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Advice on first US trip please ...

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Greetings all

I'm toying with the idea of a US ski trip this season (i.e. I'm thinking about possibly considering trying to pluck up the courage to run it past Mrs JB and see if the budget allows ...). We're on a savings kick and had previously resolved (must have been drunk) not to ski this season. I'm beginning to think that's a Very Bad Idea indeed.

It will (if it passes muster) be our first time skiing in the US. We've both skied extensively in Europe and the last 6 years have mainly skied KHMR. Both strong advanced skiers.

I'm keen to check out a US resort, maybe just for a week. Requirements are basically that it has sufficient skiing to keep us entertained, but that we might be able to pick up a cheap week there and not spend too much in resort. Good apres would of course be a boon. I know a bit about most of the larger resorts but would appreciate any knowledge you care to pass on for a first timer looking for a good first impression at reasonable prices.

Cheers, JB
post #2 of 21

Summit County, CO

I recommend the Summit County area in Colorado. Rather than being limited to one resort, you can choose from among many each day: Breckenridge, Keystone, Copper Mountain, Arapahoe Basin, Loveland, as well as Vail and Beaver Creek right over Vail Pass. You can stay at one of the resorts, or at one of the hotels in Frisco or Silverthorne/Dillon, which puts you within easy striking distance of all of them. You can fly into Denver, rent a car, and drive the hour to hour-and-a-half it takes to get there on I-70.
post #3 of 21
If you want good skiing at a cheap price, you need to check out Utah's Cottonwood Canyons. This is really the only place you can go for awesome snow, hard terrain, and cheap lodging, lift tickets, etc. There are 4 resorts to choose from-Alta, Snowbird, Brighton, Solitude. I've been to all 4 of them and prefer Alta, Snowbird, and Brighton. You can stay at the mouth of both canyons in Sandy for cheap- you are not in the whole resort atmosphere, but this is the best way to do it on a budget. You can easily drive to one of these 4 resorts and be very happy ski, snow wise everyday. The apres-ski and nightlife is the only drawbacks at these resorts. You can get this at Park City about 45 min. away, but this is the best option of ski and budget in one.

p.s. Do a search on these 4 resorts
post #4 of 21
Agree about the expense to skiing quality ratio for staying in Sandy and skiing Cottonwood Canyons. but do not agree they make the best impression. Sandy is an example of rampant US suburbia i would not say gives the best impression for someone coming to the US for the first time.

I would humbly suggest Steamboat or Aspen/Snowmass, which will give a more pleasing sense of the "west." Or Wyoming/MT. there are off the beaten path resorts there like Grand Targhee which might fit the bill nicely.

Of course, we don't know anything about what you are looking for really. What is your skiing level/style/preference and/or priorities?

You can make almost any resort a bargain by booking in the low season, which doesn't mean poor snow, just not at holiday times. For instance the week after New Year's starting January 3 or so usually offers price incentives to fill rooms.

Tell us more about your desires for this holiday and you'll get more precise responses.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses so far, much appreciated.

In terms of specific requirements, we're not too fussy. I guess I'm a strong advanced skier, I prefer the steeps, the trees. An abundance of off-piste style skiing without the need for a guide would be a nice little bonus for me. The better half is probably a less strong skier, though can still ski any terrain if "encouraged" hard enough!

As it's just the two of us, the party style apres isn't of such importance, but a few nice places to eat and tuck away a few beers is.

All suggestions / recommendations much appreciated, I will look into them all. Saves me having to do any actual work ... (I mean researching the resorts means I don't have to do any real work, job-type work. Not that you all suggesting resorts means I don't have to!)

JB
post #6 of 21
My first thought for moderate prices and great skiing would be the Salt Lake City area at the base of Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons...

But then you said "nightlife".

Oops.

Breckenridge (or Summit County, Colorado) should give you all the skiing you could ever want, a wide range of accomodations, and a pretty jumping nightlife.
post #7 of 21

where to ski

My 2 cents worth.

As a skier from the UK, who ski's Europe every year but also ski's the US with his equally advanced skier wife - I would try Tahoe. I have skied there half a dozen times. The skiing is varied, a load of resorts around the lake, you can sweeten the wife by staying for a few days in San Francisco - shopping/ sightseeing whatever and then drive up.

But the big plus is that of all the areas ( Utah, Colorado, etc) it appears to be the cheapest ( more discounts, vouchers etc, more flights into SF). Look up slidingonthecheap.com and snowbomb.com for starters.

You will find skiing in the US a pleasure, but a diff3rent experienc eto the large areas in Europe.

After saying all that we are off to Colorado this next season just to ring the changes but I am already finding it more expensive than Tahoe.

Freefall
post #8 of 21
SLC is the cheapest with plenty of good skiing. As mentioned before -
Alta
Snowbird
Solitude
Brighton
Also Park City is an hour away
Park City
Deer Valley
Canyons
Also Snowbasin is also about an hour away.
Stay somewhere in SLC.

It is also hard to go wrong with Summit County in Colorado.
Copper Mtn
Keystone
Vail
Beaver Creek
Loveland
A-Basin
Stay in Dillon or Silverthorne
post #9 of 21
I really enjoyed Alta and I went pre-season in mid-Dec last year and got some good deals at the SnowPine lodge there. You can find my trip report about it. There was lots and lots of good terrain, off piste and on.

For Apres-ski, well, there was the outdoor hot tub with many polar bear runs and then the warm fireplace to mix and mingle with the other lodgers over some good brew or hot chocolate. It was very mellow apres, but still very enjoyable.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
OK, having looked at all the responses and various other threads, I think I've narrowed it down to one of:

Alta
Steamboat
JH

I suspect that any one of those resorts will provide a great trip, but if there are any strong views / essential advice any of you feel compelled to pass on, I'm all ears.

Have a good one,

JB
post #11 of 21
My suggestion of the final three is Jackson Hole. Tough, epic terrain at JH, stay in town of Jackson for afordable lodging, evening beer and steaks, and cowboy atmosphere, visit Grand Targhee ski area one day for variety and possibly powder snow, see buffalo and elk on rest day.
post #12 of 21
If you are on a budget I'd say skip the States. I find skiing here a lot more expensive than skiing Europe. That being said SLC as a base for skiing Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons might be the cheapest options. At the moment you have the advantage of a strong Euro currency which is a bonus... Don't plan on just skiing Alta for a week if you decide on UT. The nice thing about SLC is that you can change resorts every day...
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
James - "rest day"? Never heard of it. (I occasionally have "hangover hour", when I'm not on the slopes till 9:30, but "rest day"? ...)

I like the sound of the JH tips, though, that's much appreciated. Sounds like the perfect spot.

As to currencies and cheaper European skiing, I'm on this side of the world at the moment, in the tropics. So for me US has to be cheaper than Europe, travel-wise.

Thanks again for all the help.

JB
post #14 of 21
Forgot to mention snow. Best time at JH is supposedly late Jan or first half of February. Alta and Steamboat have good to great snow almost any time from New Years Day to March 15, with IMHO primo snow/sun conditions around March 1. January can be cold at Steamboat. Query "Tony Crocker" and you'll get more details on snow aspect.
post #15 of 21
Come to Jackson Hole.

Come the last week of January if you can swing it. Cheaper rates, good snow, fewer people. There are good packages to be had that time of the season.

It's the best ski resort in America.

And I'm only the tiniest bit biased.
post #16 of 21
The other thing about JH is that you can take a rest day and do a snowmobile tour of Yellowstone. A long day, but well worth it, even if you have been there. And Yellowstone is unreal in winter -- as it is in summer.

Mike
post #17 of 21
definitely JH - one day to Grand Targhee for usually tremendous powder, take a day for yellowstone, maybe the tour of the elk herd (ever seen 10,000 elk in one place?). Go to the cowboy bar one night - it's definitely the touristy thing to do.
post #18 of 21

Climatise first

As much as I think every skier should ski Colorado at least once in there lifetime,, you really need to climatise, skiing Colorado is twice the height of most Europian resorts and if you a only going for 1 week you might be best advised to ski Lake Tahoe or Utah .
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by habacomike View Post
The other thing about JH is that you can take a rest day and do a snowmobile tour of Yellowstone. A long day, but well worth it, even if you have been there. And Yellowstone is unreal in winter -- as it is in summer.

Mike
I agree. The sledding around Yellowstone and Togadee Pass is phenominal.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by skied100 View Post
As much as I think every skier should ski Colorado at least once in there lifetime,, you really need to climatise, skiing Colorado is twice the height of most Europian resorts and if you a only going for 1 week you might be best advised to ski Lake Tahoe or Utah .
Um, steamboat is lower than the utah resorts. It's 6,something ft. Don't remember the elevation of tahoe.
post #21 of 21
i've never had a problem climatizing. and Colo is quite a bit higher up in elevation than Tahoe. but then i guess it can affect everyone differently.
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