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western ski trip

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I am a few days away from booking a midweek family ski vacation from march 4th to march 9th 2007 I am now looking at Lake Tahoe (Heavenly) or the Park city area. What are your thoughts on these two resorts and what would you recomend? we are all advanced skiers.

Thank you
Pasquale
post #2 of 21
Welcome to EpicSki. My guess is that many of us here enjoy both ski areas. The dates you have picked should have good winter conditions, both are well known resorts and both have many great ski areas nearby. You are advanced skiers but we don't know much about what you are looking for in your vacation experience (age of kids, preferred activities, terrain, lessons, budget). I think if you have many choices and alternatives. We're not a bad community of skiers to talk to. Maybe you should give us a bit more to go on.
post #3 of 21
What Cirquerider said.

Also, there have been several discussions of Tahoe and Utah options for families in the recent and not-so-recent past. I've personally posted some suggestions here. There will be many more comments once you give people more to go on, but I'll kick it off by saying that the only way I would take several advanced skiers to Heavenly for a week is if they were also advanced gamblers. Otherwise, there are better choices, some of which would allow you to ski multiple mountains (the easiest combination of which is Squaw and Alpine). Although I will say that IMHO the nice thing about Heavenly is that, because it is right on the south shore of the lake, you get some amazing vistas as you ski down north-facing slopes.
post #4 of 21
The one thing about booking this far in advance you can't hedge your bets for snow quality--washouts, prolonged dry-spells, etc happen everywhere (But Alta and Targhee, I think) so there's one big factor (the biggest factor with Western Skiing IMHO-that,s always a crap-shoot.

That being said--With a Family I'd prefer (everyone's different, I know) to pick one resort and Hunker down and ski it to the Marrow--and some resorts are better for this than others--Tahoe skis best when the visitorsd are willing to travel and hop around and explore day to day several different areas--it's one of the real pleasures of tahoe, the myriad of unique places you can ski in short trip--but for me, there's no one ski area there I'd want to stay and ski at exclusively. The PC/ Deervalley/ Canyons complex is probably--no, definately more logistically friendly to a traveling family.

HOWEVER: Let me throw out one other observation--I've found that we all (parents that is) stress about a 'kid friendly' or kid fun ski areas when famoily planning--but you know what the truth is--ALL MAJOR 9and most minor) SKI RESORTS ARE KID? FAMILY FRIENDLY!!! All of them--they all have dedicated ski teaching/ camp programs for kids-restaurants with kid menus, baby sitting services yada yada yada. Moreover-kids don't care where they ski--my kids rarely register the difference between zipping down an icy slope in Western Massachusetts and skiing Jay Peak--it's all fun for them--they just like playing and skiing. They rarely register one tye of terrain over another--my older boy is fine most places and I've never been anywhere my little guy couldn't find some area to keep him happy yet!

With That in mind-My suggestion: Pick a resort (and resort) That You Skiing Dad and Skiing Mom really want to ski at--doesn't matter what one-Heavenly, Vail, Copper, Alta, Targhee, Fernie, Whistler, Steam Boat--doesn't matter-they will all have similar things for the youngsters and all the resort amenities traveling families have come to expect--they will all off these amenities on a sliding scale-that is, pay more-get nicer digs, etc. So, what floats your skiing dad boat---that's what you should pick-they'll have everything a family could want on a vacation.

Have Fun!

Liam
post #5 of 21
I disagree on a couple of particulars, although not necessarily on the general thrust.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam View Post
With a Family I'd prefer (everyone's different, I know) to pick one resort and Hunker down and ski it to the Marrow--and some resorts are better for this than others--Tahoe skis best when the visitorsd are willing to travel and hop around and explore day to day several different areas--it's one of the real pleasures of tahoe, the myriad of unique places you can ski in short trip--but for me, there's no one ski area there I'd want to stay and ski at exclusively. The PC/ Deervalley/ Canyons complex is probably--no, definately more logistically friendly to a traveling family.
As far as Tahoe goes, staying someplace like Granlibakken or Sunnyside gives you easy access, usually by shuttle so you can avoid driving, to at least Squaw, Alpine, and Homewood. Given Squaw's tendency to fall victim to wind events, having Alpine and Homewood as fallbacks is great -- reportedly, Homewood is often great to ski when everywhere else is on weather hold.

Also, one of the nice things Alpine (and presumably Homewood as well, although I haven't actually skied there) has over Squaw is that it's small enough -- and yes, family-friendly enough -- that you can trust kids who ski well to go off on their own. I wouldn't think about letting my kids ski without adults at Squaw, but my daughter (who was 8 last season) got to do a fair amount of unsupervised skiing with friends at Alpine, and will be allowed to do more this season. Squaw's too big and too decentralized for me to be comfortable doing that. Anyway, my point is that being able to mix it up between family ski-together or lesson days at Squaw and more individualized days at a smaller mountain can make for an excellent week.

That said, another option in Tahoe would be to stay slopeside at Squaw and, if conditions merit, take the shuttle to Alpine. There are lots of good options, so if you post an idea of your budget and what you like, we can try to suggest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam View Post
HOWEVER: Let me throw out one other observation--I've found that we all (parents that is) stress about a 'kid friendly' or kid fun ski areas when famoily planning--but you know what the truth is--ALL MAJOR 9and most minor) SKI RESORTS ARE KID? FAMILY FRIENDLY!!! All of them--they all have dedicated ski teaching/ camp programs for kids-restaurants with kid menus, baby sitting services yada yada yada. Moreover-kids don't care where they ski--my kids rarely register the difference between zipping down an icy slope in Western Massachusetts and skiing Jay Peak--it's all fun for them--they just like playing and skiing. They rarely register one tye of terrain over another--my older boy is fine most places and I've never been anywhere my little guy couldn't find some area to keep him happy yet!
Aaah, the differences. My kids are very conscious of their ski area preferences. My daughter kept asking all last season when we could go back to Squaw, and after spending a week in Utah with her grandmother, she prefers DV of the choices there. One of my six-year-old twins also really wants to take a day at Squaw this year so he can see Palisaides, KT, and all the other places he's seen in ski porn, but he's also the one who has been studying the map of Alpine with me to get a sense of what hike-to in-bounds terrain he can hit this year.

Anyway, the point is, it depends on the kid.
post #6 of 21
There probably isn't any good information when you use that little "SEARCH" function at the top. Nah, nothing. Don't look there.
post #7 of 21
I have never skiied Tahoe, but I really really like Park City. It is a great all around mountain- being advanced skiiers you can find plenty of hard terrain here. There are some really good, steep bowls- Jupitar (East & West), Scotts, Puma, McConkeys, and the Pinecone Ridge area. There are also a lot of good fast cruiser runs if you like that kind of thing too.

The atmosphere at Park City is almost unbeatable- I think it's the best among the resorts I've been to. It is for all- young and old and the town is amazing in itself. There is plenty of lodging available and it is super convinent being only 30 min. away from SLC...hard to beat.

I highly recommend that you give Park City a try.
post #8 of 21
I've been to both and they are both incredible. Lots of ski areas in close proximity. I can't imagine not having a great time at either place.

If you do go to Tahoe, don't limit yourself to just Heavenly (huge as it is). There's Kirkwood, Sierra at Tahoe, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows...

Park City area of course has PCMR, Deer Valley, The Canyons, and Alta/Snowbird, Solitude and Brighton are all just a short drive.

Tahoe Pros:
Adult entertainment/gambling
High probability of getting a great deal especially at one of the casino hotels
Several areas to choose from
Ability to get around without a car fairly well
Gorgeous views of the lake!

Tahoe cons:
Adult entertainment/gambling (not very family-friendly)
Snow has the "Sierra Cement" reputation
Going during California ski week is complete hell

Park City pros:
Lots of great restaurants and shops
Ability to get around without a car extremely well
Several areas to choose from
Two areas to ski without snowboarders if that is important to you
Snow has the "Best Snow in the World" reputation
Deer Valley limits lift ticket sales so it never is a complete madhouse

Park city cons:
It can be extremely expensive
Two areas you can't snowboard if you do snowboard
The alcohol laws are somewhat strict if that matters to you

You already know that snow amount and quality can never be guaranteed. So it's a toss up for early March with my vote favoring the Park City area slightly. It is also likely to be spring break for some people so crowds may be a problem at both. Again my vote would probably favor Park City but only because I experienced Heavenly during ski week and it was uber-crowded.

My suggestion - Go wherever you can get the best deal.
post #9 of 21
I'm with Alpinedad on looking into other resort options in Tahoe.

While I have a Heavenly pass, I am not a gambler and find that the "nightlife" tends to lean more toward college kids and non-skiers how shove money into the slots.

Truckee and even Tahoe City have a more "quaint" and "rustic" vibe about them and will give you access to more resorts (the aforementioned Alpine, Squaw, Northstar, Sugarbowl).

Personally, as much as I love Tahoe and ski it throughout the season, I'd go for Utah (or even Colorado). I stayed in Middleton last season and it was only a 20 minute drive to Brighton/Solitude/Snowbird/Alta. Granted I skied mid-week, but the adult lift tix at those places were all under $50 (compared to the $70 you'll shell out at Heavenly) and the skiing was much better than Heavenly (though Alpinedad is spot on about the vistas). Heavenly also tends to be one of the more crowded resorts in Tahoe because it's one of the few "destination" spots that has easy and cheap accomodations within walking distance of the slopes.

As much as I hate giving up the "secret", Homewood is indeed a fine little overlooked resort that is great on wind hold days (of which Squaw and Alpine are both routinely subject to). The terrain isn't too extreme at HW, though, and the runs tend to be rather short, but the lack of lift lines more than makes up for that, especially when all the other resorts are 50-75% closed due to wind.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
hello ,

First and foremost I would like to thank you all for your replies. Sorry about the lack of info on the family. Here we go we are a family of 4 my kids are 10 & 7 and have been skiing every winter weekend since the age of 2, so they can pretty much ski most black diamonds.They are also in a Canadian bumps n jumps (mogul skiing) program so I will not put them in any kind of ski school during our vacation. My wife likes to take it easy on the blues and the occasional black. For myself my knees are 40 years old and have been repaired several times (hence the knee brace) I ski the rare double black, no jumping off of cliffs, but I'm a sucker for the bumps. We are all pretty drained after a day of skiing our après ski is usually:
1) Rest
2) supper
3) pool\hot tub
4)watch a dvd
5)sleep
6)ski hard the next day.

Thank you
Pasquale
post #11 of 21
Still a sucker for bumps despite the brace? More like a glutton for punishment... <grin>

For bumps in Tahoe, I'd go Squaw -- there are a number of runs, particularly off KT, Headwall, and Granite Chief, that bump up really nice. Break It Out, skier's right off the top of GC, is absolutely insane.

Be warned that Squaw is not a very user-friendly mountain, however. For one thing, they don't actually have trail maps, but what they call a "mountain map" -- primarily a map of the lifts, without run names. And the run names are rarely posted, so even if you know them, they don't often help. A company named DNA Aerials in Sausalito put out a poster almost a decade ago with the trail names, and Squaw lets you look at it on their website, but only in sections. Skimaps.com has it in all its glory, however.
post #12 of 21
Are you looking to stay in the “Village” at the base of a resort? Easy access to restaurants?

I grew up in CT and we did a week out west each year. It was definitely nicer to be staying at a place that had easy (walk/short bus) access to lifts and walking access to restaurants. In general, I do not think the Tahoe ski areas are good about that.

I know both Heavenly & Squaw have made improvements to give themselves a more resort/village feel recently, but at PC there in a town as the base of the mtn. With the PC option it just seems like you would be done traveling once you got there.


BTW: My experience of going on ski trips from 5 yr old on, was the trip out west (or Europe) was the highlight of the season. My brother and I always thought the skiing was better out west than in VT. My dad has got some 8mm of me skiing some pow at PC when I was 7. It was maybe boot high on the adults, but almost knee deep on me. Needless to say, there was not much turning involved.
post #13 of 21
Been to both Heavenly and Park City. Both places have entertaining towns/resorts at base of slopes. Both ski areas are somewhat disjointed and though both have lots of variety, neither are the most cherished among hard core ski 'til you drop people, probably because they are so popular and mainstream. They are kind of like the Tremblants or Killingtons of the West.
Overall, I'd give the nod to Park City because of a nicer slopeside town, you've got 3 notable mtns (PCMR, Canyons, DV) in very close proximity via free shuttle bus, likely to get more powder snow, slightly less crowds or more acreage to spread 'em out, very convenient to SLC airport.
Do Utah this year and Tahoe next!
post #14 of 21
I don't understand...are you Pat Ski Alta or not? Tired of Alta? No problem, leave it for the rest...
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 
that is Mont Alta in Quebec not at all the same.
http://mont-alta.com/indexen.php

Thanks
Pasquale
post #16 of 21
Heavenly, never again!!!!!!!!! Traverse, traverse, traverse. Oh, and that double diamond "The Face", even my wife and 6 y/o champ did it! If you are hellbent on far west, go to MAMMOTH and stay put ('cept for the Saturday foray to June Mtn.)

Overall, my vote goes for Park City: 3 mountains (Canyons by far the best), free shuttles to all, and to Main Street, nice ski town. Also, Snowbasin is 45 min. drive...
post #17 of 21
Park City is a great place to ski. If you want to stay in that area, you have 3 great resorts to ski. PCMR itself is one of the best all around mountains in my opinion. There is good expert terrain in bowls (Jupiter, Scotts, Puma, McConkeys), Pinecone Ridge, bumps, and trees. There are also several good fast cruiser runs. I love the atmosphere at PC- it's upbeat and exciting, but still fits all ages. The town is super as well, one of the best ski towns. 40 min. from SLC. You can't go wrong with Park City.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
I booked the trip last weekend we are going to south lake Tahoe. we are
staying at Forest suites steps from the Heavenly gondola. I had my heart
set on Utah, but the two day stop over in San Francisco sealed the deal for
my wife. What are your recommendation on the area I know Squaw is a must. What about Kirkwood?
Should I hire a guide? Can I go snowcat skiing? Is heavenly busy midweek, are Mott and Killabrew canyons the real deal?
ect ect...

Thank you
post #19 of 21
Midweek, just about anywhere is fairly empty unless it's a holiday week.

Guides are generally unnecessary, except when it's the only way to get to certain terrain.

As far as snowcats go, IIRC, Kirkwood has a cat/guided program, and I think that's the only South Lake setup. There's also a North Lake setup -- Sierra Snowcats or some such.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by pat ski alta View Post
Is heavenly busy midweek, are Mott and Killabrew canyons the real deal?
[Disclaimer - my opinions are based on one trip, only one day of which was skiing apart from intermediate friends & family.]

I think Mott / Killebrew @ Heavenly is worth a day. Skiing the hardest part of an area that doesn't get much respect is a good way to avoid crowds. I found "lightly stirred powder" (not fresh, but nowhere near packed) there 4 days after it snowed.

The cool thing about Mott is that you can dial in how steep you want it to be .. it is a series of tree slots forming a funnel down to the lift. The line under the lift is pretty mellow, and the lines get progressively steeper as you go to skiers right.

You have to traverse hard right as soon as you get off the Mott chair to get to the better lines without working too hard.

I ran out of time before I had a chance to try Killebrew. It's even harder to get to, so probably gets very little traffic.

It is true that Heavenly is a pain to get around. It seemed like we had to keep making a giant loop from the California to the Nevada side and back again. Some of the main highway trails are downright dangerous when they are crowded.

Nonetheless, I think it's still worth a day.
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by pat ski alta View Post
I booked the trip last weekend we are going to south lake Tahoe. we are
staying at Forest suites steps from the Heavenly gondola. I had my heart
set on Utah, but the two day stop over in San Francisco sealed the deal for
my wife. What are your recommendation on the area I know Squaw is a must. What about Kirkwood?
Should I hire a guide? Can I go snowcat skiing? Is heavenly busy midweek, are Mott and Killabrew canyons the real deal?
ect ect...

Thank you
Sounds like a great trip. Early March can be very beautiful in the Tahoe area. I don't think a guide is necessary. I was at Heavenly at that time in 2005:
http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_a...mode=headlines

I also spent some great days at Kirkwood on same trip, they are about an hour apart by car:

http://www.dcski.com/articles/view_a...09&mode=search
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