minute.

B. Book the entire package now at Spring rates with cheap bulk airfare.
post #3 of 20
The time of year you have chosen can present a lot of different skiing conditions in the lower 48. The reason most of the interior rockies resorts go to firesale prices around that time is because many recreational skiers won't even consider the conditions quandray. The lone exception to that situation is the Banff area. Early April can actually be the best time to ski Sunshine Village and the back end of Lake Louise.

The problem with the Banff option is on mountain lodging. Banff itself is where all the activity is, and the only on mountain lodging is the Sunshine Inn at Sunshine Village. There are usually some pretty good deals in the Inn, but most people don't opt for it because of the isolation. If night life isn't a major component for your group's stay, I would suggest looking into the Inn; but would reccomend that you look at Banff for that time of year regardless of your group's decision. Sunshine Village and Lake Louise are both good mountains for intermediates, and the snow up there that time of year can be very nice.
post #4 of 20
The only major problem with that scenario is he'll eat up probably 3/4 or more of his budget on the airfare alone from the East Coast, particularly the South.

At least with Vail it's a short non-stop flight that gets in early enough to ski 1/2 day on the arrival and a few hours the morning of the departure day. Although $700 p.p. for a weekend in Vail even in April is going to be difficult. Flying into Denver and doing Keystone/Breck/Copper is more realistic IMO.

[ September 26, 2003, 05:04 AM: Message edited by: Taylormatt ]
post #5 of 20
Originally posted by Taylormatt:
[QB]The only major problem with that scenario is he'll eat up probably 3/4 or more of his budget on the airfare alone from the East Coast, particularly the South.
That's not really true, right now from RDU I can get round trip to denver for about $200.
post #6 of 20
Originally posted by jhstroup:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by Taylormatt:
[QB]The only major problem with that scenario is he'll eat up probably 3/4 or more of his budget on the airfare alone from the East Coast, particularly the South.
That's not really true, right now from RDU I can get round trip to denver for about $200.</font>[/quote]Please read my posts again. We were discussing the high cost of flying to Calgary/Banff, not Denver.

[ September 26, 2003, 05:37 AM: Message edited by: Taylormatt ]
post #7 of 20
You can do a nice Spring trip to Colorado in April for your budget price. I've done it before. April has the best base conditions at all the resorts and believe it or not, i've had many powder days in April. Lift tickets are cheapo then and so are room rates. And if you can dig up some extra dollars, all the ski shops are doing closeout sales then. Vail? you'll find some discount tickets for Vail, but all the other Summit County Resorts will be cheaper. Ski Vail one day and do the Basin and Copper for sure. Then if you got time, hit Breck. Stay in Frisco instead of Vail and save more.
post #8 of 20
I don't think ski in , ski out @ Vail will be affordable based on your budget.

There are plenty of condo rentals available just off mountain though. Last year I got a 2 bedroom condo 10 min from Keystone/Breckenridge for $174/week. Vail/Avon/Beaver is a little higher, but still reasonable.
post #9 of 20
Check out Expedia Vacations. they have great deals for air+hotel combos - especially for Colorado in April. Beaver Creek is
post #10 of 20
You should consider Utah also. SLC is easy to fly into. Good public transportation and lodging options for all budgets. You could easily plan a trip for under $700 per person.
post #11 of 20 let you in on a secret....
Why mess with all the traffic on I-70

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April 3:
Derailer Daze

April 8-11:
Winter Park Ski/Music Festival

April 10:
Wells Fargo Golden Bunny Classic Candy Hunt and Fun Race

April 10:
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April 11:
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post #12 of 20
Originally posted by SkiKing:
You should consider Utah also. SLC is easy to fly into. Good public transportation and lodging options for all budgets. You could easily plan a trip for under $700 per person.
Yeah, what he said. I had a sick week at Alta/Bird 4/5-4/12 past season.
post #13 of 20
Hi 7kicker,

I just ran a search on orbitz and came up with a $378 rt flight to Calgary from Charlotte the first week of April. With this price floating around, I would think some creativity and diligence would yield an even better price.

If you look into Banff, you will find that your dollars go a lot farther once you get there, AND that early April window will give you a great chance for mid winter powder conditions. ...I guess it all adds up to what you are looking for, and just how hard you want to make it happen.
post #14 of 20

Residents of Charlotte, N. C., and Philadelphia, Penn., can get to the slopes of Vail quicker this winter. U.S. Airways has announced that it will begin seasonal weekend roundtrip service to Vail from its hubs in Charlotte and Philadelphia, Dec. 20. The service will continue through April 4. Customers will be able to fly nonstop to Vail on U.S. Airways on the weekends or connect with the U.S. Airways-United codeshare on weekdays. Click here to visit.
post #15 of 20
Don't know if you have seen this. web page
post #16 of 20
Banff is a nice place but I think Summit County offers a little more in terms of options. Banff has three nearby resorts and not a whole heck of a lot of night life. I think Norquay is a great little hill but it is just that....a small local hill.

I like Lars advice.

Rent a vehicle, stay in Frisco, and ski em all.

Vail-20 miles, Copper-10 miles, Breck-10 miles, Keystone-10 miles, A-Basin-12 miles, Loveland-15 miles.....all withen thirty minutes.

Branch out and Ski Winter Park which is an hour max or go to Steamboat which is a two hour drive.

Get really wild and go do the Chicago Ridge Cat tours at Ski Cooper in Leadville.

It's a shame that it appears everything has shut down at Berthoud.
post #17 of 20
First week in April should have good conditions in Summit Co / Vail. Some of the best skiing can potentially be found that week. I agree with the Frisco suggestion. Best case - you'll ski powder every day. Worst case - you'll end up sitting on "the beach" at A Basin having a blast. Keep in mind that Vail is typically a week or two ahead of Summit County in snow conditions. So if some bare spots are showing at Copper, it's that much worse at Vail. The back bowls at Vail suck if they've gotten baked. First week.. Vail is probably ok. By the second week in April I definitely wouldn't plan on it being the focus of a vacation. The higher the elevation, the better the snow. So A Basin will keep snow longer than Loveland which is better than Copper which is about on par with Breck which is slightly better than Keystone which is about on par with Vail.
post #18 of 20
Somehow the responses to this request have lost sight of the fact that the request was for the best terrain and nightlife for a bunch of intermediate level college skiers. With that in mind, the better options will be in places with winter condition snow and moderate terrain at the lower altitudes of the resorts visited. With due respect to all the Summit county fans, that just is not what is typically offered in Colorado after the warming trend begins.

As for the action in Banff; that demands a response. My first visit to Banff was the first week of April; and the town had the feel of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. There were college students from all over the continent up there, and the balcony at Wild Bills was as perilous for insults as any balcony on Bourbon Street. Banff is what the visiting crowd makes it, but the density of the town site and its layout make for an easily accessed nightlife scene. Banff also has the Banff Centre(an arts college of sorts), numerous museums, the hot springs, an icon in the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel, and is surrounded by a national park that puts all but the very best in the US to shame. ...I am sorry, but a dozen or so visits to the Summit county area have left me empty on a real comparison of this nature.

- The skiing; for an intermediate, has similarities, with Banff taking the nod on what will likely be better snow conditions for the first week of April. Everything in the lower 48, except the highest altitude terrain, is extremely vulnerable to 'freeze-thaw' by that time.

As a final note: AMS is not a problem in Banff because the sleep altitude is ~4300ft., while Summit County has sleep altitudes in the mid 9000 ft. level.

[ September 29, 2003, 05:20 AM: Message edited by: feal ]
post #19 of 20
Duplicate Post!

[ September 29, 2003, 05:23 AM: Message edited by: feal ]
post #20 of 20
nothing beats that 45 minute drive to ski every day!
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