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Anywhere MLK Weekend

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Question for a buddy at work.

Guy in the cube across from me and his friends have decided they want to go skiing MLK weekend. He was asking where I would suggest. I am not sure where to tell him to go to avoid crowds as much as possible.

I know he has never been skiing and my impression is the it would be a group of about four guys total, a couple who have at least been before and a couple who have not. Also, definately not partiers and definately trying to go on the cheap.

Their initial plan called for driving wherever they could in the mid-Atlantic: NC or WV. I advised that I thought all of the places in NC would be completely covered that weekend and that I thought in WV it would be better to go somewhere like T-line or Canaan than Snowshoe. I suggested perhaps they would be better headed out west. My only suggestion there was to take Southwest to SLC, get them in the Extended Stay, and drive somewhere each day. I thought avoiding PC and AltaBird would allow them to avoid crowds somewhat.

Anyhow, I promised I would ask those who know if the advice made any sense and if you guys have a better suggestion. A decent place for beginners and acceptable rates for ski school would be nice. Help?
post #2 of 8
MLK weekend on east coast is peak time, probably the most crowded and expensive time they could encounter. I took my family on a ski weekend last MLK and am planning another this year; the school schedules lock a lot of people in, myself included. Could be the same out west.

If they're considering flying, why not try Canada? Probably will not have MLK crowds, and good values for $$ given exchange rates. Try searching in the Resorts forum here for info re Tremblant, Mt. St. Anne (sp?), Le Massif, Sutton, Owl's Head.
post #3 of 8
The approach we have successfully used on MLK and other holidays is to go to some mountain that is primarily a not a destination resort, and, even better, is near larger destination resorts (ie, a "locals" mountain) so that the nearby big-name mountains will draw the masses of people right by "your" hill and not tempt them to stop. Better yet is if there are large destination resorts between "your" hill and the major population centers.

With this in mind, 99% of the tourists zip right by the front door to Pico (a fine mountain), hell-bent to mingle with the crowds at Killington, right next door.

Burke (VT) is a great, mid-sized mountain ( http://ski-guide.com/overview.cfm/vt03.htm ), but the masses from NYC and points south all stop before they get that far north, and most of the Canadians go to Jay, if they cross the line.

Ski Denton (Pa) ( http://ski-guide.com/overview.cfm/pa20.htm ) is a tiny mountain ( under 600 ft), but its truly in the middle of nowhere with respect to interstates, so the travelling masses never find it. On MLK weekend a couple of years ago the locals thought it was crowded, but the longest liftline I encountered was under 2 min. Although people are different, I'd rather yo-yo on a 600 ft hill working on technique than be at a big mountain, but wind up waiting in line for 10+ min on every run, and then play human pin-ball on the way down. Denton had the friendliest people I have ever encountered at a ski resort.

If I think of any more, I'll let you know.


Tom / PM
post #4 of 8
I'm not sure of the fact, but I would guess that eastern ski resorts will all be fairly crowded. The big western names will have some of their biggest ski days also, so the previously mentioned strategies are good ideas.

You might want to look into flying into Seattle(edit: Spokane!) and skiing Schweitzer or Silver Mtn. From here in Texas, airfares up there are identical to the better known ski destinations, and it is somewhat off of the destination skier's map. Either of those mountains would be an excellent choice for a group with beginners, but I think the experience of learning at the top of Silver Mountain would be an added bonus for the beginners. "Parking Lot" learning experiences just don't leave the same impression with first timers as a trip up into the high country. The mountain is right along the interstate about an hour or so east of Spokane. Check them out at: http://www.silvermt.com/mountain_info.html .

There are other options in the area like Schweitzer, Lookout Pass, and 49 North, but I do believe the beginner experience would be different at the top of the mountain.

You could also make a run into Canada from Seattle(edit: Spokane!), but it may be a bit of a stretch for a trip with beginners. Either way, Seattle(edit: Spokane!) may be the easiest bet for an MLK escape.

Edit P.S.: I think I might need to stop posting so early in the morning! [img]redface.gif[/img]

[ November 22, 2003, 08:33 AM: Message edited by: feal ]
post #5 of 8
If they are looking at the Mid Atlantinc and want cheap, I got a suggestion. Well, two.

1. Avoid 7 Springs like the plague that weekend, it's hell. Snowshoe is likely to be identical.

2. Check out Hidden Valley since they are basically beginners. There will be a lot less crowds there and a short hop over to Laurel Mountain may produce even fewer people. There are cheap places to stay in Donegal or Somerset for hotels, Condos & homes right at Hidden Valley.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. There seems to be some reasonable ideas for them to drive or fly. I know they as a group like Seattle, they have been there a few times recently, so those areas were very good ideas. The smaller areas in PA also sound like good suggestions. I don't know if they would drive any further. Flying may depend on where you can get to from Birmingham reasonably. Thanks again. I'll pass these on Monday. [img]graemlins/thumbsup.gif[/img]
post #7 of 8

Sorry about putting down the wrong name in Washington state. The area I was referring to is in the Spokane area. The reason it looks good from here in Texas is because Southwest Airlines offers the system wide rates of $199 to Spokane on a regular basis. The downside of that flight is you will have a couple of flight changes to get there.

Once they get there, several very good choices are available for skiing, and the prices are very competitive. Another plus is the fact that the local rental agencies aren't subject to the high predatory airport taxes of some of the larger ski destinations. A trip of this nature should give them economical big mountain style skiing in a convenient location, with a lower chance of huge holiday crowds.
post #8 of 8
Last year on MLK weekend, we went to Taos, longest lift line over 3 day period was about 8 minutes. The only reson it was 8 minutes was because some poor soul fell off the lift.
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