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Our first family ski trip to US or Canada from the UK. Where...?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
We are a family of 6 (children 7-14) who have only skied in Europe. We range from one total beginner to good intermediates.
Where should we try in US or Canada in March?
We are after a friendly resort with fun ski school or teachers. Is it essential to go West to get decent resorts or could we get away with travelling less far and say fly to Quebec or something. Or should we stay in Europe?!
post #2 of 25
With the exchange rates, the US should look very attractive.

You can find great resorts in many parts of the country, and you'll likely find people partial to different regions, as well. However, since you asked for advice, I'd suggest Colorado (after all, I moved here partially for this reason!). I'd have you consider Snowmass (together with Buttermilk), Breckenridge, Vail, and Steamboat. All have the characteristics you seek, and many have fully certified (and above!) instructors who hang out here on EpicSki.
post #3 of 25
Welcome to epicski.

I first want to say I think the weather and snow conditions will be better out west at that time of year.

I will send you a private message with a few ideas.
post #4 of 25
Hey ssh, I know your dollar is tanking but it's still an even better deal to come to Canada. (For a little while anyway.) Even better, we understand your accents. Seriously though, I would recommend Banff to you. There is a good mix of skiing for all abilities here. You also can get a pass for three different hills. Banff itself has a lot to offer families as well. March is usually a pretty nice time to come as the snow is still good, and the temperatures are usually pretty nice as well. The east can be starting to get pretty sloppy by that time of year; especially at the bottom. If you want specific details you can pm me and I would suggest you check out www.skibig3.com.
post #5 of 25
TOLOCOMan, you're right, especially in Spring. Can't go wrong anywhere in the Rockies, can you?
post #6 of 25
The skiing at Whistler is great at that time of year. When my kids were small we took them there and enrolled them in the ski school. It turned them from reluctant participants into rabid skiers. They were excellent in every way.
post #7 of 25
Youngsters and a long flight in March!!

The first thing I would say is to avoid Colorado. The altitude is high enough that at least some of your group would likely suffer from acclimatization problems, and the spring break crowds would be in full swing at that time.

A Canadian destination might be a better choice. Considering the skill level of the group, Sun Peaks should pretty much fit the bill. Sunshine Village and Lake Louise would also fill that need, but you won't be finding appropriate slopeside lodging at either of these resorts. ..You shouldn't have significant altitude adjustment problems at any of these resorts.


Good Luck!
post #8 of 25

Why not the East?

Up to now, all suggestions have been towards resorts in the West. Given that you're a family coming from Europe and you're not that demanding when it comes to extremely challenging conditions, why not consider the East coast? There exist a number of decent ski schools on this side of the continent.

That said, the one resort that I particularly recommend for family ski vacation is Smugglers' Notch in Northern Vermont. If you're in for family entertainment at a resort that can offer trail conditions at every level, there is none better, IMHO. They have had consistently good reviews from a number of sources for many years. In my own words, it's simply Disney on snow. Check out their site at www.smuggs.com, which with all things considered really doesn't do it justice. Another benefit with North VT is that the further North you go, the better the snow, particularly in the latter part of the season. Although there is no guarantee, there should still be plenty of snow in March at Smuggs'.
post #9 of 25
While the East Coast ski resorts would be closer to the UK, I still think the best bet would be out West because of snow. You would be chancing it skiing the East with decent snow conditions in March.
With that being said, I would have to throw Park City in the mix. Still good snow in March, three good mountains within a few miles of each other (Deer Valley, Canyons and Park City Mountain Resort) and from what I hear, excellent ski schools. Second choices would be Breckenridge or Steamboat. I have heard awesome things about the children's program there. All of these places have great slopeside lodging and great town atmospheres. Park City would be better when considering altitude problems, although I live 300ft above sea level and most of the people I ski with do as well and we have only suffered mild symptoms (headache, pedal edema). You can always get a doctor's prescription to combat the problem. Good luck!!
post #10 of 25
I'm sorry, not too savvy about int'l monetary stuff. Does the strong euro help Brits coming to US or is the pound still an independent currency? Anyway, assuming there is an advantageous exchange rate and you've got a big budget there are many fine choices. Conditions will be prime in early March, often fine but possibly a little soft in late March. I'd try one of the large, pricey North Am destinations just because they are great and this may be a rare chance to enjoy them at a relative bargain, examples- Aspen/Snowmass, Whistler, Vail/Beaver Creek. If those are out of your budget, very good places that might be a little less costly include Park City, Banff (I like that Sunpeaks suggestion as a possibly fine lesser known choice), Big Sky, Summit county Colorado. Smugglers Notch is nice place and I've seen their fine beginner/family program in action, but unless there is a big cost savings such as 33% or more off total costs, I'd recommend the American or Canadian West for someone traveling thousands of miles/kilometers to ski. I love eastern skiing, but it lacks grandeur or "wow" factor compared to the west, plus March can have less than optimal conditions.
post #11 of 25
If you plan of making the trip across the pond, make it worthwhile. The West is the Best.

http://Moonlightbasin.com

http://Bigskyresort.com
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jack Merde
If you plan of making the trip across the pond, make it worthwhile. The West is the Best.

http://Moonlightbasin.com

http://Bigskyresort.com
Montana resorts will require at least two if not three flights from the UK... and they get in late. Do you really want to do that... with kids ?

You also need to ask yourself why you are looking across the Atlantic when, apparently, you have not skied that much in Europe.

Don't forget lift tickets will be twice the price, even if the dollar is cheap at the moment.

If it is just for English language tuition, then Andorra would fit the bill. Or just go to an independent ski school, instead of the national one (i.e avoid ESF in France).
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys. You've given me plenty of food for thought.
post #14 of 25
An additional resort to consider would be Silver Star in B.C. It has a small village and a very fine intermediate mountain on the front side. Everything is close and easily accessable. It is a family oriented place. This might be a good destination for a family with younger kids. Low elevation compared with resorts in the Rockies. Fine snow.
post #15 of 25
I notice that nobody's mentioned Big White. It's a 30-45 min drive from Kelowna B.C. (you can get direct flights from Toronto a few times a week, or there are plenty of connections from Calgary or Winnipeg). It's a very good resort for a family, and they have what I'm told is an excellent kids program in their ski school, but at the same time they have some very fun advanced terrain for the parents. They have some very fun glades, and because it's situated in the interior, it gets very light and fluffy powder compared to Whistler.
post #16 of 25
hey Jboyyoga,
Welcome to EpicSki!
My top suggestion would be Whistler - Direct flights from London to Vancouver, plenty of Tour Ops go there (although I'd recommend www.ski-independence.co.uk ), and it's got good skiing & nightlife. Also it's close enough to Vancouver for a shopping trip, etc.

But with the current exchange rate, the US is becoming very cheap once you get there, so I'd also consider Breckenridge or Vail.
If you want English language instruction in Vail, check out www.skiMartinBell.com
post #17 of 25

How about Banff

How about Banff
Flights into Calgarry.
Three mountains including Sunshine and Lake Louise.
You should feel right at home on the morning coach as it was full of Brits last Easter when we where there. :-)
Would go back in a flash. Buts its Silver Star and Big White this year in February.
Have fun wherever you go.
post #18 of 25
Big White www.bigwhite.com would be a good choice if you decide on coming to Canada. Ski press www.skipressworld.com picks it as “perfect” for families in their latest issue. It has a very good ski school program for children and lots of nice green and intermediate terrain plus it is easy to get accommodation that is ski in ski out so if you need to take a break with the kids it is pretty easy. You can download the entire Ski Press magazine from their website.
post #19 of 25

Ski Mag article

Quote:
Originally Posted by chanwmr
That said, the one resort that I particularly recommend for family ski vacation is Smugglers' Notch in Northern Vermont.
Just to follow up with this, here's an article that I came across on Smuggs' by Ski Mag. You may find it useful or interesting.
post #20 of 25
Might I suggest Marble Mountain in Newfoundland? It's a great "little" area (1600 ft of vert, ~200 acres, 30+ trails, tons of snow by eastern standards) and it's as close to the UK as you can get in North America. It's cheap too, $38 CDN for a full day adult ticket. If you're looking for a "unique" ski holiday without too many frills, this spot is great. I know Air Canada flies daily from London Heathrow to St. John's, NF and then it's an easy connection to Deer Lake, the local airport there. It's by no means Whistler or Vail but I'd rank it just as high as any resort I've skied at in Quebec or the Eastern US. Check out http://www.skimarble.com if you want.
post #21 of 25
As much as I'm supportive of Banff unless your family was the van trapps in a previous life and still moves with that military precision than you might not want to deal with 6 kids and bussing to and from hills. I think silver star would be awesome for them but the flight connections are certainly a consideration. Maybe a layover in Calgary would be something to help with jet lag but blow off a day of skiing. I say Calgary because the airport is a lot easier to deal with then Toronto.

Although Marble Mountain above might be great I give it equal chances of being bad. Last year must have been a rippin' one there if they could dig the lifts out but several years of the last decade have seen very little to almost no snow for them. Something to be said for consistency.
post #22 of 25
http://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/...s-dollar_x.htm
Recent article on strength of pound and euro against dollar.
post #23 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by GreeneCoach
Might I suggest Marble Mountain in Newfoundland? It's a great "little" area (1600 ft of vert, ~200 acres, 30+ trails, tons of snow by eastern standards) and it's as close to the UK as you can get in North America. It's cheap too, $38 CDN for a full day adult ticket. If you're looking for a "unique" ski holiday without too many frills, this spot is great. I know Air Canada flies daily from London Heathrow to St. John's, NF and then it's an easy connection to Deer Lake, the local airport there. It's by no means Whistler or Vail but I'd rank it just as high as any resort I've skied at in Quebec or the Eastern US. Check out http://www.skimarble.com if you want.
You are kidding aren't you?

This is some sort of newfie joke isn't it?
post #24 of 25
Room for one more suggestion?


I would highly recommend Silver Star for the following reasons....all accomodation is ski in/ski out, compact village.....the kids can run and roam, best ski resort weather in Canada, discount tickets available at Coopers in Vernon, one hour from the Kelowna airport, minimal lineups and a great hill.

The front side consists of long easy cruisers and a terrain park. The back side has some groomed blue and black cruisers as well as some of the steepest double blacks in the Rockies.

Great ski school.

Only negative might be that there are only 4-5 restaurants that accept kids.

Hope this helps.
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by jboyyoga
We are a family of 6 (children 7-14) who have only skied in Europe. We range from one total beginner to good intermediates.
Where should we try in US or Canada in March?
We are after a friendly resort with fun ski school or teachers. Is it essential to go West to get decent resorts or could we get away with travelling less far and say fly to Quebec or something. Or should we stay in Europe?!
Crested Butte is probably the nicest ski town in all of colorado...they have a club med and a great small town atmosphere...

Great people, no crowds, great snow....Beautiful scenery.

Fly into Denver and then to Gunnision...40 minute ride to Crested Butte...One of the best places I've been to....And yes it is essential to go west...East coast skiing is crowded and there isn't snow...

CRESTED BUTTE, CO!
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