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Kids Spring Break Ski Vacations

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am thinking about in the future taking a trip during my daughters Spring vacation, which is next week, so on average the 3rd week in April. The benefits as I see it are, Great Weather, Less people, and Good Deals. The negatives are not nearly as much to choose from.

My question would be where do you think is the place to do this out west, scratch Alaska that is a whole different topic....

I glanced at a bunch of mountains that would fit the bill and here is what I noticed.

Whistler: Even now in a terrible snow year it is great right now. The bottom is terrible, but its terrible when its open. One of my biggest gripes with Whistler was the crowds, this would eliminate that problem, and of course the weather...

Mt Bachelor: They are also having a sub-par season and have plenty of snow still. The problem here is I notice they are only running two lifts most of the time, which team me seems pretty lame, even if they are the two best lifts. I would want to ski the outback without hiking....

Snowbird: Looking good, everything open most of the lifts, probably not loads of people and deals abound, only problem is its a bummer to go to Utah and only have one hill open

Loveland/A-basin: Decent combo, probably very cheap, both to fly in and wherever you stay. This is actually a sleeper for me since my buddy lives in evergreen and I could stay there, any other mountains still open? Winter-Park?

Sunshine: Looking good right now and a sub-par year in the northern rockies. Not expensive in the winter, does the impending summer masses mess with spring prices? The scenery that time of year would be tough to beat.

Tahoe: Squaw and Alpine Seem to still have a ton of snow. Tahoe's fun in the sun attitude is always nice but I bet the masses are still coming on weekends and the prices still kind of high.

Mammoth: They have loads of snow for sure, do they open all of those lifts this time of year? They have like 30 lifts dont they? I have been dieing to ski this mountain for a while and it might be interesting in the spring.

I guess that pretty much covers it, am I missing any big regions or areas on this continent? I know many places still have loads of snow but they close.... that does me know good. Let me know what you think

post #2 of 12
I would go to Mammoth in a heart beat followed by Tahoe as these areas have great snow pack. If the snow gets too mushy you want other things todo and at Mammoth there is mtn biking, good trout fisihing, hiking, hot springs to soak in, Mono Lake to visit and if the pass is open Yosemite is nearby. Tahoe doesn't have the same elevation as Mammoth so the snow may mush out quickly at the lower elevations, but there is lots todo.
post #3 of 12
I'd say Sunshine (and maybe Marmot Basin?), if you hadn't mentioned that Evergreen connection. Don't know what skill level your kids are, but Loveland has some great, long, easy groomers. It also has tough stuff. A-basin has more limited easy stuff, but lots of challenge. The extremely high elevations of these two are likely to give as good a chance as anywhere south of Canada for powder conditions at that time. Bachelor and Mammoth are supposed to be good spring bets along with your good list of other usual suspects, but if money is a consideration and that CO connection saves a bundle, that looks tempting. The drive from Evergreen to Loveland is about 45 minutes, with A-basin another 20 or 30. You might even get in some golf on an off day if weather happens to be mild at lower elevations.
post #4 of 12
I wrote an extensive article on this topic for Inside Tracks in 2001:http://webpages.charter.net/tcrocker818/late01.htm .

Since then the bean-counters have trimmed Bachelor's operation, closing on Memorial Day. To get max 360 degree corn off the Summit, the Northwest lift needs to run, and I think that is through last weekend of April now. The current "standby status" of lifts is wind/weather related.

If you're talking about this year, Mammoth is the top spot. Eagle and Canyon lodge and 100% of terrain will be open through April 24. After that about 60% of terrain (but all the steeps except chair 22) will be open through Memorial Day. The core Main Lodge lift that serve about 40% will be open until July 4 this year.

The big Colorado areas are all closing by this Sunday. Loveland closes May 1 and A-Basin still goes until the snow runs out.

For future seasons' reference do not expect any area not mentioned above to run past 3rd weekend in April.

In Utah only Snowbird will run after this Sunday, and in May it may be just Little Cloud with the Tram for access.

Blackcomb closes Sunday but Whistler is open to June 5.

Lake Louise runs to May 8 and Sunshine to May 23. I would make sure those areas had a big year (not this year) before going in late April.
post #5 of 12

Prices in April Sunshine/Lake Louise

April is low/shoulder season for a lot of Banff hotels and you can get some good deals on accommodation (including the Sunshine Inn). Sunshine also has a Spring Pass which would save on lift ticket costs.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all of the advice. I find this an interesting topic, thanks for the detailed report tony. I noticed you had Bachelor number 1, and I had heard it was exceptional for that time of year, then I looked the other day and saw they were closing lots of lifts:/ I skied bachelor before in a huge storm, waste deep pow and only the lower stuff open, nice day. But next time I go I want to do the outback and such and that is not open, hurts their cause. I very much preferred Blackcomb to Whistler so that hurts that destination. No offense to snowbird but Utah is better skied when Pow is more readily available. I would not even consider colorado if it was not for my friend as I described, in terms of acreage it simply does not compare with the other two main options, Sunshine and Mammoth. I would love to stay at that hotel up in Sunshine, perhaps that is in my near future. Also always wanted to ski Delerium dive. So in closing if I went for 3 or 4 days Sunshine or CO would be the choice, any longer and Mammoth Sprinkled with Tahoe would be the choice

post #7 of 12
Originally Posted by Alfonse
I very much preferred Blackcomb to Whistler
This probably won't change your mind, but in the spring Whistler has much better sun aspects which keep the snow better quality. If you've only been there in the winter you wouldn't experience this. I don't know the thinking behind the corporate decision on which mountain to close, but I think that may have a lot to do with it.
post #8 of 12
I made that call on Whistler BEFORE Intrawest bought it. Whistler's predominant exposure is north while Blackcomb's is west. As soon as both mtns were under Intrawest ownership Whistler became the area to run latest, and the date got pushed a couple of weeks to first week of June.

With Bachelor the key is that both Summit and Northwest are open. When Summit is closed, it's always weather related. Northwest was still open today, and remember base depths are about 2/3 of a normal season. Watch Bachelor's website next week to see if it stays open. All runs on Outback plus 360 degrees off the Summit are accessible when Northwest is open.

I don't think Sunshine is close to the scale of Mammoth in usable terrain. Also, Goat's Eye faces southwest and the rocks may come out in a warm April. If you wait for a big year you'll get more of Lake Louise too, which is more on Mammoth's scale.

For Utah and Colorado the exact timing of your spring break is critical. If it was last week all 4 Cottonwood Canyon areas in Utah plus Vail, Copper, Breck and Winter Park in Colorado were open. If next week only Snowbird, A-Basin and Loveland.
post #9 of 12
Yesterday April 17 was the last day for the Northwest Territory lift at Mt. Bachelor. I called them and asked lots of questions.
1) The bottom of Northwest Territory is still covered. The closure is for economic reasons.
2) Last year, which was a big snow year, Northwest Territory ran until May 2.
3) The economic decision is not based on a fixed date, but on how business is doing in the current season. Since the PNW had a horrible season, Bachelor's business dried up a month ago. Go figure. You would think business would increase at the only area in the region in full operation when nearly everyone is closed. But average casual skiers are really dumb about deciding when (and sometimes where) to ski.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for that update, that puts Bachelor back in the mix I love oregon, Bend is awesome and if you can get clear spring weather there it can be one of the most beautiful places in the world. Plus nothing like skiing totally above treeline, kind of like skiing on the moon

post #11 of 12
Mammoth is at least as much above treeline as Bachelor and has much more steep terrain. Bachelor's skier density is way lower; thus the backcountry corn that is almost unique in a lift-served environment.
post #12 of 12
Report and pics from Mammoth April 9-10: http://www.firsttracksonline.com/boa...opic.php?t=964
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