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April of 2007-Easter Week

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I know it's a bit crazy-but I'd like to start planning for this trip. I can only ski during major holidays (President's or Easter Break) and on the easter break I like to pick places that are a little off the beaten path since I can devote more time to travel to them. That being said, I was considering Big Sky or Sun Valley.
The dates would be April 6-10 or around there. Do you think it is too late in the season for these mountains? I've been to Alta/Snowbird and Sunshine already.

I also am considering Vail/BC or Summit County areas. Would the summit Co. areas be crowded during the Easter Break? Sunshine/LL was VERY crowded last year at that time.

Any other recommendations would also be appreciated.
post #2 of 9
Mammoth and Mt. Bachelor are the best large spring mountains in North America. Mammoth has considerably more steep terrain if that is an important factor. Both have massive amounts of intermediate terrain, both on and off piste. About half the public schools (but not the colleges) in California have spring break during Easter Week, but Mammoth has more than enough lift capacity to handle that.

Vail/BC/Summit County are reasonable choices snowwise but I think you would notice more skier density in Summit County than at Mammoth or Bachelor and more variable conditions in Vail's back bowls.

Big Sky is more speculative due to lots of sun exposed terrain. Sun Valley has decent exposure and would probably be good in a big year like this one, but in a normal year there could be some sketchy spots off piste with its modest average snowfall.
post #3 of 9
My elementary and high school age children often accompany me on multiday ski trips and (like millions of others) I have similar timing issues and also pay attention to Easter as a potential ski vacation time, esp when it falls in March. Got in some good Easterweek spring skiing at Wildcat,NH last year at end of March with no crowds.
Smaller Western places that might be a good bet at Easter/Apr '07 are Loveland and Arapaho Basin in CO and Grand Targhee, WY.
I would like to know a bit more detail on the crowds hobojo experienced at Easter in Lake Louise. How bad and how widespread, including Sunshine, Norquay, Marmot Basin? I've thought of those areas as a future Easter choice. I wonder what is the highest altitude Canadian ski area and/or best late season choice between Banff and Whistler...Kicking Horse, Panorama, Big White? I would assume any of those interior BC places (or Marmot) would have smaller holiday crowds than Banff or Whistler.
Along the lines of Tony's suggestion, besides Mammoth, I would think an Oregon combo of Mounts Bachelor and Hood would be a cool destination for an Apr trip.
As you probably know, another crowd beating vacation period to keep an eye on is the 5-7 days immediately preceding Christmas. It varies among schools and years, but sometimes elem and HS Christmas break starts well before Dec25. Not all schools are off and most folks are focused on the Holiday homefront build-up, so crowds at ski areas can be relatively low at this time even with "early season" prices still in effect.
post #4 of 9
Last year Easter was in March. I was at Whistler and the coincidence of Easter week, British Columbia spring break and the first decent dump (33 inches) since before Christmas led to massive lines the first 2 days of that trip. Fortunately we were in an Extremely Canadian clinic with line cutting privileges.

So I think last year at Banff is unfair to generalize. My first trip there was during a spring break week March 31 - April 3, 1999. We had no crowd problems and skied about 90K in 4 days at Sunshine and Louise.

For mid-April spring breaks your top concern is snow quality, not crowds. Choose a resort with a good late season reputation like Mammoth, Bachelor, Cottonwoods, etc. and you'll be fine.

I agree with Jamesj's recommendation about the week before Christmas. Snow coverage issues are key at that time and waiting to see how November goes is a good idea before committing $. Few resorts fill up and prices are good for the reasons he states.

For what it's worth before my older son went to college I took him on 12 destination ski trips during spring break (his school break was always the week containing April 1): 3 Mammoth, 2 Crested Butte and other SW Colorado, 2 Utah, 1 Summit County, 1 Whistler, 1 Banff, 1 Bachelor, 1 Taos. All were very enjoyable, as were the 2 trips before Christmas at Mammoth-Tahoe and Vail-Summit County. The 2 trips during Christmas-to-New-Year's (Tahoe and Alta) were seriously degraded by crowd problems. The numbers above show when and where I think people should take their family ski vacations. For Christmas-to-New-Year's you need BOTH a strong early season track record and an off-the-beaten path location.

I wrote an Inside Tracks article on the subject in 2001: http://webpages.charter.net/tcrocker818/fam_ski.htm.
post #5 of 9

Summit County

Summit County is known for closing the season with plenty of snow and now crowds. Even with Easter holiday, I assure you that Keystone and A-Basin would feel like you had the places to yourself 90% of the time.

If you'll be with a group - I offer Epic members 10% off my normal very competitive lodging at Keystone which is also the closest lodging to A-Basin.

Happy planning.

post #6 of 9
I would second the A-Basin remommendation. I have skied there with GREAT results in early April.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 

April Skiing

Thanks to all the great responses. I never thought about Mt. Bachelor-it sounds like it is pretty off the beaten path. I think I will def check that out. I think Tony was right about last year in Canada. The British Columbia school break coincided with the Easter break. We found the crowds tolerable at Sunshine but ridiculous at LL. Also we went to KH for a day-the snow was terrible on the lower mountain but great up in the bowls-and it was totally empty.
post #8 of 9
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker

Vail/BC/Summit County are reasonable choices snowwise but I think you would notice more skier density in Summit County than at Mammoth or Bachelor
Well Duh ! Isn't then when the "unofficial Bear gathering" happens every year?
post #9 of 9
Originally Posted by Tony Crocker
I wrote an Inside Tracks article on the subject in 2001: http://webpages.charter.net/tcrocker818/fam_ski.htm.
As usual Tony's done a great job on a "where to go when" skiing subject.
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