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Need suggestions for family ski trip out West

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Friends, I am looking to put together a ski trip for my family. Our three teens board and my wife and I ski. Four of us went to Whistler last April and had a wonderful time. But I think we would like prefer a trip in February, to insure more reliable snow. Can any of you folks out there suggest any packages for a trip out West, Canada or US that would be reasonable, or refer me to an agent that could put this together. I think we may need a condo or suite given our numbers. Many thanks.
post #2 of 21

Ski trip

Vail is an an outstanding family trip. Check the Vail Daily web site for condo deals. There are also multi-day lift discounts. The terrain is great and we have found the people in vail to be very friendly. For great savings check out the public bus between the Eagle airport and vail village.
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
David, thanks for your quick reply. Last year we went through Skican which put together a great deal which included air fare, accomodations and lift tickets. Doing it a la carte was a ton more money. Vail would be great, but perhaps most affordable (coming from Maine) if I can get a package deal.
post #4 of 21
I travel to various western mountains (away from my home base of Squaw Valley) thanks to a competitive snowboard son. I've had the best luck dealing directly through the reservations staff at the mountains, though I usually end up booking air travel on line. I've had fewer nasty surprises than those provided by package tour operators. If your teens are as accident prone as mine you might want to buy travel insurance. It's usually less than $100. It saved me about $3K last year from a cancelled Whistler trip.

If you're thinking of Tahoe take a look at www.skilaketahoe.com. It isn't a travel arrangement site but has links to local mountains and various places to stay. Squaw apparently raided Sugarloaf and imported a bunch of Maine-trained lift ops so you'll feel right at home.

Independence Air flies from Portland to San Francisco at occaisionally reasonable prices.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Sierra, thanks for your reply. I will check out the Tahoe link. I hear you on the insurance. I have never taken it even though we have three teen age sons. Just playing the odds. Glad that you were covered. Given your experience travelling about, is the snow likely to be dependable no matter where we go in February?
post #6 of 21
You don't mention skill level or apres ski requirements, but for reliability in Feb it is hard to beat Utah. Lots of condos at various prices in Park City and good ski town. Better snow at Alta/Bird, less condos, more lodges, no town.
Good year for snow in CO. Snowmass is a great family mtn with all type of terrain and apres ski in Aspen with a multitude of accommodations, but pricey.
Might get a more affordable trip at Winter Park, CO or using Dillon/Frisco as a base and hitting the variety of resorts nearby. Less glitz, good snow. Early March is also a good time in UT and CO.
I like to put trips together on my own, but you might get some interesting quotes on packages from www.moguls.com
Good luck.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1
Sierra, thanks for your reply. I will check out the Tahoe link. I hear you on the insurance. I have never taken it even though we have three teen age sons. Just playing the odds. Glad that you were covered. Given your experience travelling about, is the snow likely to be dependable no matter where we go in February?
Deliberate:

Hard to say this year where the snow will be best. Jamesj is right about Utah - it's usually pretty reliable. Colorado is having a good year as well. Tahoe has been warmer and wetter than usual in December, but we usually have decent conditions in February. Colorado and Utah get that incredible light powder, while we have heavier snow that sticks to steeper terrain. Coming from Maine myself a couple of decades ago it took me a while to ski powder (years, actually.) You'll have a great time in any of these resorts. What kind of skiing and nightlife are you looking for?
post #8 of 21
Coming from the UK I hesitate to add to a domestic US topic but I took my two teenage sons (skiers) to Mammoth last year and it was great. We went end March/early April and I have never seen so much snow. From the web site this year looks no different- they are saying 120 inches arrived in December. For us flying to LAX or SFO is usually cheaper than say Denver or Salt Lake City,so Mammoth (or Tahoe) can be popular choices for Brits going to the US. Mammoth is a long drive from LAX (say 6-7 hours) but it wansnt a problem for us. There are loads of condos/apartments in Mammoth (not the most scenic ski town I have been in) and the mountain was superb. We had great conditions. A 14 inch dump on arrival, a few bluebird days, another dump, more bluebird days.
post #9 of 21
So far, the storm tracks have seemed to favor Utah and Colorado this year, but who knows what will happen as the season progresses? The suggestions above are all good. Depending on the level of skiing, you may also want to consider Steamboat as an out-of-the-way option, especially if you'll travel during spring break. Aspen has this advantage, as well.

If you don't need to get off the beaten path, it's hard to beat a Frisco/Dillon deal for choice of skiing and inexpensive lodgings.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Friends, I am obliged for all your kind suggestions. So many choises. The cool thing is that they are all good. I bit more detail. My three boys (boarders) and wife (skier) are low to middle intermediates who have never skied in powder. Here in Maine, powder is the stuff that falls on the blue ice as you scrape your windshield. As much as I would like them to have this "champagne" experience, I can forsee frustration as they attempt to adjust their modest skills to what could be several inches of snow. Consequently, I would favor an area that has good intermediate groomers. And long ones that would get us high up. Perhaps that describes all the areas that have been suggested. I am also looking for a good ski school, preferably one that has a three day program rather like the Esprit program at Whistler where you ski all day as a group with the same instructer. Three days learning and three days doing it would be ideal. Again, I am greatful for all your suggestions.
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by deliberate1
Consequently, I would favor an area that has good intermediate groomers. And long ones that would get us high up. Perhaps that describes all the areas that have been suggested. I am also looking for a good ski school, preferably one that has a three day program rather like the Esprit program at Whistler where you ski all day as a group with the same instructer. Three days learning and three days doing it would be ideal. Again, I am greatful for all your suggestions.
Here's my suggestion:
Copper is great for groomers and if you're feeling adventurous, has some easily accessible advanced terrain. They actually have beginner and low intermediate trails in some of their high alpine bowls so that everyone can have that experience without fear. Their ski school is reputed to be good, but I can't comment there. I have always used www.vrbo.com to find lodging there. I have been able to score slopeside 2-bedroom condos (sleeps up to 6 comfortably, 8 in a pinch) that you can ski to the door but have to walk about 75 yards to the lifts. Both of the ones we have used included a Copper Card which gives you extraordinary discounts on lift tix (more than 50% off on weekdays including holiday weeks - about 40% off on weekends). Can't beat that price. We always rented a minivan at DIA since the shuttles for 4-5 people cost more than the rental cost + gas for a week. It gives you freedom to travel to other areas (Vail is an easy 40 minute drive but be ready to shell out big $$ starting with parking...). It also allows you to use the Safeway in Frisco to save on food costs (get a Safeway card during your first visit). There's some cool restaurants and bars in Frisco also, so make sure you go there a couple of times. If you want, Copper can be a completely self-contained resort similar to but smaller than Whistler. But it ain't cheap.

I can strongly recommend the ski school at Keystone. Unless they've screwed it up, it was great when we took our kids west for their first real ski trip in 1998. Keystone also has a lot of good groomers, but I'm partial to Copper for its mix of skiing.
post #12 of 21
There are quite a few Copper, Breck, Keystone, Loveland, Winter Park, and Vail instructors on EpicSki. I haven't checked their websites, but a number may have multi-day deals on lessons, too.

(Note: I'm a certified instructor, but am not in the teaching pool this year; guiding only.)
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by colin
Coming from the UK I hesitate to add to a domestic US topic but I took my two teenage sons (skiers) to Mammoth last year and it was great. We went end March/early April and I have never seen so much snow. From the web site this year looks no different- they are saying 120 inches arrived in December. For us flying to LAX or SFO is usually cheaper than say Denver or Salt Lake City,so Mammoth (or Tahoe) can be popular choices for Brits going to the US. Mammoth is a long drive from LAX (say 6-7 hours) but it wansnt a problem for us. There are loads of condos/apartments in Mammoth (not the most scenic ski town I have been in) and the mountain was superb. We had great conditions. A 14 inch dump on arrival, a few bluebird days, another dump, more bluebird days.
With this latest storm, I say hit Mammoth. You're guaranteed great snow and all types of terrain. Check out the Snowman's website:
Mammoth Snowman
post #14 of 21
i hear the snow is Colorado is great for this time of year. I would recommend Vail/Beaver Creek or Aspen/Snowmass.
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
Friends, I have made up my mind. I figure if we head out tomorrow, we can hit every mountain y'all have suggested. Seems like the only fair thing to do....Thanks ever so much.
post #16 of 21
I'd second the Colorado venue for good, long intermediate runs. You may want to consider staying at Copper and front-ending the lessons to get used to western snow. Then try some of the other resorts in the area. Also, try some fat skis for yourself out here if you aren't using them in Maine.
post #17 of 21
The Mammoth report for yesterdaywas

"Snow Report - Updated: Jan 2, 2006 1:47 PM

WOW! That is all I have to say. It is dumping.

We got 86 inches of new snow since yesterday, and it is still coming down out there. Currently, we have the best base depth in the US - 10 to 12 feet!

If you want to ride right now - head over to Canyon Lodge. Schoolyard Express, Thunder Bound, and Chair 8 are now open. We are working hard to expand our lift service, and Eagle Express should open later today. If you are coming to Main Lodge today, we recemmend that you hop on a free shuttle, and please be careful.

Check out our photo gallery with photos taken this morning of the storm. You have to see them to believe them! Copy and paste this link below to view them, http://www.mammothmountain.com/galle...cfm?gallery=46

Check back here or at 888.SNOWRPT for up to date snow reports - Call CalTrans at 800.427.ROAD for chain requirements.

Dig yourselves out and have a great day! "

Maybe that is too much snow for you and your family, given what you have said above.

Another option for you ,particularly from the ski school idea is Banff/Lake Louise which has a 3 day programme which takes you to the 3 mountains (Sunshine, Lake Louise and Norquay)in what seems to be similar to Ski Esprit in Whistler. Web site is

http://skibig3.com/school/clubski.cfm
post #18 of 21
Families = Steamboat
post #19 of 21
Steamboat is a great little town. Every time I go there, I say to my wife, "we should move here when the kids are grown". The winters are snowy, the skiing is excellent, and the summers are warm due to relatively low elevation. Hopefully I'll be there in 10 years!

AM.
post #20 of 21

Lessons: Vail 3D Series and Beaver Creek 3-Peat Series

Vail and Beaver Creek both offer 3 consecutive full day of lessons for a very reasonable price ($189 for lessons only and $354 for lessons and 3 day lift ticket at Vail or Beaver Creek) given an all day lesson is $110 at Vail ($165 for lesson and lift ticket). Beaver Creek is $10 more than Vail for lessons. These 3 day lessons are offered from 1/6 to 2/15. The same instructor is not guaranteed. Both Vail and BC would suit your skiing/boarding needs very well. BC is probably better for boarders as it has much fewer cat tracks and traverses. Check out their websites for all the details.
post #21 of 21

You should 'baseline' fairly easily using these links.

http://www.frontierairlines.com/ski4free/
Frontier passengers who fly between November 7, 2005 and February 28, 2006 can exchange their Frontier boarding pass receipt at any ticket window at Winter Park/Mary Jane or Copper Mountain and receive two lift tickets for the price of one at the full-day window rate.
Both tickets must be used on the same day at the same resort.
One ticket purchase per boarding pass receipt.
Valid at Winter Park/Mary Jane or Copper Mountain Monday through Friday until April 17, 2006, excluding December 26-31, 2005 and March 13-24, 2006.
Must show valid ID such as a driver's license, birth certificate, or passport and this ID must match the name on the boarding pass receipt.

http://www.coppercolorado.com/deals/...vers/index.htm
http://www.coppercolorado.com/gettin...avel/index.htm
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