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Your pick for best "total-package" destination?

post #1 of 62
Thread Starter 
My dilemma is this:

It is my turn this year to plan our annual winter vacation, and i'd like to choose a resort area within close proximity to big mountain skiing. However, although my fiancee is a skier, she worries that *gasp* 7 days of skiing is too much and she might get bored. As such, she would like to visit an area with a wealth of non-skiing activities.

As she is a schoolteacher and cannot take time off outside school holidays, we have to take our trip on the Canadian March Break. This makes travel in Canada extremely expensive, and would direct us more towards the US as a destination. (the reasonable exchange rate also helps) Canadian destinations are not out of the question, but would have to be justifiable from a price perspective and not completely astronomical.

Locations that immediately jump out at me are Whistler/Blackcomb, Banff, Vail and such, but I was wondering if there are any hidden gems out there that you could recommend?

I know someone other than me must be in the same boat!
post #2 of 62
post #3 of 62
post #4 of 62
I would guess Utah is the way for you to go. If you want non skiing activities they have a CITY there. It is as cheap as you want it to be with all kinds of lodging available. Colorado and Tahoe would also fit the bill but be far more expensive. I still remember buying a 8 dollar bic lighter at Alpine Meadows....

post #5 of 62
It's not very hidden but it is a gem.

For an all-around ski trip with a fiancee, there's no place better than Aspen. And I think it can still be done for a "relatively" good value.
post #6 of 62
Park City...if it's not too far.
post #7 of 62


aspen. four mountains. fun town. nightlife. easy on the eyes. people watching's great, too.
post #8 of 62
Does she like culture and artsy? Then Taos is another choice. Especially March. Between Taos and Santa Fe, there's lots of sightseeing to do, good food, shopping, etc.
post #9 of 62
A place like Breckenridge is a lot of fun if your not skiing and several other places are close by to ski. Gotta agree with Bob though, Aspen is great. Oh, and I agree that Tahoe would be good for side diversions... Big help, right?
post #10 of 62
Take her to Europe. St. Anton/Lech, St. Moritz. Airfare is dirt cheap. Skiing is good. Atmosphere is great. She will never forget the trip. Neither will you!
post #11 of 62
Copper is a good choice as well as the others. Less crowded than Breck but close enough to the town of Breckenridge to take that in as well...and there's free shuttles between the 2. I think the town of Frisco is nice too (once you get away form the strip near the Interstate). And don't forget the outlet mall in Silverthorne: for the shopping.
post #12 of 62
we hit Jackson Hole for a fantastic deal. 4 people, air, lifts, room, trans, 4 days on snow for $800.00/pp.
post #13 of 62
Go to Heavenly and Gamble
post #14 of 62
Thread Starter 
Holy moley, this is quite the response... keep those ideas coming!

Let me clarify, i'm not looking for a dirt cheap roach motel; simply good value for the dollar. I'm willing to drop the cash if I get amenities and such in return.
post #15 of 62
I'd suggest to go to Aspen/Snowmass, Vail, or Jackson Hole. Each of those resorts has a town with plenty of dining and shopping options, as well as other activities besides skiing to keep you busy.
post #16 of 62
Park City with the optin for going to Salt Lake City for a day if a city is of interest to your fiance'. If it's glitz she likes then Aspen is the place to go.
post #17 of 62
park city,, you can get passes to all 3 resorts with your lodging. ask about the silver summit passport.
Salt Lake 30-35 min away via i-80
Lots of shopping,dinning drinking in PC. Take a bobsled ride out at the Sports park, or rent snowmobiles. Free transit thru out the PC area. Many cultural things to do in slc,symphony,NBA,hockey, temple square, muesuems.
You can also ski the 4 resorts in the Cottonwoods..
post #18 of 62
Aspen. No brainer.
post #19 of 62

Something memorable? Venice/Cortina, Italy

yes, there are many US resorts with better skiing, a little, closer, etc. There are many Euro resorts with better skiing, etc.

But if you want a trip to give you skiing, romance, culture, sheer beauty? I have the perfect 9 day trip.

Depart Fri. PM - Fly to Venice [for instance, take Air France to Paris -> Venice]

Sat/Sunday in Venice [numerous inexpensive, decent pensiones]

Cortina is easy 2 hr. drive from Venice; no real need for 4x4

Monday-Friday: Ski Cortina, Val Gardena, Arabba. Most beautiful mountains I've ever seen, great food/drink, great shopping in Cortina. You can also ice skate, etc. Cortina's slopes not crowded at all. Arrive at Saturday destination in time for dinner. Lift tix < $37/day, even with a high Euro.

Saturday: Venice, Lake Garda or Verona (city of Romeo & Juliet); either of the latter two is within 40-75 minutes from Venice. Arrive in Venice in time for dinner.

1 day: depart Venice ->Paris -> home

If you do this trip you will have a lot of credits at home for many years. How many people live like James Bond without having to pay in-season airfares?

If you want the 411, let me know.
post #20 of 62
I'm kind of surprised everyone is suggesting Aspen - it usually isn't the number one place people mention on this forum. It is a great place though. Park City would be another great choice. I think there's more to do in PC compared to Aspen. I'd have a tough time deciding between PC and Aspen. I think the skiing is better in Aspen. You might want to check to see when the X Games are in Aspen - if it's when you want to be on vacation then you may not want to be there. It's a great event to go see, but lodging will be pretty outrageous.

Taos would be great if you didn't mind driving around. It's not very close to a major airport (2.5 hours) and the town is a little ways from the mountain. However, I think Taos is a nice place to visit and Santa Fe is pretty close as well.

Summit County (Breck/Copper), well, I don't think it's as much fun as the other places. Then again I'm biased.
post #21 of 62
Maybe her skiing aversion is a hint to have her as "fiancee" forever instead of taking that there oath.... Just kidding!

1. Tahoe, gambling,shopping,sights.
2. Aspen, shopping,sights.
3. Park City, shopping, sights, mormons....
4. Vail, shopping.
5. Whistler, shopping,sights, IFFY snow.
6. EUROPE, once in a lifetime!!!!!!!!
post #22 of 62
Another suggestion is Steamboat. Usually great snow (and weather) that time of year, and this year they have a slightly hidden way to get the lift tickets down from $72 to $53 bucks... through the Metickets link on their site.

The town is a real town, and there is stuff to do there, albeit not at the flashier levels of other destinations. Hotsprings, lots of cross country skiing, decent eats, nice people, blah, blah. I live in the PNW, and let;s just say I'd rather go to CO or UT then go the Whistler, which for me is a lot closer. Whistler = disneyland.

Now, if your wants mega nightlife.... nah, go to Aspen.

post #23 of 62
Don't go to Whistler. It is so easy to get bad weather. The mountain is over rated and you have to go to Canada.

Aspen rocks and has restaurants that will blow you away. Aspen Mt is weak but Highlands is real good.

Next choice would be Salt Lake City.

Someone mentioned Steamboat. It can be rather dull for good skiers. If you are a strong intermediate I thing you would really like it.
post #24 of 62
I just re-read your post. You are from Canada! Still, not Whistler unless you want to hang out in Vancouver. Go where the snow is best.
post #25 of 62
Lots of good choices already suggested which I'll largely reiterate.
My suggestions in order of preference:
1. Aspen - the town has a lot of bling, fascination, food, bars, shops, etc. for non-skiers. Very simply this is probably the most interesting ski town in America for a tourist looking for some diversions. Plus, skiing at Ajax, Highlands and Snowmass (and Buttermilk) will keep an eager skier very happy and these mtns are not too crowded. All are connected by local bus service. Accommodations pricey, homework required.
2. Park City - the town has a lot of what Aspen offers, perhaps a little less bling, and not quite as much vertical at ski areas. Might be a little busier than Aspen in March. Average cost of lodging may be slightly less. Airfare (for us Americans) is typically cheaper than what it takes to fly all the way into Aspen airport. Good second choice if price tag becomes important factor. Be sure to make at least one trip over to Alta/Snowbird to see what all the buzz is about at these highly regarded ski areas.
3. Lake Tahoe area - If you have a rental car and can get around to other Tahoe ski areas then staying in South Lake Tahoe near Heavenly might present a good holiday for skiers and non-skiers. Heavenly has casinos and entertainment, but slopes can be very busy. Other Tahoe ski areas have better terrain.
4. Vail - has pretty much everything that Aspen offers, just more crowded and mtn scenery is not as memorable.
5. Steamboat, never been, but offers a lot of what Aspen would: good snow and reasonable March crowds. As others have said the town is supposedly less glitzy.

Just exactly when is Canadian March school holiday? Same week every year or does it vary at all? As you know, if you stay within Canada then Banff and Whistler would be good choices. How crowded do those two get during the March holiday and does the increased "holiday" costs match the expense you'd have to pay at Aspen or Park City?
post #26 of 62
Go Euro. St. Anton, or Zermatt.
post #27 of 62
Crested Butte... not a ton there, but the back bowls are the best. The town is very cool, and the area is beautiful. Gunnison is close so you can fly in easy, and it is ussually cheaper than other resorts.
post #28 of 62
Originally Posted by paul jones
Aspen Mt is weak
I think you just need someone to show you the right spots.

X Games 1/27-31 - Slopes are empty, lots of free concerts by big name acts. Only lines are getting a bus back from Buttermilk after the events and getting into the hottest bars after the concerts. Town is packed and the cops are cool as long as you don't have a bottle or can. Just pour your favorite bevy into a cup pull up a seat and enjoy the show.

US Comedy Arts Festival 3/8-12 - Slopes are empty, lots of big name acts, but its the little guys that you never heard of that are really the best. Get to the shows early and sit two feet from the next Bob & Dave or Lewis Black.

You can always have a good time in Aspen, but I think the Cortina/Venice is also a great suggestion.
post #29 of 62
Everybody has their favorite, but there are so many good choices that will fit the bill:

Vail/BC, Aspen, Park City, Summit Co, Tahoe, LCC, etc...

I've done Vail (and the sorrounding resorts) 2 spring breaks in row, but I don't think I've ever heard a family coming back from any of these disappointed.
post #30 of 62
I'd go to Banff -- and I still might try to get there this season during march break. I was gonna go last year, but jetsgo melted down.

From what prices I saw, Ontario March break is not on BC's radar. Unlike Quebec, BC does not gouge you at that time.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › Your pick for best "total-package" destination?